Delta & Pine's toxic waste in Paraguay

In 1998 the Delta & Pine company dumped 660 tons of expired cottonseed treated with agrotoxics in Rincón-i-Ybycuí, a rural community located 120 kilometres south from Asuncion. This action lead to environmental and health damage.


On November 1998 with the approval of the Cámara Algodonera de Paraguay (CADELPA) the company Delta & Pine Paraguay (later owned by Monsanto) dumped 660 tons of expired cottonseed in Rincón-i-Ybycuí, a rural community located 120 kilometres south from Asunción (capital of Paraguay). According to a New Youth Report, "the cottonseeds were treated with high concentrations of toxic pesticides, including the organophosphates acephate and chlorpyrifos. Organophosphates are powerful poisons which attack the central nervous system. The label on the seed sacks states that the acephate chemical compound (trade name: Orthene 80 Seed Protectant) "contains material which may cause cancer, mutagenic or reproductive effects based on laboratory animal data". The same report reveals that the risk of cancer depends on duration and level of exposure and that the toxic cocktail, extending over one-and-a-half hectares, was covered with only a thin layer of soil.

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Basic Data
Name Delta & Pine's toxic waste in Paraguay
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Waste Management
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Specific CommoditiesCotton
Project Details and Actors
Project Details-Delta & Pine Paraguay (later owned by Monsanto) dumped 660 tons of expired cottonseed in Rincón-i-Ybycuí the cottonseeds were treated with high concentrations of toxic pesticides, including the organophosphates acephate and chlorpyrifos which lead to environmental pollution and health damage to local communities specially children.
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Potential Affected Population 600 directamente intoxicadas
Start Date11/1998
Company Names or State EnterprisesDelta & Pine from United States of America
Cámara Algodonera de Paraguay (CADELPA) from Paraguay
Relevant government actorsMinisterio de Salud,Cámara Algodonera de Paraguay (CADELPA),Ministerio de Agricultura,
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersSupporters: Unión Internacional de los Trabajadores de la Alimentación (UITA) (Red-IUTA); Comisión de Defensa del Medio Ambiente y los Derechos Humanos; Ethical Tribunal against Impunity in Paraguay;Alter Vida;RAPAL.
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Informal workers
International ejos
Local ejos
Trade unions
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Soil contamination
Health ImpactsVisible: Deaths, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Potential: Malnutrition
OtherSpecific impacts on children;
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights
OtherSpecific impacts on children; Impact in the economic activities since nobody wanted to buy products from the farmers of Rincon'í
Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCourt decision (victory for environmental justice)
Application of existing regulations
-Imprisonment and fines for those responsible for the company
Development of AlternativesVictims asked for:

-Immediate action to remove the toxic seed and decontaminate the area;

-Immediate and comprehensive medical treatment for the victims;

-A program of long-term medical and environmental surveillance, including regular monitoring of water supplies;

-Adequate compensation for the victims, their families, and the wider community
Do you consider this as a success?Yes
Why? Explain briefly.The local communities claim that is was a victory for them as it is the first time in Latin America that there is a criminal conviction due to an intentional environmental crime which sets a precedent por the region.

At the same time, they argue that the punishments were not enough.
Sources and Materials

Book: Carlos Amorín (2000) Las Semillas De La Muerte. Basura Tóxica Y Subdesarrollo: El Caso Delta & Pine

Red-UITA Special Report
[click to view]


La biotecnología de las transnacionales en acción: el envenenamiento de Rincón-í
[click to view]

Pesticide Treated Seeds Cause Disaster in Paraguay
[click to view]

Entrevista de Rosalía Ciciolli (Red-UITA) a Ana María Segovia, vocera de 139 familias afectadas.
[click to view]

Las semillas de la muerte - Es inminente el fallo judicial
[click to view]

Other Documents

Asamblea de afectados por la basura tóxica, 23 | Noviembre | 2008 | Rincon’í, Paraguay Fuente: Red-UITA;
[click to view]

Protests the day of the criminal trial
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorGrettel Navas, ENVJustice Project
Last update20/12/2016