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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Dole' Category


02
Jun

Dole Proposes New Settlements for Sterile Plantation Workers

(Beyond Pesticides, June 2, 2010) After decades-long litigation over the use of the toxic pesticide dibromochloropropane, or DBCP, in the 1970’s which has been linked to sterility and has since been banned, Dole Food Co. is proposing new settlements for farm workers claiming they were injured by exposure to the pesticide. A request has been filed by lawyers for Dole in the Los Angeles Superior Court asking that nearly 1,500 Honduran farm workers who are suing Dole be allowed to drop out of those suits and settle their claims out of court under an existing program arranged by the company and Honduran government officials. This could potentially end years of legal action inexpensively for Dole while providing compensation to workers quickly, however some people view this plan as a way for the company to back out of its responsibilities to former plantation workers. The pesticide DBCP was used by workers from Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, and Panama to kill worm infestations in the trees’ roots. In the U.S., DBCP was used as a soil fumigant and nematocide on over 40 different crops until 1977. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), DBCP causes male reproductive problems, including low […]

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27
Oct

U.S. Court Reverses Judgment Against Dole and Dow Chemical for Sterile Banana Workers

(Beyond Pesticides, October 27, 2009) U.S. District Judge Paul Huck (Miami) has said a multimillion dollar judgment against U.S. food giant Dole and the Dow Chemical Company cannot be enforced because, “[T]he judgment was rendered under a system which does not provide impartial tribunal or procedures compatible with the requirements of due process of law, and the rendering court did not have jurisdiction over Defendants.” A trial court in Chinandega, Nicaragua, had awarded the money in 2005 to 150 Nicaraguan citizens who believe they were injured by exposure to the pesticide dibromochloropropoane, or DBCP, when they worked on Dole banana plantations between 1970 and 1982. This actiion was taken despite findings in the U.S. that DBCP causes sterility and regulatory action to remove it from the market. The trial court awarded Plaintiffs approximately $97 million under “Special Law 364,” enacted by the Nicaraguan legislature in 2000 specifically to handle DBCP claims. The average award was approximately $647,000 per plaintiff. According to the Nicaraguan trial court, these sums were awarded to compensate plaintiffs for DBCP-induced infertility and its accompanying adverse psychological effects. In similar cases in the past, the companies have refused to pay. Dow Chemical has called such judgments “unenforceable” […]

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26
Sep

Farmworkers Lose Amvac Genocide Appeal

(Beyond Pesticides, September 26, 2008) On September 24, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed Ivory Coast farmworkers’ claims that they were victims of genocide when pesticide exposure made them sterile. The nearly 700 plaintiffs were exposed to the soil fumigant and nematocide 1,2-Dibromo-3-Chloropropane, or DBCP, while working on Dole Food Company farms in Africa. The original First Amended Complaint was filed on April 6, 2007, and despite the latest setback, the Africans’ attorney, Raphael Metzger, said he would pursue a rehearing. Until 1977, DBCP was widely used in U.S. agriculture, when it was banned for all uses except pineapples. In contrast, DBCP was widely used for fruit production in developing countries in to the 1990s in spite of its U.S. regulatory status. “The manufacturers continued making money on [DBCP] by shipping it to Third World countries where farmworkers were given it to use,” Mr. Metzger said. The suit, Abagninin v. Amvac Chemical Co, was filed under the Alien Torts Statute and contended “that such conduct supports claims under the ATS for genocide and crimes against humanity because the conduct was undertaken with knowledge of DBCP’s effects and pursuant to a State or organizational policy.” The court rejected Abagninin’s […]

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08
Nov

Nicaraguan Farmworkers Awarded $3.3 Million in U.S. Pesticide Poisoning Case

(Beyond Pesticides, November 8, 2007) In a landmark decision, a California jury on November 5, 2007 awarded $3.3 million to Nicaraguan farmworkers sterilized by pesticides made by Dow Chemical and used at Dole’s banana plantations. The lawsuit accused Dole and Standard Fruit Co., now a part of Dole, of negligence and fraudulent concealment while using the pesticide 1,2-Dibromo-3-Chloropropane (DBCP) to kill rootworms on banana plants. Until 1977, DBCP was used in the United States as a soil fumigant and nematocide on over 40 different crops. From 1977 to 1979, EPA suspended registration for all DBCP-containing products except for use on pineapples in Hawaii. In 1985, EPA issued an intent to cancel all registrations for DBCP, including use on pineapples. Subsequently, the use of existing stocks of DBCP was prohibited. In Nicaragua, DBCP was legal from 1973 until 1993.EPA’s website states the following: Acute (short-term) exposure to DBCP in humans results in moderate depression of the central nervous system (CNS) and pulmonary congestion from inhalation, and gastrointestinal distress and pulmonary edema from oral exposure. Chronic (long-term) exposure to DBCP in humans causes male reproductive effects, such as decreased sperm counts. Testicular effects and decreased sperm counts were observed in animals chronically […]

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12
Jul

Farmworkers’ Lawsuits Claim Pesticides Made Them Sterile

(Beyond Pesticides, July 12, 2007) More than 5,000 agricultural workers from Central America have filed lawsuits in the United States, claiming that a pesticide used on banana trees has rendered them sterile. The pesticide, dibromochloropropane (DBCP), was used by workers from Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, and Panama to kill worm infestations in the trees’ roots. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, DBCP, which was largely phased out on U.S. crops by 1979, causes male reproductive problems, including low sperm count, and is a “probable human carcinogen.” The first of the five lawsuits, originally filed in 2004, which began jury selection two days ago, accuses Dole Fresh Fruit Co. and Standard Fruit Co. of “negligence and fraudulent concealment while using the pesticide.” In addition, it argues that Dow Chemical Corp. and Amvac Chemical Corp., which manufacture DBCP, “actively suppressed information about DBCP’s reproductive toxicity.” The suit filed by attorney Duane Miller states that Dow and Amvac were aware of the health risks of DBCP in the 1950s. “Defendants, however, continued to market, sell, and use pesticide products containing a DBCP outside of the United States, including Nicaragua,” it says. In addition, Miller claims the pesticide seeped into the water […]

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