Field Workers and Child Fell Ill after exposure to fumigant Vapum


ALBERTON -- A strawberry growing operation in Alberton has been fined $4,000 by Health Canada for not following proper directions in applying the pesticide called Vapum.

Last fall, 13 workers from Westech Agricultural Ltd. ended up at the local hospital after being exposed to chemical fumigants applied to the land.

The shortness of breath was caused by vapor from Vapum, a fumigant injected in the soil to reduce pests in the company's strawberry fields.

A little girl was also exposed to the chemical while she was waiting for her school bus that morning. She was taken to the hospital for treatment later in the day, suffering the same symptoms caused from chemical exposure.

Westech has three options. It can write a cheque, appeal the decision or sign a compliance agreement allowing the company to invest $8,000 in new equipment or training and avoid paying the fine.

No one with Health Canada or its Pesticide Management Regulatory Agency could be reached for comment.

The owner of Westech did not return calls made by The Journal-Pioneer before press time.

Copyright  2002 Summerside Journal-Pioneer

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