Records shed light on Oregon day care insecticide incident
Posted September 14
PORTLAND, Ore. — At least 43 children and seven adults said they suffered health problems after they were exposed to a powerful insecticide at a Coos Bay day care facility, according to recently released state records.
The insecticide incident occurred April 29 at the Coos Bay Children's Academy Inc., The Oregonian/OregonLive reported (http://bit.ly/2h62eML). The owner voluntarily shut down the day care in May, before the Office of Child Care, who regulates state day cares, could complete an investigation. State officials declined to say this week whether they had verified the affected people's reports, which were gathered through an online survey in June.
The newspaper obtained state records and information that have not been publicly shared since the incident. Six daycare employees and one parent were part of those affected by the insecticide exposure, according to the state documents and officials.
An Oregon Department of Agriculture investigation found that the day care improperly applied an insecticide over two-thirds of the facility to exterminate fleas. Day care owner Elizabeth Ewing had claimed the store where she bought the insecticide, the Grange co-op, gave her the wrong product.
The store did not give Ewing the wrong product, said Barry Robino, the co-op's CEO, in an email sent to the newspaper this week.
The state recommended this month fining Ewing and her husband, Gerald, $1,628 for failing to make sure the insecticide was safe to spray in a childcare facility. While the department determined that the spraying was done in a "faulty, careless or negligent manner" and is considered a "major" violation, the state did find evidence of gross negligence or willful misconduct, which would have incurred higher fines.
The state's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has proposed a separate $720 fine for four workplace safety violations.
Ewing did not respond to messages from the newspaper seeking comment.