Yes, they all end in "cide," the latin word for "killing."
Which is why University of Washington Professor (and former Washington State OSHA Director) Michael Silverstein is a bit perplexed about the pesticide "accident" that killed a woman in Florence, Oregon.
Florence Kolbeck, 76, of Florence died "most likely from a cardiac arrhythmia associated with non-lethal levels of the pyrethroid insecticide," according to the autopsy.Mike notes that this is the same type of logic used to label a trench collapse a "freak accident" despite the fact that numerous safety standards were violated.
The death was ruled accidental, which closes the criminal investigation, a Florence police spokeswoman said Thursday.
The Department of Agriculture and Department of Human Services may complete its investigation by early December, said Agriculture spokesman Bruce Pokarney.
Kolbeck, who had heart disease, died a few hours after her home was sprayed June 29 by a technician with Swanson's Pest Management of Eugene.
"The level of insecticide in the home was not a toxic level," deputy medical examiner Lynn Walter said. "But it was a level sufficient enough to cause respiratory distress and irritation. That led to an arrhythmia, which led to the cause of death."(emphasis added)
The part I love is the medical examiner’s statement that “the level of insecticide in the home was not a toxic level…But it was a level sufficient enough to cause respiratory distress and irritation. That led to an arrhythmia, which led to the cause of death.” I guess that means something like sufficiently non-toxic to accidentally send your lungs and heart to the cleaners. No wonder the employer “couldn’t draw any conclusion.” At least he does “feel terrible the lady died.”Moral of the story: Pesticides are bad. Some are less bad than others, but they are designed to kill undesirable critters, and most also have ill effects on humans. Given the well-recognized fact that humans have variable susceptibilities to toxic materials depending on their age, health situation, allergic sensitivities, etc, the effects can be worse on some than on others -- even deadly.
These facts shouldn't be a surprise to pesticide applicators or their employers. And this was an "accident" only in the same sense that most workplace deaths and injuries are the result of accidents. They may not be "intentional," but they're also not unforeseeable.