FLUORIDE ACTION NETWORK PESTICIDE PROJECT
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• Index to documents and reports concerning the Class Action Suit of Louisiana Crawfish Farmers
• News Items related to the settlement for Louisiana Crawfish Farmers harmed by Icon
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Background to Class Action from Louisiana 3rd Circuit Appeal Court:
Excerpt: ... In July 1998, the [US EPA] authorized Aventis to market the insecticide, and it was extensively introduced into the Louisiana market in 1999. The chemical was sold in liquid form to send to distributors/applicators who, pursuant to contracts with Aventis, applied ICON to rice seed prior to planting. The purpose of the chemical treatment was to combat the rice water weevil.
In Louisiana, rice and crawfish are often conjunctively farmed, either in the same pond or in close proximity to one another. The rotaation patterns for the two crops vary, but water that has been used in a rice field ("tailwater") is sometimes employed to irrigate crawfish ponds. After planting, tailwater might also be dischared into surrounding ditches and canals, and a downstream crawfish farmer may retrieve this tailwater and introduce it into his pond. Crawfish are not always grown in rice fields. The state-wide crawfish harvest declined by millions of pounds from 1999 to 2000. Plaintiffs allege that the use of ICON-treated rice seed in certain ponds had a devastating efffect on co-cultured crawfish harvests in 1999 and 2000. Some farmers have experienced total loss of their crawfish crop; others have experienced a commercially damaging decline.
Plaintiffs allege that once reports began to mount regarding ICON's ill effects on the crawfish industry, Aventis conducted field tests and concluded that any increase in crawfish mortality resulted either from a misapplication of ICON, was unrelated to ICON, or was attributable to the severe 1998 drought. Plaintiffs also allege that the Department of Agriculture only tested for the presence of Fipronil, the acive ingredient in ICON. Fipronil was found in extremely low levels and, therefore, could not be conclusively linked to crawfish mortality. Plaintiffs argue, however, that these low levels resut from the ingredient's tendency to rapidly break down into derivatives which bind to soil particles and do not dissolve in water.
Ref: August 2002. State of Louisiana Court of Appeal, Third Circuit - 01-1453
Affirmed in Part, Reversed in Part, and Remanded for Trial on the Merits.
A little background on the geneology and events of the insecticide Icon
Date Company Details Reference 1985-1993 Rhone-Poulenc Fipronil is an insecticide discovered and developed by Rhone-Poulenc between 1985-87 and placed on the market in 1993. Pesticides News No.48, June 2000 April 11, 1997 Rhone-Poulenc Ag Company
US EPA issued Rhone-Poulenc two Experimental Use Permits:
* 264-EUP-104. Extension. Allows the use of 3.0 pounds of the insecticide 5-amino-1- (2,6-dichloro-4-(trifluoromethyl)phenyl)-4-((1,R,S)- (trifluoromethyl)sulfinyl)-1-H-pyrazole-carbonitrile on 60 acres of rice to evaluate the control of the rice water weevil. The program is authorized only in the States of Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. The experimental use permit is effective from March 7, 1997 to March 7, 1998.
* 264-EUP-105. Extension. Allows the use of rice seed treated with 1.95 pounds of the insecticide 5-amino-1-(2,6-dichloro-4-(trifluoromethyl)phenyl)-4- ((1,R,S)-(trifluoromethyl)sulfinyl)-1-H-pyrazole-carbonitrile on 50 acres of rice to evaluate the control of the rice water weevil. The program is authorized only in the States of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. The experimental use permit is effective from March 7, 1997 to March 7, 1998.
Both permits were issued with the limitation that all treated crops are destroyed or used for research purposes only.
July 7, 1997 Rhone-Poulenc Ag Company US EPA issued Rhone-Poulenc the following Experimental Use Permit:
264-EUP-107; allows the use of 69 pounds of the insecticide 5-amino-1- (2,6-dichloro-4-(trifluoromethyl)phenyl)-4-((1,R,S)- (trifluoromethyl)sulfinyl)-1-H-pyrazole-carbonitrile on 230 acres of cotton to evaluate the control of the boll weevil, fleahoppers, plant bugs, and thrips. The program is authorized only in the States of Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. The experimental use permit is effective from June 13, 1997 to June 13, 1998. This permit is issued with the limitation that all treated crops are destroyed or used for research purposes only.
July 17, 1998 Rhone-Poulenc AG, Inc.
US EPA approves Final Rule for Pesticide Tolerances of ICON/Fipronil for rice and straw petitioned by Rhone-Poulenc AG, Inc. EPA approved ICON 6.2 FS Insecticide, its metabolites MB46136 and MB45950 and its
photodegradate MB46513, to treat rice seed to control the pests rice water weevil and chinch bugs.
Carcinogenic classification: Fipronil, the parent compound, was classified as a Group C Carcinogen (Possible Human Carcinogen). This classification is based on increased incidence of thyroid follicular-cell tumors in rats. No carcinogenicity studies are available with metabolite MB46513 which "appears to have greater toxicity than the parent, fipronil."
December 1998 Announcement of merger to create Aventis CropScience Announcement of the merger of life science giants Hoechst AG and Rhone Poulenc SA will result in a combination of their agricultural subsidiaries. AgrEvo and Rhone Poulenc-Agro will combine their assets to form a new entity, to be called Aventis CropScience. The merger will create one of the largest global agricultural companies with sales of approximately $4.5 billion, and about 15,000 employees. Alain Godard will be CEO of the new company, which will be headquartered in Lyon, France ... Applied Genetics News 1999 Aventis CropScience Aventis Crop Science was formed in 1999 as the combination of AgrEvo (the former Hoechst/Schering joint venture) and the Rhone-Poulenc agriculture division. European Commission December 3, 1999 RHONE-POULENC AG COMPANY, INC. On or about March 19, 1999, rice and crawfish farmers purchased rice seed from G & H Seed in Eunice, St. Landry Parish, Louisiana. The seed was sprayed with a chemical identified as Fipronil/Icon by G & H Seed Copany at its business in Eunice, St. Landry Parish, Louisiana. The Fipronil/Icon sprayed rice seed was then transported to a crop duster, and applied onto rice/crawfish fields owned by plaintiffs. The resulting effect of applying the Fipronil/Icon sprayed rice onto the rice/crawfish fields, caused a complete crawfish mortality, resulting in damages to plaintiffs' 1999 Spring crawfish crop, as well as their 1999 - 2000 crop.
Original Petition for Damages
Craig West, Troy West and W.B. Farms, Inc. VERSUS
G & H Seed Co. and RHONE-POULENC AG COMPANY, INC.
Civil Docket No. 99-C-4984-A
17th Judicial District Court, St. Landry Parish, Louisiana
January 2000 US FTC approves new company: Aventis CropScience The US Federal Trade Commission has approved the merger of Hoechst (AgrEvo) and Rhone-Poulenc to create a new chemical and pharmaceutical company called Aventis. The merger was announced in December 1998 subject to shareholder and regulatory approval. Successful Farming January 25, 2000 Rhone-Poulenc Ag Company, Inc
CLASS ACTION PETITION.
The lawsuit originally sought by a few crawfish farmers evolves into a Class Action Suit.
"Craig West, Troy West and W.B. Farms, Inc., Et Al, Individually and as Representatives of All Persons Similarly Situated
G & H Seed Co., Et Al, Individually and as a Representative of All Entities Similarly Situated, and Rhone-Poulenc Ag Company, Inc."
"... By amending, supplementing and restating the entire Petition for Damages, including the caption, so as to indicate the claim is being brought as a class action by Plaintiffs ... "
Civil Docket No. 99-C-4984-A
17th Judicial District Court, St. Landry Parish, Louisiana
August 3, 2001 Aventis LOUISIANA CRAWFISH FISHERMEN WIN CLASS ACTION CERTIFICATION IN LAWSUIT AGAINST PESTICIDE MANUFACTURER
WorldCatch News Network reported 1 August that St. Landry Parish District Court Judge James Genovese has granted certification for a class action lawsuit by hundreds of Louisiana crawfish farmers against Aventis, the manufacturer of the pesticide ICON.
SUBLEGALS, VOL. 4, NO. 5 May 1, 2001 Aventis Aventis announced it will seek buyers for its crop-science business instead of seeking a stock sale, as earlier reported. Aventis Crop-Science, recently renamed Agreva, markets the products StarLink, LibertyLink, Balance and Regent [Fipronil]. Reuters reports Aventis sent sale proposals to Monsanto, DuPont, Dow, Bayer and BASF. The company states it wants to concentrate on pharmaceuticals now. Aventis was formed from the merger of Rhone Poulenc Agro and AgrEvo. Farm Industry News August 28, 2002
... Plaintiffs allege that once reports began to mount regarding ICON's ill effects on the crawfish industry, Aventis conducted field tests and concluded that any increase in crawfish mortality resulted either from a misapplication of ICON, was unrelated to ICON, or was attributable to the severe 1998 drought. Plaintiffs also allege that the Department of Agriculture only tested for the presence of Fipronil, the acive ingredient in ICON. Fipronil was found in extremely low levels and, therefore, could not be conclusively linked to crawfish mortality. Plaintiffs argue, however, that these low levels resut from the ingredient's tendency to rapidly break down into derivatives which bind to soil particles and do not dissolve in water.
State of Louisiana
Court of Appeal, Third Circuit - 01-1453
September 13, 2002
Suit Charges Pesticide Damaged Crawfish Farms
... The crawfish farmers allege that the pesticide ICON (Fipronil) devastated Louisiana's 2000 and 2001 crawfish crop after its introduction on the rice seed in 1999. In 2000, Louisiana's crawfish production dropped from 41 million pounds to 16 million pounds ... Scientists say ICON and its degradates will remain in the sediment and may continue to cause damage crawfish production for years to come.
ENS April 17, 2002 European Commission clears Bayer's acquisition of Aventis Crop Science The European Commission has decided to clear Bayer's acquisition of Aventis Crop Science (ACS), subject to substantial divestitures. As initially notified, the operation would have led to the creation or strengthening of dominant positions on about 130 markets for crop protection, professional pest control and animal health products. But Bayer has offered a comprehensive set of commitments, including the sale, in one single package, of best-selling insecticide Fipronil and a number of fungicides, which together constitute ACS' entire European seed treatment business. The commitments fully resolve the Commission's competition concerns. European Commission
July 1, 2002
Introducing Bayer Environmental Science
As of June 4, 2002, the acquisition of Aventis CropScience by Bayer AG became official, having received the blessings of government regulators. The result is Bayer CropScience...
Aventis was the result of AgrEvo merging with Rhone Poulenc.
Grounds Maintenance June 3, 2002
Bayer gets FTC green light - Breaking News Roundup - Federal Trade Commission approves Aventis Crop Science acquisition
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has approved Bayer AG's acquisition of Aventis Crop Science subject to the divestment and outlicensing of certain products. The European Commission approved the deal last month. To consummate the deal, FTC says Bayer must divest the insecticide fipronil for agricultural uses. The company can still market the product for non-agricultural uses through a co-exclusive license, except in Europe. The FTC ruling on fipronil is similar to the European Union (EU) ruling.
November 4, 2002 BASF AGREES to buy from Bayer the insecticide Fipronil
BASF buys Bayer insecticides and seed treatment for [euro]1.2Bn - - Bayer AG sells Fipronil and several fungicides
BASF HAS AGREED to buy from Bayer the insecticide Fipronil and several fungicides for seed treatment. Those were originally owned by Aventis before Bayer took over that company's crop protection business last year... The total package of products, which had sales of [euro]500 million ($490 million) in 2001, is valued at [euro]1.3 billion. But after BASF granted back-licenses to Bayer for certain nonagricultural uses, the cash purchase price amounts to [euro]1.2 billion.
As a result of the deal, BASF will be number three in the world insecticides market in which it had a weak position before its takeover of American Cyanamid two years ago. It will also become a strong operator in the world seed treatment sector.
March 31, 2003 BASF
BASF may seek rebate for fipronil acquisition
BASF AG has completed the acquisition of the insecticide fipronil and a number of seed-treatment fungicides from Bayer CropScience. However, BASF may want to renegotiate the purchase price, as Bayer AG is renegotiating the price of its acquisition of Aventis CropScience.
Bayer agreed to sell the products to BASF last autumn after the European Commission made their divestment a condition for the approval of Bayer's take-over of Aventis CropScience.
Chemical Market Reporter April 11, 2003 BASF
BASF finalizes acquisition of fipronil
BASF AG has finalized the global acquisition of fipronil from Bayer CropScience AG, paving the way for the insecticide with the trade name Regent to join the BASF corn product portfolio... The acquisition of the package from Bayer, including fipronil, also will allow BASF in the mid-term to enter the seed treatment business, Lee noted ...
Delta Farm Press February 6, 2004 Bayer - BASF
Icon rice seed treatment to be pulled from market
... After 2004, no more Icon will be manufactured for rice. Any remaining supplies can be utilized through 2006 ...
Last year, about 30 percent of Arkansas' rice acres (close to 500,000 acres) had Icon on it ... Bayer subsequently sold the fipronil active ingredient to BASF Corp.
Delta Farm Press February 29, 2004
France bans fipronil
Bayer CropScience USA
Trial Monday in rice pesticide-crawfish farmers case
The defendant, originally Aventis CropScience, was bought by Bayer AG in 2002 and is now called Bayer CropScience.
Bayer AG sold the pesticide involved, called fipronil, to BASF AG to meet U.S. and European regulators conditions for the Aventis purchase. However, it kept the right to sell fipronil in certain markets.
Bayer CropScience USA announced in February that it won't make Icon after this year because of falling sales. Remaining supplies can be used through 2006. Icon is also the only pesticide approved for use against another rice pest called the lespedeza worm or grape colaspis.
Last week, France's agriculture minister banned sales of fipronil because of allegations that it kills honeybees. However, the country's ecology minister acknowledged that the allegations have not been "entirely" proved.
The Associated Press
March 3, 2004 US EPA’s Office of Research and Development’s National Exposure Research
Fipronil is included in a
Longitudinal Study of Young Children's Exposures in their Homes to Selected Pesticides, Phthalates, Brominated Flame Retardants, and Perfluorinated Chemicals
(A Children's Environmental Exposure Research Study--CHEERS)
Federal Register. [ORD-2003-0011; FRL-7630-5].
Part A: Supporting Statement, identifies Fipronil and other chemicals to be tested
March 29, 2004 Amount Class Action suit of Louisiana Crawfish farmers settled for Excerpt: IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Settling Insurer and the Compromising Parties pay into the Escrow Account the sum of Forty-Five Million and No/100 ($45,000,000.00) Dollars (the "Settlement Fund") within sixty (60) days of the execution of the Settlement Agreement.
27th Judicial District Court, Parish of St. Landry, Louisiana.
March 29, 2004 Bayer CropScience
1.2 The term "Bayer CropScience" shall mean and refer to Bayer CropScience LP, formerly known as Aventis CropScience USA LP, formerly known as Rhone-Poulenc Ag Company, Inc.
1.11 The term "Compromising Parties" or "Compromising Party" shall mean and refer to
(a) G & H Seed Company, Inc.,
(b) Bayer CropScience,
(c) Crowley Grain Drier, Inc.,
(d) Mamou Rice Drier and Warehouse, Incorporated, and
(e) Nolan J. Guillot, Inc.
Settlement Agreement Undated (either late March 2004 or April 2004) Aventis Bayer faces $US 7 million negative impact from settlement with lobster fishermen
... The rest of the $45 million payment is covered by insurance and an agreement with BayerCropScience and Aventis, under which the French company has to cover any liabilities, Bayer said ...
ADVN - Advanced Financial Network July 1, 2004 Bayer CropScience
Bayer requested, and the US EPA approved, an Order canceling three registrations:
264-576 Icon 80WG fipronil
264-577 Icon 6.2FS fipronil
264-580 Icon 6.2SC fipronil
This cancellation order is effective July 1, 2004.
Existing stocks already in the hands of dealers or users can be distributed, sold, or used legally until they are exhausted, provided that such further sale and use comply with the EPA-approved label and labeling of the affected product.
Fipronil; Cancellation Order for Certain Product Registrations.