Contamination incidents / Violations
Fluorinated and Fluoride Pesticides
 
 

Note: This is not an exhaustive list.
When time allows more information will be added.

Chlorfluazuron - Insecticide - CAS No.71422-67-8

September 1997. Chlorfluazuron (CFZ) residues in meat.
........In the June 1997 issue of this bulletin, attention was drawn to a class action by New South Wales and Queensland graziers against the chemical company ICI and the governments of both these States. The case involved a massive compensation claim over the contamination of cattle and meat by CFZ which was widely used in aerial spraying to control insects in cotton crops. Cotton trash was fed to beef cattle as a drought food supplement in the early 1990s.
........In June, the Federal Court found that ICI had breached its duty of care to graziers who used the feed; to abattoir owners who unwittingly purchased contaminated cattle; to meat processors and exporters who owned meat that was contaminated; and to feedlot owners who incurred expense in holding contaminated cattle in detention.
........The presiding judge found that ICI had failed to undertake the full environmental field studies recommended by specialist scientists. This occurred in spite of numerous expressions of concern about the environmental hazards of CFZ by ICI scientists in the United Kingdom over a period of four years. 'ICI did not know the problems associated with CFZ because, and only because, it did not take the usual and obvious steps to find them out,' concluded the judge.
........The judge ruled that the State governments had not been negligent and could not be held liable for the negligence of officers who had been involved in recommending feeding cotton waste to cattle. 'It is not shown that any officer knew, or ought to have known, that the feeding of cotton trash might lead to a significant contamination problem,' said the judge.
........Officers of the Technical Committee on Agricultural Chemicals were found to have acted negligently in their consideration of ICI's application for clearance to use CFZ.
........However the agreement to grant clearances was a policy decision and as such the Committee was granted immunity irrespective of its actions or inactions.
........The judge said the story was about bureaucracies: one in the private sector seeking to generate profits from a new product and the other a public network established to guard against harm from agricultural chemicals. Each had failed because well qualified people had examined details without considering the whole picture.
........The damages to be awarded have yet to be determined by the Federal Court.
Reference: September 1997. Food Safey & Hygine. A bulletin for the Australian Food Industry. September 1997. Food Science Australia.
http://www.foodscience.afisc.csiro.au/fshbull/fshbull10d.htm

June 1997: Farmers seek compensation over chemical residue in meat. Four hundred and eighty cattle producers from northern New South Wales and western Queensland have launched a class action to seek millions of dollars compensation in the Federal Court from chemical company ICI and the NSW and Queensland governments. The case involves contamination of cattle and meat by the chemical chlorafluazuron (CFZ) which was widely used in aerial spraying to control insects in cotton crops between 1989 and 1994.
The cattle owners fed their animals with cotton trash and cotton seed remnants during the prolonged drought early in this decade. The detection of CFZ residues in meat being processed at a plant in northern NSW in October 1994 resulted in the immediate quarantine of about 3,000 beef farms and the rejection of beef exports by Japan and the United States. Some properties where CFZ contaminated feed was never used could still have been affected by spray drift following the aerial application of CFZ it was claimed in the Federal Court.
Legal Counsel for the cattle producers said that CFZ was not registered for use in any other country at the time. Hence the finding of any CFZ residue in exported meat would lead to rejection. The plaintiffs are alleging common law negligence by ICI in failing to carry out appropriate testing to establish an appropriate withholding period and to provide adequate warning of risks associated with use of the chemical. The plaintiffs further allege negligence on the part of the NSW Department of Agriculture and the Queensland Department of Primary Industries in allowing the use of CFZ. Counsel claimed that both State Departments were at the time represented on the Technical Committee for Agricultural Chemicals (TCAC) and on the body that replaced it, the Australian Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Committee. The TCAC had cleared CFZ for aerial application to cotton at the same time the State Departments were recommending the use of cotton trash for feed.
Ref: Food Safety and Hygiene. A bulletin for the Australian Food Industry June 1997.
http://www.fluorideaction.org/pesticides/chlorfluazuron.ici.suit.97.htm

May 20, 1996 - Cotton Insecticide Contaminates Calves
Newborn calves in Australia are still being contaminated with hazardous levels of the insecticide Helix (chlorfluazuron), two years after cattle were fed cotton trash containing residues of the pesticide
. After finding high levels of Helix in the cattle, several countries suspended beef imports from Australia. Government inspectors believe that the pesticide is being passed to calves through suckling. Due to a drought in 1994, many Australian farmers were forced to feed cattle alternative feeds, which in some cases included cotton trash containing chlorfluazuron residues.
National Toxics Network, an Australian public interest group, states that Helix was given special government approval for use on cotton despite being provisionally registered due to concerns about its persistence in the environment. Recent research by the Meat Research Corporation (Australia) found that Helix residues may never disappear from older cattle, and that farmers may be able to sell contaminated cattle only for pet food.
In 1995, cattle farmers filed a class action suit against the Australian government and Crop Care Australasia, the company that marketed Helix in Australia. The suit seeks compensation for losses in beef sales resulting from the initial pesticide contamination, and was filed before anyone knew that losses would continue in the next generation of cattle. The suit, which represents approximately 460 cattle farmers, alleges that chlorfluazuron was registered without adequate testing. Crop Care Australasia announced last year that it was withdrawing the pesticide from the Australian market as an "act of good faith."
Farmers in New South Wales and Queensland may file a similar lawsuit against the Australian government due to cattle contamination by the organochlorine insecticide endosulfan. The farmers' lawyer charged that the Australian National Registration Authority labeled endosulfan inadequately. Approximately 23 farms were placed in quarantine after inspectors discovered the insecticide in beef cattle at levels above the maximum residue limit, possibly due to spray drift contaminating grazing land. In Australia, endosulfan is used primarily on cotton. Endosulfan has been targeted for global phaseout by pesticide reform groups worldwide due to its extreme toxicity (see PANUPS June 16, 1995 and June 16, 1994). It has also been identified as an endocrine disruptor...
Sources: Agrow, February 16, 1996; January 19, 1996; February 3, 1995; National Toxics Network Sentinel, February 1995.
http://www.fluorideaction.org/pesticides/chlorfluazuron.cottonpan.96.htm

