01/24/08: A Syngenta spray operator was directed to apply the insecticide "Warrior" to field #809 (4,5). Winds were light but gusting from the west. The sickening sound of the spray vehicle and vipers hiss of pesticide dispersal were carried on the wind over our campus. Teachers witnessed this action at 3:40pm.
01/25/08: By days end 12 students had been taken to the hospital and 60 others were documented reporting to the health room "after inhaling a noxious odor that caused dizziness, headache and nausea" (6). Teachers counted numerous others returning to class having not been attended to as there was not enough room for them all in the health room. Unlike past less acute incidents, the school’s administration called the Kauai Fire Department and soon after representatives from HAZMAT, Department of Health, Department of Agriculture, Hawaii State Teachers Association, and the Department of Education were on site. T- building was evacuated of students and staff as an investigation ensued.
After a logjam of handshakes first responders from HAZAMT, DOH, DOA, DOE and Syngenta ignoring past peccadilloes (given the technological advances and equipment this 21st century provides), chose to use their olfactory nerve to detect the genesis of the noxious odor. A procession of proboscis lead by Syngenta representatives without need of chemical analysis of soil, air, water, or epidemiologic evidence, proceeded with their investigation. The collective olfactory lobe belonging to Syngenta employees once again determined the cause of odor (and illness) to be Cleome gynandra or “Wild Spider Flower” (7). Teachers were informed of this as well as other specious causes, none implicating Syngenta’s application of “Warrior” as the genesis of illness.
The active ingredient in Syngenta’s “Warrior” product is Lambda-cyhalothrin (4,5). "Lambda-cyhalothrin may cause irritation to the skin, throat nose, and other body parts if exposed. Skin tingling, burning, and prickling feelings, particularly around the face, are unique temporary symptoms of exposure. Other symptoms may include dizziness, headache, nausea, lack of appetite, and fatigue. In severe poisonings, seizures and coma, may occur" (8).
by Rachel Gehrlein - THE GARDEN ISLAND