The Port of Portland is suing agricultural chemical giant Monsanto for alleged contamination on port property.
According to details of the case, which was heard in federal court, Monsanto have been knowingly producing toxic chemicals since 1937. The chemical in question is the chlorine compound polychlorinated biphenyl, known as PCB, which was used in paint, caulk and other items. PCB was finally banned by the federal government in 1979 after it was confirmed that it is extremely hazardous to humans and wildlife.
According to the lawsuit, a 1937 company memo revealed that the company knew its Aroclor product caused a “acne-form skin eruption.” A report two decades later indicated the company was aware that the product was “toxic, but the actual limit has not been precisely defined.”
The port currently runs four terminals on the Willamette and Columbia rivers, as well as the airport. All of these locations have documented PCBs contaminating the area and surrounding areas.
John Fiske, an attorney representing the Port of Portland, told local media “The damages for the Port of Portland range anywhere between tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions of dollars in total PCB clean-up costs”.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), are set to release a clean-up plan for the 10 mile stretch of river within the next few days.