Thursday, January 8, 2009
Legal Challenges Against Pesticide Bylaws in Canada...
1993Provincial Québec114957 Canada Lteé et al. v. Hudson (Town)Chemlawn and Spraytech lose against Hudson in the Québec SuperiorCourt. Kennedy J. held that by-laws are presumed valid and legal. Hefound that By-laws 248 and 270 were adopted under s. 410 C.T.A. and,thus, did not require ministerial approval to enter into effect.
1998Provincial Québec114957 Canada Lteé et al. v. Hudson (Town) Court of Appeal, Q.J. No. 2546 (QL)Chemlawn and Spraytech appeal the decision in the Québec SuperiorCourt and lose. The Court of Appeal, per Delisle J.A., accepted theTown's position that By-law 270 was enacted under s. 410(1) C.T.A.
2001 06 28Federal Canada (Quebec)114957 Canada Ltée (Spraytech, Société d’arrosage) v. Hudson (Town)The Supreme Court of Canada upholds Hudson's 1991 pesticide bylaw. "Itis reasonable to conclude that the town bylaw's purpose is to minimizethe use of allegedly harmful pesticides in order to promote the healthof inhabitants," Justice Claire L'Heureux "Permitting the town toregulate pesticide use is consistent with international law's'precautionary principle,' which states it is better to be overlycautious than to create a potential risk to the environment." Thejudges note that Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick,Nova Scotia, Ontario, Northwest Territories and Yukon all have similarprovisions enabling their municipalities to make such bylaws.
2003 12 09Provincial OntarioCroplife Canada v. Toronto (City), 2003 CanLII 24713 (ON S.C.)CropLife Canada lose case against Toronto in Ontario Superior Court.Justice W.P. Somers ruled that the Toronto bylaw is legal underOntario's Municipal Act and does not conflict with provincial orfederal pesticide legislation.
2005 11 17Federal Canada (Ontario)Croplife Canada v. City of Toronto (Ont.) (31036)Supreme Court of Canada rejects CropLife Canada’s challenge of theCity of Toronto's pesticide by-law.
2008 08 25Federal Canada (Quebec)Dow AgroSciences LLC files a notice of intent for arbitration underthe NAFTA Chapter 11 seeking a $2-million settlement from Canada overQuebec's ban on 2,4-D.
WILLMS & SHIER ENVIRONMENTAL LAWYERS LLP4 King Street West, Suite 900, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5H 1B6Tel: 416-863-0711, Fax: 416-863-1938
Newsletter - November 2008
DOW launches NAFTA claim re herbicide ban
Dow AgroSciences, the giant Indianapolis-based chemical maker, hassubmitted a NAFTA Notice of Intent to challenge Quebec’s restrictionson Dow’s popular and profitable herbicide, 2,4-D. Dow has submitted aclaim of arbitration under Chapter 11 of NAFTA, claiming Canada hasbreached its obligations to provide fair and equitable treatment underinternational law. While claiming only a modest settlement of $2million, plus costs, Dow is likely hoping to forestall similar bansbeing considered by Ontario and a number of US jurisdictions.
This has the potential to be a scientific show-down before a NAFTAarbitration panel. The Quebec Environment Ministry insists the 2006decision to ban the application of the herbicide for cosmetic purposeson public and private properties is scientifically valid. It hasassembled a team of chemists, microbiologists and other specialists toback its ban. Dow argues that the Quebec ban is based on “non-scientific criteria.” Dow contends that scientific reviews, includingone by Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency, haveconcluded that “2,4-D can be used safely according to labeldirections.”
At least two other NAFTA environmental challenges by U.S. companieshave succeeded in Canada. They include the 1997 challenge by EthylCorporation against a ban on imports of MMT, an additive used inunleaded gasoline. The Canadian government withdrew the ban andsettled. In 2000, an arbitration panel upheld a challenge by S.D.Myers, Inc., against Canada’s 1995 ban on the export of PCB wastesfrom Canada to the U.S. Several other outstanding claims includeChemtura’s challenge of Canada’s right to reject canola seed stocktreated with the banned pesticide lindane, Vito Gallo’s challenge ofOntario’s legislation killing the Adam’s Mine landfilling project, anda Nova Scotia environmental review panel’s rejection of Bilcon’sproposed basalt quarry and marine terminal.
FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES OF ENVIRONMENTAL LAW IN CANADAFile Format: Microsoft Powerpoint - View as HTML
Fundamental Principles of Environmental Law in Canada
Tuesday May 6, 2008 at 7:00pmDalhousie UniversityDalhousie UniversityHalifax, Nova Scotia B3H 3J5Category: EducationWebsite: http://www.nsen.caFundamental Principles of Environmental Law in CanadaTuesday, May 67:30-9 p.m.Room 104, Weldon Law Building, Dalhousie University, 6061 UniversityAvenue
Come to learn about new fundamental principles that have emerged inCanadian environmental law such as: environmental rights, theprecautionary principle, the intergenerational equity principle,sustainability, the public trust, the ecosystem approach,ecologicalintegrity, the inherent value of the environment, pollutionprevention,and the polluter pays principle.
