NEWTON, Iowa – Last week dozens of teens from Newton claimed they may have been exposed to dangerous chemicals while detasseling corn in Marshall County. Now, one teen says he was punished for taking safety precautions into his own hands.
“I wasn’t mad or anything like that. It was just unnecessary because we have the right to say that we are not going to go back in that field,” says Isaiah Herdt.
Herdt and about 20 other teenagers were fired after they noticed a crop duster spraying chemicals on a nearby field and left the area as the chemicals drifted towards them.
“My group left the field and didn`t go back in because we knew if we were going to go further down in the field that you would have been exposed.”
The teen says his supervisor chastised him, telling him he should be embarrassed for not wanting to go back into the field. Monsanto employees on site say the area was safe and free of chemicals even though many detasselers could smell the chemical while others complained of headaches.
Herdt’s father says the firing was unfair and too harsh. “They’re still in school and stuff and these kids haven`t really been put out in the work force and know some of the legal laws and safety they have to be in,” says Bill Herdt. He says safety should be supervisors’ top priority and feels Monsanto dropped the ball.