A West Kauai agribusiness operation sent 10 farm workers to the hopsital Wednesday after they were exposed to a pesticide that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is considering banning.
Josh Uyehara, Syngenta station manager on Kauai, said some workers on Wednesday entered a cornfield that had been sprayed 20 hours earlier with the pesticide. The recommended wait period for the pesticide is 24 hours.
The field had been sprayed with chlorpyrifos, which goes by the brand name Lorsban. Within a few minutes of being on site, a manager informed the farm workers that they should not have entered the area, ushered them out and offered immediate access to medical care, Uyehara said.
Ten workers were taken by company vehicles to Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital in Waimea, where some were treated and released that day. Others were kept overnight for observation, Uyehara said. Some have since returned to work, but others are expected to return Monday. He would disclose information about any symptoms they experienced, citing health privacy laws.
Chlorpyrifos can overstimulate the nervous system, causing nausea, dizziness, confusion and, at very high exposures, respiratory paralysis and death, the EPA says.