Aug. 20 (Bloomberg) – Monsanto Co., Solutia, Inc. and Pfizer, Inc. will pay more than $700 million to settle Alabama lawsuits that allege Monsanto dumped toxic chemicals three decades ago. David Shelby, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said the threatened bankruptcy helped spur the settlement, which might have left some plaintiffs empty handed. “Bankruptcy absolutely was a threat,” Shelby said. “The law messes up a lot of good cases. It was a very real threat.” Monsanto Pays Bulk of Cash Monsanto will pay about $390 million, Solutia will pay $50 million, with $160 million coming from the companies’ insurance. Pfizer will contribute community health programs in Alabama, valued at about $75 million. Of the cash settlement, about 60 percent will go to the individuals, Shelby said. Other proceeds will pay for an environmental-medical clinic in Anniston, an educational trust fund, and community revitalization and businesses for impacted areas. Monsanto dumped PCBs, pr polychlorinated biphenyls, in Anniston over a period of years, lawsuits say. PCBs were used in industrial products, including flame retardants in electrical equipment. The chemicals were banned by the U.S. in 1979 because they were believed to cause cancer.“The main goal is to rid the community of the problem. Over the years, it has been difficult to prove,” said Jere Beasley, a Montgomery, Alabama, plaintiff’s attorney. “The scientific community has now recognized the fact that PCBs are linked to health problems.” Shares of Solutia fell 2 cents to 90 cents in New York Stock Exchange composite trading today. Monsanto fell 11 cents to $22.69. Pfizer fell 53 cents to $30.74. Pfizer acquired former Monsanto parent Pharmacia Corp. earlier this year. Pfizer spokesman Paul Fitzhenry declined to comment.

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