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Dow Chemical, Shell Sued by South Pasadena Over TCP Contamination


Dow Chemical and Shell Oil were hit with a lawsuit Wednesday by South Pasadena accusing the companies of contaminating the city’s water supply with a toxic chemical found in pesticides the companies once made.

The suit filed in Los Angeles federal court alleges the companies knew or should have known that the chemical, known as 1,2,3-trichloropropane, or TCP, is toxic and renders drinking water unsafe. The companies manufactured and marketed agricultural pesticides containing the chemical for years — and it was used on land in the vicinity of South Pasadena’s wells.

Messages seeking comment from Dow and Shell were not immediately answered.

The companies “knew or should have known of the grave harm and threat to public health and welfare and the environment represented by proliferating use of this compound,” according to the complaint, brought by attorneys with the SL Environmental Law Group.

The suit alleges the pesticide, which was marketed from the 1940s through the 1980s, contaminated wells and the groundwaters that supply them, causing South Pasadena significant expense. The plaintiffs are seeking to recover undetermined damages and costs associated with cleaning the wells.

The lawsuit contends that TCP presents a “significant threat to public health and welfare” and is known to cause liver and kidney damage and blood disorders in animals exposed to TCP via ingestion.


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