Chemical companies sued by Pittsburgh sportscaster over father’s death

By |  May 19, 2014

Rich Walsh, a sports reporter for Pens TV in Pittsburgh has gone to battle with some of the largest chemical companies over the damaging effects of pesticides.

Walsh is accusing several companies, including Bayer, BASF, Dow, John Deere Landscapes, Monsanto and Syngenta, of producing pesticides that led to the death of his father, Tom Walsh. Tom Walsh worked at a Pittsburgh-area golf course for over two decades when he was diagnosed with leukemia. He passed away at the age of 56 in 2009.

After Tom Walsh’s death, his oncologist showed Walsh some alterations to DNA that could have been caused by exposure to chemicals. Tom Walsh kept log books, recording each use of pesticides at the course throughout his career. The evidence that any specific chemical made by the companies involved caused Tom Walsh’s death is being disputed in court.

Bayer, BASF, Dow, Monsanto and Syngenta responded to the lawsuit. John Deere Landscapes declined to comment. These statements were posted on Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 website and can all be read here:

“BASF has denied the allegations set forth in Mr. Walsh’s complaint, which was filed in 2010. Ten of the claims against BASF have already been dismissed by the court. The remaining claims relate to a BASF fungicide which complies with all state and federal regulations for use and is not associated with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia. BASF expects the remaining claims will also be dismissed by the court.” – BASF Statement.

“We are sorry to learn that Mr. Walsh passed away. Monsanto takes safety of its products seriously. The complaint provides no evidence or rationale for asserting that Monsanto products were in any way responsible for Mr. Walsh’s condition.” – Monsanto Statement.

The lawsuit has been filed by Walsh and his father’s estate.

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About the Author: Molly Gase

Molly Gase was an Associate Editor for Golfdom and Athletic Turf. Gase is a recent graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University with a master’s degree in Magazine, Newspaper and Online Journalism.

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