Tomato Farmers Ask EPA for Help in Dispute

September 16, 2003 - posted at: 8:09 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Tomato farmers already have a lawsuit pending against a chemical company.  Now, the farmers want federal environmental officials to step in to the dispute.

In all, 17 Arkansas tomato farmers sued BASF Incorporated, maker of the herbicide Facet.

The tomato growers are seeking damages for crops lost since the early 1990's, when Facet came into use.  The farmers claim the herbicide damages their crops.

BASF attorneys say the herbicide went through extensive testing and lengthy procedures to get on the market and is safe.

The tomato farmers asked the federal Environmental Protection Agency to pull the herbicide off the market.  They claim the chemical company deceived the government  about the herbicide's effects on tomatoes and other crops.

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.