1.Poisoned By Monsanto's PCBs
2.Medical study finds PCBs problems in east Alabama city
3.Claimants protest settlement allocation
NOTE: Monsanto manufactured PCBs at its west Anniston plant in Alabama from 1929 to 1971. Item 1 provides background while items 2 and 3 aree news stories relating to the ongoing problems caused by Monsanto.
EXTRACT: The [Monsanto] plant was also the source of thousands of pounds a year of potentially deadly polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs. For nearly forty years, unfiltered and untreated PCB waste was discharged directly into streams or dumped in landfills around town.
1.Poisoned By PCBs: Thirty Years Later, Court Documents Reveal Monsanto's Toll on an Alabama Town http://www.chemicalindustryarchives.org/dirtysecrets/anniston/1.asp
Q: Did Monsanto ever provide the residents of Anniston with any data concerning the health hazards of PCBs in humans?
A: Uh-uh (indicating no). Why would they?
- William B. Papageorge, Monsanto Manager of Environmental Control, Deposition of March 31, 1998
Most folks in Anniston, Alabama didn't give a second thought to why Snow Creek often ran red or purple. Their children played in this creek and the waterways it fed. They ate fish from them. Their livestock drank from them.
Like the residents of many small towns who are dependent on a single local industry, the people of Anniston were not eager to bite the hand that fed them. They may have known that the Monsanto Co. plant on the west side of town dumped its waste into Snow Creek and that the waste entered other local waterways, but few of Anniston's 30,000 residents thought of the plant as anything other than a valuable source of jobs.
Documents that emerged from a court case in 2000 show that Monsanto knew the truth: The plant was also the source of thousands of pounds a year of potentially deadly polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs. For nearly forty years, unfiltered and untreated PCB waste was discharged directly into streams or dumped in landfills around town. Monsanto employees also carried the chemical, sold under the brand name Aroclor, home on their work clothes.
Monsanto stopped making PCBs at Anniston in 1971. Five years later, with the signing of the Toxic Substances Control Act, PCBs were banned as a suspected cause of cancer. But company documents show that for more than two decades after ending production, Monsanto withheld frightening, detailed information about the contamination in Anniston. The documents also show that some state officials knew about the PCB problem, but did nothing to protect the people of Anniston or towns downstream.
2.Medical study finds PCBs problems in east Alabama city
The Associated Press, 2 APRIL 2008
ANNISTON, Ala. (AP) ”” A study of more than 1,000 east Alabama residents who live amid one of the world's worst pockets of PCBs contamination found health concerns including heart problems and diabetes that researchers said could be linked to the chemical.
The results reinforced the worries of residents who have spent their lives near a plant that once manufactured polychlorinated biphenyls, banned in 1977 because of fears they could cause a variety of health problems.
'I'm real concerned because I see a lot of people dying,' said Lynn Goodson, 49, who suffers from diabetes and is convinced PCBs caused his health problems. 'It makes me worry about what will happen to me.'
About 150 residents gathered Tuesday night to hear the results of a group of in-depth studies about how PCBs may have affected people living in Anniston, located about 60 miles east of Birmingham. The $3.2 million government-funded study measured the PCB exposure of more than 1,000 people, and researchers combined the data with results of health and IQ tests to draw conclusions about PCB effects.
Dr. Scott Bartell, of the University of California-Irvine, said that one of the most compelling findings was that residents have elevated rates of heart problems and diabetes when compared to the state and nation.
'These problems seem to be connected, at least for some population groups, to PCB exposure,' Bartell said.
Another part of the study found that parents with high PCB levels were likely to have children with lower IQ scores, said Dr. Alan Percy of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Because only two of the parents tested were men, Percy said it was likely the children were exposed to PCBs in the womb.
Bartell said researchers were studying PCBs in Anniston because it has some of the highest levels of PCBs in the world today.
'Slovakia and Anniston,' he said. 'That's where you find the highest levels.'
Anniston residents said they were curious about the study results.
Anginette Ferrell, 47, said she has had breathing problems over the years that she believes PCB contamination caused.
'I know it didn't make us healthier,' she said. 'I want to know what my effects might be later on, too.'
The Monsanto Co. manufactured PCBs at its west Anniston plant from 1929 to 1971. PCBs were produced under the trade name Aroclor and were used as coolants and lubricants in transformers, capacitors and other electrical equipment.
Settlements of PCBs claims resulted in the payment of about $600 million to 21,000 people, the removal of contaminated soil around the old plant and the opening of a health clinic for residents.
3.Tolbert claimants protest settlement allocation
By Megan Nichols The Anniston Star, April 2 2008 [extract only] http://www.annistonstar.com/breaking/2008/as-localupdate-0402-0-8d02m0559.htm
A small group of claimants from the Tolbert [west Anniston community] PCB lawsuit marched in front of the federal courthouse on Noble Street Wednesday morning to protest how the settlement is being handled.
Tolbert vs. Monsanto was settled in 2003 for $600 million. More than 18,000 claimants joined the case, which was brought against Monsanto after evidence showed it had polluted the community with polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs. The Monsanto Company manufactured PCBs at its west Anniston plant from 1929 to 1971. Health offi-cials now believe PCBs cause various health problems, including cancer.
Curtis Ray, who led the protest, said a surplus of settlement funds should go to the claimants, rather than to the Tolbert health clinic, which was funded by Monsanto as a part of the settlement. Ray, who sits on the settlement's claimant advisory committee, is the lone dissenter to giving the funds to the clinic.
'We are the ones who have these PCBs in our blood,' Ray said. 'We should get that money.'