Jerry DeMarco is Vice-Chair of the Environmental Review Tribunal. Heholds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Windsor,Master's degrees in Science (University of Toronto), Management(McGill University), and Environmental Studies (York University) aswell as a law degree from the University of Toronto. Jerry's legalpractice included litigating cases before all levels of courts inCanada.
Jerry will provide current examples of their use and the potential forgreater adoption of these principles in Canada. Find out how the lawcan better protect our natural environment.
Organized by the East Coast Environmental Law Association www.ecelaw.ca,Nova Scotia Environmental Network, and the Marine Environmental LawInstitute. For more information, please contact Tamara Lorincz,Executive Director of NSEN at (902) 454-6846, email@example.com or goto www.nsen.ca
East Coast Environmental Law publishes a yearly volume of the“Environmental Law Summary Series.” The Summary Series is a usefulresource, as it will provide general information about variousenvironmental law topics. These publications focus on educating thepublic about their role in creating and effectively using local,provincial, federal and international laws.
In the summer of 2007, ECELAW produced volume I of the EnvironmentalLaw Summary Series, entitled “Overview of Environmental Legislation”.
You can access a printable copy of the Overview of EnvironmentalLegislation at:Summary Series 20v1.pdf
Volume II of the Environmental Law Summary Series on the enforcementof environmental laws was completed July 2008 and can be downloadedhere:Summary Series v2.pdf
WILLMS & SHIER ENVIRONMENTAL LAWYERS LLP4 King Street West, Suite 900, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5H 1B6Tel: 416-863-0711, Fax: 416-863-1938
Newsletter - May 2006
Ontario Appoints Environmental Lawyers
Ontario has appointed environmental lawyers from activist groups toimportant government policy and tribunal positions. In April 2006,Paul Muldoon, a long-time lawyer with Canadian Environmental LawAssociation (CELA) became a Vice-Chair of the Environmental ReviewTribunal (ERT). Last June Jerry DeMarco, formerly a lawyer with SierraLegal Defence Fund also became a Vice-Chair of the ERT. Both havethree year appointments. With more environmentally knowledgeablelawyers as ERT members, it is reasonable to expect that the ERT willrequire municipalities, corporations and government agencies topresent well-documented and technically thorough cases.
Also in April, CELA lawyer Theresa McClenaghan was appointed as SeniorPolicy Advisor to Ontario Environment Minister Laurel Broten on policyissues related to water. Ms. McClenaghan was a member of the MOE'sSource Water Protection Implementation Committee.
January 10, 2009
Agency finds township violated pesticide lawBy Scott Rawdon
HEBRON - Union Township committed three pesticide violations lastJuly, an Ohio Department of Agriculture investigation has concluded.
Buckeye Lake Village resident Bonnie Mansfield told the trustees thata township employee directly sprayed her pregnant daughter and 22-month old grandson with mosquito pesticide at about 9 p.m. on July 16.Mansfield said she was also sprayed with pesticide as she sat on herporch. She said the spray aggravates her and her daughter's asthma.Mansfield chased after the Union Township truck. When she confrontedthe applicator, she said he was unable to tell her what he wasspraying or provide a label for the pesticide.
Mansfield complained to the Ohio Department of Agriculture, whichdetermined the township misused pesticide, operated applicationequipment negligently, and failed to provide proper direct supervisionto a trained service person.
According to the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the township alloweda pesticide called MasterLine Kontol 4-4 to contact skin, when itslabel says to avoid contact with skin. "This is a violation of theOhio Pesticide Law," the Notice of Warning sent to applicator DavidCable stated.
Next, the ODA determined the pesticide applicator was not turned offwhen approaching pedestrians, as is required. The Notice stated, "…youindicated that you did not turn off your mosquito applicationequipment when approaching pedestrians on the street, and that youwould not turn off your application for future encounters withpedestrians. The ODA consider this to be operating in a negligentmanner. This is a violation of the Ohio Pesticide Law."
Finally, the ODA determined the trained service person, Jim Nauer, didnot have the pesticide label available for viewing, as is required.That is also a violation.
Union Township Trustee President John Slater said that all theviolations have been resolved since July and the ODA informed him thatthe township is now in compliance with all insecticide regulations."We're up to speed," he said.
