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DuPont Halts Sale of Benlate Fungicide

April 20, 2001|Reuters

DuPont Co. said it was stopping sales of its controversial fungicide Benlate, which has been at the center of hundreds of lawsuits and cost the company more than $1 billion in litigation expenses. DuPont, the nation's largest chemical company, said the move to stop selling the fungicide by the end of the year was not a product recall but a "voluntary business decision" based on financial and legal problems associated with Benlate. It also plans to stop making Benomyl, an active ingredient in Benlate, it said in a prepared statement. Since the early '90s, DuPont has spent or accrued $1.3 billion pretax in litigation and other costs relating to the fungicide, while settling hundreds of cases in which plaintiffs alleged that it was contaminated, killing and damaging crops. DuPont stopped selling one form of Benlate in the early '90s, but other forms of it remain on sale. Shares of Wilmington, Del.-based DuPont, which said it did not plan to take any charges against earnings as part of the sales halt, closed off 44 cents at $45.94 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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