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Dow links chemical to low fertility

Studies conducted at Shell Chemical Co. and Dow Chemical Co. plants of workers exposed to the chemical dibromochloropropane, or DBCP, indicate numerous cases of low fertility and several instances of sterility.

The Record-Eagle, Traverse City, Mich. Friday October 21, 1977 page 12

Wall Street Journal

Ottaway News Service

CINCINNATI- Studies conducted at Shell Chemical Co. and Dow Chemical Co. plants of workers exposed to the chemical dibromochloropropane, or DBCP, indicate numerous cases of low fertility and several instances of sterility.

These studies were undertaken this summer In conjunction with the discovery of low fertility among pesticide formulators at an Occidental Petroleum Corp. unit’s Lathrop, California, plant.  Dow Chemical supplied the unit, Occidental Chemical Co., with DBCP to make Occidental’s soil-fumigant products. Shell, an affiliate Royal Dutch Shell Group, also makes DBCP.

At a meeting of U.S. federal and corporate scientists, sponsored by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the U.S. (NIOSH), Shell and Dow reported their preliminary results from studies at four plants.

Shell Investigators said they had found that among 39 workers with a history of possible exposure to DBCP at a Denver plant, the mean sperm count was 25 million sperm per milliliter of semen, and six workers hadn’t any sperm. Physicians currently use a count of 40 million to 50 million as the norm.

However, Shell said it had discovered that technical problems had arisen in evaluations of semen at the Denver Uruology Laboratory that conducted the Shell study. Officials declined to name the laboratory. Shell said it then had hired University of Colorado researchers to retest the workers and expand the study. The second test showed a mean sperm count of 65 million, with just four workers showing sterility.

“There is probably a small effect (from DBCP exposure) at our mobile plant,” said Dr. Charles Rosa, Shell’s Medical Director for Occupational Health. “But our figures don’t match the high numbers revealed at Dow Chemical and Occidental.”

Dr. Ross added, “we still need to follow up on these workers and conduct further tests.”

Sterility causing chemical also linked with cancer: 23 August 1977

Shell workers show low levels of sperm: 30 August 1977

Dow links chemical to low fertility: 21 October 1977

Pesticide exposure limitations sought: 02 November 1977

CHEMICAL IS CONTAMINATING WATER IN COMMUNITY NEAR ARMY ARSENAL 25 May 1986

Banana workers’ pesticide award invalid, Dow says: 28 May 2003

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