Slater said the warnings were the "minimum penalty" given for theviolations, and since they are resolved the ODA will take no furtheraction. He said the spraying schedule was changed to a time whenpeople are not generally outside and the sprayer will be shut off whenpeople are near. Slater said Nauer had the label with him when hespoke to Mansfield, but didn't know it.
"(The ODA) is happy and we're happy," he said. "Hopefully, everyoneelse is happy."
"They could've at the very least apologized to my daughter and me,"said Mansfield. "Until that happens, it's not resolved."
Court Cancels EPA Clean Water Act Exemption for Pesticides
CINCINNATI, Ohio, January 7, 2009 (ENS) - Environmental groups todaycelebrated their victory as an appeals court vacated a U.S.Environmental Protection Agency rule that has allowed pesticides to beapplied to U.S. waters without a Clean Water Act permit.
On November 27, 2007, the EPA issued the final rule, which states thatpesticides applied in accordance with the Federal Insecticide,Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, or FIFRA, are exempt from the CleanWater Act's permitting requirements.
The Clean Water Act regulates the discharge of pollutants into thenation's waters by, among other things, requiring entities that emitpollutants to obtain a National Pollutant Discharge EliminationSystem, NPDES, permit.
For nearly 30 years before adoption of the rule, pesticide labelsissued under the FIFRA were required to contain a notice stating thatthe pesticide could not be "discharged into lakes, streams, ponds, orpublic waters unless in accordance with an NPDES permit."
Two different groups of petitioners, one representing environmentalinterest groups and the other representing industry interest groups,for different reasons opposed the rule as exceeding the EPA'sinterpretive authority.
The EPA defends the rule by arguing that the terms of the Clean WaterAct are ambiguous and that the rule is a reasonable construction ofthe Clean Water Act.
In their decision, a three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit Court ofAppeals wrote, "We cannot agree. The Clean Water Act is not ambiguous.Therefore, we hold that the EPA's Final Rule is not a reasonableinterpretation of the Act and vacate the Final Rule."This farmer sprays his vegetables with pesticide from a boat. (Photoby the Guo Project)
"The decision today is a victory for clean water, and for fish andwildlife," declared Charlie Tebbutt, Western Environmental Law Centerattorney and lead counsel for the environmental organizations andorganic farms that challenged the rule.
The organizations bringing the case include Baykeeper, National Centerfor Conservation Science and Policy, Oregon Wild, Saint John's OrganicFarm, Californians for Alternatives to Toxics, California SportfishingProtection Alliance, Waterkeeper Alliance, Environment Maine, ToxicsAction Center, Peconic Baykeeper and Soundkeeper.
"This decision is another in a long line of rebukes to the Bushadministration policies that overstepped their statutory authority andto the chemical manufacturers who peddle their poisons without concernto the effect on human health and the environment," said Tebbutt. "Welook forward to working with the new EPA to protect the environmentrather than the chemical industry."
The industry petitioners were the Agribusiness Association of Iowa,BASF Corporation, Bayer CropScience, CropLife America, Delta Council,Eldon C. Stutsman, Inc., FMC Corporation, Illinois Fertilizer &Chemical Association, The National Cotton Council of America,Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment, Southern Crop ProductionAssociation, and Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc.
With the intention of broadening the EPA exemption, they argued thatthe EPA rule is "arbitrary and capricious" because it treatspesticides applied in violation of the FIFRA as pollutants, while ittreats the very same pesticides used in compliance with the FIFRA asnon-pollutants.
The court denied their claim and ruled that pesticide residues andbiological pesticides constitute pollutants under federal law andtherefore must be regulated under the Clean Water Act in order tominimize the impact to human health and the environment.
"This decision will help ensure, in communities across the country,that aquatic pests are addressed in ways that protect both waterquality and the public health," said Chuck Caldart of the NationalEnvironmental Law Center, one of the attorneys representing theplaintiffs.
"We're thrilled by the court's decision - particularly in providingclarity on the aerial applications of pesticides over navigable watersfor mosquito control," said Peconic Baykeeper Kevin McAllister."Ensuring that the required discharge permits have been obtainedprovides for greater protection of our water resources."
"Time and again during these past eight years EPA has walked intofederal courts and tried to defend absolutely indefensible rules likethe one vacated today," said Waterkeeper Alliance Legal Director ScottEdwards. "And time and again they've been sent back to the drawingboard to rewrite these unlawful rules. Hopefully, EPA's days ofpandering to industry and other polluters and wasting taxpayersdollars in illegal rulemaking are drawing to a welcome close."
"This is a significant victory for our nation's waters. More thaneight million pounds of pesticides are applied each year in the BayArea alone," said Sejal Choksi, program director for San FranciscoBaykeeper. "These toxic chemicals enter our creeks harming numerousspecies of fish, frog and other aquatic life and will now be regulatedunder the Clean Water Act."
