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NY sues Dow unit over pesticide advertising

Date: 04-Apr-03
Country: USA

The action against Dow AgroSciences LLC, a subsidiary of the largest U.S. chemical maker, involves Dow's widely used pesticide, Dursban, used around homes to poison termites.

As part of the 1994 agreement, the company was supposed to stop making claims that the product was "safe," State Attorney Eliot Spitzer said in a statement.

The lawsuit, to be filed in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan, seeks a court order directing the company to cease what Spitzer calls deceptive advertising. It also seeks monetary penalties that could total in the "tens of millions," according to Spitzer spokesman Marc Violette.

Dow AgroSciences called the charges unwarranted and said it plans a "vigorous defense."

"There is not a shred of credible scientific evidence supporting these allegations."

It said more than 3,600 scientific studies have established the safety and effectiveness of the product.

Spitzer decided to bring the action after a routine review of past agreements showed alleged violations, Violette said.

Spitzer charges that the Dow unit, based in Indianapolis, has continued to make the safe claim on labels despite the product's highly toxic nature. Such safety claims are also prohibited by state and federal law, he said.

Dursban contains chlorpyrifos, a compound used in crop protection products and made by different companies. The compound has been linked to nerve damage, asthma and birth defects in humans, Spitzer said.

Under a 2000 agreement with manufacturers, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency banned chlorpyrifos use in households. It is also trying to phase out its use in new home construction by the end of 2005.

Shares of Dow Chemical Co. were up 76 cents, or 2.7 percent, at $28.55 in late trading this week, in line with the broader stock market.

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Reuters
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