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Monday, May 20, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Army Poisoned People in ’50s, Class Claims

ST. LOUIS (CN) - Monsanto and others conspired with an Army experiment to secretly poison people with toxic chemicals in a giant segregated housing complex in the 1950s, a class action claims in City Court.

Check out Courthouse News' Environmental Law Review.

Lead plaintiff Benjamin Phillips Sr. claims defendants Monsanto, Parsons Government Services and SRI International participated in a study beginning in 1953 that lasted into the 1960s.

Phillips claims the study, the "Involuntary Chemical Study on PI Residents" or "ICS", was conducted around the Pruitt-Igoe housing complex in St. Louis.

"This study consisted generally of the following: defendants, along with other known conspirators such as the United States Army) and unknown conspirators caused to be sprayed upon the residents and structures of PI chemicals, such as cadmium, including potentially radioactive cadmium, with the knowledge or consent of those resident, the administrators of PI or city or other government officials. The purpose of this study is unknown," the complaint states. (Open parentheses in complaint.)

Phillips, who lived at Pruitt-Igoe at the time, claims the chemicals caused emotional psychological trauma and harm as well as personal injury.

He seeks actual and punitive damages for public nuisance, liability, intentional infliction of emotional distress and battery. He is represented by Elkin Kistner, with Bick & Kistner.

The 33, 11-story buildings in the Pruitt-Igoe complex were torn down in the 1970s after the place became famous for its poverty, crime and segregation.

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