ICI: poisoning for profit By Chris Spindler. SYDNEY -- In an all-too-rare finding of blame, the giant chemical company ICI is facing a pay-out of hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation to graziers and meat processors. ICI distributed the insecticide Helix, which was used on cotton crops of northern NSW and southern Queensland. Cotton waste fed to cattle during the 1990s drought led to their contamination.
Helix, or CFZ (chlorfluazuron), was voluntarily banned from use in the cotton industry in 1995.
On June 24, Justice Wilcox of the Federal Court found that ICI had failed in its duty of care to inform people of the insecticide in the cotton fodder. In 1994, 60,000 tonnes of meat was recalled and more than 4700 cattle were put into quarantine.
Around 2500 processors and producers were affected, with losses ranging from $20,000 to $26 million. Some claimants have died and others gone broke over the two years it took to sue ICI.
The court found that ICI had demonstrated "wilful blindness" in failing to carry out appropriate research on the fodder or appropriate field research into Helix.
Justice Wilcox stated, "A contributing factor to the failures was that, in its haste for profits, the private organisation cut research corners and inexcusably suppressed information that might have alerted the dozing public watchdog".
Wilcox failed to mention government cutbacks and privatisation of quarantine and food inspection services.
Similar legal actions are under way against other pesticide companies over the use of the pesticide Endosulphan on lucerne, vegetables and cereals.
In Melbourne on June 25, Greenpeace protested outside a special ICI shareholders' meeting. Greenpeace toxics campaigner Matt Ruchel entered the meeting with a secret tape-recording of a message calling on shareholders to "make their money talk to protect the environment".
Greenpeace wants ICI to clean up its mess in Homebush Bay in Sydney and other sites around Australia, such as ground water contamination and hazardous waste stockpiles at ICI Botany.
On June 24 in Sydney, Greenpeace activists planted two-metre high warning signs in waters in front of ICI's plant on Homebush Bay to highlight contamination by heavy metals and phthalates produced by ICI on the site.
Greenpeace is calling on ICI to commit funds to a multimillion dollar joint project between the NSW state government and the giant investment bank Bankers Trust to clean up Homebush Bay, one of the world's most polluted waterways.
Ref:
http://www.greenleft.org.au/back/1997/280/280p13b.htm

Abstract:
OBJECTIVE: To determine the rate of decline of chlorfluazuron (CFZ) concentration in the fat of cattle.
DESIGN: A field depletion study.
ANIMALS: Fifteen steers that had become contaminated with CFZ through eating cotton trash or cotton leaf pellets derived from CFZ-treated cotton crops.
PROCEDURE: Fat samples were collected from the cattle at about 3 week intervals according to a schedule where each animal was sampled on four occasions up to 340 days after removal from the contaminated feed source.
RESULTS: When the effects of dilution are removed CFZ concentrations were found to decline slowly for about 200 days. Depletion was minimal between 200 and 340 days.
CONCLUSION: According to this trial, CFZ-contaminated, nonlactating cattle which have finished growing will remain contaminated. Field experience has not supported this conclusion.

Ref: Aust Vet J. 1998 Jan;76(1):54-6. Rate of decline of chlorfluazuron concentration in the fat of cattle. Spence SA, Murison R, Harden S.

See aso
Overview of economic fallout from the contamination of Australian meat; by Tony St. Clair of the Federated Farmers of NZ.

http://www.fluorideaction.org/pesticides/chlorfluazuron.overview1999.htm

Dichlofluanid - Fungicide, Acaricide, Wood Preservative - CAS No.1085-98-9

Wood preservative ruined 200 homes
By: Christian Ege Jørgensen, The Danish Ecological Council.
A wood preservative with the active ingredient dichlofluanid (a sulfamide fungicide) has created a disaster in Denmark. It was marketed in Denmark under the retail product name "Rentolin", and without a warning against indoor uses. (In other EU countries the product name may be different. We know that some wood preservatives containing dichlofluanid are marketed as e.g. "Preventol" and "Flourofolpet").
--
Around 200 people used Rentolin indoors and suffered serious injury. Many houses are now uninhabitable, and several people suffer from chronic diseases. Some have the diagnosis of MCS [Multiple Chemical Sensibility], meaning that they have violent reaction to all kinds of volatile chemical substances, natural and manmade as well. The sufferers have now formed a union of "Rentolin-injured" people, and have sued the importer. However he escaped to the United States. Experts are not unanimous that the said injuries were caused by dichlofluanid, but to us it appears to be the most likely explanation. Danish EPA finds it more probable that the organic solvent (a kind of white spirit) in Rentolin caused the disorders. But if so, we find it hard to understand why similar disorders have not been seen with indoor use of other products containing organic solvents, such as floor varnishes. The Rentolin case is probably the worst chemical disaster Denmark has seen for decades. We have urged the Danish EPA to make a thorough investigation of the causes, but still this has not been done. Now the same demand has been raised in the Danish parliament.
According to the EU, dichlofluanid is being used in Ireland, UK, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Greece. It is not included in any of the lists for European re-assessment of active ingredients under 91/414, though. As for Sweden we know that Rentolin was always marketed with the label "Only for outdoor use", but we do not know about other countries. Dichlofluanid is on the EU list of hazardous substances, classified as an allergen and hazardous to the environment.
We have already informed NGOs in other countries via the EEB chemicals group and the PAN-Europe (Pesticide Action Network). We recommend that NGOs investigate whether similar injuries have been found in other countries. If investigations show that dichlofluanid caused such disorders a joint call for a ban on the production and use of dichlofluanid in Europe must be considered.
Ref: Issue 17, Chemical Awareness (2001)
http://www.chemical-awareness.com/news.php?nid=18&aid=433
Chemical Awareness is financially supported by the Danish Environmental Protection Agency, the Swedish National Chemicals Inspectorate and the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation.
http://www.fluorideaction.org/pesticides/dichlofluanid.denmark.poiso.htm

