PCBs, Pollution, and Legal Liability

Polychlorinated Biphenyls pic

Polychlorinated Biphenyls
Image: greenfacts.org

Ed Gentle serves as an attorney and founding partner with a Birmingham, Alabama, law firm. Well-versed in mass tort litigation and settlement administration, Ed Gentle administered a $300 million settlement for a major polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) pollution case in Anniston, Alabama.

PCBs are a class of chemicals that were used for industrial purposes in the United States from 1929 to 1979. They have a variety of useful properties, including functioning as electrical insulators and exhibiting a high degree of stability. Unfortunately, scientists discovered PCBs are extremely toxic to humans in that they damage the immune system and are carcinogenic.

Due to their harmful effects and the fact that they were employed so extensively in the United States, companies that used PCBs face liability and often enter into settlements with the intention of funding or partially funding the environmental cleanup of contaminated sites. In Anniston, for example, thousands of claimants settled with the Monsanto Company and other corporations to the tune of $300 million to address PCB pollution and the property damage caused by it.

More recently, the city of New Bedford, Massachusetts, settled with the AVX Corporation and Cornell-Dubilier Electronics for more than $8 million to remediate a site polluted by PCBs.