Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Lawsuit Against Dole, Chiquita, & Del Monte for Poisoning Banana Workers!

Just when we thought we understood everything about bananas... we love'em, they're one of the "safest" fruits to eat when not organic (because of their thick skin screening out 'most' of the poisons in pesticides), and they're the easiest fruit/vegetable to digest. This fruit comes in the handy when we need to grab something to go, or for athletes who need quick sugars and potassium. Bananas have been one of my favorite foods since I can remember eating food.

Education on conventional foods has taught us about the negative environmental factors. We've also learned that conventional foods carry some of the toxins they’re sprayed with. Even after scrubbing down an apple, or plum, or carrot... the toxin is still inside waiting to be eaten by the foolish human who buys it.

What we haven't learned or put too much thought into are the effects pesticides have on the pickers who harvest them. These workers have their hands on, in, around these toxins all day, everyday.

Organic Consumers Association states “thousands of banana pickers in Costa Rica have filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles against two chemical companies and three major U.S. fresh produce companies, claiming exposure to a toxic pesticide caused a range of reproductive disorders.” The company is accused of using a pesticide that was banned in the U.S. in 1979 called dibromochloropropane. The chemical was used to kill microscopic worms on the roots of the banana plants. Possible side effects of this pesticide when inhaled or absorbed by the skin of are sterility, testicular atrophy, miscarriages, birth defects, liver damage and cancer.

The workers stated the companies conducted a "settlement campaign". The plaintiffs who were exposed to the pesticide were induced to sign releases freeing the companies of liability. Organic Consumers Association says the companies allegedly offered to settle the claims for sterility for $2,900 to $6,500 a piece as long as the workers did not involve their own lawyers says . CBS News says that according to the lawsuit manufacturers of the pesticide, "actively suppressed information about DBCP's reproductive toxicity".

Luckily this was finally all brought to the surface and these workers are getting paid for their losses. Los Angeles jury awarded $3.3 million to six workers on Monday. Still, nothing will ever repay the loss of sterility or miscarriages. I hope we've all learned more of a lesson in how important buying organic. Not only are we saving ourselves and the environment by, but we are also saving the innocent and hard-working farmers.

No comments: