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Daily News Blog

26
Jun

Colorado Couple Sues Dominican Resort for Pesticide Poisoning

(Beyond Pesticides, June 26, 2019)  “We were drooling excessively. My eyes would not stop watering,” Kaylynn Knull said to Denver ABC7, after she and her boyfriend filed suit against a Dominican Republic resort they claimed poisoned them with toxic pesticides. This year, the same resort, the Grand Bajia Principe, has had three Americans die on its premises. This is not the first time an island resort has been implicated in improper, potentially illegal pesticide use. In 2015, a family of four was poisoned by Terminix after the highly toxic fumigant methyl bromide was applied in a nearby room seeped in while they slept.

Ms. Knull told ABC7 that the couple’s symptoms began after rejecting a time share offer at the resort. “As soon as we came back to the room, we noticed it smelled like somebody had dumped paint everywhere. I was having the worst intestinal cramping I have ever experienced. It felt like a chainsaw going through my gut.” The couple booked the first flight off the island, and went to a doctor, who diagnosed them with “Likely Organophosphate poisoning.”

Organophosphates are acutely toxic insecticides that bind to and block the transmission of the acetylcholinesterase, an enzyme important to the proper functioning of our nerves. Blocking this enzyme causes a build-up of acetylcholine, which results in a range of symptoms, including diarrhea, dizziness, urination, headache, excessive salivation, and muscle twitches, as well as potentially more-serious ones, including respiratory muscle paralysis, seizures, respiratory failure, coma, and death. Late last year, a group of leading scientists called for a complete worldwide ban on organophosphates.

Recent reports of Americans dying under questionable circumstances in the same resort led Kaylynn to launch the lawsuit. “Because I honestly believe the truth needs to be told. This sounds way too similar at the same resort. I don’t know, I can’t keep my mouth shut,” she told ABC7.

The resort has released statements indicating that no recent deaths are connected. There are outstanding toxicology report being investigated by the CDC.

If the incidents do confirm pesticide poisoning, it would be another unfortunate, avoidable pesticide tragedy in the Caribbean. After the family in St John was poisoned by Terminix, the company was ordered to pay a $10 million criminal fine. And in April of last year, the applicator in the incident, Jose Rivera, was indicted by a federal grand jury for illegally applying methyl bromide in residential areas.

In countries like the Dominican Republic, not subject to U.S. pesticide laws and regulations, pesticide licensing and applicator training may not have the same level of oversight. According to the World Health Organization, pesticide poisoning incidents within the general population in developing countries is nearly double those recorded among U.S. farmers.

Before you stay at a resort, ask questions about their pest management practices, and consider alternative accommodations if you are not satisfied with the response. If you think you’re being poisoned, get to fresh air immediately and contact authorities. See Beyond Pesticides website for what to do in a pesticide emergency.

All cosmetic, landscape pesticide use is simply unnecessary. For most every pest problem, there are cultural practices and non or least-toxic alternatives that can effectively address pests. Start by building healthy soil through natural composts and fertilizers, and adjusting nutrients based on a soil test. When pest problems arise, currently identify the pest, monitor and set action levels so that infestations can be prevented. Find safer management techniques for a range of pests through Beyond Pesticides ManageSafe webpage.

Source: Denver ABC7

 

 

 

 

 

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  • Archives

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