On 11/03/06 Hawaii Dept. of Agriculture (D.O.A.) was contacted as per pesticide over spray occurring at Waimea Canyon Middle School (W.C.M.S). The multi-national corporation Syngenta had begun field preparations in an area west of W.C.M.S campus identified as field #809. Winds were blowing off the field towards the school and forecasts called for westerly winds throughout the week. Numerous students and staff were expressing symptoms indicative of pesticide poisoning. DOA inspector Ann Kam was contacted and explained that she was going on vacation but would send someone to the school to investigate. Later that day an employee of Syngenta (Michael Girod ?) came to the school and toured the campus with Vice Principal Linda Uyehara assuring her that Syngenta had no spray operations occurring in the area. When later asked, Mrs. Uyehara stated that she could not remember the employee’s name. Teachers concerned that perhaps the wrong company had been contacted as spray vehicles continued their onslaught of field #809 called the landowner (Kikiaola Land Co Ltd) confirming that Syngenta was the lessee. Field prep operations continued as more and more students and staff became ill from the foul fuel like chemical smell being carried on the westerly winds. On 11/14/06, 60 students reported to the health room complaining of headache, nausea, disorientation, and “flu-like” symptoms (1). School principal Glenda Miyazaki contacted Syngenta who again denied that they were working in the area. She then called Dept. of Health and was referred to HAZMAT who referred her back to D.O.H. As Syngenta employees continued their field operations students and staff most affected were relocated to other areas of campus. Adamant, teachers contacted HSTA union rep Tom Perry who immediately came to the campus. After witnessing the continued field operation and experiencing first hand the symptoms being reported by students and staff; Tom Perry called 911 and the Kauai Fire Dept. (2). To be continued….
1. The Garden Island Newspaper: "Report reveals discrepancies in spraying incident"
2. Star Bulletin: "Stench Sickens Kids and Teachers at School"
3. Cartoon: by Terry Everton