Brazil sues Syngenta for alleged environmental damage

By Ricardo Brito

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil’s environmental agency IBAMA has sued Syngenta alleging the chemicals company caused “environmental damage” by producing and selling pesticides using much higher concentrations of a carcinogen than allowed under law, according to court documents seen by Reuters.

In the suit filed last week, IBAMA said it was seeking damages to remedy the environmental and human health problems arising from the use of such a toxic product.

Syngenta did not have an immediate comment.

IBAMA told a federal judge in Sao Paulo it had found evidence of use of a cancerous substance called “bronopol” at levels almost three times above the quantity authorized in the manufacturing of insecticide “Engeo Pleno.”

That substance was also illegally added to insecticides “Karate Zeon 250 CS” and “Karate Zeon 50 CS” but is not a part of their formula, according to IBAMA’s allegations.

Syngenta would have produced 4.7 million liters of these three insecticide, of which at least 4.4 million were marketed, according to evidence produced by the agency and presented to the court.

IBAMA estimates that the sale of the allegedly adulterated products generated more than 400 million reais ($73 million) for the company.

The agency has also asked the judge to force the company to identify, collect and properly dispose of products sold that have not yet been withdrawn from the market.

The courts have not made any decisions yet.

The value of the compensation will be determined during the course of proceedings, according to court documents.

To guarantee payment of damages in case IBAMA wins the case, the agency has asked the court to require the company to set aside 90 million reais.

($1 = 5.4849 reais)

(Reporting by Ricardo Brito, writing by Ana Mano; Editing by Alistair Bell and David Gregorio)


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