The Multinational Monitor


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EPA: Knowing the Poisons On Our Wheaties

Major multinational chemical companies appear to be losing their battle against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over, the confidentiality of data op pesticides hazards

The U.S. Supreme Court refused in late March to hear an appeal by the chemical firms of a lower court ruling that companies must demonstrate "a threat of irreparable harm" before the EPA can be prohibited from disclosing data the companies submit to the agency.

The chemical firms oppose the release of their data on the ;rounds that it would violate trade secrets. The EPA, however, thinks it is important that the information get out. "The public has a right to know what's on their Wheaties," said Ed Gray of the EPA's general counsel's office.

The case, entitled Union Carbide v. EPA, actually has as plaintiffs 13 of the largest chemical corporations in the world; Abbott Laboratories, Ciba-Geigy, DuPont, FMC, Rhone-Poulenc, Rohm and Hass, Salisbury Laboratories, Sandoz, Stauffer, Union Carbide, Uniroyal, Upjohn and Velsicol.

The chemical companies have not given up hope, however. "We will be pursuing other legal channels in the District Court and requesting a rehearing in the Supreme Court," said Kenneth Weinstein, lawyer for the chemical firms.

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