POSTED: 16 APRIL 2008 - 12:00pm HST

Pioneer Sprays near Kekaha Schools

image above: sign in font of Kekaha's St Theresa School.

Chemical smell forces school evacuation
by Nathan Eagle on 16 April 2008 in The Garden Island News

Students and teachers yesterday afternoon suffered headaches, breathing difficulty and nausea after a pungent chemical smell from an unidentified source wafted through two Westside schools, officials said.

Kekaha School was evacuated and emergency personnel reportedly rendered medical aid to three students.

St. Theresa’s Elementary Principal Mary Buza-Sims said students and staff were cleared from classrooms to find fresh air.

“At first I thought it was someone tarring their roof,” she said. “It was so strong my eyes started to burn. The kids all held their noses and were coughing.”

Fire and police authorities responded to her 911 call around 12:30 p.m., but failed to detect the source of the smell.

Shortly after the St. Theresa’s incident, Kaua‘i Police Department Assistant Chief Clayton Arinaga said Kekaha School was evacuated into a nearby park around 1 p.m.

There were no reported illnesses in that incident, Arinaga said.

The winds were onshore from the south, he said, speculating that may have had something to do with it.

Buza-Sims said a Pioneer employee came to the school and said the seed company had sprayed its fields near Kekaha School around 9 a.m., but could not confirm if there was a link.

“Nothing we know of would have caused that,” Steve Lupkes, Pioneer site manager, said yesterday evening. “This morning the weather guy was talking about the vog hitting Kaua‘i.”

Arinaga said the department checked with one of the Westside seed companies but could not confirm any spraying applications.

Buza-Sims said, to her knowledge, none of the roughly 150 students at St. Theresa’s Elementary had to seek medical treatment from the smell.

Medics examined two students at Kekaha School who reportedly had watery eyes, determined they were fine, and released them to school officials, a county news release states.

Firefighters and police officers spent about an hour checking classrooms at the two schools. They were unable to smell the reported odor or locate its origin, the press release states.

She said the only time something similar has happened was when the state sprayed near the beach side of the school at the beginning of the school year.
There was a smell to that, she said, but nothing compared to the stench yesterday.

She said the state quit spraying the area during school hours after she asked them to stop.

Kekaha School did not respond to questions seeking comment by press time.



POSTED: 16 APRIL 2008 - 12:00pm HST

Spraying in Kekaha?

image above: Saint Theresa Church in central Kekaha (theworld's most western Catholic Church)

by Dom Pueo Acain on 16 April 2008

Today around 1030 a.m., I came home to my house in Kekaha and was
overwhelmed with a strong chemical smell in the air. I usually leave my windows open to have the fresh air blow through, but as I entered my home, the smell was collected in my rooms facing the east.

I opened all the doors in my house and the chemical smell became less apparent but still present. At about noon, I started feeling nauseas and had extreme head aches. I jumped in my care and drove to the beach to get fresh air. After about 15 minutes or so, I started feeling better.

My daughter who attends Kekaha Elementary came home after 2 p.m. and told me that they had to evacuate their classes earlier in the day and go into the park because of the"chemical" smell, and that many of the children became ill. A neighbor of mines also mentioned that the EMT also had to visit St. Theresa's School in Kekaha.

Someone is poisoning us, and if there is anyone out there who knows what's happening, please let me know. The only ones who would be spraying chemicals in our area is Syngenta or Pioneer.

for more see:
Island Breath: WCMS Health Hazards 2/17/08
Island Breath: Spray Ban Bill 2/1/08
Island Breath: Bill to restrict herbicide 1/24/08
Island Breath: Maluia WCMS 7/10/07
Island Breath: Syngenta Poisoning II 2/23/07
Island Breath: Syngenta Poisoning I