A Timeline Of My Story
Manatee County, Florida
- Morning of Friday,
January 10, 2003 TRUGREEN ChemLawn treats our lawn for broadleaf and
- I told him
not to do anything until I took my dog out and returned inside the
house. He told me that after the lawn had dried that it was perfectly
safe, and that it was so safe that he did not even use a mask. He
returned to his truck and I took my dog out.
- While facing
away from him waiting for my dog, and I began to cough and the dog
started to wheeze. I turned to see that the applicator had begun
to spray only 15-18 feet away from me. I ran to the house coughing
and my eyes burning.
- By evening
I was very sick with nausea, burning throat and sternal area, bad
headache, and persistent cough. My children complained of headaches
and said they hurt everywhere.
- Saturday everyone
was too ill to get out of bed. I could not stop coughing, was short
of breath and extremely tired. My husband and children complained of
headaches, stomach pains, and loose stools. The windows were closed
but the chemicals were still getting in to our home. The dog vomited
a couple times and then was very still and would not eat. I called my
medical doctor and left a message.
- My husband
calls Tru-Green, and asks for the information about the chemicals
that we all had been exposed to. Company sends Material Data Safety
Sheet for atrazine and bifentrin.
the Poison Control Center and was told they don’t handle pesticides.
- Sunday still sick.
Left another message on for a doctor to call me. My children were still
complaining of headaches and dizziness. I contacted their doctor as
- Monday morning
saw a doctor. My symptoms continued. My physician wrote that I had been
exposed to chemicals and gave me a prescription for antibiotics and
- After a week I
saw another doctor. I was then given an inhaler of steroids. Still no
blood work was done to test for chemical exposure.
- Two weeks after
poisoning, contacted Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
and was referred to (Florida’s) EPA to report poisoning. Reported
with someone in Dept. of Health – wrong person apparently. Got
lost in EPA for weeks.
- Feb. I reported
to work but was unable to complete my shift - became symptomatic with
dizziness, weakness and tremors.
- Feb. Contacted
Department of Health again and was referred to the (Dept. of Agriculture)
Department of Entomology and Pest Control to investigate the chemicals
and proper use of them on the day that I was exposed. Left message.
- Mar. Went back
to doctor and was referred to lung specialist. Had MSDS but no one knew
how to get inert ingredients. Lung doctor said my airway was reactive,
and that I may always have this problem.
- The experts on
pesticides exposure at the University of South Florida would not see
me because they only see patients that are referred by an attorney or
by an insurance company.
- Contacted a pesticide
toxicologist. He told me that since it had been several months after
exposure, I was at a stage where long-term effects had manifested themselves.
Told that there is very little that can be done to decontaminate a person.
- Apr. Decided to
leave Florida due to excessive spraying.
- Received a call
from state investigator the day before my children and I were leaving
Florida. He said the message just got to him.
- After being away
a month I began to feel a little better. My children were not getting
sick like when they were around all of the pesticides spraying. They
had lots of energy again, and had no complaints of stomach pains, tiredness,
weakness or dizziness. By the third month I felt much better and my
tremors had stopped, but my airway reacted to areas where chemicals
- Apr. Received
a letter from state investigator’s office that they’d talked
or met with TRUGREEN Chemlawn and that it’s too late to collect
a soil-sample or do on-site investigation.
- Mid-August returned
to our home in Florida. Back two weeks when a few lawns were sprayed
with pesticides and my children and I started to become symptomatic
again. I worked a few shifts and became dizzy and felt sick.
- Son having trouble
focusing at school and is symptomatic.
- Principal says
he’s unaware of any pesticide activity on or around property.
- Found out that
pesticides were being sprayed within yards from the school property.
The men spraying do not speak much English. I asked them what they where
going to spray and they said “no English.” How can they
read the labels for instructions to use these chemicals?
- Neighboring grounds
manager says that weed killers and pesticides are registered with the
EPA, are safe to use and will not hurt the children. Refuses not to
spray during school hours.
- Nov. Son is continually
ill and is pulled from school to be temporarily home schooled.
SINCE MY EXPOSURE:
- Witnessed applicators
spraying bushes while children are playing less than a few feet away.
- Another applicator
placed a poison sign in a yard where 7 children were playing. He was
getting ready to treat the lawn with the children still playing there.
He told me that it was “only weed killer and fertilizer granules,
and they won’t hurt the children.” Another neighbor witnessed
this applicator spray pesticides and not use granules.
- My next door neighbor
had another pest service come to service her lawn on a windy day. I
asked the applicator before he started not to spray because it would
end up in my yard and make us very sick. He told me he was doing his
job. He began to spray from a large nozzle. The mist was blowing chemicals
on to our property. I began filming him through the window. He threw
his hose down, came onto my property and banged on my door and yelled
at me to stop filming him. Children were scared and crying.
- Was out walking
with my children and dog when I ran into an applicator with a large
hose hooked to a truck. She was ready to spray a nature preserve with
herbicides (20 ft) away from us. I informed her that she would poison
us if she sprayed with us there, and that I would report her if she
started spraying before we left. She replied, I can’t tell everyone.
The number is on the truck out front, go ahead.
My cousin was
diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma at 9 years old and died at thirteen. The
cancer that killed her was a type caused by poison exposure, such as pesticides,
as a child. I will remember Amanda and every child that I have seen over
the past 15 years who has died from cancers linked to pesticide exposures.
I will try to educate others to help prevent this from happening to every
child that I can. A few weeds or a couple of bugs are not worth becoming
ill or dying over!