Monday, August 21, 2017

EPA discovers methyl bromide improperly used in Puerto Rico

Investigating an incident where methyl bromide was used inappropriately in the Virgin Islands and sickened a Delaware family, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently discovered that it was also being misused in Puerto Rico.

After the family was poisoned by methyl bromide used to fumigate a residence at the Sirenusa apartments on St. John in the Virgin Islands, the EPA learned the pesticide came from a licensed distributor in Puerto Rico. 

Used primarily for soil and commodities fumigation, methyl bromide must be applied in very limited situations due to its health risks, which include headaches, dizziness, weakness, confusion and, in severe cases, central nervous and respiratory systems damage.

Working with Puerto Rico’s Department of Agriculture to investigate the source of the pesticide, the EPA discovered that methyl bromide may have been improperly used at various locations in the U.S. territory as well. 

Both the EPA and Puerto Rico’s Department of Agriculture are now working to determine how methyl bromide products are used and distributed by suppliers and applicators, including Terminix. The EPA also is working with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry to determine if any health effects have been triggered by the pesticide’s use in Puerto Rico; and Puerto Rico’s Department of Agriculture issued a legal order on methyl bromide’s use on Tuesday.

Organizations in this story

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 1200 Pennsylvania Ave NW Washington, DC - 20460

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