May 20, 2019

Hawaii Community Defends Pesticide Disclosure Laws

Multinational chemical corporations are challenging a law in Hawaii that requires disclosure of pesticide use on genetically engineered crops. The Center for Food Safety and a coalition of Kaua’i residents, along with Earthjustice, are filing papers as defendants against this action.

Farm FieldOrdinance 960 informs Kaua’i residents about the pesticides applied to GE crops. Many residents have suffered symptoms of pesticide exposure. Corporations grow genetically engineered and modified crops on Kaua’i as experiments. As a result, some of the “most toxic pesticides still in use” are sprayed in areas close to homes, waterways, and schools on that island. The law simply requires disclosure of the chemicals used on the island, and establishes buffer zones around locations such as schools and hospitals.

Paul Achitoff, managing attorney for Earthjustice said in a statement, “the spectacle of four multibillion-dollar multinational chemical companies suing for the right to continue spray Kaua’i’s residents with acutely toxic chemicals, and to keep what they spray and when they spray it a secret, is shameful. Our clients deserve protection, and we will see that they get it.”

The corporations that are suing the county to overturn the disclosure law include Syngenta, Pioneer Hi-Bred International (owned by DuPont), Agrigenetics, Inc. (owned by Dow Chemical), and BASF Plant Science LP. Those companies farm 12,000 acres on the island. They claim that they law is not “legally valid”. ┬áThe county has not retained counsel to defend itself, so the coalition stepped in.

Paul Towers, media director at Pesticide Action network, one of the defendants, said, “we’re joining with the people of Kaua’i and standing up to bullying by three of the world’s largest pesticide corporations. Kaua’i has become the testing grounds for the genetically engineered seeds and pesticides of a handful of corporations. These powerful interests hope to keep residents in the dark about what’s being applied next door to the places where children live, learn, and play.”

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