Daily News Archive
From April 27, 2001

Pesticide Manufacturers Ask Government for Indemnity for Public Health Use Pesticides

According to the Bureau of National Affairs (BNA), pesticide manufacturers are increasingly reluctant to supply their products to fight public health diseases because of the litigation costs that can arise from their use. In an attempt to sell more hazardous products without the risk of litigation costs, pesticide manufacturers are suggesting that they not be held accountable for injuries caused by their products.

"Indemnification for pesticide makers is appropriate because public health pesticides benefit society by preventing vector-borne diseases," Don O'Shaughnessy, director of regulatory affairs for Cheminova Inc., of Wayne, N.J., told BNA. Cheminova refused to supply the organophosphate pesticide malathion to New York City in 2000 and 2001 without indemnification because of the high cost of litigation, reported BNA. Cheminova also refuses to supply malathion to the Agriculture Department for emergency use against the Medfly in California absent indemnification, "They will have to take this material by force because that's the only way we'll give it up," Mr. O'Shaughnessy said.

Beyond Pesticides/NCAMP believes that pesticide manufacturers, and not the American taxpayer or governments, that should bear the cost of the litigation. Litigation cost is the price of marketing toxic chemicals that may adversely affect people. There have been a litany of cases in which pesticide makers have faced lawsuits for damages from legal, labeled uses of pesticides, and been successful. "You take the good with the bad," Jay Feldman, executive director of beyond Pesticides told BNA. "This is a high risk business that includes both profit and the risks of litigation, for which companies should pay."