November 7, 2007
Dole & Dow Liable to Some Workers for Continued Use of Discontinued Pesticide
...and a jury is considering punitive damages, too.
Dole Food Co. deliberately exposed unwitting Nicaraguan field hands to a pesticide that made them sterile so the company could boost profits on its banana plantations, a lawyer for the workers argued this morning.
But lawyers for Dole said the firm acted responsibly in continuing to use the pesticide after production was stopped in 1977 by Dow Chemical Co. because of concerns about its impact on reproductive health.
Six workers won the suit, while six lost; compensatory damages were set at $3.2 million.
Evidence focused on Dole's continued use of the pesticide even after Dow ceased production due to concerns about reproductive health, and on whether Dole gave workers the appropriate instructions to avoid harm.
The LA Times has an investigative piece about the suit's development.
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