From Tue Oct 10 15:43:44 2000
Date: Mon, 9 Oct 2000 22:32:57 -0500 (CDT)
From: Mark Graffis <>
Subject: Nicaragua lets banana workers sue over pesticides
Article: 106496
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

Nicaragua lets banana workers sue over pesticides

Reuters, 9 October 2000

MANAGUA, Nicaragua—Nicaragua has passed a law allowing former banana workers to launch class action lawsuits against international firms over pesticides used in plantations.

Victorino Espinales, head of an association of banana workers, said on Friday that Congress approved the law late on Thursday, allowing lawsuits to be brought by Nicaraguans who say they were made ill by DBCP, or dibromochloropropane, a pesticide used on banana plantations in the 1970s.

Workers say 83 of their colleagues have died and around 22,000 have suffered illnesses they blame on DBCP, such as fevers and shooting pains in their bones.

The Association of Banana Workers and Former Banana Workers wants to sue DBCP producers such as Royal Dutch/Shell Group and food firms such as Standard Fruit Company, Chiquita Brands International Inc. and Dole Food Co. . It was not immediately known what amount of compensation they would seek.

The law allows class action lawsuits in Nicaragua for the first time.

In the 1980s, Costa Rican banana workers successfully sued on the grounds that DBCP had made them sterile. Payouts were a couple thousand dollars each, according to their lawyers.