Syngenta will spend $400,000 on training to help growers in Hawaii comply with farmworker protection standards, as part of a settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency.
The company also agreed to pay a fine of $150,000 for what it termed a “worker re-entry incident” that occurred at its former Syngenta-Hawaii farms on Kauai, now owned by Hartong Brothers Inc.
In the incident in January 2016, 19 workers entered a field 20 hours after it had been sprayed with an insecticide containing chlorpyrifos. The re-entry interval is 24 hours.
“Within minutes the mistake was noted and they left that field,” Syngenta spokesperson Paul Minehart said. Ten workers accepted the company’s offer of a medical examination and were taken to the local hospital, the only medical facility available, for an exam, he said.
Nine were examined and released, but one stayed longer for unrelated symptoms before being released, he said. The parties agreed to settle the matter through alternative dispute resolution, and EPA’s administrative law judge did not make any findings of liability, Minehart said.
Syngenta said the training program would be developed by Agate “and delivered in select areas within (EPA) Region 9, including Hawaii and Guam,” primarily to small farm operators.
Materials will be translated into four key languages spoken by area agricultural workers – Ilacano, Tagalog, Mandarin, and Korean. “There are no current EPA-approved (Worker Protection Standard) resources available in these languages,” Syngenta said in a statement. “The translated materials will be available for further distribution to growers, customers, and other partners.”
For more news, go to www.Agri-Pulse.com