Dozens of farm workers exposed to pesticide south of Kerman

News

Gerawan farm workers out harvesting fruit were exposed to a pesticide just south of Kerman Thursday morning.

According to the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, a contractor in a vehicle was spraying a pesticide nearby, he didn’t realize these farm workers were working in a field.

“When we arrived we had a report of 75 people who were working in an orchard and were exposed to an unknown pesticide,” Fresno City Fire Captain Mike Rangel said.

Some of those workers had to be rinsed off with soap and water to get the chemical off their body.

24 people were complaining of symptoms, while three were taken to a local hospital after complaining of respiratory issues.

“Some of those symptoms, were difficulty breathing, irritation to the ears and nose, airways and basically inducing a cough,” Rangel said.

Fresno County Ag Commissioner Melissa Cregan said farmers are responsible in making sure the pesticide doesn’t come in contact with humans.

“I think the message is talk to your neighbors, look around, the applicator needs to be looking around and it’s their responsibility to assess their surroundings an make sure there’s no worker too close,” Cregan said.

A statement from Gerawan Farming

“Earlier today, a neighboring grower was spraying their fields in the area of West Central and South Goldenrod Avenues. There was a possibility that some spray drifted to orchards at nearby Gerawan Farming. where employees were working. Gerawan had not been given prior notice of the spraying. Immediate action was taken and emergency teams were called to the area to assess, medically evaluate and decontaminate the workers.”

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