EPA: Vacationing Family “Seriously Exposed” To Toxic Pesticide While Staying In Luxury Condo

When you’re staying in a fancy, luxurious vacation condominium at a Caribbean resort, there’s a certain expectation that your health won’t be seriously threatened. But the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says members of a Delaware family have become seriously ill after their $800-per-night condo at a resort in the U.S Virgin Islands was possibly fumigated using toxic pesticides normally found in industrial farming.

The parents and their two teenage sons were airlifted back stateside after becoming ill during their vaction in the Caribbean island of St. John, reports USA Today, and have now been stabilized and are getting “tremendous medical care.”

Investigators from the EPA are now investigating what poisoned them by taking air samples of their unit at a Sirenusa resort, officials said. The family was reportedly exposed to the pesticide soon after checking in on Wednesday last week, but didn’t show symptoms until Friday when they began having seizures.

An EPA administrator said the poison was caused by methyl bromide, an odorless pesticide that can be fatal or cause serious central nervous system and respiratory system damage. It’s restricted in the U.S. due to its “acute toxicity,” and is only allowed to be used in certain agricultural settings by certified applicators. It is :not authorized for use in dwellings,” the EPA says.

Investigators say it appears methyl bromide was possibly used to fumigate the family’s condo and others “to deal with indoor bugs,” and that the agency knows who applied the chemical. They’re now investigating whether or tenants at Sirenusa or other places where the contractor worked to fumigate rooms have become ill.

“We’ve got resources on the ground and we need to find out exactly what happened and we’re also focused on ensuring that this doesn’t happen again,” Judith Enck, administrator for the EPA’s Region 2 said.

The condominium is owned and managed by a company called Sea Glass Vacations, which hasn’t commented on the incident.

Del. family poisoned in Caribbean has ‘stabilized’ [USA Today]