LEAD Action News

LEAD Action News vol 4 no 4 Spring 1996  ISSN 1324-6011
Incorporating Lead Aware Times ( ISSN 1440-4966) and Lead Advisory Service News ( ISSN 1440-0561)
The journal of The LEAD (Lead Education and Abatement Design) Group Inc.

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US Paint and Glue Manufacturer Selling Death to Sniffers

An internet article from "Casa Alianza - Regional Office"

PORTLAND, MAINE, USA -- October 1, 1996. The lives of thousands of children in Latin America were rendered null and void by a U.S. District Court judge this week who opted to dismiss a wrongful death lawsuit filed against H.B. Fuller Company of Minnesota on behalf of the family of a Guatemalan teenager who died from sniffing the company's narcotic shoe glue.

The case was dismissed on jurisdictional grounds. Judge Michael Davis ruled that the case is "immutably Guatemalan." The plaintiff is a Guatemalan family, and the defendant is the Guatemalan subsidiary of the St. Paul adhesives manufacturer. Forum non conveniens.

Known as socially responsible in the United States, H.B. Fuller has for 15 years marketed solvent-based shoe glues in Latin America despite knowledge that its products are being abused by thousands of street children. Lauded for its progressive personnel policies and charitable giving in the Twin Cities, this same company, however, has as recently as 1995 marketed lead paints and highly toxic and carcinogenic pentachlorophenol products in Latin America, despite knowledge that these products are banned or controlled in the United States, and that the biggest victims of lead paint poisoning are children.

H.B. Fuller says it follows the laws of the countries it operates in. So, where there is no law against their toxic products, they have felt free to sell them, no matter what the cost to human life. In this increasingly globalized world economy, few checks exist against the excesses of multinationals like H.B. Fuller. They are one of many corporations who -- working on the global frontiers where law has not yet been written to protect the people - can get away with murder.

Contact: Kathleen Begala.
Ph 00 11 1 (301) 504-0580 Ext. 1193

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