"Pesticides have been documented as the most pervasive group of toxicpollutants in our waterways. This decision is a significant stepforward in protecting and restoring our seriously degraded fisheries,"said Bill Jennings, chairman and executive director of the CaliforniaSportfishing Protection Alliance.
Steve Pedery, Oregon Wild conservation director, said, "When it comesto toxic pesticides and their effects on our rivers and salmon, weneed to be certain that good science is being used and those resourcesare protected. This ruling is a victory for clean water and fish, anda victory for Americans who care about healthy rivers and streams."
Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2009. All rights reserved.
Parliament set to approve tougher laws on pesticidesBy Jennifer Rankin
Several substances tobe prohibited; gradual phase-out of fungicidesand herbicides.
MEPs are set to vote in favour of tougher laws on pesticides next week(13 January), paving the way for 22 substances to be banned from theEU market over the next decade.
The European Parliament is expected to back a deal reached last month(17 December) between the EU institutions on a new regulation anddirective to replace laws drawn up in 1991.
Hiltrud Breyer, the German Green MEP who led negotiations on behalf ofthe Parliament, hailed the agreement on the regulation as “a milestonefor the environment, health and consumer protection in Europe”.Negotiators have agreed to ban substances that damage human health bymimicking or disturbing hormones (endocrine disruptors). Officialsworking with Breyer said that this would affect 22 substances –fungicides and herbicides – and less than 5% of pesticides currentlyon the market. Under the terms of the deal, the substances would bephased out gradually: some substances will disappear this year, whileothers could still be in use until 2017 or 2018.
The pesticides industry has lambasted the deal. Euros Jones, thedirector of regulatory affairs at the European Crop Protection Agency(ECPA), said that the text on endocrine disruptors was “scientificrubbish” and accused negotiators of “re-inventing” science.
“The key point is that these [pesticides] have already been evaluatedin the stringent evaluation system that we have in the EU and this isa very exhaustive regulatory process,” Jones said.
Some MEPs, mostly British and Irish, are expected to vote against theagreement, but are unlikely to derail a ‘Yes' vote.
But there will not be a total ban on endocrine disruptors. A riskypesticide could be approved for use if it were deemed to combat aserious danger to plant health. Such exemptions would be decided on acountry-by-country basis.
Negotiators also agreed that the EU should be split into three zones(north, central and south). If a product is recognised in one country,it will be recognised in all countries within its zone. But theParliament won an exemption that enables individual countries to ban aproduct if they have environmental concerns.
In addition, the institutions finalised a directive on pesticides thatwill call on member states to draw up action plans, with targets andtimetables, “to reduce risks and impacts of pesticide use on healthand the environment”.
But the Council of Ministers threw out a proposal by the Parliament toban 50% of chemicals currently deemed to be “of high concern” or “verytoxic”. A source familiar with the negotiations said that this was“absolutely no-go for the Council”.
Under the directive, aerial crop spraying will be banned, with limitedexceptions.© 2009 European Voice. All rights reserved.
January 8, 2009
Product Paves Way for Chemical Free Gardening, Making the GardenGreener than Ever Before
EcoRadiant Technology announces a new alternative chemical freeproduct for the garden. Bio Plant Wash is now available for peoplewanting a greener garden without the use of harmful chemicals.
Dallas, Texas (Vocus/PRWEB ) January 8, 2009 -- Those who are lookingfor an alternative to chemicals for the garden have just received whatthey are looking for. Bio Plant Wash is now available. It is areplacement for all garden chemicals that have been used in the past.
EcoRadiant Technology (www.ecoradianttechnology.com) has justannounced it is now offering a replacement for all garden chemicals.Its Bio Plant Wash is a safe alternative for those who love to garden,as well as people who grow crops for a living.
The product was classified as readily biodegradable by the EPA, and ithas gathered a great deal of excitement for those who have plants andcrops. This wash is safe to use and it offers many benefits to thosewho work with plants.
The first benefit is it acts as a pesticide. The wash works to killthe insects safely, allowing the insects to be controlled without fearof harming the environment. Many people have put dangerous pesticideson their plants, and this eliminates the need for those pesticides.They are able to control the insects safely. Without the use ofpesticides, they do not have to worry about harming the environment orthemselves.
The wash also stimulates healthy plant growth. For many, this saves agreat deal of money. Those who work in agriculture and need theircrops to survive can lose thousands of dollars each season due to slowgrowth and premature death. By using the wash, they can promotehealthy growth, which in turn saves them a great deal of money. Infact, a ten acre land owner reported he has saved $5000 annually bysaving weakened plants.
In addition, the product helps with starter plant growth. When seedsare washed with Bio Plant Wash prior to planting, they are more apt togrow. Tests have shown starter plants are much more successful whenthey are washed prior to growth. This helps people get their gardensand crops started much easier.
