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Oct 18, 2007
Focus: Environment
Action Request: Various
Location: United States
I am writing to ask you urgently to email or write to your MEP about some European legislation on pesticides that the European Parliament will vote on in a plenary session on around 23 October. As with many environmental and food safety issues, crucial decisions affecting all of us are now taken at European level, and pesticide safety is no exception. The European Commission are introducing new, Europe-wide laws on pesticides, and there is a chance that these will actually strengthen protection of the public from dangerous sprays.

The European Parliament's Environment Committee has agreed several key amendments to the proposed law, but these now have to be agreed by the European Parliament, and all MEPs have a vote. The chemical industry and the UK's National Farmers' Union are lobbying hard to have all these changes rejected by the Parliament, while Georgina Downs of UK Pesticides Campaign, who initiated many of these proposals, has been working to have them accepted. I have listed below five of the key amendments that the MEPs will have to agree or reject. If you feel any of these are important, and should be agreed by the European Parliament, please let your MEP know. You can find your MEP's name and contact details at:

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/members/public.do?language=en


Many thanks to all of you who asked Gordon Brown 'to Wake Up!' to the benefits of organic food and farming, by feeding him an organic breakfast. It is still not to late to join in if you haven't already done so - we'll be reporting the number of hits to the Prime Minister - open this link to play and email it on to your friends and colleagues:

http://www.soilassociation.org/wakeupgordon

Best wishes,


Emma


Emma Hockridge

Campaigner

The Soil Association
0117 914 2433 / ehockridge@soilassociation.org

Prohibiting pesticide use in and around public areas like people's homes, hospitals, public parks, playgrounds and schools

The Environment Committee voted in favour of an amendment to prohibit pesticide use in and around public areas, including residential areas, parks, public gardens, sports and recreation grounds, school grounds, playgrounds, and in the vicinity of public healthcare facilities (clinics, hospitals, rehabilitation centres, health resorts, hospices), particularly, although not exclusively, to protect sensitive groups, such as, babies, children, pregnant women, embryos and foetuses, the elderly, those with pre-existing medical conditions and who may be taking medication, along with all other vulnerable groups. The amendment also specified that the no-spray zones should be substantial and that in all these areas non-chemical alternatives should be used.


Vulnerable groups to include residents subject to high pesticide exposure over the long term

The Environment Committee voted in favour of an amendment that described vulnerable groups as: “Persons needing specific consideration when assessing the acute and chronic health effects of plant protection products. These include pregnant and nursing women, embryos, and fetuses, infants and children, the elderly, people who are ill and those taking medication, workers and residents subject to high pesticide exposure over the long term.”


Residents to have the right to know what is being sprayed next to where they live

Environment Committee voted in favour of an obligation to inform residents and neighbours about pesticide spraying in their locality, as well as the requirement for farmers and other pesticide users to provide information on the pesticides used directly to residents and neighbours who request access to it.


Call a pesticide a pesticide (not a 'lant protection product'!)

The Environment Committee voted in favour of an amendment to change the entire terminology used throughout the adopted text, including the title, from 'Plant Protection Products' to 'esticides'. The term 'lant protection products' attempts to put a positive spin on chemicals that are deliberately designed to be toxic.
The use of this wording throughout the Commission’s proposal, including the title, was inappropriate as many members of the public will not be familiar with this terminology, and its use could lead to confusion amongst members of the public.

Give priority to ways of growing healthy crops without using pesticides

The Environment Committee also voted in favour of a number of amendments for the prioritization of non-chemical methods of plant protection and pest and crop management. The only real solution to eliminate the adverse impacts of pesticides is to take a preventative approach with the widespread adoption of truly sustainable non-chemical and natural methods of plant protection and pest and crop management (including rotation, physical and mechanical control and natural predator management), as happens in organic systems. This protects
not only public health, but animals, wildlife, air, water, soil, food and the wider environment. Reliance on complex chemicals designed to kill plants, insects or other forms of life, cannot be classified as sustainable.

To find your local MEP go to:- http://www.europarl.europa.eu/members/public.do?language=en

If you would like more detailed information on the European proposals you can contact Georgina Downs of UK Pesticides Campaign who has prepared a briefing for MEPs http://www.pesticidescampaign.co.uk/
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Posted: Oct 18, 2007 8:38pm
Sep 14, 2007
Focus: Environment
Action Request: Various
Location: United States
NO SPRAY NEWZ
AUGUST 17, 2007


1. NYC TO SPRAY PESTICIDES, AGAIN

NEW YORK CITY MUST STOP SPRAYING TOXIC PESTICIDES IMMEDIATELY!

