» Banana Workers

Banana Workers Demand Justice

Laboring long hours in the field, often eclipsing 16 in a single day, banana workers from Latin America, the Caribbean and the Philippines faced chronic exposure to the toxic agrochemical dibromochloropropane (DBCP) pioneered by Dow Chemical in the 1950s. DBCP was introduced to control the nematodes that plague banana and pineapple crops. A study in 1958 demonstrated the adverse effects of the chemical on the rats’ liver, lungs, kidneys and reproductive organs. Despite the severity of the effects and the strength of the evidence, Dow downplayed the results of the study, and the U.S. government approved DBCP for commercial use in 1964. In 1977, 35 of 114 workers at a DBCP production plant in California were found to be sterile, after this the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) levied strict regulations for use of the chemical. Although DBCP was banned in the U.S., it continued to be exported to many countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa and Asia.

Over 20,000 banana workers in Latin America were sterilized due to their exposure to DBCP. Others have developed cancer or are experiencing second generational effects as their children are born with birth defects. In December 2002, a Nicaraguan judge ordered Dow Chemical, Shell Oil Company and Standard Fruit (Dole Food Company in the U.S.), to pay US$490 million in compensation to 583 banana workers injured by DBCP.

For more information:

Pesticide Action Network

Article: Banana Workers Win Against Dow, Shell & Standard Fruit
January 6, 2003

Dow Corporate Profile - Chemicals produced/sold, Brief info on DBCP and Banana Workers, Dioxins, Bhopal and other negative impacts Dow is responsible for, General Stats on the financial/legal/demographic details of the corporation.

Detailed Site explaining DBCP's properties.