Farm workers become ill after exposure to newly marketed pesticides

Photo credit: Taber Andrew Bain Photo credit: Taber Andrew Bain

A recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) documents the poisoning of farm workers in the state of Washington after accidental exposure to new pesticides from off-target drift. Twenty people were working in a cherry orchard when they were exposed to pesticides being sprayed in a nearby pear orchard. Within minutes of the exposure, the workers began to experience symptoms including headaches, nausea, respiratory irritation and eye irritation. The crew leader called 911, and the workers were treated at the local emergency department. This is the first report of illness caused by exposure to three newly released pesticides—pyridaben, novaluron, and triflumizole—and highlights the health risks of exposure via accidental pesticide drift for people living and working in agricultural areas.