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Thursday, April 9, 2015

When Paradise Becomes a Nightmare: Accidental Exposure to Harmful Chemicals

Most people have seen the selling of pesticides in small local stores or on the streets that guarantee to kill all household bugs better than any other product out there. What people don’t know is that these are illegal pesticides and they can do more than just kill bugs in your home, they can hurt you as well.

In many countries the risk of exposure to dangerous chemicals (not just pesticides) is very real as there are few regulations and even less enforcement. Accidental poisonings kill an estimated 355,000 people globally each year in developing countries. Two thirds of these deaths occur with poisonings that are associated with excessive exposure to, and inappropriate use of, toxic chemicals. In many cases, toxic chemicals have be released directly into soil, air, and water at levels or rates well in excess of those tolerable to human health from industrial processes, pulp and paper plants, tanning operations, mining, and unsustainable forms of agriculture.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has estimated that by the year 2020, nearly one third of the world's chemical production will take place in non-OECD countries and that global output will be 85% higher than it was in 1995. The shift of chemical production to poor countries may increase related health and environmental risks.

Illegal pesticides are usually much more toxic the approved EPA pesticides. EPA has initiated an effort to protect people from these types of products across the country, by increasing enforcement actions against companies selling and distributing these illegal products and increasing the efforts to raise public awareness.

Recently in the news there has been a family of four that were poisoned by one of these illegal pesticides during a Caribbean vacation in St. Johns while staying at the Sirenusa Condominium Resort. It is said that the illegal pesticide, methyl bromide, was used to fumigate the condominiums first floor villa two days before the family’s stay, and that it has been used several times at other Sirenusa units in the past year. Methyl Bromide, which is odorless, can be fatal or cause serious damage to the central nervous system and respiratory system, according to the EPA. 

All four were airlifted to separate hospitals in the States suffering major respiratory trauma. Both parents were released while their two boys are still in critical condition.

These types of situations trigger powerful emotions, in crisis situations we have a tendency to react and be impulsive. This is where having Travel Assistance can give you peace of mind by providing the much needed professional advice and assistance to travelers.

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