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Claims office opens in Nitro to assist residents, students and workers get benefits for Monsanto dioxin exposure

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People who lived, worked or attended school in areas impacted by dioxins produced at Monsanto's Nitro plant can register their interest in obtaining medical monitoring or property clean up if they haven't already done so.

The Monsanto class action settlement took effect May 7. Beginning Tuesday, July 8, the court-appointed administrator of the Nitro Class Action Settlement, Thomas V. Flaherty, will have an office in Nitro through Oct. 31 to help individuals who qualify obtain benefits for exposure to the dioxins, a chemical by-product of the weed killers produced at the Nitro plant.

Dioxins have been linked to cancer, birth defects and learning disabilities as well as other serious health concerns.

To avoid going to trial, Monsanto agreed in 2012 to spend up to $84 million on a 30-year medical monitoring program -- $21 million for the initial testing, with another $63 million available if dioxin levels warrant. They also agreed to spend another $9 million on property clean up.

The claims office, located at 2303 1st Avenue, Nitro, will be open July 8-Oct. 31 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.

Flaherty and Class Counsel Stuart Calwell said the settlement comes after eight years of litigation and appeals. Now that the agreement is finalized, settlement money can be used for "medical examinations and property cleanup services to people and property affected the production of 'dioxin' at the Nitro Monsanto plant," they said.

To be eligible for medical testing, individuals must have been gone to school, worked or lived near Nitro in Putnam or Kanawha counties full-time between January 1, 1948 and Sept. 30, 2010. Those who pre-registered should receive packets in the mail. Those who haven't already registered but would like to should contact the Nitro Class Action Settlement Administrators by calling (877) 673-5049, emailing info@ncasallc.com, or visiting the Nitro office.

Information also is available online at www.bibbclass.com or by contacting the Calwell Practice, 500 Randolph St., Charleston.