Plants have also shown a stronger resistance to disease when the washis used. They are less likely to get infested with disease, whichmeans they are more likely to yield money for those who are inagriculture and beauty for those who have a garden.
For additional information on EcoRadiant Technologywww.ecoradianttechnology.comor contact:
Kate McGillEcoRadiant Technology214-466-6699
Larry Sparks, new president, EcoRadiant Technology
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Australia should ban endosulfan: Greens
January 8, 2009
AUSTRALIA should follow the lead of more than 50 countries and bantoxic endosulfan pesticide, the NSW Greens say.
"Endosulfan is a highly toxic pesticide," NSW Greens MP John Kaye saidtoday.
"Consumption is known to interfere with the central nervous system. Ithas also been linked to New Zealand's high incidence of breastcancer," he said.
"It is long lasting and accumulates in the food system."
New Zealand banned endosulfan in December, leaving Australia as one ofthe last countries in the developed world to condone its use.
Mr Kaye said endosulfan had been banned in 27 European Unioncountries, in many Middle Eastern and West African nations and inCambodia, the Philippines, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
The Greens also want Food Standards Australia and New Zealand to set azero tolerance level for endosulfan residues in food sold inAustralia.
Mr Kaye said the continuing use of endosulfans also threatenedAustralian exports.
"The problems of endosulfans in our food not only threatens the healthof Australians but also puts at risk our ability to export products,"he told ABC Radio.
"We've already had problems with Australian beef being contaminatedwith endosulfans a decade ago. We now have risks to our export offruit and vegetables."
He said the NSW Government should act.
"NSW Food Minister Ian Macdonald should step in and demand thatconsumers in this state receive the same standard of protection as NewZealand and 50 other countries," he said.
Australia refuses to join ban on pesticide
by KELLY BURKE CONSUMER AFFAIRS REPORTER
AN INTERNATIONALLY recognised highly toxic insecticide will continueto be used widely by Australian horticultural industries, despite NewZealand becoming the most recent country to institute a total ban.
More than 55 countries, including Britain, most other European Unionmembers, and a number of Asian nations including the Philippines,Indonesia and South Korea, have outlawed the use of endosulfan as apesticide for crops.
The New Zealand ban was prompted in part by a number of recentbiosafety scares, including unacceptably high residues of thepesticide found in local and imported Australian produce last year.Farmers have been given 12 months to surrender all stockpiles.
In October, the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants,to which Australia is a signatory, will consider elevating endosulfanto the final stage of assessment. If passed, this would trigger aglobal ban.
But the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority hassaid that while it is viewing the New Zealand decision "with interest"it would not be revisiting its 2005 review of the chemical's use.
Although that review introduced some restrictions, it ruled endosulfanstill safe for use on a variety of crops, including tomatoes, carrots,beans, sweetcorn, peas, cereals, oilseeds, citrus fruit and cotton.This stance has placed Australia in the minority of major economiesstill using the pesticide, along with the United States, Brazil andIndia.
The decision has angered campaigners, who have provided the Governmentwith an extensive dossier of research pointing to the pesticide'sstatus as a known hormone disrupter, capable of being handed down tosubsequent generations through the placenta and in breast milk.Studies in rats have shown effects on the kidneys, foetus and liver.
Dr Mariann Lloyd-Smith, the co-chairwoman of the International POPs(Persistent Organic Pollutant) Elimination Network, said endosulfanhas been scientifically assessed and met the criteria of a globalpersistent organic pollutant.
InternationalPoisoning livesRebekah Ludolph Jan 07, 2009
Banana companies Del Monte, Dole and Chiquita used the lethal chemicalNemagon to protect their crops in Nicaragua. Workers now live with apoison that is decimating their community
* Image By: Rebekah LudolphPoisoning livesTENT CITY - 800 Nicaraguans affected by the pesticide sleep on thedirt floors of an encampment.
For two years, 800 Nicaraguans have lived in an encampment outside ofthe National Assembly in Managua, Nicaragua.
They represent a portion of the over 80,000 Nicaraguans who have beenaffected by the pesticide Nemagon, used on banana plantations until1985, but illegal in the United States since 1979. This communitycalls themselves the Nemagon Workers, and they are suffering fromsterility, birth defects, miscarriages, gastritis, vision loss, kidneyfailure, mental illness and cancers of the pancreas, skin, lungs andstomach.
Nemagon was used by Del Monte, Standard Fruit Company (Dole) and theUnited Fruit Company (Chiquita) to ensure that we get brilliantlyyellow bananas in our grocery stores. The Nemagon Workers have lefttheir children and their homes; they have nothing left to lose. Theywill remain encamped in the capital until the transnational companiesresponsible for the manufacturing and use of Nemagon come to Nicaraguato negotiate or, according to Vice President of the Nemagon WorkersGuillermo Armando Vivas, “until they all die."
