Giraffe Heroes Database

Champney, Barry

Champney, Barry

Barry Champney, an investment advisor, bought a home in Jericho, Long Island, New York in the 1980’s. He didn’t know at the time that an exterminator had used the toxic chemical, Chlordane to treat the house.

When he learned about Chlordane and its high level of toxicity, he was outraged, particularly when he was told that his children would have a significantly greater chance of getting cancer as a result of their exposure to this chemical.  

His outrage grew more when he learned that Chlordane had been used in many other homes in New York State.  He decided to stick his neck out and take on the industry still using this product.  He formed an organization called “People against Chlordane” in 1988 and began a personal crusade to ban the use of this chemical.

Chlordane was a man-made chemical that was manufactured and used as a pesticide in the U.S. for many years.   It was sold from 1948 to 1988 and was touted as an effective pesticide for a variety of uses, including pesticides for crops, home lawns and the control of termites.

In order to educate the public about the dangers of Chlordane, Champney appeared on major media and gave talks wherever he could. He lost income by taking so much time away from work, and the pesticide industry invested a lot of money in portraying him as a fanatic, in hopes of silencing him. But “People against Chlordane” prevailed, initially getting the New York Legislature to issue a temporary ban on Chlordane and then seeing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) get involved. Despite all the efforts of the pesticide industry, the use of Chlordane was permanently banned in the United States in 1988.

Update: In 2005 Champney became Chief Compliance Officer of an investment firm, and he is a special advisor to the Governor of New York about the dangers of pesticides.

Age when commended: adult (20-64)
Year commended: 1988
Occupation: Business person
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