Dow Chemical Co., Dow Chemical and the environmental justice coalition announced a settlement Wednesday that includes $3.9 million in civil penalties against seven individual individuals who helped the companies create or promote an illegal, deceptive, and fraudulent pesticide program in the United States.
The settlement resolves claims brought by a coalition of environmental groups that alleged that the companies’ pesticide program was illegal, fraudulent, and unconscionable, and that it caused millions of dollars in damages to the environment and human health.
The companies agreed to pay $1.6 billion in total penalties.
The seven defendants included John D. Hensley Jr., the former president of the Ohio Environmental Council; Donald S. Schmitt, the former chief executive of the American Petroleum Institute; Mark C. Shuman, the president of Purdue University; and Joseph W. Weidenfeld, the executive vice president of Dow Chemical.
Dow Chemical was one of several companies that had developed a series of “pesticide” programs in the early 1990s that were designed to prevent the spread of pests and diseases that could have an adverse effect on the economy and public health.
A few years after the program’s inception, the company began to experiment with a new class of pesticides known as “RoundUp Ready” chemicals that were not intended to be used for food, but instead to combat diseases and pests.
While many pesticides can kill certain types of insects and pests, some of them are designed to be absorbed into the body, meaning they can be used by people to protect themselves from disease.
The new pesticides, which the company says were designed with the health of humans in mind, were marketed under the trade name “Roundup Ready” and were designed by Dow Chemical to target specific pests and disease-causing agents.
In a lawsuit filed in 2010, the plaintiffs alleged that, between 1992 and 1996, the companies sold millions of gallons of “RoundUP Ready” pesticides to growers and retailers.
These products were sold as “Pesticide Ready” or “Preliminary Spray Ready” products to farmers and consumers and marketed as being free of harmful toxins and herbicides.
The plaintiffs alleged the pesticide products were intended to kill pests and reduce their numbers by removing them from the environment, thus reducing their potential impact on the environment.
According to the plaintiffs, the products were marketed to farmers as a “non-chemical alternative to the herbicides” that farmers were using.
The chemical companies then marketed the “Perennial Ready” formulations as being safe to use on corn, soybeans, and cotton, according to the complaint.
According the plaintiffs’ lawsuit, Dow had a monopoly over the market for “PRELIMINARY SPRING” spray-on pesticides, meaning the company was able to control the market.
The lawsuit said that Dow manufactured, distributed, and marketed the products under the “Advanced Perennial Spray” brand, which is a label for the products.
“Dow marketed the PRELIMINAL SPRING product with the misleading slogan ‘Non-Chemical, Safe, and Natural,'” the complaint said.
“PERSISTENT SPRING is a chemical designed to reduce pest populations and increase yield and yield growth for corn, cotton, and soybeans.”
The plaintiffs claimed that the products that the plaintiffs say were being marketed as “Non-Preliminary Spray Ready,” “Predictive Sprays,” “Pre-Predictor,” and “Precisely Prepared” were marketed in an illegal manner.
The lawsuit claimed that Dow knew that it had the right to distribute and sell the pesticides as “PROPERTY” and “PROLIFER” and the defendants knew this as well, but did not publicly disclose the marketing rights of the pesticides or how they were being distributed.
The defendants also allegedly misrepresented that the pesticides were “Non Hazardous” and that they were free of toxic chemicals, including PCBs, benzene, and heavy metals, the lawsuit said.
The complaint said the plaintiffs were “extremely harmed by the deceptive marketing, which was designed to mislead the public and the regulatory agencies about the toxicity of the products and to discourage the use of the product.”
The companies also allegedly “negligently marketed the product to the public, falsely representing that it contained no toxic chemicals and had been approved by the EPA for use in all agricultural uses, despite its presence in the U.S. market,” the complaint continued.
Dew also used deceptive advertising, the complaint alleged.
In particular, the defendants used deceptive language to sell “Pollen-Safe” pesticides that are not pesticide-free, and to promote the products as “preventative.”
The defendants did not disclose that the pesticide-laden products were “not safe,” according to a statement of facts in the complaint filed in U.K. court.
The pesticide-ridden “POP-Ready” products were distributed in a “s