Fipronil - Acaricide, Insecticide, Wood Preservative - CAS No.120068-37-3

-- 2004. Louisiana crawfish farmers and landowners who suffered severe losses due to Icon contamination receive $45 million in a Class Action settlement. See:
A little background on the geneology and events of the insecticide Icon
Index to some documents and reports pertaining to the Class Action
News Items related to the settlement

-- August 1, 2001. St. Landry Parish District Court Judge James Genovese gave hundreds of Louisiana crawfish farmers a major victory in their case against Aventis, the manufacturer of the rice seed treatment Icon. In a July 30, 2001, ruling, the court granted certification for a class of crawfish farmers, finding they met all legal requirements for class certification in the lawsuit filed in Opelousas last year. According to Pat Morrow, an Opelousas attorney representing the farmers, "Crawfish farmers who feel their crawfish harvests have been damaged by Icon contamination can now come forward and join this class action suit."

However, the court denied class status for local seed distributor defendants. The class certification hearing began in April and concluded in June.

Judge Genovese's ruling allows anyone claiming financial losses and damages as a result of their crawfish crop's exposure to Icon beginning in January 1999 to join the lawsuit if he or she:

-- Purchased Icon-treated seed for rice operations in Louisiana, or
-- Farmed crawfish in Louisiana, or
-- Participated in a sharecropping arrangement for the farming of crawfish in Louisiana.

During the four days of trial, 36 witnesses testified, mainly crawfish farmers and experts. More than a dozen farmers told the same tale - once their crawfish crop was contaminated by Icon, the crawfish died. They became contaminated either because the crawfish were harvested in Icon-treated rice fields or because tailwater containing Icon or its metabolites flooded the crawfish crop.

Icon, the product name for the chemical fipronil, was commercially introduced in 1999. In 2000, Louisiana's crawfish production dropped 40 percent. Although its purpose is to kill the water weevils attacking rice plants, Icon, according to the trial testimony of farmers and experts, also kills crawfish.

Lousiana State University (LSU) scientists last year announced a possible link between Icon and crawfish mortality. In a survey of more than 90 commercial ponds, LSU scientists were told that in ponds where Icon-treated rice had been seeded the year before, crawfish production was generally well below average, says Dr. Greg Lutz, an aquaculture specialist with the Louisiana Agricultural Center. The survey was conducted in the 12 parishes that have the greatest share of both rice fields and crawfish ponds.

Dr. Ray McClain, professor at the LSU Ag Center's Rice Research Station in Crowley, tested a worst-case scenario for crawfish exposed to water that contained Icon-treated rice seed and found that most did not survive.

"This was a study under extreme conditions that are unlikely to occur in a natural setting," Dr. McClain says. "But we felt if the crawfish could survive these simulated conditions, then this would put to rest part of the controversy over Icon. But it didn't."

McClain in 1999 conducted similar experiments in which water containing Icon-treated seed did not significantly affect crawfish. "We simulated normal crawfish-growing conditions with the predominantly recommended rate of Icon," McClain said of his 1999 research. These results were corroborated by 1999 Aventis research. But in 2000, McClain increased the temperature of the water, used the maximum allowable rates of Icon and held the crawfish in the water longer.
Ref: AgJournal.com

http://www.fluorideaction.org/pesticides/fipronil.class.action.2002.htm

Fluazolate - Herbicide - CAS No. 174514-07-9

-- 5.1 - Members considered the first evaluation of a full safety and efficacy dossier supporting an application for approval of fluazolate, a new herbicide intended for pre-emergence use on winter wheat for control of annual grasses and broad-leaved weeds.
--
5.2 - The Committee confirmed that they considered two of the metabolites (M01 and M06) to be "relevant metabolites" in terms of the Uniform Principles and that there would therefore be a legal requirement to prevent these metabolites from entering groundwater at predicted concentrations above 0.1 m g/l. The Committee agreed that there may be scope to achieve this using a regulatory approach that prevented the product being used on certain soil series. However, this approach would only be viable if it were shown to be enforceable and could be audited. The Committee noted that this kind of approach might become more practical as a consequence of ongoing developments such as the DEFRA Geographical Information System (GIS) field mapping project.
5.3 - In addition to the problem of ground water contamination by metabolites, the Committee identified several other issues that would need to be resolved before approval could be recommended. Reference values could not be set due to evidence from observations in humans following a contamination incident, which suggested that fluazolate was absorbed and that a biological effect occurred at lower doses than those which produced effects in animal studies. There were also concerns over certain aspects of the reproductive toxicity studies in animals. The Committee agreed that toxicological data would be required on the metabolite M06 if significant human exposures were predicted to result from contamination of groundwater or residues in following crops. There were also concerns regarding the buffer zone distance that would be needed to manage the risk to algae in UK, and about possible risks to non-target plants and adjacent crops.
5.4 - The Committee concluded that until these various issues have been resolved, approval could not be recommended.
Ref: UK Advicory Committee on Pesticides. January 17, 2002.

http://www.fluorideaction.org/pesticides/fluazolate.uk.jan17.2002.htm

Fluoroacetamide - also known as Compound 1081 - Rodenticide, Insecticide - CAS No. 640-19-7

