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Daily News Archive
From January 24, 2001

Victim of Methyl Bromide Poisoning Wins Lawsuit

According to the January, 2001 issue of Members Only Pest Management, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) newsletter, a 32-year-old man was awarded $10 million by a Monterey County, CA jury in late October after being exposed to methyl bromide and suffering brain damage. Methyl Bromide is a structural fumigant used to kill a variety of structural pests including termites, powder post beetles and carpenter ants.

The NPMA reported that Alfred Lombardo, the plaintiff's lawyer, said the man was exposed to methyl bromide in July, 1997 when he entered a recently fumigated home to install a heating system. According to the report, the company responsible for the pesticide application did not follow the proper procedures as mandated by the label. "Obviously, nobody intended for anyone to get hurt," Lombardo told the San Jose Mercury News. "I think what happened is the company…got sloppy and cut corners to save a few minutes."

Methyl Bromide is an odorless, colorless gas that is highly irritating to the eyes, airways and skin. The effects of exposure include nausea, chest and abdominal pain, slurred speech, blurred vision, mental confusion, lung swelling, hemorrhaging of the brain, heart and spleen, and severe kidney and brain damage. According to the Extension Toxicology Network, about 1000 human poisonings have occurred, ranging from skin and eye irritation to death.