The No Spray Coalition is appalled by Mayor
Bloomberg's decision to renew mass-spraying of
dangerous pesticides in the Bronx and Queens.
Furthermore, we condemn the New York City
government's advice to residents and visitors
that they personally use insect repellants
containing DEET on themselves and their children.
DEET is especially dangerous for children and
should NEVER be used; it is associated with numerous infant deaths.

The No Spray Coalition is also deeply troubled by
NYC's reckless spraying of Anvil 10 + 10 to kill mosquitoes.

"After years of litigation to stop this reckless
spraying of pesticides which has contributed to
skyrocketing increases in cancer and asthma, and
now the collapse of bee colonies in the New York
area, I am outraged that the Bloomberg
Administration is renewing its mindless criminal
poisoning of the people and environment of our
City," said Howard Brandstein, coordinator of
SOS-FOOD and a plaintiff in a federal lawsuit
brought seven years ago by the No Spray Coalition
and other organizations against Rudolph Giuliani
and the New York City government.

That lawsuit ended in April 2007, when NYC signed
a settlement agreement acknowledging, among other
stipulations, that pesticides:

- may remain in the environment beyond their intended purpose
- cause adverse health effects
- kill mosquitoes' natural predators (such as dragonflies)
- increase mosquitoes' resistance to the sprays, and
- are not presently approved for direct application to waterways.

The Department of Health contravenes that
settlement by now stating that "there are no
significant risks of adverse impact to human
health associated with the proper use of this
product," said No Spray Coalition coordinator
Mitchel Cohen. "This is simply not true," Cohen
said, claiming that the spraying puts many New
York City residents and visitors at grave risk.

"These kind of ignorant and lying politicians and
bureaucrats apparently have no problem destroying
our health in order to 'save' us from the
so-called West Nile virus," Howard Brandstein
added. "Clearly, the spraying jeopardizes a
thousand times more people than the disease."

The pesticide the City is spraying -- "Anvil 10 +
10" -- belongs to a class of adulticides known as
pyrethroids, which are endocrine disruptors. They
mimic hormones such as estrogen, and may cause
breast cancer in women and drastically lower
sperm counts in men. Pyrethroids have also been
associated with prostate cancer, miscarriages and
preterm delivery, asthma, toxicity to many vital
organs including the nervous system, liver,
kidneys and the gastro-intestinal tract, skin
rashes, itching and blisters, and nausea and vomiting.

Anvil contains the cancer-causing chemical
piperonyl butoxide, which the Environmental
Protection Agency lists as a suspected
carcinogen. It also contains Sumithrin -- a
synthetic toxin, made in the laboratory -- as
well as benzene-related chemicals (which the label calls "inert ingredients.")

Thousands of New Yorkers were severely sickened
by the spraying in 1999 and 2000. A number of
members of the No Spray Coalition, including
several of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, died
from pesticide-related illnesses.

Many suffer from Multiple Chemical Sensitivities
(MC or Asthma caused or exacerbated by the
spraying. "The City administration must be made
to understand that pesticides are extremely
dangerous to human health as well as to the
natural environment, and have long-term consequences," Cohen said.

The No Spray Coalition strongly urges the City to
stop pesticide spraying immediately, reconsider
its entire approach, and seek alternative, safe
means to control mosquitoes. There are natural,
safe ways for each person to ward off mosquitoes.
The City should not be poisoning the entire population.

You can get more information at
<http://www.nospray.org/>http://www.NoSpray.org.

No Spray Coalition
P.O. Box 739
Peck Slip Station
New York, NY 10272

hotline: #718-670-7110
website: <http://www.nospray.org/>www.nospray.org
listserve: SprayNo@yahoogroups.com
email: editor@nospray.org

***********************************************************
2. FROM JENNIFER JAGER,* Treasuer, No Spray Coalition

Mitchel Cohen, who coordinates the No Spray
Coalition, was asked how he survives financially.
"Well, I'm independently poor," he joked. In
reality, Mitchel is going through some very rough
times financially and needs our help.