Poisoning Incident:
Amnesty International accused Israel of failing to prosecute Jewish settlers for attacking Palestinian locals and poisoning their livestock, the international rights group said. Condemning the "increasingly frequent attacks" against Palestinian villagers, Amnesty urged the Israeli government to investigate all violent incidents, and in particular, the recent spate of cases of poisoning fields that has affected scores of Palestinian livestock. "In recent weeks, toxic chemicals have repeatedly been spread on fields located near the villages of Tuwani, Umm Faggara and Kharruba in the southern Hebron region," the group said in a statement, referring to areas in the southern West Bank. "Scores of sheep as well as gazelles and other animals have been contaminated by the toxins and several have died. Palestinian farmers have been forced to quarantine their flocks and stop using the milk, cheese and meat from them, effectively depriving them of their livelihood." Since the first instance of poisoning was discovered in late March, other fields had also been contaminated, all of them in areas under Israeli security control, known as area C, the rights group said. Until now, however, the Israeli authorities had not decontaminated the fields, nor had they investigated the perpetrators, who were enjoying "impunity", the group said...
Ref: April 25, 2005. Amnesty calls on Israel to halt poisoning of Palestinian livestock.
http://www.fluoridealert.org/pesticides/fluoroacetamide.apr.25.05.html
See also:
April 6, 2005.
Israel Probes Poisoning of Palestinian Sheep. By Haitham Tamimi.
April 12, 2005. Palestinian villagers accuse Israeli settlers of poisoning their flocks. By Agence France Presse.

Flumequine - MIcrobiocide - CAS No. 42835-25-6

ABSTRACT: Oxytetracycline, oxolinic acid and flumequine are antibacterial agents commonly used in fish farming, especially because of their broad spectrum of activity. About 80 % of these drugs reached the environment because of their administration as medicated pelleted feed and their low oral bioavailability. Under these conditions, there is a clear need in studying the impact of these treatments on the freshwater environment.
A spatio-temporol study was then realised to estimate the concentration of oxolinic acid, flumequine and oxytetracycline in water, sediments and bryophytes all along a coast river. The 25 sampling points were chosen around 6 study stations. Each of these points were sampled once per season over one year.
Concentrations in water were under limit of detection. The 900 analysis showed that concentrations were greater in the bryophytes • than in the sediments. The greatest environmental concentrations were 120 ppb, 2000 ppb, 1500 ppb for oxolinic acid flumequine and oxytetracycline respectively. Multivariate statistical analysis were performed on the data.
This study showed a real contamination of the environment by flumequine and oxytetracycline, and to a lesser extent by oxolinic acid. No seasonal difference in concentrations was noticed. The analysis of the results showed the relevance of the use of bryophytes instead of sediments in the freshwater environmental monitoring. The fine study of the results seemed to reveal a real impact of the study stations on the environment. These observations should be confirmed by more specific studies, by using moss bags for example.
Ref: Abstract (Poster 7): Environmental Spatio-temporal monitoring of the contamination of a coast river in oxolinic acid, flumequine and oxytetracycline, by Raphael Delepee, Herve Pouliquen, Herve Le Bris Unite mixte de recherche INTRA/ENVN 1035 Chimiotherapie Aquacole et Environment, Ecole Nationale Veterinaire de Nantes Atlanpole - Le Chantrerie - BP 40706 Nantes Cedex 03, France. Aquaculture and Environment Symposium, September 18, 2002. 7th Bordeaux Aquaculture. September 18 - 20, 2002. Bordeau
• Definition for bryophyte:
-- Any primitive plant in the division Bryophyta, includes liverworts, mosses, and hornworts.
-- Plants in which the gametophyte generation is the larger, persistent phase; they generally lack conducting tissues. Bryophytes include the Hepaticophyta (liverworts), Anthocerotophyta (hornworts), and Bryophyta (mosses). Ref: UCMP Glossary: Botany
-- any plant of the phylum Bryophyta, having stems and leaves but lacking true vascular tissue and roots and reproducing by spores: includes the mosses and liverworts. [ETYMOLOGY: 19th Century: New Latin, from Greek bruon moss + -phyte] bryophytic adjective. Ref: WordReference.com

Fluometuron - Herbicide - CAS No. 2164-17-2

"Angry farmers are loosing thousands of dollars a day as a herbicide they were told was fertiliser rips through their crops.
The powder exploded from a truck when it was hit by a V/Line passenger train at a level crossing in Mitiamo almost three weeks ago.
Landowners in the tiny town, 60km north of Bendigo, say they were told
by emergency service workers the fine white substance would boost canola crop yields.
But two days later crop grower Brian Phillips woke to find almost 50ha of his once sprouting fields were desert.
The powder has sine been identified as Fluometuron, a concentrated herbicide used to kill broad-leaf weeds and grass in cotton fields.
And winter wind has blown it everywhere, wreaking havoc just weeks into the new season.
Mr Phillips and his wife, Therese, say the misinformation has cost them up to $30,000. Canola costs about $400 a tonne.
The couple are considering suing Syngenta Crop Protection Pty Ltd, the Sydney-based company responsible for the herbicide, and the Environmental Protection Authority for negligence... "
Ref: July 2, 2004. Australia. Herald Sun Melbourne.
Crash kills crops. Herbicide scattered over field of canola

 

Fluorapatite - US EPA Inert - CAS No. 1306-05-4

Placentia Bay, Newfoundland

The contamination of a fishery and resulting high mortality of herring, cod, and lobsters are reported for Long Harbour, Placentia Bay, Newfoundland, following discharge of wastes containing phosphorus (7723140) from a nearby fluorapatite (1306-05-4) ore pelletizing plant. Waste effluents contain cyanide (57125), ammonium (14798039) ions, sulfur-dioxide (7446095), calcium-phosphate (7757939), and calcium-fluoride (7789-74-4). Measures are described for preventing toxic pollutants from entering the bay, reducing effluents to non-toxic forms, and removal of deposited phosphorus from bottom sediments by dredging.
Ref: Coexistence of a Fishery and a Major Industry in Placentia Bay, by Idler DR. Chemistry in Canada, Vol. 21, pages 16-21, 1969.


