Farm workers hospitalized after pesticide exposure

Eighteen farm workers were hospitalized after being exposed to pesticides at a ranch south of Salinas on Thursday morning, according to Monterey County agricultural authorities.

The Tanimura and Antle celery transplant crew worked for about an hour starting at 4:30 a.m. before some of them came down with nausea, headaches and stomach pain.

One worker vomited, according to the Monterey County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office.

The crew left the area and around 6:50 a.m. were taken to Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital, where they were decontaminated, treated and released, officials said.

Investigators from the commissioner’s office interviewed the workers at the hospital and took their clothing in for testing after learning of the exposure at 8:30 a.m.

Two fields nearby were treated with pesticides Lannate, Coragen, Movento, Pounce, Actara and Fulfull and fungicides Revus and Previcur around 10 p.m. on Wednesday.

Hospital officials said a supervisor from Tanimura and Antle said Lannate, the trade name for methomyl, may have been the culprit, but the county investigation is ongoing.

The county agricultural commissioner and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation are investigating the exposure and report the incident to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state agencies because of the number of victims, officials said.