Unlike most not-for-profit organizations, none of
us involved in the No Spray Coalition receives a
salary for our environmental and activist work.
We set it up that way intentionally. That way,
all funds donated to the No Spray Coalition go
directly into getting the issue of pesticides into the public consciousness.

So when Mitchel sent out a private appeal
recently for funds to enable him to reprint his
two poetry books -- "The Permanent Carnival" and
"One-Eyed Cat Takes Flight" (both with beautiful
cover paintings by artist/activist Haideen
Anderson) -- I thought that members and
supporters of our activist work might be
interested in helping him out. In exchange, he'll
send you one (or both) of his poetry books, which
he sells on the streets and subways of New York City for $14 apiece.

Brooklyn NoSprayer Meg Feeley read the manuscript
of "The Permanent Carnival" before it was
published. "I fell in love with some of these,
especially the lead poem, The Permanent Carnival.
Gorgeous, want to almost only have that one," she
wrote. "Really strong, free and lovely.
Important, too, the chronicle of a time when it
was (properly) dangerous and yet possible to
invent one's life in the context of a political
understanding. I will take another look when I
can, but I really wanted to let you know that in
a world with an awful lot of books, I think this
one's important to get out there ... "

Brown University Professor and historian Paul
Buhle, writing from Providence, Rhode Island, had this to say:

"I had 4 hours to read it on the train home and I
read every poem twice...some of them three
times....I am eager to review it for someplace.
The poems are splendid and a true representation of your menschlikhe self."

Mitchel's hard work and creativity have enabled
us to challenge and reshape the dominant paradigm
when it comes to pesticides. He was instrumental
in shepherding the No Spray Coalition's lawsuit
through the labyrinth of lies and denial, on a
shoestring. (By the way, under federal rules the
No Spray Coalition doesn't get a cent of the
settlement; the $80,000 the City agreed to pay
goes to five other grassroots environmental
groups that we selected for the great work they are doing.)

So, I am urging you to send directly to Mitchel a
sizable "thank you," in the form of much-needed
funds. If you can afford $100 or more, that's
great and very welcome. But even if you can only
afford $25, or $10, those add up and will go a
long way. For those who have more funds
available, please chip in for those who don't, in
appreciation of Mitchel's dedication and hard
work -- and receive one (or both) of Mitchel's
poetry books in exchange. (Mitchel says he'll
gladly send you a copy of either of the books
regardless of the amount you send him --
something about "from each according to their
ability to each according to their needs.") This
will allow him to continue to survive in New
York, publish his poems, and move forward with
the environmental and activist work that is so important to all of us!

Thank you,
Jennifer Jager

* I want to make clear that, for legal reasons, I
am writing in my capacity as an environmental and
social justice activist, not formally as
treasurer of the No Spray Coalition. The funds
you send to Mitchel as a result of this appeal
will not go to the No Spray Coalition, but to him privately.

Please send your check to:

Mitchel Cohen
2652 Cropsey Avenue, #7H
Brooklyn, New York 11214
(718) 449-0037

PAYPAL to Mitchel at mitchelcohen@mindspring.com


SOME OTHER COMMENTS ON THE PERMANENT CARNIVAL AND MITCHEL'S POEMS
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

I have had the most beautiful hour just now,
reading your poems, communing with you, old
friend. You are still, always, a triumph of joy
and compassion and clarity. The title poem, The
Permanent Carnival, especially, evokes the
delight and pain of our lives, revives my memory.
I'm going to use your work as a model for mine. I
got back from the east coast and read your book
of poetry ... I loved it! Absolutely inspiring.
... I keep it by my desk now, enjoying the humor
and language. ...Thanks for all your great writing.
- Mark Rudd, Albuquerque, New Mexico

* * *

I like the poem that you sent -- especially the
images of broken cells and our silent partners.
Sometime we should exchange our writings, my short stories and your poems.
- Deeadra Brown, Jackson Heights, Queens

* * *
I Bought a copy of "The Permanent Carnival" from
you when you were selling them in front of the
Barnes & Noble on 7th Ave in Brooklyn, and I
wanted to let you know that enjoyed the book.
"Plowing the Snow" was my favorite poem.
- Michael Y, of Brooklyn

* * *
I heard you [read your poems] on Bob Fass' show
on WBAI last Thurs., and thought the program was terrific.
- Gloria Bletter, New York

