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Dow Chemical Indian Subsidiary Under Fire for Dursban

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India is threatening to “blacklist” a subsidiary of Dow Chemical for allegedly bribing an official there to allow the sale of the pesticide, Dursban.

In 2007, Dow Chemical was fined $325,000 by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over Indian bribery charges. According to the SEC, a Dow subsidiary had been trying to circumvent the Indian registration process for three pesticides, one of which was Dursban.

According to the Hindustan Times, Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said “a show cause notice has been issued to Dow Agro Sciences India Private Limited and Agro Pak as to why they shouldn’t be blacklisted and excluded from purchases of pesticides made by the government.” Pawar also said that a fresh review on the “safety and efficacy” of pesticides that were cleared for sales following the alleged bribery had been ordered.

Dursban has already been banned in the US, although Dow still markets an agricultural version of the pesticide called Lorsban. The active ingredient in Dursban, chlorpyrifos is known to be toxic to humans and can cause muscle spasms, dizziness, seizures, vomiting, diarrhea and paralysis.

Outside the US, Dow continues to market Dursban as safe. In Iran for example, Dow’s sales literature claims Dursban has “an established record of safety regarding humans and pets.” Since its June 2000 phase-out in the U.S., Dow has aggressively marketed Dursban in India as a safe household chemical.

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