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Three chemical companies will pay Pennsylvania $100 million dollars to resolve claims that they contaminated the state’s waterways with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
The Monsanto Company, Solutia INC., and Pharmacia LLC manufactured products containing the toxic chemicals, which damaged waterways and other natural resources across Pennsylvania, according to the state.
“By securing this settlement, DEP is holding Monsanto accountable for what it did to Pennsylvania’s water and making sure that Monsanto is paying for the work the Commonwealth has done to keep its water clean,” said Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Rich Negrin in a statement.
PCBs, which have no taste or smell, are a group of man-made organic chemicals consisting of carbon, hydrogen, and chlorine atoms.
The chemicals were used to make various products, including electrical appliances such as TVs and refrigerators. An estimated 1.5 billion pounds of PCBs were made between the 1920s and 1979. Wastes from the manufacturing process were often placed in landfills and occasionally spilled into waterways.
PCBs were banned in 1979 for their potential dangers to human and environmental health. The toxic chemicals are linked to liver and respiratory problems among people who were highly exposed, such as workers.