* * *
We were listening when you were on WUSB radio
(Mort Mecklosky's show) about a week ago. Mitch,
it's so good to hear from you!!!!!! The poetry
and songs on the radio were really fantastic.
Sound a lot like my own thoughts in many ways. I
was looking for a Newsday photo of you, me and
Ron Kovic that I have somewhere. I'll send it
when I find it. It's here SOMEWHERE!!!!! Carry on the good work.
- Feliz, Port Jefferson, Long Island, NY

* * *
I really enjoyed the poems in The Permanent
Carnival. Warm, intelligent, lively, colorful,
passionate.. Good reading! Bravo. And the cover is gorgeous.
- Hazel Rowley, Cambridge MA

* * *
I have been meaning to e-mail you since "The
Permanent Carnival Poems" arrived in my mailbox.
It was the day of the huge storm that left us
without electrical power for 6 days. I couldn't
wait to read the poems the evening that they
arrived. In the midst of transformers blowing up,
and trees falling, I was tucked away with a
candle in my office reading "The Permanent
Carnival", "Nuclear Family", "Waitress From
Another Country", and others. I have yet to read
all of them. They are like a bag of "carnival
cookies" (my favorite as a kid) that I would
savor and only eat a few at a time.
- Debi, Olympia WA

* * *
Now I see why Saint Nicholas wears red...I
greatly appreciated the book you sent me,
especially the poem about your father (a perfect
little gem that deserves inclusion in an
important anthology). I also really liked your
spoof on Howl, although in the next edition I
suggest you change "gonadal streets" to something
else (but two syllables only in the adjective).
How about "broker's streets" (when I was working
third shift at law firms in the financial
district I truly did drag myself through the broker's streets at dawn).
- Dennis King, NYC

* * *
Thank you Mitch for putting history and emotions
together; thank you for telling about yourself
and about your feelings, those feelings that make
us be ourselves and, once exposed, permit others
to reveal their own, and share.
- Maurice Bazin, Florianopolis, Brazil

* * *
I am reading some of the poems in your Permanent
Carnival as I feel like it, the latest one
revolved around that waitress from another
country.... I was pleasantly surprised to find
that there are still activists who REALLY care for the body.
- Donia Mili, NY State

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

You can also hear Mitchel Cohen's environmental
activist reports every week over the internet on
"Steal This Radio", via TribecaRadio.net. Click on
http://www.tribecaradio.net/blog/categories/stealThisRadio/
At your convenience select one of the Steal This
Radio shows archived there, and click on the
arrow in the upper righthand corner. Lots of
great commentary, interviews, music and poetry in every show!

*******************************************
3. From Democracy Now – FM RADIO LICENSES
AVAILABLE TO COMMUNITY GROUPS, BUT NOT FOR LONG

A once in a generation opportunity, hundreds of
Full Power FM radio licenses are available to
community groups across the country.
You only have two months to prepare your
application, you and your community group can do this - if you act now!

Please go to http://getradio.org and fill out the form.

(make sure you fill out the questionnaire, and
put "democracy now!" in the How did you find out about GetRadio.org question.)

Get more information at http://radioforpeople.org

*********************************************
4. LETTERS against the Spraying

PESTICIDES & THE STUDIES
Even tiny amounts of pesticides kill fish,
horseshoe crabs (which, in addition to being the
oldest creatures on the planet, are indispensable
for scientific research), butterflies, bees,
birds, dragonflies, frogs, and lobsters, as well
as mosquitoes and unwanted critters. The labels
on Malathion, Pyrethroids, and piperonyl butoxide
(a so-called synergist and a carcinogen) all warn
against spraying over or near bodies of water.

Pesticides are especially dangerous for brain and
nerve development in young children, and for
elderly people. Bicycles and Wheelchairs pick up
pesticides on their wheels and bring them into
the apartment or house. Children touch the sprays
and put their fingers into their mouths.

In April 2007, the City agreed to settle a
7-year-old lawsuit against Rudy Giuliani's
massive and indiscriminate spraying of toxic
pesticides brought under the Clean Water Act by
the No Spray Coalition, Beyond Pesticides,
Disabled in Action, and Save Organic Standards -
New York, and a handful of individual plaintiffs.
In addition to winning $80,000 for a number of
local grassroots environmental and wildlife
protection groups, as part of the settlement
agreement the City admitted that: "Pesticides may
remain in the environment beyond their intended
purpose, ... cause adverse health effects, ...
kill mos quitoes' natural predators, ... increase
mosquito resistance to the sprays, ... and are
not presently approved for direct application to waterways."

The following seven categories of published
studies speak directly to this grave issue, which
is one of extraordinary environmental INjustice.

i. Centers for Disease Control study that found
that all residents of the United States,
including residents of New York City and State,
now carry dangerously high levels of pesticides
and their residues in our bodies, which may have
onerous effects on our health. (Third National
Report on Human Exposure to Environmental
Chemicals, Centers for Disease Control, 2005);

ii. U.S. Geological Study, which shows that a
large percentage of waterways and streams
throughout the United States, including those in
New York City and State, has been found to
contain environmentally destructive pesticides
that may severely impact on animal and aquatic
life. (U.S. Geological Survey: The Quality of Our
Nation's Waters, Pesticides in the Nation's
Streams and Ground Water, 1992-2001, http://pubs.usgs.gov/circ/2005/1291/);

iii. Studies confirming that pesticides are both
a trigger for asthma attacks and a root cause of
asthma (Salam, et al: Early-life environmental
risk factors for asthma findings from the
children's health study. Environmental Health
Perspectives 112(6):760-765.), and that asthma is
epidemic throughout New York City;

iv. Cicero Swamp Study, showing that pesticides
killed off the natural predators of mosquitoes
and that mosquitoes came back much stronger after
the spraying, because all of their natural
predators (which have a longer reproductive
cycle) were dead. These studies were done in New
York state for mosquitoes carrying Eastern Equine
Encephalitis, and found a 15-fold increase in
mosquitoes after repeated spraying, and that
virtually all of the new generations of
mosquitoes were pesticide-resistant. (Journal of
the Am Mosquito Control Assoc, Dec; 13(4):315-25,
1997 Howard JJ, Oliver New York State Department
of Health, SUNY-College ESF, Syracuse 13210, USA);

v. Studies that show that pesticides have
cumulative, multigenerational, degenerative
impacts on human health, especially on the
development of children which may not be evident
immediately and may only appear years or even
decades later (The Multigenerational, Cumulative
and Destructive Impacts of Pesticides on Human
Health, Especially on the Physical, Emotional and
Mental Development of Children and Future
Generations. A Submission to The House of Commons
Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable
Development by Physicians and Scientists for a
Healthy World, February 2000; Guillette,
Elizabeth, et al: Anthropological Approach to the
Evaluation of Pre-school Children Exposed to
Pesticides in Mexico. Environmental Health
Perspective, Vol. 106, No.6, June 1998; Kaplan,
Jonathan et al. Failing Health. Pesticides Use in
California Schools. Report by Californians for
Pesticide Reform, 2002, American Academy of
Pediatrics, Committee on Environmental Health;
Ambient Air Pollution: Respiratory Hazards to Children, Pediatrics 91, 1993);

vi. Studies that show that pesticides make it
easier for mosquitoes and other organisms to get
and transmit West Nile Virus due to damage to
their stomach lining caused by pesticides. (Haas,
George. West Nile virus, spraying pesticides the
wrong response. American Bird Conservancy, October 23, 2000); and,

vii. Studies that show that pyrethroid spraying
is ineffective in reducing the number of the next
generation of mosquitoes. (Efficacy of Resmethrin
Aerosols Applied from the Road for Suppressing
Culex Vectors of West Nile Virus, Michael R.
Reddy, Department of Immunology and Infectious
Diseases, Harvard School of Public Health,
Boston, Massachusetts, et. al., Vector-Borne and
Zoonotic Diseases, Volume 6, Number 2, June 2006)

The use of toxic pesticides to control mosquitoes
is a significant Environmental Justice issue;
there have been no realistic environmental impact
studies in the last few years on spraying in NYC;
no studies in NYC of the pesticide-spraying's
effects on human health and the natural
environment; and no studies of cumulative impacts
of different pesticides on the population.

If you live in NYC, were planning to visit but
are now having second thoughts, or if you just
want to express your opinion, please write to NYC
Mayor Michael Bloomberg at his website:
http://www.nyc.gov/html/mail/html/mayor.html .

*************************************
Mr. Mayor,

I was considering visiting your great city this
coming September, but now have to reconsider my
plans due to your spraying of toxic pesticides in Queens.

I am a cancer survivor and do my very best to
limit my exposure to toxic chemicals. It is a
shame I can't visit and spend my money in your city.

