Mom says bedbugs found at Hendersonville hospital

NEWS4 HENDERSONVILLE, TN (WSMV) – by Nancy Amons |October 22, 2019

Bedbugs in a hospital room?

One mother, who just had a baby in a Sumner County hospital, said bedbugs bit her 11-year-old daughter in the hospital’s labor and delivery suite.

The mom said the suite had a couch on it and she said that’s where she saw the bedbugs that she said bit her daughter.

Jamie Turner had just given birth to her third child on Oct. 16 at TriStar Hendersonville Hospital. That’s where she said she took a picture of a bedbug crawling on her 11-year-old daughter. She said the girl was sleeping on the couch in the same room where she had just given birth.

“I thought it was very disgusting to see the bugs there, period,” said Turner. “I just had a baby and that’s one of the things you wouldn’t think of to run across, to have bedbugs in the room with a newborn baby.”

You can see bumps in her 11-year-old daughter’s face. There are marks on her arm too.

“She was complaining about itching,” said Turner.

Bedbugs are hitchhikers. They can come into a room on luggage or on people. Experts say once you have them, they are hard to get rid of.

News4 sent pictures Turner shared with the PR Department with TriStar on Tuesday. TriStar provided a statement to News4 about the incident.

“We always strive to provide the best possible care in an environment that promotes healing and wellness, and we’re sorry that this patient was dissatisfied with her experience. Our staff are trained to follow established and effective cleaning and disinfection procedures, and we conduct routine checks to help ensure our rooms are up to our standards for cleanliness. When we became aware of this complaint, we immediately brought in an exterminator to assess and treat the room, though they reported finding no pests.”

Two bed bugs walked into a bar. Is that why Pelican Pub patrons got a rash?

Justine Griffin, Medical Reporter | 10/31/2019
VA_TechBB
This 2008 photo from the Virginia Tech Department of Entomology shows a female bed bug, right, and her offspring. Pinellas County health officials investigating a rash outbreak among patrons of the Pelican Pub found two bed bugs, one live and one dead, in the St. Petersburg bar. The insects, along with cleaning solutions used by the bar, are being investigated as possible causes of the rash. [Associated Press / Virginia Tech Department of Entomology]

It’s not common for bed bugs to be found in a bar, but it’s possible.

Health investigators were unsure if the insects were the culprits behind a mysterious skin rash contracted by dozens of people after theOcty visited the Pelican Pub in downtown St. Petersburg.

They found one live bed bug and one dead one when they followed up Tuesday after a viral Facebook post that prompted some 60 people to say they developed a rash after visiting the bar, which sits next to the Jannus Live concert venue. Pelican Pub closed for two days during the investigation, but announced it would reopen Halloween night.

Patrons described the rash as itchy, blotchy, painful, and lasting for weeks — sometimes months. Some say they still have scars. Health officials also noted that bar employees wiped down benches inside the pub with a sanitizer that “exceeded the maximum concentration allowed.” It’s unknown if those levels could have caused chemical skin reactions.

The health department usually finds bed bugs in luggage and upholstery, said spokeswoman Maggie Hall. A search of health complaints and inspection reports in Pinellas County shows no history of investigations into a bar or restaurant with bed bugs.

“According to our environmental health staff, it’s more about hiding places for bed bugs than about the surface,” Hall said. “The bench itself was actually some sort of composite surface and not wood. Bed bugs look for places to hide and there seemed to be an area under the bench where they found a suitable spot.”

Nearly all the patrons who complained were sitting in the same area of the pub — on a set of benches in a corner.

“Bed bugs won’t burrow into the wood like termites, but they’ll hide in the cracks and crevices,” said Brittany Campbell, an entomologist with the National Pest Management Association. Campbell researched bed bug activity while completing her masters degree and doctorate.

“They actually like really rough surfaces. So rough wood, especially if it’s composite, would be preferable,” she said. “Studies show they prefer to hang out on unfinished wood instead of finished.”

Bed bugs feed on humans, and only require one “meal” every week or so. That’s why they tend to be found in mattresses or couches, where people sit or recline for long periods. They’re almost always found indoors.

“They are attracted to humans because they live almost exclusively on human blood,” Campbell said. “They can register our breath and our body heat. So that’s why when you’re sleeping and producing carbon dioxide, they’re attracted to you.”

Campbell said she “wasn’t surprised” to hear that bed bugs had turned up in a bar.

