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Utah Fumitoxin Investigation

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Presentation on theme: "Utah Fumitoxin Investigation"— Presentation transcript:

1 Utah Fumitoxin Investigation
Clark Burgess Utah Department of Agriculture & Food

2 Suspects Information Cole Nocks, pesticide applicator
Bugman Pest and Lawn, Inc. Owner Raymond Wilson, Sr. Company has been in business since 1999 6 other pesticide applicators work for the Company Cole Nocks became licensed in 2008

3 Victims information Nathan & Brenda Toone family live in Layton, Utah
4 children Cassidy, 10 Braden, 7 Rebecca, 4 Rachel, 15 months live in Layton, Utah

4 Emergency Personnel Involved
Layton City Fire Department Utah Poison Control Center Utah National Guard, 85th Civil Support Team Davis County Health Department Wee Care Center Primary Children’s Medical Center, Salt Lake Davis Hospital and Medical Center, Layton

5 Investigating Agencies
Utah Department of Agriculture & Food (UDAF) Utah Attorney Generals Office Layton City Police Layton City Attorney’s Office EPA , Civil EPA, Criminal United States Department of Justice

6 Company Information Bugman Pest and Lawn was licensed as a Pesticide Business with UDAF All applicators were licensed as Commercial pesticide applicators with UDAF The applicator (Cole Nocks) did have a copy of the Pesticide Label and the Applicators Manual with him during the application Mr. Nocks had read the label on the can, but only part of the Applicators Manual The Company conducted training with their applicators once a month

7 (Thursday) February 4, 2010 Brenda Toone called Bugman Pest and Lawn because vole problems still existed after a previous application of Ramik Brown was made on the property

8 (Friday) February 5, 2010 Cole Nocks arrived at 8:30 am and treated 6-7 vole holes with 1.2 lbs of Fumitoxin pellets (according to his invoice) All but 1 of the treated holes were within 15 feet of the house with 1 application under the front step of the house The entire family was out of the house from 10:00 am to 2:05 pm When the family returned home at 2:05 pm the CO2 monitor was going off

9 (Friday) February 5, 2010 Mrs. Toone smelled a “strong pungent odor” in the garage At 2:18 pm Mrs. Toone called Bugman Pest and Lawn and left a message worried about the odor (no return phone call was made by the Company). The Co. denies receiving a call At 2:22 pm Mrs. Toone called Layton City Fire Department (FD) to report the CO2 monitor going off Layton City FD arrived on the scene and checked for CO2 leaks. Finding no CO2 readings on their devices the FD left the property Mr. Toone arrived home at 4:00 pm

10 (Saturday) February 6, 2010 The mother was gone from the house all day
Everyone else in the family got sick (nausea and vomiting). At 7:45 pm the parents took Rebecca to the Wee Care Center in Layton At 7:52 pm Rebecca was transferred by ambulance to Davis Hospital and Medical Center in cardiopulmonary arrest. Resuscitative efforts were unsuccessful. At 8:35 pm 4-yr. old Rebecca Toone passed away Layton City Police call the Poison Control Center at 11:59 pm to notify them of the incident

11 (Sunday) February 7, 2010 Rachel Toone, age 15 months, developed shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting and was taken to Primary Children’s Medical Center Rachel Toone was in critical condition and put on life support Rachel Toone was taken off of life support on Tuesday, February 9 and passed away shortly thereafter as a result of Phosphine exposure (according to the Medical Examiner)

12 Rebecca & Rachel Toone

13 (Monday) February 8, 2010 UDAF personnel heard about the incident Monday morning on the radio coming to work UDAF sent 2 inspectors to the scene On the scene already are the Utah National Guard, 85th Civil Support Team, Layton City Police, Layton City Fire Dept., Davis Co. Health Dept. Layton City Fire Dept and National Guard in full SCBA gear dig up the pellets from the front of the house

14 Hazmat Teams

15 Media Coverage

16 (Monday) February 8, 2010 National Guard took phosphine gas readings in throughout the house (17.8 to 25 ppm in area by front door) (5 to 25 ppm at top of stairs) (up to 48 ppm in garage) Pellets were put in a 55 gallon garbage can with water to destroy the product UDAF was allowed onto the premises Monday at 1:30 pm and allowed in the house at 5:30 pm

17 Fumitoxin Label Information
Restricted Use Pesticide This product must be accompanied by an approved label (1 page) and applicator’s manual (40 pages) Active Ingredient is Aluminum Phosphide Phosphine gas is a product of the reaction between Aluminum Phosphide and water Phosphine gas is highly mobile and given enough time may penetrate seemingly gas-tight materials such as concrete and cinder block. If the structure is to be entered after fumigation, it must be aerated until the level of phosphine gas is 0.3 ppm or below.

18 Fumitoxin Label Information
At a minimum, the storage must be marked with the following signs and should be locked: Danger, Poison (with skull and crossbones) Authorized Personnel Only National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Hazard Identification Symbols for the pesticide.

19 Fumigant Management Plan
THIS PRODUCT MUST NOT BE APPLIED INTO A BURROW SYSTEM THAT IS WITHIN 15 FEET OF A BUILDING THAT IS, OR MAY BE, OCCUPIED BY HUMANS, AND/OR ANIMALS ESPECIALLY RESIDENCES. (page 32) Prior to treating a rodent burrow on a property containing an inhabited structure, the applicant must provide the customer (e.g. homeowner) with a MSDS or appropriate sections of the Applicator’s Manual. Use application procedures appropriate to the type of burrow system being treated. DOSAGE RATES MUST NOT BE EXCEEDED UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.

20 Fumigant Management Plan
Insert 10 to 20 pellets into each entrance to be treated. Inspect treated areas 1 or 2 days following treatment for signs of residual activity of target species.

21 Fumitoxin Storage Requirements
Fumitoxin was purchased by the Company and kept on hand as part of the “arsenal”

22 Previous violations for Bugman Pest & Lawn Inc.
June 2008 (6 applicators received warning letters for records violations) July 2009 (2 applicators applied out of category. Minimal fines were given to multiple applicators and the owner)

23 (Tuesday), February 9, 2010 Record Audit conducted with Raymond Wilson Sr., owner of the company Collected 5,208 records for applications made from April 2009 to Feb 2010.

24 Summary of violations After 2 months of reviewing all of the records:
3,506 records with violations were found 172 misapplications on termite treatments 154 misapplications of Ramik Brown 6 instances where Fumitoxin was applied within 15’ of a residence 7 instances of applying Fumitoxin at above label rate 53 instances of Fumitoxin being applied without a Fumigant Management Plan (FMP)

25 Pending Criminal Charges
Layton City 2 counts (1 for the death of each child) Class B misdemeanor charges Up to $2,500 / count Up to 1 year in jail / count U.S. Department of Justice Charges have not been filed yet

26 Pending Civil Charges UDAF has filed civil charges against
7 applicators 1 company Seeking fines of $151,000 and Revocation of license(s) 8 Hearings are set for June 1, 2, 3

27 Summary This tragedy did not have to happen
The mistake was that the applicator did not read the label & applicators manual and The Company did not provide adequate training to the employees The family has been incredible and forgiving through the entire process

28 What did we learn from this incident
Assign your best inspector to the case, if possible Regular mtgs. and conference calls with our staff, Administration, AG’s office and EPA are essential and critical All information going to the media must come from the designated PIO for the Dept. Understand and anticipate where possible loopholes are in your Rules and plug the holes (i.e. Co. requirements to keep records and train employees) There is an emotional drain on UDAF staff

29 Pesticide Program WWHy Why? How? What?



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