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Parents of Brain-Injured Child Sue Dow for ‘Selfish, Greedy, Malicious’ Manipulation of Science

Parents of Brain-Injured Child Sue Pesticide Maker for ‘Selfish, Greedy, Malicious’ Manipulation of Science

Corteva (formerly Dow) hit with second lawsuit in less than 30 days over pesticide linked to brain damage in children.

For the second time in under a month, parents of a brain-injured child have sued the maker of the pesticide chlorpyrifos, claiming the company not only caused their child’s injuries, but did so despite knowing its product could cause brain damage in children, including unborn children whose mothers had come in contact with the chemical.

On Tuesday, Carmela Zamora Avila and Reymundo Arciniega Herrara sued Corteva, Inc. (formerly Dow) in California Superior Court. In the complaint, the parents, both farmworkers, allege their daughter Britney, now 13, was exposed to chlorpyrifos in utero and that as a result, she now has autism, obesity and vision problems.

Chlorpyrifos, an organophosphate linked to neurological damage in children and fetuses, is widely used on common fruits and vegetables.

Last year, California banned the chemical. In February 2020, Corteva said it would no longer sell the pesticide — citing financial, not safety reasons. Other manufacturers however, including Gharda Chemicals, continue to make and sell chlorpyrifos-based pesticides.

According to the lawsuit filed by Avila and Herrara, six years before their daughter Britney was conceived, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducted a thorough review of data submitted by Dow and determined that chlorpyrifos is toxic to the developing nervous system and brain of mammals and children and that, “therefore, an additional safety factor was required for uses that might expose children to chlorpyrifos.”

The EPA subsequently banned chlorpyrifos for residential use, but continued to allow its use for commercial agriculture. That’s how Britney’s mother was exposed — she picked grapes and cleaned grapefruit fields as an agricultural field worker and as a packing house worker during her pregnancy, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges that for decades, Dow knew that chlorpyrifos could harm children:

“Beginning in the 1980s and continuing into the 1990s and 2000s, Dow engaged in a pattern of conduct designed to hide the dangers of chlorpyrifos from its customers and the general public. At best, this conduct could be characterized as the negligent failure to test for certain specific harms or to appreciate and take appropriate measures to protect from those harms associated with chlorpyrifos. At worst, it amounted to selfish, greedy, malicious, and willful manipulation of the scientific data and the public’s perception of the harms of Lorsban—that is, chlorpyrifos and chlorpyrifos oxon.”



6 thoughts on “Parents of Brain-Injured Child Sue Dow for ‘Selfish, Greedy, Malicious’ Manipulation of Science

    • Dow is notorious here in New Plymouth, with thousands of local residents suffering cancer, birth defects and chronic illness from contamination (via the smoke stack) of the Ivan Watkins Dow pesticide manufacturing plant. It’s believed they were producing Agent Orange for Vietnam.They changed their name to Corteva here, as well. We were protesting 2 days ago at our regional council allowing Corteva to sponsor “environmental awards.”Can you imagine?

      Liked by 1 person

  1. We certainly live in interesting times, don’t we? I believe that is a curse in some culture I’ve read about recently. Looks like Dow and other chemical companies are having a hard time. What’s the status of the Dow/Dupont merger, anyway? I haven’t heard about that one in awhile. And Bayer/Monsanto?

    Like Monsanto, Dow is heavily involved in GM crops, like corn, and GM corn is going into the ethanol that’s being added to gasoline. Ethanol, otherwise known as ethyl alcohol, is the same thing as good old fashioned “corn liquor,” and I’ve read that food giants like Archer Daniels Midland are all set up to distill booze for cars.

    The problem with this is that alcohol is murder on engines, because alcohol attracts water, so and that leads to corrosion in the engine. This is especially dangerous for small engines, like lawn mowers or–in my area–boat engines. That’s why I use ethanol-free gas–what we call “marine gas”–in my lawn mower.

    Sorry to side-track your blog, because the over-use of organophosphate pesticides worries me, too. The woman who filed this lawsuit you cite probably got a larger dose than most other people do, so the toxic effects would be more apparent in her child than others who may get smaller amounts. However, these chemicals, and others like them, are being dumped into the environment at a horrific rate. I suspect they are contributing heavily to many of the health problems–including psychiatric ones–we are seeing today.


  2. Apparently DowDuPont didn’t fare so well, so they split into 3 companies last year:

    The whole US biofuel industry is a major scandal, destroying the limited remaining topsoil in the US for a product that does nothing to reduce carbon emissions. Yet companies like Archers Daniels not only get major federal agricultural subsidies, but they’re also allowed to sell carbon credits to so-called “polluting” industries.


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