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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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Posted: Aug 29, 2007 3:08am
Jul 11, 2007
Focus: Business
Action Request: Various
Location: United States

American Eagle Outfitters says it cares about workers – its Code of Conduct requires contractors to respect the right of employees to form a union. Yet workers at the warehouse contracted to ship AEO clothing in Canada faced harassment and intimidation when they tried to improve conditions by forming a union. And American Eagle hasn't lifted a finger to enforce its Code of Conduct.
American Vulture - Boycott American Eagle

A majority of workers at National Logistics Services (NL applied to join UNITE HERE. Workers wanted a union because they had not received raises in two to three years, lacked a fair process to move into permanent employment, dealt with daily disrespect from management, and faced unfair policy changes, like increased hours before overtime is paid.

The same day workers applied for union certification, NLS management intensified its anti-union campaign, hiring a US-based labor relations firm that arranged daily two-hour anti-union meetings, hung huge "vote no" posters in the workplace, and mailed an anti-union DVD to workers' homes.

American Eagle is NLS's largest client and owned and operated the NLS distribution center until early 2006.
"We work hard and want to be treated fairly.We feel insecure about our jobs because of the company's intimidation. We need a union because we have no voice."
-NLS Worker, speaking anonymously for fear of retaliation
Full Petition Text:

Take the Pledge!

I pledge to not purchase American Eagle Outfitters merchandise until AEO enforces its Code of Conduct to ensure that distribution workers at National Logistics Services in Ontario have the right to join a union free from harassment and intimidation.
Signed by:
[Your name]
[Your address]


Take action: http://action.unitehere.org/campaign/americanvulture

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Posted: Jul 11, 2007 10:35am
Dec 8, 2006
Focus: Health
Action Request: Various
Location: United States
Infants Should Not Have Flouridated Tap Water Warns American Dental Association

11/13/2006
<br /> <br /> By <br /> , 11/13/2006 <br /> <a href=""> Straight to the Source </a>
New York – November 13, 2006 – To prevent tooth damage, the American Dental Association (ADA) warned its members that fluoridated water should not be mixed into concentrated formula or foods intended for babies one year and younger, in a November 9th ADA e-mail alert.(1)

“But who will alert parents,” asks lawyer Paul Beeber, President, New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation, Inc. (NYSCOF).

 

Two-thirds of U.S. public water suppliers add fluoride chemicals, based on a disproved theory that fluoride ingestion prevents cavities. Bottled water with added fluoride is now sold with specific instructions to mix into infant formula.(2)

 

The ADA reports, “…infants could receive a greater than optimal amount of fluoride through liquid concentrate or powdered baby formula that has been mixed with water containing fluoride during a time that their developing teeth may be susceptible to enamel fluorosis.”(3)  The ADA recommends using fluoride-free water.

 

Enamel or dental fluorosis is white spotting, yellow, brown and/or pitted permanent teeth. Pictures:  http://www.fluoridation.com/teeth.htm

 

NYSCOF news releases in 2000 and 2004 (4,5) cited studies linking fluorosis to infant foods mixed with fluoridated water. Scientific evidence here: http://www.fluoridealert.org/health/infant/

 

Some scientists also tried in vain to get the word out sooner as described in “Suppression by Medical Journals of a Warning about Overdosing Formula-Fed Infants with Fluoride,” published in 1997 in the Journal Accountability in Research.(10)

 

It took until 2006 for the ADA’s alert, following the Food and Drug Administration’s October disapproval of fluoridated bottled water marketed to babies,(6) and after the recent National Research Council’s (NRC) fluoride report indicating  babies are fluoride overdosed from “optimally” fluoridated water supplies.(7)

 

“The ADA claims the NRC report didn’t question the safety of fluoridation(8) but it did, as the ADA now admits,” says Beeber.

 

“The NRC also revealed fluoridation’s adverse effects to the thyroid gland, diabetics, kidney patients, high water drinkers and others,” says Beeber.

 

Now, the Centers for Disease Control reports that modern science shows that fluoride absorbs into enamel topically.(9) However, adverse effects occur upon ingestion. Further, the CDC admits enamel fluoride concentration is not inversely related to cavities.

 

The Environmental Protection Agency is required to consider the most vulnerable populations when setting allowable water fluoride levels. To protect babies, allowable water fluoride levels must be near zero.

The Environmental Working Group analyzed government data in March 2006 and found that babies are over-exposed to fluoride in most major U.S. cities.(11)

“This should end water fluoridation,” says Beeber. “Fluoridation is a failed concept that must be abandoned before more Americans are harmed,” says Beeber.

 

Contact: Lawyer Paul Beeber, NYSCOF President nyscof@aol.com http://www.orgsites.com/ny/nyscof 

 

Paul Connett, PhD, Executive Director, Fluoride Action Network www.FluorideAction.Net  paul@fluoridealert.org

 

SOURCE:  NYS Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation

 

References:

 

1) http://www.ada.org/prof/resources/pubs/epubs/egram/egram_...

 

2)  http://www.nurserywater.com/home.html

 

3) http://www.ada.org/prof/resources/positions/statements/fl...

 

4) http://www.orgsites.com/ny/nyscof/_pgg10.php3

 

5) http://tinyurl.com/y8czsd

 

6) http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/flfluoro.html

 

7) http://www.nap.edu/openbook/030910128X/html/44.html

 

8) http://www.ada.org/prof/resources/topics/fluoride_report_...

 

9) http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5014a1.htm

 

10) http://www.sustainabilitycentre.com.au/FormulaFedBabies.pdf

 

11) http://ewg.org/issues/fluoride/20060322/index.php

 

 

New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation, Inc.

PO Box 263

Old Bethpage, NY  11804

www.orgsites.com/ny/nyscof

 

News Releases

http://tinyurl.com/6kqtu

Tooth Decay Crises in Fluoridated Areas from Lack of Dental Care
http://www.fluoridenews.blogspot.com


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Posted: Dec 8, 2006 12:10pm
Nov 29, 2006
"If you want to keep your guns, your property, your children and your god, then sustainable development is your enemy!"
American Policy Centre
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Posted: Nov 29, 2006 2:35am

 

 
 
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