Tellez v. Dole


05/10/10 – 05/11/10


The plaintiffs were Nicaraguan banana plantation workers who allegedly were exposed to dangerous levels of the pesticide 1,2-dibromo-3-chloropropane ("DBCP") by dermal contact, inhalation, and by drinking water contaminated with DBCP. As a result , the plaintiffs allegedly suffered testicular damage and sterility.

According to the plaintiff, Dow Chemical warned Dole, more than a decade before the plaintiffs were exposed, that DBCP caused reproductive harm at five parts per million, and Dole knew that Dow had called for exposure levels below 1 ppm (although Dow allegedly had not in fact tested to a nil effect level).

Nonetheless, the plaintiffs said, the workers were exposed to levels that Dow had indicated were dangerous, and that Dole knew would cause harm. The banana plantation workers allegedly walked into sprayed areas and and became wet with DBCP spray. The workers also attempted to work in, and they breathed DBCP vapors from, sprayed areas. Finally, night time breezes allegedly blew DBCP spray vapor to where the workers were sleeping, and they would inhale these vapors. Dole allegedly failed to test their workers for DBCP exposure or sterility, and continued to use DBCP from 1973-1980.

The defense argued that Dole believed that DBCP could be safely used, and that DBCP was in fact safely used (plaintiffs were not exposed to harmful levels of BCP), that DBCP use was warranted to combat nematodes, and that DBCP exposure did not cause the plaintiffs' sterility or low sperm count.


Recording Disclaimer: This proceeding was recorded in full.

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