Detasselers Okay After Being Exposed to Chemicals From Crop Duster

STORY COUNTY, Iowa  --  A group of between 15-25 detasselers were exposed to chemicals while in a field on Friday morning when they were inadvertently sprayed by a crop duster.

"An aerial applicator was conducting operations in the vicinity. The product came in contact with some of the workers. The two ingredients that came in contact were an insecticide and a fungicide," said Story County EMS Chief Tony Collins.

The incident took place around 7:30 a.m. a quarter mile west of 690th Avenue on 330th Avenue near Collins. Field workers for Tate Enterprises were detasseling corn.

"They were inside in the corn here, and the sprayer came here in the beans so there was no direct contact. The wind though coming out of the south is what directed."

Some of the workers felt nauseous and had headaches.

"Anything like that, some of this stuff that can come into contact can be pretty deadly if swallowed or on the skin," said Collins.

This is why it is so important to decontaminate on scene, which is exactly what happened.

While this incident did not involve a Monsanto site or any Monsanto workers, Monsanto did provide decontamination trailers to help out. First responders and public safety officials from various surrounding agencies worked together to get everyone cleaned up.

"The chiefs or whoever's in charge, officers from all the departments get together and just kind of get a game plan together and work with the paramedics and whatnot to see what they need, and the same thing, decontaminating, getting the people decontaminated, mainly a lot of water to get the chemicals off of them, and then anybody who's treating the patients, you know, afterwards, if they've gotten any major exposure we have to clean them off as well," said Tony Ness of the Maxwell Fire Department.

"Biggest thing is, you know, not to panic. A lot of agencies showed up here so the guys did the right thing. First responders got on scene and kept everybody grouped together, triaged to see who was the most important, most sick, so to speak, the ones who exhibited the most signs and symptoms. They were deconned immediately first," said Collins.

Officials say no one was taken to the hospital and everyone is expected to be okay.