Families Sue School and Monsanto Over Classroom Toxins

Families outside Seattle filed a lawsuit against local officials and agrochemical giant Monsanto, alleging they allowed the school site to become toxic with the use of the now-banned industrial chemicals known as PCBs.

PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, were used in industrial and commercial applications. In many schools built or remodeled before 1980, PCBs were used in fluorescent lights, flooring adhesives, paint, ceiling tiles, and caulking around doors and windows. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, PCBs have been shown to cause a variety of health problems, including cancer in animals as well as effects on the immune, nervous, and reproductive systems.

The issue has been the subject of environmental pollution lawsuits for years, as the St. Louis-based Monsanto produced PCBs from 1935 until Congress banned them in 1979.

The parents and children say their health deteriorated while the students attended Sky Valley Education Center, an alternative K-12 school in Monroe, Washington. The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in King County Superior Court.

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