Nemagon, also known as DBCP (dibromo-chloropropane) was used tocontrol microscopic nematode worms that live in the roots of bananatrees, affecting the plants and discolouring the fruit. While organicbananas have better flavour, they are not as appealing to look at. Theintense yellow colour of bananas is what makes them marketable.
There are two methods of applying the chemical, both of which riskcontact with the worker. One option is for a worker to inject thechemical into the soil with a syringe. Syringes commonly jam and spurtDBCP all over the minimally clad worker. The other method, asdescribed by Nemagon Directive member Alberto Cecilio Delgado Milion,involves Nemagon being added to irrigation water by the use ofasoeration towers. These are moved manually and spray a mist about onefoot above the banana leaves. With wind, this allows chemicalparticles to travel 11 kilometres.
The next morning, a full staff of barefoot workers enters theplantation, the sun rises, and with it comes venomous vapour from thesoil. The chemical penetrates the skin and the respiratory tract and,according to Milion, “It feels like your insides are on fire.”
Repeatedly, the members of the Nemagon directive said that nopreventative measures were taken or training given to inform workersof the toxic effects of DBCP.
The health effects of DBCP – first noted in 1990 in Chinandega – arewide-ranging and drastic. “We began to notice strange deathsourselves; it did not make sense that we were all getting sick,”explained Vivas, “children born with birth defects, women havingmiscarriages, couples that inexplicably couldn’t conceive, men’sbodies encrusted with sores that never healed and more and more peopleafflicted with a strange itchy rash and uncontrollable sweating.” In1997, out of the 154 women who gave birth, 99 percent of their breastmilk contained ten times the acceptable amount of DDT and DDE. By2005, 2,000 Nicaraguans had died from exposure to Nemagon.
All 800 people currently living in the tent city that is the NemagonEncampment have been affected by the pesticide and live in the cruelconditions of crude tent homes and dirt floors. As mother and formerbanana-packer Rosaura Zyartina Pérez explained, they “are people ofthe campo, used to simple but clean living.”
On top of health problems, the workers are surrounded by rush-hourtraffic and the smog of the inner city. It has also been proven thatthe chemicals in the scraps of plastic used to make their homes arecompounding health problems.
Pérez left her home in Chinandega, along with 1,200 other formerNemagon Workers on May 20, 2007. She left her house and her childrenin the care of relatives, and began the 140-kilometre walk to Managua.
Since 2007, her home and land have been disappropriated. Having workedfor ten years packing bananas on a finca, Pérez now suffers fromgastritis, skin infections and vision loss. But she has given upeverything, and will stay until she wins her fight.
It is not a new fight. The Nemagon Directive, headed by femalepresident Altagarcia del Socorro Solis Navas, is well-informed of thehistory of their struggle. In the 1960s, the fruit transnationalsStandard Fruit (Dole), Del Monte and United Fruit (today ChiquitaBrands) began to use Nemagon massively on Central American, Caribbeanand Philippine banana plantations. This was despite an internationalDow Chemical report in 1958 that stated Nemagon causes seriousillnesses and has carcinogenic effects, as well as creatingcontaminated air, soil and water for generations.
The chemical was manufactured by the Occidental Corporation, DowChemical Company and Shell. Shell and Dow exported 24 million poundsof Nemagon each year during the 1970s until 1977.
In 1977, the trade union at an Occidental Factory in Californiaidentified the first case of male sterility due to exposure to DBCP.Consequently, in 1979, Nemagon was banned in the US and taken off themarket due to its proven toxic effects on human chromosomes.Similarly, Costa Rica prohibited use in 1978; however, in Nicaragua,use continued until 1985. By 1993, over 16,000 people affected byNemagon around the world had already been identified, but in Nicaraguathat number was only 165.
Nemagon had been a public international issue since the 1980s, but thelegal history of Nemagon in Nicaragua does not begin until 1992. InSeptember 1992, Álvaro Ramírez, president of the NicaraguanAssociation of Democratic Attorneys, went to the First Seminar onGrassroots Legal Services, Human Rights and the Administration ofJustice in Costa Rica. There he first learned of the lawsuit ofNicaraguan banana workers against the Standard Fruit Company. Contactswere also made with several US law firms to sue Shell for itsirregularities related to the production, transport, sale and use ofNemagon after it had been banned in the US.
