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Organic Consumers Association

Pesotum, Illinois Teen Farmers Sprayed with Fungicide in Corn Field

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Appetite For a Change page, Genetic Engineering page and our Millions Against Monsanto page.

URBANA, Ill. -- Almost 80 teenagers were expected to be sent home from an eastern Illinois hospital Thursday after being accidentally sprayed with fungicide from a crop-dusting plane as they worked in corn field, officials said.

The 79 teens were decontaminated by firefighters at the field just outside Pesotum and then taken to the Carle Foundation Hospital's emergency room in Urbana to be treated for what appeared to be minor ailments, hospital officials said.

Emergency room director Allen Rinehart said some of the teen workers had irritated skin but that they were all stable and being released to their parents as they were seen.

"There's been a couple that have had minor irritations, but nothing significant," Rinehart said as the last group of teens, wearing blue jumpsuits and many carrying coolers and lunch boxes, stood nearby waiting to enter the emergency room. Many joked and talked as they waited.

The teenagers were detasseling corn when the chemical drifted over them from a plane that was crop-dusting an adjacent field, said Tom Helscher, a spokesman for Monsanto, the St. Louis-based company using the field to produce seed corn. Pesotum is about 15 miles south of Urbana.

Brad Rollings' 13-year-old son, Tyler, was one of those sprayed with the chemical.

"He said that he heard the plane go over the top and it felt like it was raining for a minute, and then he said they hollered at them to get out of the field," Rollings, who is from nearby Villa Grove, said outside the hospital. He said his son seemed fine and expected him to be released soon.    


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