Methyl Bromide & Terminex
A Delaware father is in stable condition and improving as his two boys remain in critical condition after they became sick — perhaps from pesticide exposure, federal officials say — during a trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Friday that the presence of a pesticide at the rented villa in St. John may have caused the illnesses, which were reported to the EPA on March 20.
Elias Rodriguez, an EPA spokesman, said the agency’s preliminary test results “do show that there was a presence of methyl bromide in the unit where the family was staying.”
Exposure to methyl bromide can result in serious health effects, including central nervous system and respiratory system damage, according to the EPA.
The use of the pesticide is restricted in the United States because of its acute toxicity. It’s not allowed to be used indoors. Only certified professionals are permitted to use it in certain agricultural settings.
The EPA said it is working with local government agencies to investigate whether the family was made ill after a fumigation at the resort on March 18 and whether any environmental regulations or laws were violated.
Sea Glass Vacations said it licensed an outside company, Terminix, for the pest control services. Monday, it ended its contract with Terminix.
In an email to CNN before the termination, a spokesman for Terminix wrote that the company is “committed to performing all work … in a manner that is safe for our customers, employees, the public and the environment” and is “looking into this matter internally, and cooperating with authorities.”
The U.S. Department of Justice has initiated a criminal investigation.
“Many questions remain why an odorless pesticide of this level of toxicity could be manufactured, distributed and applied in a residential area resulting in this family’s injuries,” Maron said.
The attorney added: “The family is confident that the responsible parties will be brought to justice and held accountable.”
Source: CNN, 4/7/15