“They’ve been found in movie theaters, which makes sense since it’s dark and people sit for a long time. They’ve been in a Victoria’s Secret store, in libraries, just about anywhere,” she said. “They’re very good at hiding.”

It’s impossible to know where the Pelican Pub bed bugs came from, but Campbell said it’s likely someone already living with an infestation somewhere else unwittingly carried them into the bar. And all it takes to start an infestation is one pregnant bed bug. They are notorious for being hard to control, so Campbell recommends hiring a commercial pest control company to get rid of them.

“They are excellent hitchhikers,” she said. “Occasionally they get into people’s shoes, and they don’t even know it. So if someone was sitting on that bench and they were hungry, the bugs found a meal and hide thereafter.”

The owners of the pub said this week they hired a pest control company to do an inspection, and removed the benches where the affected patrons said they sat. The owners said the pub planned to reopen Thursday night with some bench-themed drink specials and celebrations.

“Our teams have been working around the clock to get the pub back up and running and we’re grateful to everyone’s hard work and patience,” pub owner Sean Knight said in a statement. “We’re ready to get back to what we do best, which is throwing great parties and having fun.”

 

Bed Bugs at the OFFICE – part of Truman State Office building closed

 Noah Brown | 

Two separate reports of bed bugs Wednesday at the Harry S. Truman State Office Building in Jefferson City were enough to close off two sections of the second floor.

The first report came from a manager who discovered the pests in her home a couple of weeks ago. She contacted Missouri Facilities Management Design and Construction to make them aware of the situation and to let them know she had taken care of the problem at her house. FMDC set bed bug monitors in the office and did a detailed vacuuming of the space.

Six bed bugs were recently found in a separate instance in the same space around office suites 270 and 280. Pest control dogs inspected the area today and found an additional three bed bugs.

A pest control company will be in the office over the next several days to perform a steam kill and treat the carpets.

According to the University of Minnesota, steamers are largely effective at killing bed bugs. Steamers can heat carpeting to around 180 degrees and penetrate up to 3/4 of an inch deep into carpeting.

A spokesperson for the Truman building said they’re hopeful the closed-off sections will be open sometime early next week.

While bed bugs are more prevalent in summer months, they are an indoor pest and won’t die off in the winter like others might.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has guidelines for identifying and removing the pests should they appear in a person’s home.

According to the health department, bed bugs go through six stages of development throughout their life, all of which can be seen with the naked eye. Before a bed bug can grow to the next stage of its life cycle, they have to feed. That’s when they bite humans, as they get their nutrients exclusively from blood.

The department advises to clean and declutter your living space to help make the bugs more visible. Vacuuming regularly and doing laundry at a high heat will help kill any bugs that have found their way into carpeting and onto clothing.

Special casings are also available to help prevent the pest from reaching bedding.

If bugs are found, the department advises catching several in a plastic bag or containers without crushing them and to call a pest control agency. This will allow a professional to identify the pest for certain and develop the best removal solution.

Bed bugs: Richland parents upset they didn’t know sooner

KEPR | by Christopher Poulsen |

RICHLAND, Wash. — Reports of bed bugs are causing concern in the Richland school district.

Upset parents contacted Action News saying their attempts to reach the district weren’t being taken seriously.

They tell us our early-Friday report motivated district leaders to start talking.

Richland_Schools_Bed_Bugs

Now they say they’re upset it took the attention of the media to get a response.

“There’s been several times we’ve had conflict with the district over different issues,” explains concerned Richland mom Lacey Kogan. “It’s largely because of a lack of communication and not being transparent.”

Kogan and friends with kids at the same school say they’ve been aware of the bed bug situation at Jefferson elementary since spring and now they’re fed up and doing something about it.

“We invited the media because we want the district to know that we need transparency all the time, immediately, when you first know there’s a problem let us know,” she says. “I’ve talked with administrators, I’ve talked with district, most recently I talked with [elementary assistant superintendent] Brian Moore about this issue.”

Kogan says it’s about more than the bed bugs, but that plays a huge part in her decision to speak out.

“I want our house not to have that problem. [Bed bugs] can become very expensive because they infest upholstery,” she says.

Kogan says for her it all comes down to communication.

“Every mom I know wants to know what’s happening with their kids at school. They’re there for most of their day,” she says.

Kogan and other unhappy mothers say they’ve tried contacting school leaders, but claim they never hear back.

Instead of waiting for confirmation, she says she’s using heat to kill any possible bed bugs on her children’s clothing.

