Daily News Archive
From September 1, 2006                                                                                                        

Georgia Communities Suffer Summer of MOCAP
(Beyond Pesticides, September 1, 2006) Over 600 people sick, at least 8 hospitalized, sick and dying pets, dead and fleeing wildlife – this is the summer several northern Georgia communities have experienced due to chronic pesticide exposure. The trouble began when a local waste treatment plant accepted several shipments of wash water from containers that had held the pesticide MOCAP.

Residents began to notice an onion-like smell around Memorial Day – a smell they say is still wafting in the air. The source of the smell is propyl mercaptan, an ingredient added to MOCAP so it can easily be detected. While propyl mercaptan can cause its own set of health problems, the health risks of the situation are compounded by the organophosphate that is listed as MOCAP’s active ingredient, ethoprop. Ethoprop is acutely toxic, a cholinesterase inhibitor, and is carcinogenic.

The smell was initially reported to cover over 200-miles and has persisted over a 40-square-mile hot zone, affecting Fayette and Fulton counties. Within the hot zone, people have reported experiencing maladies including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, respiratory problems, burning eyes, and skin irritation. Within a 2-mile radius of the treatment plant, pets have been reported as sick, reluctant to go outside, and several have died. Additionally, much of the wildlife has fled.

Citizens have reacted by petition, protest and class action lawsuit. They have also tried to carry out independent testing of soil, air and water samples, and have organized to form the South Fulton/Fayette Community Task Force. The state of Georgia has already reached a settlement with the waste treatment plant, which includes a $100,000 fine. Residents and local politicians are pushing for more, and both Fayette and Fulton counties have passed resolutions calling for permanent closure of the plant.

For more information and to continue following this story, visit the South Fulton/Fayette Community Task Force’s news archive.

TAKE ACTION: If a pesticide has made you sick, fill out a Pesticide Incidence Report so harmful pesticide exposures can be tracked.