Seventy-nine teens, some 13, were sprayed with a chemical fungicide from a crop-dusting plane near Pesotum, Illinois on Thursday. They were taken to a hospital in Urbana and, save for a few with minor skin irritations, none seem harmed.
The teenagers were detasseling corn for the company Monsanto when they were accidentally sprayed with a chemical from a crop dusting plane. The job of corn detasseling is done by teens as it is not considered hazardous; it entails yanking off the pollinating tassels from corn so they produce seeds to be planted in future.
Chemical spray taken by wind
At about 8:40 a.m. a crop dusting plane flew over a field next to the field the teens were at work in; when the plane sprayed that adjacent field the fungicide was taken by the wind and it rained down upon the teens. They were first looked at on-site by firefighters, A.P. reports, who washed them with disinfectant before taking them to hospital as a precautionary measure.
Reportedly paid from $7.25 to $10 per hour, the teens' immediate employer is Team Corn, contracted by Monsanto, the company embroiled in legal battles over their refusal to label GMO food products. While questions were referred to Monsanto the company has not released the name of the chemical the teen workers were sprayed with.
The teens are all reported to be doing well.