The Monsanto plant in Nitro produced herbicides, rubber products and other chemicals. The plant’s production of the defoliant Agent Orange created dioxin as a toxic chemical byproduct.
Dioxin has been linked to cancer, birth defects, learning disabilities, endometriosis, infertility and suppressed immune functions. It builds up in tissue over time, so even small exposures can accumulate to dangerous levels.
A $93 million settlement was reached last February with residents who said Monsanto polluted their community by burning waste from production of the defoliant Agent Orange.
St. Louis-based Monsanto had agreed to pay up to $84 million for medical monitoring and $9 million to clean up 4,500 homes. Monsanto also agreed to pay legal fees.
The litigation began with a lawsuit by plant workers in the mid-1980s. Cases involving current and former residents were consolidated into a class-action lawsuit in 2008.
Swope dismissed objections to the settlement, calling it an “all or nothing” approval. Some class members had argued the settlement wasn’t fair and reasonable.