Two former Burlington High School educators, along with one of their spouses, have filed a federal lawsuit against Monsanto and its parent company, alleging they were harmed by exposure to the cancer-causing chemicals known as polychlorinated biphenyls, court documents showed.

The lawsuit was filed on Oct. 5 in U.S. District Court in Burlington against Monsanto and its parent company, the German-based Bayer AG, as well as other companies related to the manufacturing chemicals commonly known as PCBs.

The suit alleges the defendants “have failed to take action to abate, remediate, minimize, publicize, or protect teachers and children in schoolhouses and school facilities in the United States that contain PCBs.”

The lawsuit further alleges that “Monsanto manufactured, distributed, marketed, promoted despite such knowledge of health hazards in order to maximize its profits regardless of injuries to human beings.”

The two former Burlington High School employees named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit include Tracy Rubman, a special education teacher, and Kathy Lothian, a special education paraeducator. Both have “suffered adverse medical consequences, damages, personal injuries, and emotional distress,” the lawsuit claims.

Rubman alleges a series of reproductive complications resulted from her working at the high school, the lawsuit says. In 2016, Rubman gave birth to an “underweight” child who showed signs of gastrointestinal issues by the time the child was a year old. Over the next two years, she experienced two miscarriages and a terminated pregnancy when her fetus was found to have a fatal condition.

In 2019, Rubman gave birth to a premature baby and has since also been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, according to the suit.

James Baker, Rubman’s spouse, is also named as a plaintiff in the suit, which alleges that he has “suffered loss of consortium and related damages.”

Lothian’s injuries are related to “cognitive impairments” which include “memory loss, confusion and brain fog,” the lawsuit alleges.

An attorney representing the three plaintiffs, William Leckerling, said neither he nor his clients would comment further than what was in the complaint.

Calls to Bayer, which purchased Monsanto in 2018, were not immediately returned Monday afternoon.

The high school buildings were closed in 2020, when the school was found to be contaminated by PCBs. Students were moved to a temporary campus inside the old Macy’s building downtown where they remain while Burlington voters consider a bond to pay for a major project to build a new school on the former site.

According to the court filing, Rubman was employed at Burlington High School from 2016 until June of this year. Lothian worked from 2015 until 2020. Both are reported to have worked in Building F on the shuttered Institute Road campus. The lawsuit alleges that the building had the highest level of PCB exposure.

While Monsanto is listed in the lawsuit as being the driving force behind the spread of PCBs, Bayer is named as well since it purchased the agrochemical company in 2018. Other businesses named Solutia and Pharmacia are also named since Monsanto “spun off or attempted to spin off some or all of its chemical business” into those two companies, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit states that in many northeastern schools in the U.S., PCBs were used in caulking and sealant as well as in light ballasts, and that gradually over time the building materials themselves became contaminated.

In the testing at Burlington High School, the PCBs were found “mostly in window caulking” but had also “leached into masonry,” according to a presentation made when the school district was considering an extensive renovation to the existing campus. It was during the planning process for that renovation that PCBs were discovered at the school.