In 2003, Carmina Gisbert and her research team produced a tobacco plant that could remove lead from soil. To do so, they inserted a gene from wheat plants that produces phytochelatin synthase into a shrub tobacco plant (Nicotiana glauca) to increase N. glauca's absorption and tolerance of toxic metals, particularly lead and cadmium. Gisbert and her team aimed to genetically modify a plant so that it could be used for phytoremediation- using plants to remove toxic substances from the soil. Scientists have identified phytoremediation as an effective and efficient process to improve human health and reproductive health in contaminated areas. Metals like mercury and lead can cause birth defects during human development like cognitive impairment, cerebral palsy, deafness, tremors, and blindness.
In March 2011 the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association and around sixty agricultural organizations (OSGATA et al.) filed a suit against Monsanto Company and Monsanto Technology L.L.C., collectively called Monsanto. The hearings for Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) et al. v. Monsanto (2012) took place at the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan, New York. The district court's Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald dismissed OSGATA's suit. A year later, OSGATA appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C., and the court agreed with the District Court's 2013 decision. OSGATA appealed to the US Supreme Court in late 2013, and the Supreme Court refused to hear the case in 2014. In the OSGATA et al. v. Monsanto case, OSGATA claimed that genetically modified seeds are a threat to both human health and conventional and organic farming. OSGATA petitioned that because of this threat, twenty-three of Monsanto's patents on genetic modification processes and technologies were invalid.