REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/File Photo Acquire Licensing RightsNov 21 (Reuters) - A U.S. jury has ordered Bayer's Monsanto to pay $165 million to employees of a school northeast of Seattle who claimed chemicals made by the company called polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, leaked from light fixtures and got them sick.
The award included nearly $50 million in compensatory damages, and $115 million in punitive damages.
Monsanto said in a statement that it will contest Monday's verdict, and that blood, air and other tests show the school employees were not exposed to unsafe levels of PCBs.
PCBs are chemicals once widely used to insulate electrical equipment and in other common products like carbon copy paper, caulking, floor finish and paint.
Employees, students and others have claimed in numerous lawsuits against the company that exposure to PCBs at the Sky Valley center caused their cancers, thyroid conditions and other health problems.
Wolfgang Rattay, Monsanto, Clark Mindock, Alexia Garamfalvi, Richard Chang
Bayer AG, REUTERS, Monsanto, Sky Valley Education, Thomson
Leverkusen, Germany, U.S, Seattle, Washington, Sky, Monroe , Washington