A chemical plant in California is the latest to suffer a major outbreak of a potentially deadly chemical, according to a Reuters news report.
The Associated Press reported on Monday that the plant in Kern County, Calif., has tested positive for the chemical pentaerythrin, which is used in pesticides and is the main ingredient in a popular herbicide.
A report from Reuters quoted a plant owner as saying that his company’s pesticide-treated corn has tested negative for pentaerf.
Pentaerystrin is often used to treat crops with fungicides that are sprayed onto the plants, but in this case, the plant has been sprayed with another herbicide called chlorpyrifos, which has been linked to kidney and liver problems in humans.
A spokeswoman for the Kern County Health Department told Reuters that the county is currently investigating the health impacts of the incident.
The report noted that the company that supplies the pesticide has not been found to have done anything wrong.
The AP reported that the Kern Center for Biological Diversity, a conservation group that works to protect California’s endangered plants and wildlife, is investigating the incident and that the agency would be looking into the health risks associated with the chemical.
The group’s director, Bill Burt, said that the chemical plant was just one of many that had been affected by the chemical, and that there were hundreds more at risk.
“This is a major public health threat,” Burt told Reuters.
“The use of pesticides is a huge source of pesticide exposure and there is no question that the exposure to pentaero and chlorpysifos is serious.”
Burt added that the federal government needs to step in to regulate the pesticide industry.
“I think the feds have to step up and take a leadership role, and there are some really good things going on at the federal level,” he said.
“But the chemical industry has to be held accountable for this.
We need to be taking action and protecting the environment.”