Family Hospitalized by Suspected Pesticide Poisoning

Don’t drink the water… seriously?
After a Delaware family of four was hospitalized by suspected pesticide poisoning at their Sirenusa condo, visitors in a neighboring condo were advised by the villa management company “not to drink the water.”

Cris Barrish, The News Journal
A top Tatnall School administrator and his family suffered serious pesticide “poisoning” in their luxury condo while vacationing in the U.S. Virgin Islands last week, according to federal environmental officials and a Wilmington attorney who spent time with them on St. John.

Steve Esmond, the head of Tatnall’s Middle School, his wife, Dr. Theresa Devine, and their two teenage sons “were seriously exposed to a highly toxic chemical at their rental condominium,” said James J. Maron, the lawyer from Wilmington who is acting as the family’s spokesman.

The family, which lives in Wilmington, is in the process of being airlifted back to the United States and all except Devine are in critical condition, Maron said.

The suspected source of the poisoning is methyl bromide, which might have been used to fumigate a room at the Sirenusa resort where the family was staying, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said in a news release late Monday afternoon.

Methyl bromide is restricted in the United States due to its “acute toxicity,” the EPA release said. “Only certified applicators are allowed to use it in certain agricultural settings and is not authorized for use in dwellings. Health effects of acute exposure to methyl bromide are serious and include central nervous system and respiratory system damage.”…

…The family was staying at Sirenusa complex in the Capri villa, a $800-a-night hilltop condo in an enclave overlooking Cruz Bay…

…Maron said the chemicals the family was exposed to “bio-accumulated and metabolized until it became an acute poisoning.”

Over the weekend, he said, the family “began having seizures in the middle of the night and their lungs stopped working. All had to be intubated.”… read entire article

Don’t drink the water
Visitors staying at the same resort at the time reported meeting the family and later seeing them taken away in an ambulance. They were subsequently sent an email by their villa management company advising them not to drink the water at the condo.

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