Sudden Rise In Pesticide-Related Illnesses In Eastern Washington

May 12, 2014

Washington health officials say there has been a sudden rise in pesticide-related illnesses in eastern Washington orchards. 

Kelly Stowe with the Washington State Department of Health says at least 60 people have been affected by pesticide drift since March.

“We actually have pesticide investigators who go out when we receive complaints after what is known, as a drift event and that is when applicators spray an orchard and then workers or neighbors nearby complain of illnesses from that,” Stowe said.

Stowe says the number of pesticide drift events in just the last few months is double the number seen all of last year.

The Washington Department of Agriculture is reminding pesticide applicators to carefully monitor conditions to prevent drift. There are 24,000 pesticide dealers and applicators licensed in Washington.