Attorney General Mike DeWine sued agricultural giant Monsanto on Monday, alleging the company concealed dangers posed by a toxic chemical compound it manufactured for nearly a half century.
In the suit, filed in the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court in Cincinnati, prosecutors argued that the company should pay for the clean-up of what it says are dozens of rivers, lakes and other water bodies contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs.
“Monsanto should be held responsible for the damage it caused,” DeWine said in a statement.
The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Scott Partridge, Monsanto’s vice president of global strategy, told the Associated Press the company was still reviewing the lawsuit and was planning an aggressive defense.
According to the suit, Monsanto produced nearly all of the PCBs — which were used in everything from lubricants to electrical equipment — in the United States between 1929 and 1977.
The chemical has been linked to cancer, liver damage and other negative health effects, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.