“When my kids get home from school today, their backpacks, coats, everything that I can will go into the dryer,” she says.

Kogan is especially bothered that the district held on to it for so long; she says a simple heads up would have gone a long way.

“Because they were not forthcoming with [the information], now they have hysterical parents that are acting out of fear, instead of acting from a place of collaboration and coordination,” she says. “Now they’ve got angry parents.”

Action News tried to reach Richland schools but after multiple attempts we took a trip to the district office.

They claimed they couldn’t give ‘specifics, in order to protect children’s privacy’.

After our visit the district sent parents this letter:

To our Jefferson families,
We want to update you on a recent report of bedbugs at Jefferson Elementary. We understand the concern this situation has raised with our families. We are working with everyone involved to resolve this concern, have connected them with community resources and will continue to help them. While we cannot share any details that will violate student privacy, we can share that district staff have worked hard to monitor conditions in the school and ensure that any extra or special cleaning that is needed is carried out. We continue to take all necessary steps to protect every student. The Washington Department of Health has information on how to prevent bedbugs from entering a home, how to identify them and how to treat them. Thank you for your patience and your understanding as we address this situation.

District liaison Ty Beaver says the bed bugs were only found in a particular area of Jefferson elementary, not throughout the entire building.

Officials explain this is not an infestation and the bugs are likely being brought in from another source.

In a prepared statement, Richland Education Association (REA) says reports of crews spraying over weekends are nothing unusual:

Like many public spaces, bedbugs are sometimes unwelcome pests in our school buildings. While a nuisance, there is no health risk from bed bugs. The District regularly sprays classrooms for pests, bedbugs included.

Kogan says that may be the case but without proper communication with parents, parents might not know they need to be on the lookout.

She says bed bugs are notoriously hard to get rid of.

“It can quickly spread to become an entire community problem if it’s not properly addressed,” she explains. “Our job is to parent and we are responsible for making sure [our kids are] cared for and that they’re protected. We can’t do our jobs if we’re left in the dark and not informed.”

The Washington Department of Health has information on how to prevent, guard against, identify and treat bed bugs.

Gross! What you need to know and do if your hotel room has bedbugs

USA TODAY | David Oliver | October 30, 2019

One of the last things anyone wants to see after entering a hotel room is a creepy, crawly bedbug — or to wake up with bedbug bites.

Bedbugs are tiny insects approximately the size of an apple seed. Adult bedbugs are oval, reddish-brown and flat. Younger ones can be difficult to see because they’re so small.

And there’s a reason they’re called bedbugs: They like to lurk during the daytime where people sleep and feed on them at night (bed bugs feed on both human and animal blood). The insects can be found in a host of places from mattresses to bedding to cracks in furniture to under carpeting and more.

Bedbugs can be found worldwide, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and are not a reflection on the cleanliness of any accommodation (so, yes, even a five-star hotel can have bedbugs). They don’t spread disease nor are they seen as dangerous, but allergic reactions to bites could require a doctor visit.

The bites look like mosquito or flea bites, with a swollen, red spot that could itch or hurt. They could present randomly as well as in a straight line. Some people might not have any adverse reaction to the bites, but others could see swelling.

AP-Bedbug-Insecticide-Risk

One of the last things anyone wants to see after entering a hotel room is a creepy, crawly bedbug — or to wake up with bedbug bites. (Photo: Carolyn Kaster, AP)

One of the last things anyone wants to see after entering a hotel room is a creepy, crawly bedbug — or to wake up with bedbug bites.
How do I look for bedbugs in my hotel room?
Make this a priority.

The University of Minnesota recommends looking at the edging and seams of mattresses and box springs, as well as a bed’s headboard. You should also check out the furniture near the bed, cracks in night stands as well as behind picture frames, where bedbugs can hide.

“If you think your hotel bed has bedbugs, you can either check your bed yourself, looking for small blood spots or small blood smears on the sheets and strip the bed and check under the mattress seams or ask the manager to organize for the housekeeper to do it for you,” Maureen Spencer, travel blogger, told USA TODAY. “Take photos of any evidence you find and ask for a room change.”

There’s no federal bedbug law, but 21 states do have bedbug-related legislation, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, like ensuring hotels are maintaining cleanliness and that hotels must exterminate bedbugs before housing different guests.

What should I do if I find bedbugs in my hotel room?
Step one: Panic! (Just kidding.)

