Lourdes Salvador's Column
...Co-founder of MCS America discusses the latest Multiple Chemical Sensitivity issues.
EPA Restricts Fumigant Which Killed Two Young Girls
by Lourdes Salvador
After the deaths of 4-year-old Rebecca Toone and 15-month-old Rachel Toone, the Environmental Protection Agency quickly placed restrictions on the use of the aluminum and magnesium phosphide fumigants used near homes.
Aluminum and magnesium phosphide fumigants disburse phosphine gas, a deadly gas commonly used to fumigate rodents and other burrowing critters.
The Toone sisters died shortly after their parents hired the Bugman, an exterminator, to fumigated rodent holes with Fumitoxin fumigant just outside of their home. The fumigant seeped into the home, poisoning the girls. Criminal investigations of the poisoning are still underway to determine whether the Bugman applied the fumigant according to label instructions.
The new restrictions ban the use of the fumigant near homes and mandates posted warnings in areas where the fumigant has been applied. While these are good measures, they still rely on licensed applicators to use the pesticide as directed.
This is not the first incidence of children dying from these fumigants. A recent news report reminded readers of a 4-year-old Texas girl who died in 2007 after the fumigant was used in her home against the label instructions.
Agricultural interests have opposed banning the fumigant because it effectively eliminates rodents from rice and other grains. They have successfully stymied prior attempts at tighter regulation, but this time the EPA acted immediately and imposed new regulations since the fumigant has not only proved effect at killing rodents, but seems to be quite effective at accidentally poisoning young children in close proximity. The EPA´s fast response is applauded by many.
Warning signs of recent applications are a good move, but may not be enough. Those who live in close proximity to agricultural fields and storage sites may still suffer chronic exposure to the fumigant via drift.
It is a good idea to require that pesticide applicators disclose the products they intend to use in or around a home. In addition, monitoring them during the application may be necessary to ensure the agreed upon application is followed. There have been legal cases where an applicator ran out of a product and substituted another without informing the home owner.
New labels for Fumitoxin will be made available this month for download from the EPA´s website.
For more information, see "EPA restricts pesticide implicated in death of two Layton sisters" by Judy Fahys at: http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_14837495
For more articles on this topic, see: MCSA News.
Copyrighted 2010 Lourdes Salvador & MCS America