MONTEREY, Calif. (KION) Pinnacle Application Inc. has agreed to settle a pesticide drift case that left 10 farm workers sick.
The company agreed to pay $155,985 in civil penalties and investigative costs, according to the Monterey County District Attorney's Office.
In June 2017, the workers started transplanting broccoli at about 4 a.m., and about 15 minutes after they started, the company, which is a licensed pesticide applicator, started applying a mix of six pesticides and two adjuvants to a farm block nearby.
Shortly after Pinnacle Application began applying the pesticides, workers started noticing something that smelled like burning plastic and developed symptoms of pesticide exposure, including headache, nausea, eye irritation and shortness of breath.
Natividad contacted the Monterey County Agricultural Commissioner later that morning because several workers had been brought in for pesticide exposure-related treatment. Staff there investigated the incident and passed it off to the DA's Office as a "priority investigation" because five or more people became sick.
“Pesticide applicators must be aware of their surroundings and stop an application when farm workers are likely to be harmed. Applicators must evaluate their equipment, wind speed and direction, and should error on the side of safety," said Agricultural Commissioner Henry Gonzales.
The DA's Office said the company cooperated in the settlement and agreed to be bound by an injunction.