Cancer-Linked Pesticides Sprayed With No Warning

     OAKLAND, Calif. (CN) – Dow Agrosciences fails to warn residents in rural California communities before it sprays nearby crops with a cancer-causing pesticide, a health advocacy group claimed in state court Tuesday.
     The suit filed in Alameda County by the Center for Environmental Health flags health concerns involving the pesticide Telone throughout California, and the group specifically accuses Dow of neglecting to warn residents in the Central Valley town of Shafter before it sprays the pesticide.
     The failure to warn violates California’s Proposition 65, which requires companies to tell consumers when their products contain potentially carcinogenic chemicals, the lawsuit claims.
      But Dow said in a statement early Wednesday it wasn’t required to issue a Prop. 65 warning before spraying Telone.
     However, Telone’s active ingredient has been designated as a hazardous air contaminant under both federal and California law, and the Environmental Protection Agency says breathing the pesticide over a prolonged period can cause cancer. Nonetheless, Telone is one of the most heavily used pesticides in the state, according to the advocacy group.
     “Telone is a serious health threat,” Center for Environmental Health CEO Michael Green said in a statement released Tuesday. “For decades, Dow and state regulators have put profits ahead of our health. It is long past time for California to protect children and families from Dow’s dangerous chemical.”
     The Center says in its suit that Dow exposes individuals in and around Shafter to a carcinogen every time it sprays Telone without providing a “clear and reasonable” warning.
     State regulators have already detected high levels of Telone’s active ingredient in six agricultural counties, and a state proposal could allow Telone users to increase the amount of the pesticide they already spray, according to the group.
     Dow counters that California’s regulation of Telone is the most stringent in the U.S., and claims it doesn’t harm those who breathe it in after it’s been sprayed nearby.
     “The science is clear that [Telone] does not present a health risk at levels of potential exposure associated with normal product use in accordance with all legal requirements,” a spokesperson for Dow Agrosciences said in a statement.
     The Center for Environmental Health wants a $2,500-per-day penalty imposed on Dow for each violation and an order requiring it to warn Shafter’s residents before it sprays Telone in the area.
     The Center for Environmental Health is represented by Howard Hirsch and Lucas Williams of the Lexington Law Group in San Francisco.

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