Thanks for your time.

David Nickarz

Winnipeg, Canada

**********************************************

This is an issue that resonates highly with me
and my neighbors in north Flushing. I was
diagnosed with a blood cancer and suspect that
the malathion spraying in 1999 may have contributed to the illness.

The spraying was done without setting up a
control group to monitor the effects and other
environmental impacts of the spraying program.
While West Nile virus is a health issue of
concern, is the cure worse than the disease?
There are many people in this area of Queens who
may also have been negatively impacted.

The NYC Health Department has issued a PDF file
about the toxic material (Anvil 10+10 Sumithrin) being used:
http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/wnv/msds1.pdf

This material is not as safe as the Health
Department would have you believe. Note the
caveat at the end of the PDF in section 15 "Other Information."

Another thing to consider is the fact that while
the material is sprayed at night, when the sun
comes up and starts to heat things up, the dew
and freshly sprayed chemicals will evaporate into
the air that is then breathed in by the people in
the area sprayed. This population includes
children, those with compromised immune systems, and just about everyone else.

And now here is something THEY really don't want you to know:
http://www.rense.com/general3/lieswnv.htm

Where are the outcries from public officials on
this matter? Why is no one speaking out? Why is
Mayor Bloomberg so callous about the health of
the people in my North Queens neighborhood?

http://youtube.com/watch?v=TkV6yBXHODg

I hope this missive opens the eyes of the
citizens of this borough and city to the imminent
threat being imposed upon us by an unthinking and
uncaring New York City administration!!!

Alan Gross
College Point, Queens, NYC
https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=4013383690175122264&postID=2558405581390343689

************************************************
I tried to get photos the night they sprayed
Flushing, but the night shots came out very
blurry. Although bilingual flyers had been given
out hours earlier about the spraying, they were
vague and noted zipcodes sprayed between 8pm and
6am but not specific streets and times. So at
8:10 when I went to take the photos, Main Street
was full of the usual heavy pedestrian traffic as
always. Fruit stands still had uncovered fruits
and vegetables; street peddlars were still on the
streets selling the usual toys and trinkets.
Macy's was full of shoppers and workers who would
have to leave through streets that could possibly
be sprayed. Crowds of people periodically emerged from the subways.

Luckily the spraying -- at that time -- was not
along Main Street. We were on Roosevelt and
Union, not as crowded as Main Street but still
with many people walking around, when we heard a
police car making a mumbled and unclear
announcement, I thought they were pulling someone
over for traffic. Then I saw the truck following
them, shooting big clouds of Anvil into the air.
I'd thought they would be spraying low but the
cloud was shooting high up into the air.

We ran in the opposite direction to get away from
the direct cloud then went back to get a photo of
the truck as it was leaving. The photo is blurry
but you can distinguish the cloud and that there are people on the street.

DayStar Chou
Flushing, Queens NY

**************************************************
No Spray Coalition
PO Box 739
Peck Slip Station
New York City, NY 10272

hotline: #718-670-7110
website: http://www.nospray.org
please hit "make a donation" button there
for credit cards and PayPal contributions
listserve: SprayNo@yahoogroups.com
email: editor@nospray.org
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Posted: Sep 14, 2007 10:26am
Aug 29, 2007

Latin American Banana Farmers Sue U.S. Companies Over Pesticides

The pesticide was designed to kill worms infesting the roots of banana trees on Latin American plantations.

But at least 5,000 agricultural workers from Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama have filed five lawsuits in this country claiming they were left sterile after being exposed in the 1970s to the pesticide known as DBCP.

Jury selection for the first of the lawsuits is scheduled to begin Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

"This is the first time any case for a banana worker has come before a U.S. court," said Duane Miller, one of the attorneys representing more than 30 Nicaraguan plaintiffs who worked on plantations from 1964 to 1990.

The cases raise the issue of whether multinational companies should be held accountable in the country where they are based or the countries where they employ workers, legal experts said.

A verdict in favor of the workers could open the door for others to file similar claims in the U.S., where juries are known for awarding bigger judgments.

"The administration of justice in developing countries in comparison to the administration of justice in the U.S. -- there's a big gap," said Alejandro Garro, a Columbia University law professor.

