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Bayer CropScience said Tuesday it will eliminate 300 jobs in West Virginia and Georgia following a decision to stop producing a pesticide deemed a safety risk to infants and children.
The announcement follows a decision last August to stop using aldicarb at Bayer's plant in Institute, W.Va., and a plan to stop using a second chemical involved in an explosion that killed two workers in 2008.
Most of the jobs are being eliminated at the Institute plant, where 220 positions will be cut by 2013. Bayer CropScience employs about 500. Officials said the remaining 80 jobs will be eliminated at a plant that uses aldicarb Woodbine, Ga., which will close next year.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says the pesticide no longer meets its rigorous food safety standards and may pose unacceptable dietary risks.
Bayer sells aldicarb under the product name Temik, which is used on citrus and potatoes.
Bayer officials say the West Virginia jobs will be eliminated in 2012 and 2013. Just how the cuts will occur and the split between hourly and management workers will be determined in collaboration with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers local representing employees at the Institute plant, plant manager Steve Hedrick said.
"I'm very proud of our employees," Hedrick said during a news conference. "They accepted this the right way."
Bayer said it also plans to eliminate the use and storage of methyl isocyanate at Institute. Two workers were killed in an explosion involving a tank of the chemical there in 2008.
Hedrick said Bayer plans to use up remaining stores of the chemical, which is used to make the pesticide Larvin.
"We will not produce, store, consume, utilize MIC," Hedrick said.