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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 adverse health effects have resulted from exposure to Benlate. We are confident that any investigation of possible human health effects related to Benlate will support our strong conviction that Benlate is safe when used properly," he said.
 Additionally, Kirk explained why, at the time, Du Pont made the decision to pay claims.
 "Based on the information we had at the time, scientists believed that there was a high probability that by the time Du Pont completed all testing, Benlate would be found to be a contributor to the plant damage.
 "We were certainly aware of the potential for the imposition of legal liability. To meet that challenge, we began a claims process to review and adjust claims with the objectives of addressing our customers' complaints, minimizing the company's ultimate exposure and expediting resolution of the entire problem.
 "Based on the circumstances and the information available then, we believed that Benlate may somehow have been involved in plant damage," Kirk said. "Today, we are certain that it was not the cause. We remain confident in the integrity of our Benlate product and our science behind it. Benlate is one of the safest and most widely used crop protection products in the world."
 -0- 11/5/92
 /Editors: Following are the six members of the independent scientific advisory panel, their titles, academic affiliations and telephone numbers./
 Professor Arnold Appleby Professor Thomas Hodges
 Crop Science Department Botany and Plant Pathology
 Oregon State University Purdue University
 Corvallis, Ore. 97331 Lilly Hall of Life Sciences
 503-737-4715 West Lafayette, Ind. 47907
 Fax: 503-737-1589 317-494-4657
 Fax: 317-494-5896
 Professor Lawrence Bogorad (A)
 Biological Laboratories Professor Luis Segueira (A)
 Harvard University Department of Plant Pathology
 16 Divinity Ave. University of Wisconsin
 Cambridge, Mass. 02138 Madison, Wis. 53706
 617-485-4292 608-262-3456
 Fax: 617-496-5783 Fax: 608-263-2626
 Professor Peter Day Professor Joseph Varner (A)
 Center for Agricultural Department of Biology
 Molecular Biology Washington University
 Rutgers University St. Louis, Mo. 63130
 College Farm Road 314-935-6803
 New Brunswick, N.J. 08903 Fax: 314-935-4432
 908-932-8165
 Fax: 908-932-6535
 (A) Denotes member of National Academy of Science.
 /CONTACT: Pat Getter of Du Pont, 302-992-6285/
 (DD) CO: Du Pont Agricultural Products ST: Florida, Delaware IN: CHM SU:


MP-LJ -- PH007 -- 3040 11/05/92 11:24 EST
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Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Nov 5, 1992
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