Thursday, April 11, 2013

Dole, Shell, Others Exposed Banana Workers To DBCP

Better Living Through Chemistry

More than 40 banana plantation workers in Latin America lodged a suit against Dole Food Co. Inc., Shell Oil Co., Dow Chemical Co. and others in Delaware federal court Friday, alleging they were exposed to the pesticide DBCP, which caused cancer and sterility as well as long-lasting environmental damage. 
The suit is the latest of several attempts to hold banana growers and pesticide manufacturers accountable for their use of the pesticide, which was banned in the U.S. by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1979. The workers who lodged Friday's suit are accusing the companies of ignoring data revealing the dangers caused by the pesticide and failing to properly warn of the potential health risks linked to its use. Because the companies failed to provide any protective equipment to prevent skin absorption or inhalation of the substance, the workers could not escape exposure, according to the suit. “Despite all the known hazards of DBCP and despite the extensive damage already done to those who had sustained exposure to DBCP, [Dole] continued to look for a way to circumvent the ban on production of DBCP in the United States so it could continue to use it in the developing countries where it operated around the world,” the complaint said.

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