“The very first thing that you should do if you encounter bedbugs in your hotel room, or even if you have a suspicion that there might be bedbugs in your room, is to pack up your stuff and place it as far away from the bedbug-infested places as possible,” Kristiana Kripena, digital and content marketing director for InsectCop tells USA TODAY. You want to avoid the bugs coming with you to your own house, she says.

You should also obviously notify hotel staff, but do your best to stay calm.

“Remember – this is never going to be something that hotel staff wants to hear,” Becca Siegel of travel blog and Instagram @halfhalftravel tells USA TODAY. “Actually, it’s the last thing they want to hear because it’s going to affect everyone staying in the hotel, their staff, their efforts in eradicating bedbugs and also their ratings online. Try to remain calm and empathetic.”

Also remember that what you think is a bedbug might not be one at all.

“I can’t tell you the number of times that a guest just sees a bug near a bed or on a bed and makes an assumption,” Victoria Agredo, a hospitality industry veteran, tells USA TODAY. “An untrained eye checking a room for themselves really isn’t that helpful. They may find something or they may create a panic over nothing.”

If they are indeed bedbugs, make sure you ask to be moved to a different room (and not one next to the one where you stayed).

Jordan Bishop, founder of consumer watchdog and travel website Yore Oyster, recommends sealing your clothes and other belongings in plastic bags and running them through a hot laundry cycle ASAP.

You can also use a garbage bag, and place that in a freezer overnight to get rid of bedbugs. For non-washable items, enlist a pest-management professional.

 

Books Are Being Returned to the Hampton (NH) Library With Bed Bugs

Books_Bedbugs 
WOKQ | by Chio Acosta | October 28, 2019

Bed Bugs in Books, YIKES, Hampton Library May Ban Users.  What’s a librarian to do?  Well, first they disinfect and make sure the pests do not spread, then the books are discarded and a pest control agency is brought in to determine that the library is safe, but the broader question is how do they stop it from happening.  Seacoastonline reports on the issue that all libraries are facing and the steps the Hampton Library is taking to prevent the problem.

While bed bugs are not known to carry disease, they are creepy crawlies that leave bed bug poop everywhere, have an annoying little bite that looks like a rash and can trigger severe allergies.  None of those are good things.  Amanda Reynolds Cooper, the Lane Memorial Library director, says the library trustees will now be given a policy to approve that would require those that return books with bed bugs to obtain documentation that their homes are safe and bed bug-free before gaining admittance to the library.  This seems like a commonsense procedure but there are a lot of issues in play with this proposed policy.

Libraries are open to the public for good reasons and it’s a First Amendment issue to deny someone access.  Many people use the library for research into job opportunities, research into healthcare issues and these community hubs are not just for the storage of ideas.  Free public access makes libraries a safe space for learning.  What if you are homeless and looking for resources?  How can you claim your living space is “pest-free?”  It will be interesting to see how this debate plays out if the policy is approved.  Stay tuned, the trustees will meet to approve or not allow the policy on November 13 per reporting from seacoastonline.

 

Union demands action as bedbug problem spreads to new federal building

These are not isolated cases,’ says PSAC after bugs found at Tunney’s Pasture

Jeanne

As a Tunney’s Pasture tower becomes the latest government building in the National Capital Region flagged for bedbugs, Canada’s largest federal workers’ union is demanding a more proactive strategy to deal with the pests.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) says bedbugs have now been identified in buildings in Ottawa, Gatineau, Montreal, Hamilton, Toronto, Winnipeg, and Milton, Ont.

  • Signs of bed bugs spotted at 2 more federal buildings

CBC has learned that one office tower at Tunney’s Pasture — the Jeanne Mance Building, whose primary tenant is Health Canada — is the latest to be monitored.

“I would like to inform you of the activities that are taking place in the building in order to respond to an incident where one bedbug was found on the 12th floor,” wrote Stefania Trombetti of the Responsible Building Authority Thursday, in an email to workers obtained by CBC.

“We are making arrangements for high-heat steaming of the immediate area where the bedbug was found and we are considering additional measures.”

The insect was “eliminated,” Trombetti added.

This email sent by Stefania Trombetti on Oct. 24 outlines the steps being taken to stave off a potential bedbug problem at the Jeanne Mance Building. (Supplied)

Growing problem

It’s been a bad month for bedbugs in federal buildings.

Trombetti’s note came the same week Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC), which manages government properties, told some Employment and Social Development Canada employees to work from home Friday.

That request was made so that a pest control company could deal with a bedbug problem at 22 Eddy St. in Gatineau.

