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Alleged Victims of Fungicide Call for Boycott of Du Pont

December 05, 1992|From Reuters

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A group claiming to be victims of Benlate fungicide poisoning urged consumers Friday to boycott products made by E.I. Du Pont de Nemours & Co.

Benlate Victims Against Du Pont, a group that includes farm workers, environmentalists, scientists and government officials, criticized Du Pont for its failure to compensate users of the company's Benlate fungicide.

Du Pont said in a statement that its Benlate fungicide was not responsible for either crop losses or human health problems.

On Nov. 5, Du Pont said it would no longer make settlements with growers, citing two company-sponsored studies that found that Benlate does not cause plant damage.

At that time, the company had already paid out $470 million in Benlate claims from growers.

A spokesman for the Sierra Club, one of the nation's most active environmental groups, said it supported a consumer boycott of Du Pont.

Some Florida growers of vegetables and ornamental plants recently said they were considering a lawsuit against Du Pont to receive compensation for their Benlate claims.

Three dozen Puerto Rican farmers have already sued Du Pont for $43.7 million, alleging health problems related to the controversial fungicide.

Du Pont, with more than $35 billion in annual sales, has been criticized by Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth as being America's largest producer of toxic waste.

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