Dozens Fall Ill From Pesticides in Eastern Washington Counties - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Dozens Fall Ill From Pesticides in Eastern Washington Counties

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A sudden spike in pesticide-related illnesses is worrying Washington state health officials. A sudden spike in pesticide-related illnesses is worrying Washington state health officials.
NBCRightNow.com - A sudden spike in pesticide-related illnesses is worrying Washington state health officials.

The state Department of Health says about 60 people have fallen ill after 15 situations where pesticides have drifted from their intended application sites. Health officials say these sicknesses have all been reported in the past two months and it's as many as the agency normally sees in a year. The people reporting getting sick are primarily orchard workers.

All of the recent instances of pesticide drift have occurred in eastern Washington including Benton, Franklin, and Yakima counties.

The Department of Health is asking the Department of Agriculture, WSU Cooperative Extension, and the Farm Bureau to help notify licensed pesticide applicators about the problem.

“We’re concerned with this spike in potential drift exposures and are calling our partner agencies to work with pesticide applicators on following state and federal rules to prevent drift,” said Kathy Lofy, state health officer. “Protecting people from unnecessary exposure to these chemicals is a responsibility that needs to be taken seriously.”
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