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Emergency decontamination needed by 79 teen farm workers

Farm jobs in Illinois abound during the summer months when crops mature and harvest time nears. Laws allow children as young as 12 to work in fields with parental consent for jobs that are considered non-hazardous, keeping a strict eye on workplace safety. Despite best efforts, farm accidents can still happen and can affect teenage workers.

A recent article highlights a case where 79 teenage farm workers required emergency decontamination after being sprayed by a fungicide from an overhead crop-duster. The teens were hired by Team Corn, based in Princeton, IL, to "detassle" corn, a non-hazardous task that is allowed to be conducted by teenagers. While the children were working, the plane accidentally sprayed the fungicide on the field. 

Emergency personnel treated each worker at the scene and then took them to the Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana for follow up care and observation. Some of the teens had skin irritations as a result of the spraying. The article did not specify what fungicide was sprayed or the name of the pilot. The Illinois state Bureau of Environmental Programs together with the national Occupational Safety and Health Administration will be investigating the incident.

Farm accidents come in many different forms from tractor accidents to grain bin explosions to combine accidents and exposure to hazardous chemicals. If you or someone you know has suffered some type of injury or illness while working on a farm, you may consider talking to an attorney to learn your rights and determine if you should pursue a claim.

Source: Huffington Post, “Pesotum, Illinois teen farmers sprayed with fungicide in corn field,”David Mercer, July 25, 2013

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