14 June 1996

Withdraw Benlate now, say solicitors

SOLICITORS acting for families of children born without eyes are calling for the immediate withdrawal of the fungicide benomyl, marketed under the name Benlate.

London firm Leigh Day & Co are also demanding the resignation of the chairman of the advisory committee on pesticides (ACP).

The calls follow a US jurys decision to award £2.7m ($4m) compensation to a child born without eyes claimed to have been caused by his mothers exposure to Benlate during pregnancy. Cases for British children are now expected to be filed in the US courts.

Du Pont said it will appeal against the Miami jurys decision. Roger Doig, Duponts UK director of agricultural products described the verdict as "a blow to sound scientific evidence and to the US jury system". "There is no credible scientific evidence linking the use of Benlate to human health effects."

But Alan Care of Leigh Day & Co said given the verdict there was every cause for concern. "The jurys careful assessment of the evidence contrasts sharply with the UK governments approach to continuing concern," he said. &#42