PAY FINE FOR ILLEGAL SAFETY CLAIM
A subsidiary of Dow Chemical Co. will pay
a $2 million fine for making illegal safety claims in
advertising of its pesticides, state Attorney General
Eliot Spitzer said Monday.
The penalty involving the
popular Dursban and other pesticides is the largest in
the nation's history, he said.
"By misleading consumers about the potential dangers
associated with the use of their products, Dow's ads may
have endangered human health and the environment by
encouraging people to use their products without proper
care," Spitzer said.
In addition to the fine, a court consent order
prohibits the company from making safety claims about
its pesticides, and requires it to start a compliance
program that will include an internal review of all of
its ads in New York state and removal of safety claims.
Dow agreed to the $2 million penalty, but admitted no
illegal or erroneous advertising, said spokesman Garry
Hamlin, adding that the company decided it would cost
more to litigate the case than to pay the penalty.
Dow officials said a 1994 agreement between the
company and the state attorney general's office
prohibited advertisements touting the safety of its
"The 1994 agreement restricted our ability to support
and defend our products, even if our statements were
true." said Guy A. Relford, the company's head of
For instance, Relford said, the old agreement was
interpreted by Spitzer as prohibiting telling people
that the federal Environmental Protection Agency had
registered one of Dow's products as a reduced risk
Among the advertised claims cited by Spitzer was: "No
significant adverse health effects will likely result
from exposures to Dursban even at levels substantially
above those expected to occur when applied at label
Dr. Philip Landrigan of the Department of Community
and Preventative Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center
in New York City, who was involved in the study, said
that claim was false.
"Excellent studies conducted by independent
scientists have clearly shown that chlorpyrifos, the
active ingredient in Dursban, is toxic to the human
brain and nervous system and is especially dangerous to
the developing brain of infants," Landrigan said.
Tuesday, December 16, 2003
By Michael Gormley,
ALBANY, N.Y. —
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