School Samples Test Positive for Pesticide

Published: May. 24, 2007 at 11:28 PM HST|Updated: May. 24, 2007 at 11:39 PM HST
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Eddie Rothman
Eddie Rothman

By Kristine Uyeno

KAHUKU (KHNL) - Pesticide did drift onto an Oahu school, making students and teachers sick.

That's what agriculture officials found after taking samples from Kahuku High and Intermediate.

On May 3, workers at Ameri-Turf sprayed Orthene on a 9,000-square-foot property located right next to the school.

"I think they should have more control over it, maybe use something organic or find an alternative," said Eddie Rothman, parent.

The school was closed for three days because fumes lingered on campus.

"I think that is pretty scary that that happened," said Margaret Kaiahua, North Shore resident.

Now agriculture officials say samples taken from campus show the pesticide drifted onto campus, making students and teachers ill.

"Apparently I didn't know that could happen, but it did," Kaiahua said.

But this isn't the first time the company has violated rules. Two years ago, the state sent Ameri-Turf a warning because an employee wasn't wearing the right amount of protective gear while spraying pesticide. Because this is the company's second violation, it could receive a $1,000 fine.

"That lousy 1,000 fine? I think they'd pay that fine gladly and save their grass," said Rothman.

Agriculture officials will make a final decision within a month.