In April 1995, the first lawsuit was issued by 16,000 bananaplantation workers in Asia, Africa and Latin America against Shell,Dow and Occidental for production and distribution of Nemagon forirreversible damage to their health, demanding indemnification. InNicaragua, Dow Chemical reportedly paid $22 million to US attorneyscontacted by Marcelino García - today a legislative representative forthe reigning political party - as compensation for 812 formerNicaraguan banana workers affected by Nemagon. Only $143,300 wasdistributed to these workers; the rest remained in the firm’s hands.Members of the current Nemagon Directive argue that none of this moneyreached the people involved.
There have been continual legal ploys to undermine the demands of theNemagon Workers. In January 2001, thanks to the ongoing struggle,Nicaragua’s national assembly passed Law 364, which backed thelawsuits being brought before Dole, Dow and Shell in US courts of law.In December 2002, all three companies were ordered to pay $490 millionto these 583 workers, but refused to comply. The Central America FreeTrade Agreement (CAFTA) also threatened to nullify these lawsuits. In1997, thousands of affected workers were induced by politicians andlawyers to accept $100 in exchange for renouncing all present andfuture lawsuits. In November 2007, Dole and Dow claimed to have paidsix workers $3.3 million indemnification. Directive member Jose AliRueda claims that two of these workers live in the Managua encampment.Neither have seen any money come from their trip to testify in theUnited States.
One of the plaintiffs told a story of being forcibly given a vasectomyso that he could not be tested and proven to be sterile.
Despite these difficulties, the Nemagon Workers have been consistentlyand peacefully struggling to have their voices heard. The first marchtook place in 1999, when 3,000 men, women, children and elderlycitizens walked the 150 kilometres from Chinandega to the capital cityof Managua. Their goal was to give a letter to US Ambassador OliverGarza requesting support in the lawsuits against the companies fromhis country.
In 2000, they marched and organized hunger strikes to successfullypass Law 364. In August 2003 the former banana workers from differentplantations in Chinandega organized the association ASOTRAEXDAN. Theyalso held protests and accused the Ojeda, Gutiérrez, Espinoza andAssociates Law Firm of attempting to defraud the workers by boycottingtheir legal case. And from January to March 21, 2004 they marched fromChinandega to set up a vast encampment in front of the nationalassembly until President Enrique Bolaños agreed to meet with them.
Out of this meeting came the “El Raizón Agreements,” which promised toprovide victims with legal support in the US via the Nicaraguanembassy in Washington, to allow Benjamín Pérez to formally presentNicaragua’s Nemagon case to the International Human Rights Commissionin Geneva. If the protestors would abandon their encampment, Bolañospromised to refrain from reforming Law 364. In 2005, they marchedagain to demand $17 billion in indemnification and backing from theirgovernment to counteract the legal manoeuvres employed by Shell, Doleand Dow to avoid responsibility.
Though the Nemagon workers have been permanently encamped in front ofthe National Assembly since May 2007, it is no longer the governmentthey are directly targeting. Under current President Daniel Ortega,the Nemagon workers have free medical care and “priority care status,”which means the Ministry of Health will seek national andinternational resources to cover treatments. The ministry delivered3,883 identification cards to the victims that allow them to obtainaid through health care units across the country.
The government also agreed to cover the costs of 300 coffins andfunerals annually and to provide some rations and clothing to theworkers. This explains the Sandinista colour and Ortega propagandacovering the Nemagon encampment.
This does not mean the Nemagon struggle has become easier. Only thisspring the leader of the Nemagon struggle, Victorino Espinales, wasfound to be embezzling the funds of the community and was also accusedof exploiting the story of the Nemagon workers for his own politicalcampaign. When he left the struggle, one-third of the encampment’spopulation left with him. The remaining protesters are stillstruggling to get back on their feet with a new directive thatdemocratically manages the camp.
The current demands of the Nemagon Workers are simple. First, thatDole, Dow and Shell come to Nicaragua to meet directly with theNemagon Directive. The workers cannot afford to travel to the UnitedStates, let alone get visas. Second, that $200 a month should beprovided per terminally ill worker, and other affected workers shouldreceive some sort of health support in the future. The NemagonDirective’s current situation is primarily dependent on theinvolvement of international consumers, but their case lacks masspublicity.
The directive was clear, however, in its plea that consumers shouldbuy bananas from companies other than Dole, Chiquita or Del Monte. TheVice President Vivas of the Nemagon Workers pleads that consumersboycott Del Monte, Dole and Chiquita products as well as write lettersto the companies’ representatives. There has to be a continued effortto keep this issue a priority, says Vivas – who is fairly sure thatthe transnationals are “simply waiting for [the workers] to die off.”
=================================Warning Industry Propaganda Below=================================
06 January 2009
Join lobby against EU pesticide legislation
Industry bodies are continuing to call on growers and otherhorticulture professionals affected by the proposed EU legislation onpesticides to ask their MEPs to reject the proposals at the EuropeanParliament plenary vote which takes place next week on Tuesday 13January.
