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CHEMICAL PLANT CLOSED - A NEW ATAGE OF THE FIGTH BEGINS


The closure of a chemical plant from the biggest chemical multinational corporation in Brazil and one of the world's biggest, RHODIA / RHÔNE-POULENC, localized in a strategic place for the national economy, was a historical event and a resounding victory to the labor union, to the popular movement, and to the organized society as well.

Chloro-acnes in contaminated worker Skin disease in contaminated worke

 

It took 20 years of uninterrupted, persistent and unequal fightings between workers without any financial resource and RHODIA / RHÔNE-POULENC with their economic power and high level of influence on the Brazilian government, on the Chencellery, and on the Ministry of Health (RHODIA is the major medicine supplier to this Ministry, which is a center of power.)

The dispute was engendered by the continuous violation of both labor and environmental Brazilian laws, which was, in the last analysis, a progressive transgression of elementary principles of civilization by the French multinational. -DOZENS OF DEAD; 10.000 PEOPLE CONTAMINATED; 2 MILLIONS SQUARE METERS OF SOIL AND WATER POLLUTED; 300.000 TONNES OF CHEMICAL WASTE POLLUTING THE ENVIRONMENT; COSTS ESTIMATED AROUND 1.5 BILLION US DOLLARS TO REPAIR THE DAMAGE.

The recovering of contaminated areas of just one city affected, São Vicente, will take to RHODIA / RHÔNE-POULENC 1 billion dollars, as the environmental engineer Werner Eugênio Zulauf has calculated. Zulauf is a former manager from CETESB, the state organ to the environment control in the state of São Paulo, and has presently become Secretary of Environment in the city of São Paulo. For that reason, Zulauf has profound knowledge of the RHODIA affair since at least 15 years.

Reporting press: The Rhodia's Case


The first epidemiologic monitorings in order to evaluate the range of people's contamination by organochlorates has just recently begin . The specialists suspect there is a number around 10.000 contaminated inhabitants in the continental area of São Vicente city.

Nonetheless, the amount of 300.000 tonnes of contaminated material is not a fixed quantity. Both natural and antropic factors increase every day the extent of the contamination in the soil, in the water, and even in the ground water.

In spite of this, it must be emphasized that in the Brazilian environmental legislation - which is almost complete is this area, one of the world's best - the subject of the legal protection is the human being, even before the nature protection. This fact was properly mentioned by G. Berlinger in his book "Medicina e Política" (Medicine and Politics):

" The concept of nature protection implies the acknowledgement that the first violated nature is the human nature, mainly among the workers."

Chemical Unit of Rhodia in Cubatão Chemical waste: population exposed


The Public Ministry and the Curatory of Environment, both legally responsible for the closure of the chemical plant, forced RHODIA to give full employment guarantee for 4 years to the 156 workers removed from work by the closure, and to assume all medical expenses to diagnose diseases and care for them for all their life. Civil actions are presently being elaborated against RHODIA.

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