August 22, 2010 / 12:07 PM / 9 years ago

Shell, BASF to appeal ruling on pollution in Brazil

LONDON/FRANKFURT, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) and German chemicals maker BASF BASF.DE plan to appeal a first instance Brazilian court ruling on health injuries related to pollution at a former pesticide plant.

German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) reported on Saturday that a court in Paulinia, 120 kilometers north of Sao Paolo, sentenced BASF and Shell to pay 1.1 billion Brazilian real (490 million euros or $626 million) for soil and ground water pollution.

“We expect that the Brazilian courts at a higher level will eventually establish that we were not responsible for alleged health impacts and other claims,” a Shell spokesman said on Sunday. BASF also plans to appeal, arguing former owner Shell was to blame, a BASF spokeswoman said.

Shell built the factory in the 1970s and sold it to chemicals manufacturer Cyanamid in 1995.

BASF bought the site in 2000 and produced pesticides there for only two years before shutting it down, the spokeswoman said.

Since 2008, the plant owner of the plant is Shell again, she added.

The newspaper reported that former employees of the factory had contracted cancer, cardiovascular diseases and other health problems.

“Shell Brasil regrets that there was environmental contamination at the Paulinia site which was owned at different times by Shell and BASF,” the Shell spokesman said.

“We are convinced that there is no link between our operations and injury to peoples’ health,” he added. ($1=1.756 Brazilian Real) (Reporting by Julie Crust and Frank Siebelt, writing by Arno Schuetze; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)

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