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Shell and BASF offer $20 million to settle toxic environmental lawsuit

The factory was built in 1977 by Shell. Dozens of former employees of the plant have been diagnosed with prostate, thyroid and other types of cancer, circulatory, liver and intestinal illnesses, as well as infertility and sexual impotence.

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By John Donovan

We were recently contacted by an association representing former workers at a Shell/Basf Chemicals factory in Brazil.

The factory was built in 1977 by Shell. Dozens of former employees of the plant have been diagnosed with prostate, thyroid and other types of cancer, circulatory, liver and intestinal illnesses, as well as infertility and sexual impotence.

Today, AP reported that Shell and BASF have offered $20 million to settle a related class-action. The AP article is printed below.

Shell, BASF Offer Millions in Class Action Suit

Shell Brasil SA and BASF SA have offered more than $20 million to settle a class-action lawsuit with former workers allegedly contaminated at a pesticide plant in the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil…; Prosecutors have said that former workers at the plant and people who live near it have shown many health problems, including prostate cancer, problems with short-term memory and issues with their thyroid glands.

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SAO PAULO February 15, 2013 (AP)

Shell Brasil SA and BASF SA have offered more than $20 million to settle a class-action lawsuit with former workers allegedly contaminated at a pesticide plant in the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil’s top labor court said Friday.

The court said on its website that the two companies have offered to provide 884 workers with lifelong health plans with a “global value” of 52 million reals ($26 million).

Representatives of the two companies and workers are scheduled to meet again at the end of a month to discuss the proposal, the court said.

Shell spokesman Glauco Paiva confirmed the offer of a lifelong health plan but said “for now we prefer not to mention any numbers.” BASF also confirmed the offer on its website.

The chemical plant operated from 1977 until it was closed in 2002. Shell originally owned it, but sold the operation to American Cyanamid in 1995. Germany-based BASF bought American Cyanamid in 2000 and took over the chemicals plant in the city of Paulinia.

In its 2011 annual report, BASF SE, the parent company of BASF SA, acknowledged the site was “significantly contaminated by the production of crop protection products.” It claimed that the site was contaminated before it bought the plant.

Prosecutors have said that former workers at the plant and people who live near it have shown many health problems, including prostate cancer, problems with short-term memory and issues with their thyroid glands.

SOURCE

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RELATED COMMENT POSTED BY “RELIEVED” ON SHELL BLOG Sat, 16 Feb 2013

About the article regarding Shell and BASF: Shell management knew what it was doing when it relocated its pesticide operations from the US (Rocky Flats, Colorado) to Brazil. Shell management knew many of their workers would contact cancer and that they were condemning them to early and painful deaths. Shell didn’t give a s*** about those workers in Brazil and still doesn’t. Shell’s only concern was profit. Today it only concern is limiting the damage settlement. In 1976, when Shell was forced to shut down its US operation, roughly 96% of all Americans had traces of Shell’s ‘miracle’ pesticides in their blood. And the cancer issue was well known at the time. A $20 million settlement offer for those poor folks in Brazil is chicken feed. Shell should be force to pay billions in punitive damages for the deliberate harm they caused in their quest to extend the life of a very, very profitable, albeit dangerous, line of chemical pesticides.

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