CHEMICAL FIRMS TARGETED OVER TOXIC SHIP PAINTS
of the Earth's Norwegian branch is calling for at least two chemical firms to be
taken to court after linking polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) in Oslo harbour
sludge to their ship paint products. The study was commissioned by the local
municipality, which wants to launch a clean-up operation but doesn't want to
shoulder the entire costs, estimated at NKr200,000 (euros 24,400).
spotlight are Bayer and Solutia (formerly Monsanto), and to a lesser extent
Japanese firm Kanegafuchi Chemicals Industry Co. Having demonstrated through
"chemical fingerprints" what it says is a strong link between these companies'
products and PCB in Oslo harbour sludge, the Norwegian Society for the
Conservation of Nature (NNV) is demanding that they be forced to pay at least
half the costs of any clean-up operation.
Oslo has one of the most polluted
harbours in Norway, according to NNV, with PCB levels of up to 4,000 parts per
million. Successfully launching court action against any of the targeted
chemical firms "could set an international precedent" for environmental
liability, according to the group's Tom Erik Økland.
According to Mr Økland,
the companies have known since the 1960s that substances they sold to shipyards
were very toxic and had low biodegradability. "The basis [of a suit] will be
negligence liability linked to the fact that the companies have omitted to
inform the recipients of the product of its PCB content and/or the possible
harmful effects of this," according to Oslo law firm Advokatfirmaet Føyen &
Co, which collaborated with NNV on the report.
(http://www.naturvern.no), tel: +47 22 40 24 00, the report
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