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1,2-Dibromo-3-chloropropane, better known as DBCP, is the active ingredient in the nematicide Nemagon, also known as Fumazone. It is a soil fumigant formerly used in American agriculture. After discovery of its deleterious health effects on humans, the compound was banned from use in 1979. However, the continuing presence of the chemical as a contaminant in ground water remains a problem for many communities.
Additional recommended knowledge
Sources and potential exposure
Examples of persistence
DBCP residues have persisted in contaminated soil and groundwater long after applications have ceased. For example in agricultural areas around Turlock in the Central Valley of California, DBCP was applied to crops in the 1970s. As late as 1989, DBCP persistence was reported in groundwater that was previously used for beneficial purposes, and numerous nearby wells had to be shut down at that time.
Workers at the Dow Chemical plant producing DBCP were made sterile by exposure to DBCP. These male reproductive effects were consistent with animal experiments showing that DBCP sterilizes rabbits. The workers successfully sued the company, and most domestic uses of the chemical were banned in 1977. Amid growing concerns over DBCP's effects on male workers, Dow ceased production and reclaimed DBCP that had been shipped to its users.
However, despite warnings from Dow about its health effects, the Dole Food Company, which was using the chemical on its banana plantations in Latin America, threatened to sue Dow if it stopped DCBP shipments. Dow then shipped half a million gallons of DBCP to Dole, much of it reclaimed from other users. Plantation workers who became sterile or were stricken with other maladies subsequently sued Dow and Dole in Latin American courts, alleging that their ailments were caused by DCBP exposure. Although the courts agreed with the workers and awarded them over $600 million in damages, they were unable to collect payments from the companies. A group of workers then filed lawsuits in the United States, and on November 5, 2007, a Los Angeles jury awarded them 3.2 million dollars. Dole and Dow vowed to appeal the decision.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "1,2-Dibromo-3-chloropropane". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|