... Late in 1969 a number of massive fishkills occurred in Long Harbour and neighboring regions of Placentia Bay in Newfoundland. The fish kills were attributed to the startup of a phosphorus producing plant at Long Harbour. A study was undertaken by the Fisheries Research Board of Canada to determine the toxicity of yellow phosphorus to marine life. Results of the research were reported in a book entitled "Effects of Elemental Phosphorus on Marine Life," compiled and edited by P. J. Jangaard, Circular No. 2, November 1972, Atlantic Regional Office, Research and Development, Fisheries Research Board of Canada, Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The book is a compilation of technical papers which describe the pollution problem at Long Harbour, give results of research on toxicity of elemental phosphorus and describe methods used to clean up Placentia Bay. An abstract of one of the technical papers is given below as an example to show the relative sensitivity of marine life to small concentrations of elemental phosphorus in water. The paper abstracted is "Yellow Phosphorus Pollution: Its Toxicity to Seawater-Maintained Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) and smelt (Osmerus mordax)," by G. L. Fletcher, R. J. Hoyle, and D. A. Horne, Fisheries Research Board of Canada, Halifax Laboratory, Halifax, Nova Scotia...
Ref: Processes for the disposal and recovery of phossy water. United States Patent 5549878.


... In 1969, a massive fish kill that turned Placentia Bay, Newfoundland into "a biological desert" was traced to fluoride effluent from a plant that produced elemental phosphorus for metal finishing and consumer goods. Some 22,800 pounds of fluoride effluent poured into the bay each day, primarily in the form of hydrofluosilicic acid - the same substance used to fluoridate city water supplies...
Ref: Why Fluoride Is an Environmental Issue, by Gar Smith. Earth Island Journal.


... People who lived near the ERCO facility had had first-hand experience with pollution. In 1968 liquids flowing from the plant poisoned the waters around Long Harbour. Great numbers of dead fish ”some of which had turned a strange red colour” washed up on beaches. Both the plant and the fishery were closed immediately while an investigation took place.

When vegetation and trees around the ERCO plant died mysterious1)', the Department of Health advised people not to have vegetable gardens or to pick berries within three kilometres of the facility When the plant closed in 1989 it was estimated that it would take 25 years and more than $100 million to clean up the mess its owners had left behind.

From Newfoundland writer Greg Whelan's history of the ERCO plant:

Threats to the environment were apparent almost from the beginning. The Red Herring Scare occurred in December when it was discovered that fish exposed to phosphorous effluent from the plant suffered internal bleeding and were washing up dead throughout Placentia Bay. Other wildlife in the area were affected as well. A moose and two rabbits were found to be deformed due to excess bone fluoride levels. The mysterious death of vegetation within a 3 km radius of the facility prompted the provincial
department of health to warn residents not to grow vegetable gardens or pick berries in the region.

Measures introduced over the years by ERCO and the subsequent owner Albright and Wilson Americas, reduced the pollution to "acceptable" levels, and the most common concern voiced by Long Harbour residents was a slight annoyance with the yellow dust that continuously covered their homes and cars.

Today, the phosphorous plant is gone, and the town and the province must deal with two problems: the loss of nearly 300 jobs, and what to do with the contaminated areas left behind.

... In 1991 there was a belief among the residents of the region that they had a much higher rate of cancer than normal. As a result the Placentia Area Cancer Group had been formed. Bruce Gilbert was a member. He had arranged that blood samples be taken from a group of local residents. The samples had been sent to world-renowned environmental scientist Dr. Rosalie Bertell in Toronto for analysis...
Ref: Taking the Lead. Volume 3: Taking On the Fight. A project of the Writer's Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador.


Fluoroacetamide - Insecticide, Rodenticide - CAS No. 640-19-7
(also known as Fluoroacetamine or Compound 1081)

-- April 12, 2005: Palestinian villagers accuse Israeli settlers of poisoning their flocks. By Agence France Presse.
... Tests carried out by the center for environmental health at the university of Beir Zeit in the central West Bank have found that the product spread in the pastures was fluoroacetamide. "The tests have revealed that it is fluoroacetamide, a very toxic substance without any known antidote. It was first conceived as a pesticide against rats and its production and use are forbidden without authorization from the Israeli government," said the center's director Ramzi Sansur. ... A spokesman for the Israeli police in the southern West Bank, Shlomi Sagui, confirmed that a "poison" had recently been detected in the fields in question following complaints from Palestinian villagers. "It is true that a poison has been found. We do not know yet know where it came from but an inquiry is under way," Sagui said. - AFP
Ref: The Daily Star - Lebanon.

-- April 6, 2005: Israel Probes Poisoning of Palestinian Sheep. By Haitham Tamimi.
Israeli police said on Tuesday they were investigating accusations that Jewish settlers killed sheep belonging to Palestinians with poison in a bid to drive Palestinians off their land in the West Bank... Ramzi Sansur, a Palestinian toxicologist who examined the pellets in a Bir Zeit university laboratory, said the chemical, Fluoroacetamide, was "extremely toxic" and ordinarily used to kill rodents in sewers... led to the death of 20 sheep and poisoning of 82 others that are fighting for their lives." ...
Other animals including gazelles and migratory birds also died.
Ref: Planet Ark World Environment News.

-- RESULTS OF LAB INVESTIGATIONS ARE REPORTED IN MASS POISONING IN WHICH ABOUT 800 DOGS DIED SHORTLY AFTER CONSUMING PURCHASED POULTRY MEAT. THE TOXICOLOGICAL & PUBLIC HEALTH IMPLICATIONS OF MASS POISONING ARE DISCUSSED.
Ref: [EGYED MN; FLUORIDE 12 (2): 76 (1979)]

-- Abstract: An account is presented of poisoning in a dairy herd grazing fields adjacent to a chemical factory which manufactured fluoroacetamide. In mid-May, three cows of a dairy herd of 26 Friesians died suddenly. In spite of the fact that a ditch and ponds running through the field were fenced off so that the cows could not drink from them, several more cows died at intervals. Clinical signs observed before death were listlessness, intermittent inappetence, incoordination and accelerated heart and respiratory rates. No nervous signs and convulsions were observed. Submaxillary edema and edema of the brisket occurred in a notable proportion of the herd. Surviving cows were lethargic, appetite remained poor and milk yield fell considerably. Several calves died at or shortly after birth. Postmortem examination did not give any indication of the nature of the poison. A neighboring farm reported infertility of their cows and at another adjoining farm several apparently healthy sheep died suddenly. An investigation of the environs together with the clinical condition of the cows provided circumstantial evidence that the cows had been poisoned by water contaminated by a toxic organic fluorine compound present in the factory effluent and draining into ditches and ponds situated on the adjoining farms. Five months after the cows were removed from access to the ditch and pond water. the survivors were still unthrifty and lethargic. The production and agricultural uses of fluoroacetamide and fluoroactate are discussed. Early in 1964, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food recommended that fluoroacetamide should not be used as an insecticide in agriuclture, home gardens or in food storage practice in Great Britain; proprietary products containing fluoroacetamide were subsequently withdrawn from the market.
Ref: Fluoroacetamide poisoning. I. Toxicity in dairy cattle: Clinical history and preliminary investigations.
Authors: Allcroft JSL RJones. Source: Vet. REcord; 84(16), 399-402, 1969.
[also noted: Epidemiology and Treatment 69/10/00, 346 1969]

Oxyfluorfen - Herbicide - CAS No. 42874-03-3

-- Reported Aquatic Incidents. There is one reported incident in the EIIS database with an aquatic organism effect. On 22 August 2000, Fifteen Mile Creek near the Dalles Dam in Oregon was the site of an oxyfluorfen spill (Incident# I010844-01, I010949-001). A truck carrying formulated oxyfluorfen (Goal 2XL) crashed on a bridge spilling approximately 20,000 pounds (2600 gallons) of herbicide into the creek yards from where the creek enters the Columbia River. Two weeks after the spill, samples of filtered (8-micron filter) and unfiltered water near the spill site contained an average of 32 g/L and 340 g/L, respectively. This spill was estimated to cause a 35% decrease in the numbers of adult chinook salmon and a 26% decrease in the numbers of steelhead passing over the Dalles Dam the day immediately following the spill, relative to the day prior to the spill. The spill was also reported to kill thousands of young lampreys. An extensive cleanup operation (removal of water and sediment) removed a majority of the chemical, and the estimated quantity of oxyfluorfen not recovered was less than 1000 gallons... As a result of the Goal 2XL spill in the Columbia River Basin (Fifteen Mile Creek) on 22 August 2000 (Incident# I010844- 01, I010949-001 and Appendix C), a focused sediment and water sampling was conducted. Water and sediment samples were collected as background measures from areas thought not to be impacted by the spill. The few background water samples did not have detectable amounts of oxyfluorfen, but 2 of the 35 background sediment samples did have detectible amounts of oxyfluorfen (the highest was 541 ppb). It is important to note that these background samples were collected seven months after most oxyfluorfen applications would have occurred (oxyfluorfen is primarily applied during the dormant winter season). As a result of the Goal spill in Fifteen Mile Creek near the Columbia River, fish samples in the Columbia were collected for oxyfluorfen measurements. The fish were collected from fishermen several miles up and downstream of the spill site during a three month period after the spill. Of 108 fin fish tissue samples collected from the Columbia River, 57 had quantifiable levels of oxyfluorfen, 20 had trace levels, 31 had undetectable levels. The average quantified fish tissue concentration was 48 ppb (range of 10 to 370 ppb). Given the containment efforts at the spill site and the enormous dilution from Fifteen Mile Creek into the Columbia River, it is likely that residues measured in many of these fish were a result of background levels of oxyfluorfen from registered uses. Some of the fish collected upstream would not be expected to have contacted contaminated water from the spill site, yet they still had significant levels of oxyfluorfen in their tissues.
Ref: Revised Environmental Fate and Effects Division Preliminary Risk Assessment for the Oxyfluorfen Reregistration Eligibility Decision Document. Date:11 December 2001.
http://www.fluorideaction.org/pesticides/oxyfluorfen.enveffects.2001.pdf

-- Reported Incidents. There are several reported incidents in the Environmental Incident Information System (EIIS) database with a terrestrial organism effect. One incident occurred on 7 March 1996, when a pest control operator in Madera County, California, applied Roundup (glyphosate) and Goal (oxyfluorfen) to an unspecified site (Incident# I003377-003). These herbicides drifted to 40 acres of plums and 90-100 acres of almonds with total damage estimated at $520,000 to $760,000. Either of these compounds may have contributed to the damage of these crops. A similar incident (#I005625-012) occurred in May 1996 in Desha County, Arkansas. A grower stated that aerial drift of Roundup Ultra and Goal damaged 160 acres of rice, and 80 acres had to be replanted. Either of these compounds may have contributed to the damage of these crops. Another aerial drift incident (#I005625-016) occurred in March 1996 in Kern County, California. A grower stated that aerial drift of Roundup Ultra and Goal damaged 10 acres of oranges. Investigation by Monsanto representatives revealed that adequate buffer zones had not been employed. Either of these compounds may have contributed to the damage of these crops. One incident (# I001734-001) involved repeated applications of Goal to 8 acres of fir trees in Idaho. Trees exhibited one or more of the following symptoms: death, loss of turgidity, some woody tissue above base of tree was enlarged with necrosis and darkening of internal tissue, and stem brittleness and fissures. There are 2 reported incidents (#I003268-050 and #I010800-098) of damage attributed to a home use product (Ortho GroundClear Triox). Both incidents involved damage and death to small numbers of ornamentals and juniper trees. The damage may have been caused by oxyfluorfen and/or the other active ingredient in Triox, isopropylamine salt.
Ref: Revised Environmental Fate and Effects Division Preliminary Risk Assessment for the Oxyfluorfen Reregistration Eligibility Decision Document. Date:11 December 2001.

http://www.fluorideaction.org/pesticides/oxyfluorfen.enveffects.2001.pdf

PFOS - PFOS - Insecticide, US EPA List 3 Inert

• See "Mysterious wasting disease" and death of 260 cattle in West Virginia. Linked to exposure to DuPont's landfilling of PFOA Ammonium perfluorooctanoate (C8) wastes in landfill near farm in Wood County, West Virginia

• See Class Action lawsuit in Ohio on the contamination of drinking water supplies with the PFOA Ammonium Perfluorooctanoate (C8). The C8 contamination originated from DuPont's Washington Works facility in Wood County, West Virginia


Sodium fluoride - Wood preservative, EPA List 4B Inert - CAS No. 7681-49-4

February 19,1999. ALCOA Fined $750,000 by Commerce Department For Illegal Chemical Shipments of Potassium fluoride and Sodium fluoride.
-- The Commerce Department's Under Secretary for Export Administration, William A. Reinsch, imposed a civil penalty of $750,000 on Aluminum Company of America (ALCOA) for 100 violations of U.S. export regulations involving shipments of potassium fluoride and sodium fluoride.
-- The penalty results from Reinsch's affirming an administrative law judge's (ALJ) recommended findings in the case. The ALJ found that ALCOA exported potassium fluoride and sodium fluoride from the United States to Jamaica and Suriname on 50 separate occasions without obtaining the required Commerce Department export licenses. The violations occurred between June 1991 and December 1995. The ALJ also found that the company made false statements on export control documents in each shipment.
-- Potassium fluoride and sodium fluoride are controlled because they can be used to make chemical weapons. These chemicals were added to the Department's control list in March 1991, but ALCOA's export compliance program failed to recognize and incorporate the change. There was no indication that in this case the chemicals were used for weapons purposes.
-- Reinsch observed, "This penalty should send the message that there are significant advantages to having an internal compliance program that catches and reports problems quickly."
-- Reinsch's action imposes the maximum civil penalty of $10,000 for each of the 50 shipping without a license violations. He also imposed a penalty of $5,000 for each false statement.
-- Commerce's Export Administration Regulations provide that an administrative law judge administrative enforcement proceedings be conducted by who recommends an appropriate resolution of the case to the Under Secretary for Export Administration. The Under Secretary may affirm, modify, or vacate the ALJ's recommendation. In this case, Reinsch agreed with the findings but modified the penalties recommended by the ALJ. Reinsch's order and the ALJ's recommendations will be printed in the Federal Register.

Ref: Press Release. February 19,1999. ALCOA Fined $750,000 by Commerce Department For Illegal Chemical Shipments. U. S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Export Administration.
http://www.fluorideaction.org/pesticides/sodium.f.alcoa.fine.feb1999.htm

Some excerpts from the ALJ's decision published in the

Federal Register, August 5, 1999:

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
Bureau of Export Administration
[Docket No.: 97–BXA–20]

Re: Aluminum Company of America

On Friday, February 26, 1999, the Federal Register published the Decision and Order issued by the Under Secretary for Export Administration, Bureau of Export Administration, United States Department of Commerce (BXA) on February 19, 1999 (64 FR 9471). However, the Recommended Decision and Order of the Administration Law Judge (ALJ) was inadvertently not included with the Order of the Under Secretary. This notice is to hereby publish the December 21, 1998, Recommended and Decision Order of the ALJ.
Dated: July 21, 1999.
William A. Reinsch,
Under Secretary for Export Administration.

... 9. During the review period, the water treatment facility in Suriname used sodium fluoride to treat drinking water. Sodium fluoride was used by the ALCOA facility in Suriname to treat drinking water for people living in the Suralco refinery area. All of the sodium fluoride exported from the United States to Suriname was used by this ALCOA subsidiary facility and was fully consumed in the water treatment process. ALCOA sold the water treatment facility to the government of Suriname in July 1994. Therefore, Suralco no longer uses any sodium fluoride (See Respondent’s Answer dated January 20,
1998, page 3).

5. All of the potassium fluoride and Sodium Fluoride exports at issue in this case were sent to ALCOA’s refinery operations in Jamaica (Jamalco) and Suriname (Suralco). These refineries are located near bauxite mines. Bauxite is the raw ore for aluminum. The refineries process the bauxite so as to extract aluminum oride (alumina), which becomes the basic feedstock for ALCOA’s metal and chemical businesses. Both refineries were directly controlled by ALCOA during the period June 14, 1991 through December 7, 1995

3. Potassium fluoride is the key reagent used during the refining of alumina from its bauxite ore. Bauxite is crushed and mixed with a caustic soda solution. This solution dissolves the alumina present in the bauxite. Potassium fluoride is used to determine the level of dissolved alumina in the caustic solution. Only a small amount of potassium fluoride is used per metric ton of bauxite processed (see Respondent’s Answer dated January 20, 1998, page 2).

23. On March 13, 1991, through a notice published in the Federal Register, entitled Expansion of Foreign policy Controls on Chemical Weapons Precursors (56 Fed. Reg 10756), the Department of Commerce amended the Commerce Control List of the Export Administration Regulations (currently codified at 15 C.F.R. Parts 730–774 (1997)),2 ‘‘by expanding the number of countries for
which a validated license is required for 39 precursor chemicals
. Under the rule, the 39 chemicals will require a validated license for export to all destinations except NATO member countries, Australia, Austria, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, and Switzerland.’’ Potassium fluoride and
sodium fluoride were included on the list of 39 chemicals


... Of all the aggravating factors in this case, one is particularly damming—that the Respondent, over a period of four and one-half (4.5) years, made 50 separate exports of potassium fluoride and/or sodium fluoride in violation of the Export Administration Regulations (emphasis added). Importantly, ALCOA is not a new or small company that doesn’t understand the foreign export regulatory process. Quite to the contrary, the Respondent is a large multinational corporation which had a separate division (Export Supply Division) specifically dedicated to receiving requisitions, locating suppliers, purchasing products, and shipping the requested items in accordance with applicable export licensing requirements. Thus, ALCOA’s conduct, under this backdrop, was flatly inexcusable and the fact that the violations were not intentional or willful is only relevant to the fact that a federal criminal indictment was not handed down. Respondent’s failure to comprehend the change in the Federal Register Notice,
given the existence of its Export Supply Division, is also particularly troubling.1 Moreover, the fact that the unlawful shipments consisted of precursors for chemical weapons, regardless of the lack of
any potential diversion in these instances, is not something that should be viewed as a technical oversight and is clearly an aggravating factor.

In mitigation, ALCOA argues that had it applied for the necessary validated licenses, they would have been presumptively granted. This argument misses the point. Over the past 20 years, a terrorist threat has developed to our Republic and our interests aboard. In order to protect our country and our interests, laws and regulations were passed/implemented to allow the government to monitor and regulate the export of precursor chemicals and if necessary, prevent any such exports that pose a clear and present danger. Given the huge number of exports from the United States, how is the government suppose to monitor the export of precursor chemicals if it doesn’t know that the shipments were being made over a four and one-half year period? ALCOA responds that it filed under general license G–DEST and implies that the government was aware of these 50 separate exports over a four and one-half year period (See Respondent’s Answer dated January 20, 1998, page 8). I disagree. The Respondent did not submit any evidence to support this position. The Respondent cannot shift its responsibility to the government to do that which it is legally required to do. Given the volume of such exports and the limited public resources to regulate these shipments, at the refineries of the Respondent’s subsidiary companies in Jamaica and Suriname. Once again, ALCOA misses the point. The crucial point here is that the government was deprived of possible vital information in its fight to control terrorism. In other words, if the world-wide export of chemicals/biological agents were a puzzle being put together by a U.S. Department of Commerce security team, this information constituted 50 pieces of that puzzle that the government did not have. While it turned out that there was no problem, the fact remains that the government did not have the whole picture. Without the whole picture, or in this case, all of the information about precursor chemical exports, catastrophic errors in preventative decision-making could have occurred.

... The Respondent states that anything more than a nominal fine in this case is unreasonable. In support of this position, ALCOA argues that recent BXA enforcement orders based on settlement agreements establish a range from $2,000 per violation to $5,000 per violation, large portions of which were suspended. The Respondent cites the following settlements in support of it’s argument that the government’s proposed $7,500 per violation is excessive and inconsistent with past BXA practice:

... 3. Sierra Rutil America, Inc. case—The Respondent was charged with eight unlicensed exports of sodium fluoride to Sierra Leone over a two year period in violation of § 787.6. The settlement resulted in a $30,000 fine or $3,750 per violation with half of the fine remitted on probation. This case did not involve exports to controlled or affiliated entities.

5. Snytex case—The Respondent was charged with 13 violations of unlawfully exporting hydrogen fluoride in violation of § 787.2. The fine was $65,000 or $5,000 per violation. One half of the fine was remitted for 2 years and then waived if there were no further violations.

6. Palmeros Forwarding case—The Respondent was charged with 10 violations wherein it used export control documents which represented that the Syntex hydrogen fluoride did not need export licenses. The fine was $50,000 or $5,000 per violation with a two year denial of export privileges. The fine was export privilege denial were suspended on probation.

The Respondent argues in mitigation that it has no prior record of violations. I find this argument is entitled to little or no weight given the fact that for four and one-half years, the Respondent committed one hundred violations of the EAR. Indeed, It is not the prior record that is important here, but the
aggravating factor of 100 violations and the Indeed, the government might well have opted to argue in a criminal forum that ALCOA’s conduct was so grossly negligent as to constitute a willful disregard of federal law. In this case, the amount of care demanded by the standard of reasonable
conduct on the part of the Respondent must be in proportion to the apparent risk. As the danger becomes greater, the Respondent is required to exercise caution commensurate
with that increased risk. Since the Respondent was dealing with precursors for chemical weapons, the March 13, 1991 Federal Register Notice constructively put it on notice that it must exercise a great amount of care because the risk is great. It failed to do so.

Importantly, the government voluntarily lowered the sanction bar all the way down to the level of an administrative civil penalty in this case. That having been done, the Respondent argues that the government is being harsh and should lower the bar further. In effect, the Respondent is attempting to have the government negotiate with itself. This is wrong. Based upon the detailed discussion set forth above, I find the appropriate sanction for each of these unlawful shipments is $10,000. The Respondent is a huge multi-national corporation. As such, a $10,000 penalty per violation is minuscule for ALCOA who describes itself as ‘‘one of the world’s leading producers of aluminum.* * *’’. At no time during this proceeding, did ALCOA’s counsel raise financial hardships for mitigating any civil penalty. At some point, ALCOA has to stand up and take responsibility for it’s gross and long-standing breach of legal duty. Conversely, the United States government must set its civil penalties at a high enough level to insure that large multi-national corporations don’t ignore the law and if they get caught, merely consider the fine as a cost of doing business...

Sulfluramid - Acaricide, Insecticide - CAS No. 4151-50-2

Largest Pesticide Penalty in New York State history - $950,000 - against S.C. Johnson for illegally distributing unsafe sulfluramid roach baits.
According to Attorney General Spitzer. "This product was marketed for home use and was labeled as child resistant when it was not."
"... According to an EPA assessment, if a child ingested the bait, he or she could suffer irreversible reproductive damage, and boys could be rendered infertile."
Ref: August 22, 2001 Press Release. Office of the New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.
http://www.fluorideaction.org/pesticides/sulfluramid.largest.fine.01.htm

 
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