PSPC also revealed bedbugs had been spotted on the 16th floor of the Jean Edmonds Tower at 300 Slater St. in Ottawa.

Hundreds of federal public servants also had to work from home earlier this month to allow for bedbug treatments at 70 Crémazie Street in Gatineau — an infestation that had gone on for more than a year.

Magali Picard, national executive vice-president of PSAC, wants the federal government to proactively fight bedbugs in their buildings by, among other things, letting sniffer dogs track them down. (CBC)

‘Not isolated cases’

“These are not isolated cases,” said Magali Picard, PSAC’s national executive vice-president.

  • Bed bugs found inside immigration offices at Guy-Favreau
  • Gatineau office building treated for bedbugs

“Employees have a right to feel safe at work, and they’re rightfully worried about bringing bedbugs home with them and affecting their families, which is having an impact on their mental health,” said Picard in a statement to CBC.

The union would like the federal government to start proactively inspecting its buildings with sniffer dogs, while also creating a registry of buildings contaminated by pests.

They’re also asking them to:

  • Cover fumigation expenses for workers in infested buildings who bring bugs home.
  • Give them the technological ability to work from home if pests become a problem at their buildings.
  • Allow workers stay home after fumigation until a follow-up inspection has been made.
  • Teach them how to identify and report a bedbug problem.

Finally, PSAC said it wants to see the government stop attacking the problem one floor at a time, and fumigate entire buildings when problems persist.

‘It’s worrying’

Some employees who read the note told CBC their biggest fear is bringing bedbugs home.

“It’s worrying,” said one woman as she left the building Friday.

“It’s hard to know if you’ve got some on you or [if] you’re bringing them home. I have small children — I don’t want my kids to be subject to bedbugs in my own home.”

Trombetti wrote in her email that the building’s property management team and the workplace health and safety committees were both “taking this issue seriously.”

“As a precaution, we have installed pheromone glue traps on the floor to monitor the situation,” she wrote.

Penn State Developing Poultry Bedbug Control

595fae945773a.image

Lancaster Farming | by Courtney Love, Philip Gruber |Oct 25, 2019

Penn State researchers are reformulating an exterminator spray to combat bedbugs in chicken houses.

Entomology professor Nina Jenkins started developing the biopesticide Aprehend in 2011 and, with her team, commercialized the product in 2017.

The product was originally meant for places like homes and hotels, where bedbugs can be a hard-to-kill nuisance.

Jenkins spoke about the project in an Oct. 8 call with PennAg Industries Association.

When they hitchhike into poultry houses, bedbugs bite the chickens to drink their blood. In heavy infestations, the birds may experience feather loss, lesions and anemia.

Bedbugs are tricky to manage because they can feed on many animals, including rodents, and they are developing resistance to common pyrethroid insecticides.

“You only need one to survive to re-establish,” Jenkins said.

Aprehend is not a pyrethroid. It is an oil-based spray that contains Beauveria bassiana, a fungus that infects the bedbug’s blood system and kills it. The fungus spreads readily among bedbugs but does not infect humans.

The product, available only to licensed pest control operators, works in dark, undisturbed household settings for up to three months.

Poultry buildings don’t provide such ideal conditions.

“It’s going to be an issue with feather dust and dander,” Jenkins said.

Before Aprehend can get to poultry houses, Machtinger and Jenkins need to secure funding. The product must also go through the Environmental Protection Agency’s approval process, which could take 18 months.

Aprehend would be just one part of a broader integrated pest management approach to bedbugs.

Poultry houses should have dedicated worker clothing that is run through a dryer, washed in hot water and then dried again.

Workers should also have designated shoes for poultry house use and practice good biosecurity, said Gregory Martin, a Penn State Extension educator.

Study: Nearly a Third of U.S. Bald Eagles Infected With Newly Discovered Virus

EagleU.S. NEWS | By Cecelia Smith-Schoenwalder | Oct. 21, 2019

NEARLY ONE-THIRD OF THE bald eagles in the United States are infected with a previously unknown virus, according to new research.

The study, which was published in the journal Scientific Reports on Friday, tested 47 eagles from 19 states and found that 32% of them had the newly identified virus, called bald eagle hepacivirus.

“This study has opened our eyes to glaring knowledge gaps about infection in a species of great national importance,” Tony Goldberg, lead study author and professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said in a statement. “It’s a more complicated story than we thought it might be at first, but that makes it more interesting.”

