CINCINNATI -- State officials filed a lawsuit against agribusiness giant Monsanto Monday over contaminants they the company manufactured despite knowing they were toxic.
Monsanto manufactured and sold PCBs from 1929 to 1977 under the name Aroclor for use in a variety of applications, like paint, lubricant and electrical equipment, according to a news release from Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.
PCBs are toxic to humans, and they don't break down once in the environment, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. They can be carried by air, water and soil, and have been found far from where they were released.
Monsanto learned that PCBs are toxic in the 1930s, but kept making them for decades anyway, according to the lawsuit.
In Ohio, officials have found dangerous levels of PCBs in the Ohio River basin and Great Miami River basin, as well as other rivers and bodies across the state, including Lake Erie, according to the lawsuit.
"Ohioans deserve to enjoy their natural resources without contamination from these toxic chemicals, and we believe Monsanto should be held responsible for the damage it caused," DeWine said in a written statement. "Our goal in taking this action is to protect Ohio, its citizens and its natural resources."
Officials filed the lawsuit against Monsanto and two other companies in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court. The lawsuit alleges that Monsanto was negligent and created a public nuisance. Officials want the company to be accountable for harm to the environment and pay for PCB contamination cleanup.
Scott Partridge, vice president of global strategy at Monsanto, said they were reviewing the lawsuit and will defend themselves "aggressively."
"Monsanto voluntarily stopped producing PCBs more than 40 years ago," he said in a news release. "Monsanto sold PCBs to many industrial and manufacturing customers, as well as the U.S. government, which put them to various uses and disposed of them in different ways."
Read the full lawsuit below: