Dow to pay $2M for making false pesticide safety claims

December 17th, 2003

To the Editor,

This article confirms what many of us have long known about environmental enforcement. No one is “minding the store”. The NYS Attorney General was quoted as stating …”he was surprised $2 million is apparently the largest pesticide penalty.” If Mr. Spitzer, a long time proponent for the removal of pesticides from our communities, bothered to investigate the pesticides enforcement division of the New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation, he would realize this body has no mandate to actually investigate violations of law nor any intent of doing so.

I was sickened and forced to leave an apartment on Long Island last summer. Engaging a toxicology lab, levels of Dursban, banned on Long Island since 2001, were found circulating in the air. I submitted proofs of its presence to the DEC so they could find out the source of this dangerous pollutant, likely originating from a source external to the house I was occupying. No one ever left their chairs at the DEC. No one ever called the homeowner, the contractor of the site next door where a new house was being built or the landscapers of another large, adjoining property to inquire about pesticide usage. After three months (in which I asked the AGs office to encourage some action on the part of the DEC), I was informed that the investigation was closed – with no logical basis for the decision other than they saw no reason to pursue it.

Someone should tell Mr. Spitzer that penalties and fines can only be levied if someone actually finds and prosecutes the wrongdoer. With regard to pesticides, that is not happening on his watch nor does the state’s Office of Inspector General act to investigate the fraud, waste and abuse inherent in the enforcement process. While slaps on the wrist are being issued for mere advertising violations, citizens continue to suffer and die from the rampant misuse of these products with the full knowledge and tacit consent of our “enforcement” agencies.

Barbara Rubin

Categories: Ithaca Journal

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