"The significance of it is we're talking about a global economy where big business does business all over the world and where we don't have a uniform type of justice," he said

The upcoming lawsuit was filed in 2004 and accuses Dole Fresh Fruit Co. and Standard Fruit Co., now a part of Dole, of negligence and fraudulent concealment while using the pesticide.

Dow Chemical Co. and Amvac Chemical Corp., manufacturers of the pesticide, "actively suppressed information about DBCP's reproductive toxicity," according to the lawsuit.

Attorney Erin Burke, who represents Westlake-based Dole, and Kelly Kozuma, a spokeswoman for Newport Beach-based Amvac, declined to comment.

Scot Wheeler, a spokesman for Midland, Mich.-based Dow, said in an e-mail that the lawsuits were without merit, and that "there are no generally accepted studies in the scientific community of which we are aware which establishes an effect on sterility in banana farm workers" exposed periodically to the chemical.

"Workers bringing these claims rotated jobs often or changed jobs altogether with enough frequency that long-term exposure would have been fairly unusual and it is not likely that there is any injury whatsoever related to DBCP," Wheeler wrote.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Web site says the chemical was used as a fumigant on more than 40 different crops in the U.S. until it was largely phased out by 1979.

Long-term exposure to the pesticide causes male reproductive problems, including decreased sperm count, according to the site, which lists DBCP as a "probable human carcinogen."

In April, all five lawsuits were placed under the jurisdiction of Superior Court Judge Victoria Chaney. The legal actions involve claims on behalf of workers from Nicaragua, Honduras, Panama, Guatemala and Costa Rica. Other growers and manufacturers are named as defendants.

straight to the source: BusinessWeek, Associated Press, Noaki Schwartz, 08 Jul 2007

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SHARES FROM PELAGUS'S NETWORK
Feb
16
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\\n\\r\\n“Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people.”\\r\\n\\r\\ n \\r\\n\\r\\nSpence r Johnson\\r\\n\\r\\n  \\r\\n\\r\\nMany years ago, when I was in high school chemistry lab, I was assigned to do a litm...
Feb
15
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New Petition! Speak out against Time-Warner Merger with Comcast! Let your opinion be know before your bill goes up and your programming choices dwindle.\\r\\n\\r\\nUrge DOJ and FCC to Not Allow Merger of Time-Warner and Comcast\\r\\nhttp://www.t hepetitionsi...
Feb
13
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New Petition! Speak out against Time-Warner Merger with Comcast! Let your opinion be know before your bill goes up and your programming choices dwindle.\\r\\n\\r\\nUrge DOJ and FCC to Not Allow Merger of Time-Warner and Comcast\\r\\nhttp://www.t hepetitionsi...
Jan
29
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\\nI have recently posted some BlogSpot radio interviews and YouTube videos, publicizing my two new books,\\r\\n1) Deepening Your Personal Relationships: Developing Emotional Intimacy and Good Communication.\\r\\n2) Psychological Healing Through Creative S...
Jan
24
by Ys A.
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\\nCoretta Scott King: “We have done what we can to reveal the truth, and we now urge you as members of the media, and we call upon elected officials, and other persons of influence to do what they can to share the revelation of this case to the ...
Jan
23
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\\nWe declare that no man nor nation nor race have a greater right than others to enjoy the fruits of their work, as the ecological sphere is our common condition of life http://www.beat s4change.org/aims.htm Nous déclarons qu\\\'auc...
Jan
18
by Ys A.
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\\nauthor: Ralph Nader\\r\\n\\r\\nAn epidemic of sky-rocketing medical costs has afflicted our country and grown to obscene proportions. Medical bills are bloated with waste, redundancy, profiteering, fraud and outrageous over-billing. Much is wrong with t...
Jan
13
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\\nDear Friends:\\r\\n\\r\\n\\r\\ n\\r\\nMy two current books have been published and are available for sale through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the publisher’s website, http://sbprabooks.com/Max Hammer. Reading these books can be very helpful for anyone...
by Fred H.
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\\nA stainless steel tank the size of a basketball court lies buried in the sandy soil of southeastern Washington state, an aging remnant of U.S. efforts to win World War II. The tank holds enough radioactive waste to fill an Olympic-sized swimming poo...
by Fred H.
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\\r\\nThe Olympic Peninsula is home to important state-owne d forests and many of our state’s most iconic creatures. To keep these forest ecosystems healthy, WEC and our partners at Conservation Northwe st and Olympic Forest Coal...