BIRMINGHAM, Ala., April 14 A jury in Alabama
ruled on Tuesday in favor of the old Monsanto company, now
Pharmacia, in a case in which it was accused of manufacturing
PCBs that caused arthritis and diabetes.
Five plaintiffs who lived in Anniston, Alabama, where the
company made polychlorinated biphenyls until the 1970s and had
been dumping chemicals into local creeks, brought individual
lawsuits against Monsanto at a state court.
The five are all senior citizens who suffer from arthritis
or diabetes. They are the first of around 3,000 individuals
filing lawsuits, according to plaintiff attorney Frank Davis of
Davis, Norris, LLC.
"This jury ... ruled that the five plaintiffs in this case
failed to prove their allegations that their common illnesses
were caused by exposure to PCBs many years ago from an
Anniston, Alabama, plant," defense attorney Augusta Dowd said
in a statement.
"The five plaintiffs are 67 to 89 years old and they have a
number of well-established health factors that could explain
their health condition, including obesity, diet, tobacco
smoking, family history and others," Dowd said.
"There is no credible evidence that their illnesses are
linked to PCB exposure from the plant in Anniston, where PCBs
have not been manufactured for more than 30 years," the
Pharmacia, a unit of Pfizer Inc (PFE.N), is the named
defendent in the case, but Monsanto has an obligation to defend
the case, Dowd said.
It was not possible to obtain immediate comment from the
Much of the 2-week case revolved around whether or not the
PCBs actually caused diabetes and arthritis or whether they
were merely associated with it.
Monsanto manufactured PCBs, classified as probable human
carcinogens by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, at the
plant for about 40 years. They were commonly used as lubricants
and coolants for electrical equipment.
The U.S. government banned most uses for PCBs in 1979.
(Reporting by Peggy Gargis; Writing by Matthew Bigg; Editing
by Richard Chang)