They are also calling for MEPs to support an EU-wide impact assessmentshould the legislation be passed.
Both the NFU and HTA have prepared briefing materials to help memberswrite letters to their MEP.
The HTA's background material, which includes a template letter, canbe found at the HTA website: www.the-hta.org.uk or by clicking here.
The NFU's briefing materials can be found at its website: www.nfuonline.comor by clicking here.
Tim Briercliffe, business development director of the HTA, which hasbeen campaigning with the Crop Protection Association on the issue,said that while he was pleased with the constructive dialogue that hadbeen had with many MEPs, "we are deeply concerned that when theEuropean Parliament votes a significant number of products used by theornamentals and leisure industry will be removed by ‘cut off'criteria."
NFU vice president Paul Temple said:
"I am concerned over the lack of sound science behind the plans and wecannot support measures which reduce the tools available to farmersand growers to produce crops - particularly at a time when we need tobe increasing food production, not restricting it.
"We are calling on our members to write to their locals MEPs toexpress their concerns over these proposals and ask them to rejectthis deal at the plenary vote".
* Reuters, Wednesday January 7 2009
Dow sees India sales driven by specialty products
By Euan Rocha
MUMBAI, Jan 7 (Reuters) - Dow Chemical Co expects its portfolio ofspecialty chemical products to drive its growth in India and estimatesthat its 2008 annual sales in the country rose 25 percent from a yearago, a company official said on Wednesday.
Ramesh Ramachandran, head of Dow's operations in India said thecompany currently expects 2008 sales of about 25 billion rupees, orabout $512 million. In 2007 the company posted sales in the country of20 billion rupees, or about $410 million.
Dow, the largest U.S. chemical maker, has operated in India for morethan 50 years and markets chemicals used in paints, pharmaceuticals,automobiles, cosmetics and other products.
"Across the gamut the specialty portfolio has provided the impetus forgrowth," said Ramachandran in an interview with Reuters.
Midland, Michigan-based Dow is currently targeting sales of $1 billionin India by 2010 and it is confident of achieving sales growth despitethe global economic slowdown.
Dow and other chemical companies are struggling because of a recessionin most developed countries and a sharp slowdown in many emergingeconomies.
The company said last month it would close 20 facilities, divestseveral businesses and cut 5,000 jobs to cope with the slump.
If anything, the global economic slowdown has reinforced the notionthat geographic diversification, needs to be a critical component ofthe strategy, said Ramachandran.
JOINT VENTURE STRATEGY
The chemical maker is currently in discussions with potential jointventure partners in India, said Ramachandran."There are areas in India where we may not have the market expertise,but have the technology and those are the areas that we would lookinto a joint venture model," he said.
Last year, the company signed a 50:50 joint venture agreement withGujarat Alkalies and Chemicals Ltd to set-up a manufacturing facilityin Gujarat at a total cost of about $250 million.
The facility, which is due to be operational by 2011, will producechloromethanes, which are used as a solvent in the manufacture ofpharmaceutical products and other chemical processing applications.
Dow is following a joint venture strategy to grow its highly cyclicaland low margin commodity chemicals business, while investing heavilyin more profitable specialty chemical products.
However, this strategy was partially derailed last month when Kuwaitscrapped a deal to form a $17.4 billion petrochemical joint venturewith Dow, potentially upsetting Dow's plan to buy specialty chemicalmaker Rohm & Haas Co. Dow planned to use the proceeds from the Kuwaitijoint venture to pay down debt that would have been used for the Rohm& Haas Co acquisition. [ID:nLS308821]
BHOPAL TRAGEDY WEIGHS
Despite, strong sales growth, Dow also has faced a great deal ofopposition in India.
Many Indians link Dow with the catastrophic industrial accident, whichoccurred in Bhopal in central India in 1984, when tonnes of toxic gasleaked from a pesticide plant owned at the time by Union Carbide.
Nearly 3,800 people died soon after exposure to the gas, while tens ofthousands of others fell ill. Union Carbide later became a subsidiaryof Dow. There is still argument over who should clean up the site,which remains polluted.
Dow's plans to construct a $100 million research and developmentcenter about 200 km (120 miles) from Mumbai were put on hold afterprotesters, worried about industrial pollution, set fire to theconstruction site in July.
"To find that a science and technology investment can run intoactivism issues sends a very dangerous signal," said Ramachandran.
"Growth in India purely by building roads and bridges is notsustainable. You can build the infrastructure, you can build airports,but these are all enablers -- at the end of the day growth in thecountry is going to come because there is innovation here." ($1= 48.8rupees) (Reporting by Euan Rocha; editing by Carol Bishopric)
* guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2009
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St. John's Daily Spray Advisory
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More enforcement needed for pesticide spray regulations
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