DBCP spells trouble

Published: Sunday 15 May 2005

Suffering the poisonous fruit< The pesticide 1,2-dibromo-3-chloropropane (dbcp) has created more legal trouble for three us fresh food producers and two global chemicals giants. These companies were earlier sued by Costa Rica's banana pickers for exposing them to various health problems by using and distributing dbcp, which is banned in the us ( see Down To Earth, 'Cost-a- dbcp? Sterility, cancer...', November 15, 2004,) . On April 14, 2005, over 600 banana pickers of Honduras filed a similar lawsuit in Los Angeles federal court against Dole Food Company Inc, Chiquita Brands International Inc, Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc, Dow Chemical Company and units of Royal Dutch/Shell.

" dbcp is a highly toxic and poisonous pesticide which has been alleged to cause sterility, testicular atrophy, miscarriages...liver damage and various forms of cancer in humans," the lawsuit points out, adding that many of the complainants suffered due to exposure to dbcp. It seeks special, general, punitive and exemplary damages. Dow Chemical has denied selling dbcp after it was banned in the us . Fresh Del Monte claimed it has never had any operations in Honduras. Shell, Chiquita, and Dole refused to comment, saying they hadn't got a chance to review the lawsuit yet.

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