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DU PONT AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS MAKES BENLATE ANNOUNCEMENT

       DU PONT AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS MAKES BENLATE ANNOUNCEMENT
    WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., Nov. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Du Pont (NYSE: DD) announced here today that the company has concluded that Benlate did not cause the crop damage reported since March 1991.
    Agricultural Products Vice President William F. Kirk told reporters at a news conference that the company's conclusion is based on extensive scientific research, unprecedented in the agricultural chemical industry, conducted by Du Pont in 1991 and 1992, combined with more than two decades of product testing and experience with the Benlate product line.
    "Consistently throughout the research, we could find or establish no cause and effect relationship between our product and the crop damages reported since March '91," Kirk said.  "We still do not know what caused the various crop losses, but we now are convinced that it was not Benlate."
    Kirk said Du Pont will share its findings with national and state officials and the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS).  The company hopes its information will help the university in its research effort to isolate the true cause or causes of crop losses.
    As of today, Du Pont will no longer pay Benlate claims, based on the findings of its research.
    Since March '92, Du Pont has field-tested 250,000 plants, involving 35 species or varieties of woody ornamentals, foliage plants and field crops.  The crops were grown under commercial conditions at a number of nursery and field sites located in the state which had most of the plant damage complaints.  The plants were treated with Benlate DF lots that growers alleged had caused damage, and with Benlate WP and a combination of other frequently used agricultural chemicals.
    The plants were tested under an extensive range of conditions -- which included excessive application rates and frequencies -- and environmental variables, such as temperature, light and humidity.
    "This undertaking involved the equivalent of more than 100 people committed full-time for one year.  This intense investigation turned up absolutely no evidence that Benlate, when used at maximum allowable rates, causes plant damage.  In fact, we could not cause crop damage, even at eight times the maximum allowable rate," Kirk said.
    He noted that the independent scientific advisory panel, which included members of the National Academy of Science, was instrumental in guiding Du Pont's research efforts and reviewed results and conclusions of the research.
    "I am pleased to tell you that the scientists agree with our findings that Benlate DF is not the cause of the plant damage," Kirk said.
    Grower Joe Cialone, co-owner of Tropical Ornamentals nursery in Delray Beach, Fla., who participated in the field test, told reporters that he agreed with Du Pont's conclusions.
    Also, Kirk addressed recent allegations of health effects caused by the use of Benlate.
    "We firmly believe that no adver MP-LJ -- PH007 -- 3034 11/05/92 11:17 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 5, 1992
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