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HealthPolicies & Politics

Should Bayer be Forced to Buy Gas Masks for an Entire City?

Following a slew of environmental failures by Bayer CropScience, the EPA has issued a punishment that some say does not go nearly far enough. While the chemical giant will be required to pay about one million dollars in fines and safeguards against future disasters, the punishment will hardly put a dent in their profits, which were reported at nearly $5 billion in 2007.

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The agreement was made possible from a deal between the EPA and Bayer, and the bulk of the fines are in the form of Bayer buying pollution control devices for the city of Charleston, West Virginia. But the local group People Concerned About MIC says that the punishments don’t go nearly far enough.

The group is calling on the EPA to require Bayer to buy gas masks for everyone in the Kanawha Valley, as well as fund a community health study.

It may seem like a one million dollar fine is already a hefty punishment, but it only scratches the surface of Bayer’s wrongdoings. Aside from breaking at least five environmental laws continuously for years, Bayer’s plant was also the site of a deadly explosion last month. The agreement with the EPA accounts for some of the regulations that have been broken but fails to even address the fires, which killed two Bayer workers in August.

The EPA lists “prior history of compliance” as a reason for the lenient punishment, but I doubt that will mean very much to the families of the dead Bayer workers. The normal deadline was extended so that comments can be left to the EPA until January 16. Click here to let the EPA know that Bayer needs to make reparations to those who have been wronged by their negligence.

Photo Credit: Borislav Dopudja on Stock.Xchng




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