Two families in Maui, Hawaii, have filed a lawsuit against Monsanto — alleging the company’s use of pesticides and chemicals led to birth defects in their newborns.
The lawsuit states that a 28-year-old woman and a 17-year-old boy, whose mothers both lived less than 500 yards from Monsanto fields, were exposed to the chemicals in utero, reported Maui News. The landowner, Alexander & Baldwin, and Monsanto’s parent company, Bayer AG, are also named in the suit (case number 2CCV-19–0001003), which was filed on Oct. 24.
According to the complaint, outlined by the Maui News and Maui Now, the 28-year-old woman was born without her throat connected to her stomach, a condition known as Esophageal atresia/tracheoesophageal fistula (EA/TEF), which required many surgeries to correct.
Her condition also led to paralysis of her vocal cords, causing need for a breathing tube.
The 17-year-old boy “suffered limited kidney function due to an improperly formed tube between his kidney and his bladder,” which also required surgery. In addition, he faces attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Attorneys for the families said chemicals in the field included restricted-use pesticides such as atrazine, paraquat dichloride, chlorpyrifos and glyphosate, as reported by Maui Now.
Monsanto raises herbicide-resistant seeds on its Hawaii fields, which brought critics of the company to believe “multiple chemicals are heavily sprayed to test the seeds.” Monsanto, as well as the seed industry and the state, have argued that the chemicals are used safely, reported Hawaii News Now.
While no dollar amount was listed for damages, but according to Maui News, the suit does list “16 claims for relief, including four claims of negligence, four claims of strict liability/abnormally dangerous activity, four claims of negligent infliction of emotional distress and four claims of intentional infliction of emotional distress.”
By Emma Schkloven
Emma Schkloven is an award-winning reporter based in Virginia. She graduated in 2014 with a degree in English. Her work has been picked up by The Associated Press and The Washington Post, and her bylines have appeared in The Baltimore Sun, The Las Vegas Sun and The News & Advance in Lynchburg, Virginia.