Misinformation campaign

Published: Thursday 15 May 2003

New York's state attorney, Eliot Spitzer, plans to initiate legal action against a unit of Dow Chemical Company of the US for alleged violation of a 1994 pact banning false advertising of a pesticide. The planned lawsuit against Dow AgroSciences LLC involves Dursban, a pesticide used in homes to kill termites. Spitzer said that the company was supposed to halt advertising that claimed the pesticide was "safe". The legal action seeks to make the company cease from practising such "deceptive advertising".

Spitzer alleged that Dursban contains chlorpyrifos, a compound that is known to cause nerve damage and birth defects in humans. Because of this, the US Environmental Protection Agency banned chlorpyrifos use in households in 2000. On its part, Dow AgroSciences contends that the pesticide's safety has been proved by "more than 3,600 scientific studies".

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