Birth defects: Hawaii pesticides

Thornton Law Firm Files Pesticide Birth Defect Case Against Monsanto in Maui

Thornton Law Firm, together with co-counsel Waters Kraus & Paul, Galiher DeRobertis and Waxman, and Phillips & Paolicelli, filed a first-of-its-kind complaint in Hawaii state court on October 24, 2019 on behalf of two families whose children were born with severe birth defects as the result of exposure to toxic pesticides used at Monsanto’s GMO fields in the town of Kihei, Maui.  The families both live in the same neighborhood downwind and within a few hundred yards of Monsanto’s large genetically engineered seed facility in Kihei. Monsanto is known to have sprayed a series of dangerous pesticides and herbicides known as Restricted Use Pesticides on these fields for decades. As a result of the continuous spraying, the complaint alleges that the prevailing and constant winds on Maui caused those pesticides to drift into the neighboring community of Kihei — where the mothers of the two plaintiffs were exposed to them while pregnant.

The injuries suffered by the parties are severe.  One of the plaintiffs was born with her throat detached from her esophagus, which required her to undergo multiple surgeries as an infant, a condition that requires her to utilize a trach tube to this day. The other plaintiff suffers from severe kidney issues that required various surgeries and a severe form of ADHD. Birth defects such as these and others have been closely linked to the exposure of pregnant mothers to toxic pesticides.

News articles about the case can be found here:

https://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/2019/10/25/suit-blames-birth-defects-maui-community-chemicals-monsanto-fields/

https://www.khon2.com/local-news/maui-mother-whos-filed-lawsuit-against-monsanto-its-just-not-right/

https://www.kitv.com/story/41230825/lawsuit-claims-monsanto-caused-birth-defects-in-maui-neighborhood

What to know

Hawaii, Genetically Engineered Seeds, and Pesticide Use

Genetically-engineered (“GE”) technology is a form of crop modification which allows scientists to create new crop varieties with desirable traits, such as drought resistance, virus resistance, or pesticide resistance. Instead of selecting parent crops with specific traits to cross breed, genetic engineering allows breeders to change a plant’s trait by directly altering that plant’s DNA.

Hawaii became the global epicenter of genetically modified corn in the 2000s, when agrochemical companies Monsanto, DuPont Pioneer, Syngenta and Dow Chemical took over agricultural land that had been abandoned by sugar and pineapple growers.  Most varieties of genetically modified corn are designed to be resistant to the herbicides, insecticides and fungicides sold with it by the same company.

Hawaii’s warm and sunny year-round weather allows for three or four crops of genetically modified corn a year, rather than one or two on the U.S. mainland, reducing the time it takes to test and bring a new strain to market from five years to three.

Large multinational corporations like Monsanto, Dow, Syngenta, and BASF operate tens of thousands of acres of fields across Maui, Oahu, and Kauai where they spray various chemicals, including Restricted Use Pesticides.  Pregnant mothers’ exposures to certain of these pesticides, through drift or other means, can result in birth defects when the children are born.

Our team

Thornton Law Firm is a nationwide leader in groundbreaking litigation representing families of children born with catastrophic birth defects from toxic exposures. The parents of the children the Firm represents were exposed to glycol ethers in semiconductor “clean rooms,” pesticides in agriculture, and a variety of chemicals used in manufacturing. Since 2014, the Firm has obtained settlements in excess of $100 million in cases involving pregnant women in the workplace or the environment who were exposed to ethylene glycol ethers, coal ash, pesticides, and other hazardous substances and had children born with catastrophic birth defects. Partners David C. Strouss and Evan R. Hoffman are leading the effort in Hawaii to hold Monsanto and others accountable for the harm caused by pregnant mothers’ exposures to harmful pesticides.

Our attorneys, using a team of prominent medical and epidemiological experts, and our own public health specialist, thoroughly examine every facet of each pesticide-related birth defect claim. If our investigation shows that a birth defect resulted from negligence or wrongdoing, we put the power of our significant experience and knowledge to work to ensure the responsible parties are held liable and the family is fully compensated. Tell us your birth defect story online or call the Boston lawyers of Thornton Law Firm at 1-888-491-9726 for a free consultation with a recognized leader in toxic tort and birth defect litigation. You have nothing to risk. We offer a fair and accurate assessment of your case.

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