18 Hospitalized by Salinas Pesticide Accident
I’m Ed Smith, a Salinas farm accident lawyer. Eighteen farm workers were hospitalized after being sickened by pesticides while working at a celery farm.
At approximately 5:30 a.m. on 22 June, workers at the Tanimura and Antle celery farm began reporting headaches, nausea, and stomach pain to shift supervisors. Over the course of the next hour, a total of 18 workers came forward.
The workers were taken to the Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital at approximately 6:50 a.m. All 18 were treated for exposure to pesticides after being decontaminated upon arrival. They were all then released from the hospital. No one was admitted to the hospital for treatment.
What caused the workers to become sick?
The authorities still do not know exactly what caused the workers to become sick, but pesticides are believed to be the culprit. All of the workers were exposed to six pesticides: Coragen, Lannate, Pounce, Movento, Fulfull and Actara. In addition, the crops near the workers were also treated with the fungicides Revus and Previcur. All eight chemicals were applied to the crops around 10 p.m. on 21 June.
At this point, investigators from the Monterey County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office believe that the Lannate pesticide caused the workers’ illness. Lannate is the brand name for methomyl, a highly toxic pesticide known to be dangerous to humans and animals.
Investigation into the Accident
The Monterey County Agricultural Commissioner and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation are both investigating the accident. Both agencies have also reported the accident to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as this agency oversees federal regulations regarding the use of pesticides.
The California Department of Industrial Relations’ Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) is also looking into the incident.
Risks of Pesticide Exposure
Pesticides are commonly used by farm owners and even homeowners to control insect populations. Pesticides used on commercial farms, though, can be highly toxic to humans. Farm workers face a high risk of illness from exposure, including nausea, headaches, eye irritation, respiratory distress, and even neurological damage.
Children who go to school or live near fields where these pesticides are used are especially susceptible to their harmful effects. Childhood exposure to pesticides can have long lasting repercussions, including brain damage and long-term breathing problems.
Regulations About Pesticide
There are extensive federal and state regulations governing the use of pesticides on farms. These regulations cover the types of pesticides that can be used and the acceptable quantities. The regulations also determine who can apply the pesticides and what tools they can use to do so.
Liability in Pesticide Accidents
Anyone found to have violated any of the above regulations governing the use of pesticides may be liable for damages sustained in an accident involving pesticides. Additionally, if a farm owner is found to have disregarded the safety of his employees in any way, he may also be liable.
Damages from an accident involving pesticides may include medical expenses, lost wages due to time off of work, and travel expenses for subsequent trips to receive necessary medical care.
Merced Farm Accident Attorney
I am Ed Smith and I am a Salinas farm accident lawyer. If you or a loved one have been injured by pesticides at a farm, I welcome you to contact me at (209) 227-1931 or toll free at (800) 404-5400 for friendly, free advice.
I am also a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
Image Attribution: Public Domain Images at Wikimedia Commons
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