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Daily News Archive
From June 25, 2002

Shell Fined for Toxic Pesticide Pollution

Brazil has fined oil and chemical giant Royal Dutch/Shell 105,200 reais ($38,963) for contaminating the environment in its second investigation caused by toxic pesticide operations, according to a Reuters news story.

Cetesb, Sao Paulo state's environmental watchdog, said it had found unacceptably high levels of dieldrin, a toxic substance used in the production of pesticides, in wells near the Vila Carioca fuel and chemical distribution depot in the south of the state capital. The depot has been operated by shell since 1951and used to be a pesticide plant.

The Sao Paulo state's Public Ministry has accused Shell of negligence in the exposure of at least 156 people to toxic pesticides in Paulinia and said there were also risks to the population of Vila Carioca, where pesticides were manufactured between 1950 and 1978.

Shell stopped local production of the pesticides aldrin, dieldrin and endrin in 1990 when they were banned by Brazil. They are among the 12 persistent organic pollutants described as the "dirty dozen," which remain in the environment for over 100 years without breaking down and accumulate in the food chain.

The company was ordered by Cetesb to propose a clean up and contention plant.
The residents said they plan to demand compensation for health and other damages in what could potentially become a multi-million dollar lawsuit.