Chicago sues Monsanto, saying it contaminated city's water with PCBs.

Chicago’s lakefront may be one of the city’s biggest gems, but the city says the water, shoreline and Chicago River contain a dangerous chemical known to cause harm to humans and the environment.

The claims are contained in a lawsuit the city filed against Monsanto and three of its corporate successors.

PCBs were banned in the 1980s but continue to be released into waterways through storm water.

The city’s complaint says, “For decades, Monsanto knew that its commercial PCB formulations were highly toxic and would inevitably produce precisely the contamination and human health risks that have occurred. Yet Monsanto intentionally misled the public.”

As a result, the complaint alleges, there’s “widespread contamination within the city.”

In a statement, a company representative told CBS News Chicago, “Monsanto believes the case is meritless as the Company never manufactured or disposed PCBs in or near the Chicago area and voluntarily ceased its lawful manufacturing of PCBs more than 45 years ago. Moreover, the products that are alleged to be the source of any environmental impairments were manufactured by third parties, not Monsanto. Additionally, the City itself may be responsible for water quality impairments as it has over 200 combined sewage outfalls that discharge into the Great Lakes watershed. 

“… The Company has strong defenses and will vigorously defend against these claims.”

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