Workers from two local businesses were sickened Thursday after a cloud of pesticide drifted over them.
According to Battalion Chief Darryl Whisnand of the Kern County Fire Department, a cloud of Vapam was released that drifted over HDB Industries and P & G Communications.
The 11 victims had minor exposure to the hazardous fumigant with complaints of eye irritation. All victims were decontaminated at the site. One of the victims also had throat irritation and was transported to a local hospital.
Vapam is an agricultural product used as a soil fumigant to control or suppress weeds and to control or suppress soil-borne pests and agricultural-based diseases.
The fumigant is spread on the ground and water is used over the fumigant to trap fumes in the ground. According to Whisnand a breeze came through before water was applied.
Unfortunately we just had a small breeze this morning, Whisnand said.
None of the chemical handlers were affected, and water eventually capped the remaining soil fumigant.
There will be a follow-up investigation.
According to American Vanguard, the maker of Vapam, the chemical is hazardous to humans and domestic animals.
Prolonged contact will cause eye, nose and throat irritation.
Click for more information on Vapan
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