by: Yasmin Ajirniar
Last week, on Tuesday, September 23rd, French courts delivered a heavy blow to Dow France, one that cost 99 million euros in frozen assets. The action serves as a preventative measure, should the company attempt to move its money outside of the country prior its January trial in 2020. Workers and workers’ families who have been left uncompensated for damages caused by the product, Nemagon, have filed a lawsuit against Dow Chemical, the multi-national manufacturing parent company of Dow France.
First of all, although the workers rights are now being pursued in 2019, it is necessary to return to the 1970’s when Nemagon, a pesticide, was banned in the United States for the health risks it poses. However, large companies such as Dow Chemical which are headquartered in the United States, continued to produce and distribute the pesticide, particularly in South American countries. For example, in Nicaragua, thousands of banana farm workers were sterilized from using Nemagon.
In spite of legal action taken by the workers in Nicaragua, Dow Chemical refused to compensate the workers who were denied the right a family, a fundamental human right, claiming that the trial had been unfair towards the company. This was decades ago. Today in France, where a large share of Dow operations, Dow finances, and affected workers reside, the case has reappeared.
Dow Chemical is no stranger to French Courts which are known to undertake legal cases involved the rights of an individual. Two years ago, in 2017, products containing sulfoxaflor from Dow Chemical were questioned regarding their toxicity towards bees.
In consideration of the timing, location, and application of the ruling, the decision by the French courts in early 2020 will be significant, and it will be valuable to follow the progression of the lawsuit. How well will Dow France defend its case against the workers? According to European law, the precedent the court sets should apply across the European Union. What precedent will the court establish? And will it be actually be enforced outside French borders?
22/11/2019 02:04:42 pm
It is insane that a US operated company that was aware of the risks of Nemagon actively continued to produce and supply the pesticide to South American countries. And that this supplying led to the sterilization of thousands of banana farm workers. I am interested in seeing how this issue will be settled in the courts and will be investing time into keeping up with the news about Dow Chemical.
22/11/2019 02:06:17 pm
I think it's ridiculous that this company still continued to produce and distribute Nemagon in South American countries after it was banned in the U.S. for the health risks it posed. Considering there was even a slight health risk, the production and distribution should have been stopped, but since it wasn't, it cost thousands of banana farm workers to be sterilized. It's heartbreaking that this company continued to produce this and the families that were stripped of their opportunity to have a family are not even being compensated.
10/12/2019 07:33:00 am
With the ruling coming up in the next month I am very interested to see its results. I think it's crazy that they are still producing this pesticide even though they are fully aware of its impact. I also believe that everyone should have the right to a family, the company should compensate these workers.
10/12/2019 07:09:00 pm
It seems so crazy to believe that these workers and everyone exposed to this chemical are not being compensated for their side effects. Just being surrounded by this chemical, as it says have causes some workers to be unable to reproduce and have families. This seems like such a harsh consequence for being around a chemical that was out of their control to ban, it is so intriguing that no one has been compensated yet. If these are the types of issues this chemical is causing people, imagine what this is doing to the environment. This issue also speaks volume about the company itself, if this dow chemical was banned in the United States for health risks, and was proven to have health risks and yet the company still allowed it to be used within other countries. This gives off the impression that the company does not care about the harm they are doing to the people, and none the less the harm that this chemical is doing to the environment.
16/12/2019 06:25:46 am
It is shocking that the company is still producing these chemicals, even when it is causing this much harm to people's health. I feel as if everyone should be able to have a family. They shouldn't be putting their profit above the quality of a human being's life; it's not like they don't know the health risks it holds. I am intrigued to find out what the decision of the French Courts will be in 2020.
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