While not deadly, the newly identified disease could be contributing to a separate, fatal disease that has been causing declines in the bird’s populations. Wisconsin River Eagle Syndrome was first described in the 1990s, when observers spotted birds staggering and vomiting. They eventually died from the syndrome or were euthanized.

It is unclear what the link between the two diseases could be, if there is one. Birds outside of Wisconsin that didn’t have the fatal syndrome were still diagnosed with the newly identified virus.

“This study is another piece of the puzzle,” Sean Strom of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said in a statement. “Hopefully we can find more pieces and figure out what is happening.”

Despite being the U.S.’s national symbol, bald eagles have had a rough history in the country. Hunting, pesticide poisoning and habitat loss decimated populations in the 20th century. As few as 412 nesting pairs were in the U.S. at the population’s lowest point.

Strict regulations and the banning of DDT, a pesticide that caused the bird’s egg shells to become too thin, recovered populations to the point that the bald eagle was taken off the endangered species list in 2007.

Despite improved protections, bald eagles are still falling victim to poison. In March, seven bald eagles and one great horned owl were found dead in Maryland. Officials said they were likely unintentionally poisoned with a banned pesticide, carbofuran. The deaths came roughly three years after 13 bald eagles were found dead in the area under similar circumstances. Officials said they were “disappointed and frustrated” at the continued poisonings

Wash tomatoes with warm water to escape poisoning from chemicals – study

PML Daily| October 17, 2019 |by Micheal J. Ssali
Clean_Tomates
KAMPALA – The production of a big number of foodstuffs involves the use of poisonous substances that could be harmful to our health. It is almost impossible for farmers nowadays to successfully grow crops like tomatoes or Irish potatoes without the use of pesticides. It is equally difficult for farmers working on more than five acres to keep weeds under control without using herbicides.

Agro-chemicals are almost indispensible in modern farming, if not handled carefully they are dangerous not only to the farmers using them but also to the consumers and the environment.

Studies carried out by PHE (Pesticide Use, Health and Environment Project) and UNACOH (Uganda National Association of Community and Occupational Health) and whose findings were released last August in Kampala indicate that only 23% of farmers in Uganda have received training in pesticide and herbicide usage such as proper application techniques, storage, and safety measures. The studies further indicated that of the farmers who use synthetic pesticides only 14% had had training in its usage. Yet a growing number of our farmers use chemicals to safeguard their crops and livestock against diseases. Pesticides are also applied on stored crops like beans and maize.

Most farmers don’t take the trouble to follow manufacturers’ instruction when using chemicals, probably due to lack of training. The chemicals have also been discovered to have negative effects on the environment, polluting the soil and public water sources. Three hundred and ninety cases of acute poisoning were registered in 43 of the 66 health facilities in Wakiso and Pallisa districts between 2013 and 2017, according to the studies. Majority of the cases were non-intentional while the rest were occupational poisonings or due to unclear causes. Agro-chemical shopkeepers are among the high risk cases as they too hardly observe the required safety measures.

The studies led by Dr Aggrey Atuhaire revealed a total of eight different pesticides –Mancozeb, Malathion, Metalaxyl, Profenofos, Cypermethrin, Dichlorvos, Chlorpyrifos and Lambda-cyhalothrin – found in tomato samples randomly picked from market stalls in the different research districts. Of particular concern was Mancozeb, a fungicide, which was found in much higher concentrations than the rest in detectable levels for all samples from the farm and market. The studies indicated that most tomato farmers mindlessly spray big amounts of pesticides on the crop which can easily be identified on the tomatoes in market stalls.

Consumers have been advised to wash the tomatoes with warm water or to peel off the outer skin before eating

them. Among other recommendations to are: looking out for pesticide free tomatoes, growing personal vegetables at home with limited or careful usage of chemicals, invigorated national farmers’ education and practical guidance by agricultural extension workers, kicking out counterfeit agrochemicals, and passing and implementing the Uganda Organic Agriculture Policy.

A Food and Agriculture (FAO) report dated 23 June 2017 said that mindless use of agro-chemicals leads to soil pollution. It said, “Excess nitrogen and trace metals such as arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury can impair plant metabolism and cut crop productivity, ultimately putting pressure on arable land. When they enter the food chain, such pollutants also pose risks to food security, water resources, rural livelihoods and human health.”

Ugandan farmers apply agricultural chemicals like Glyphosate, a broad-spectrum herbicide, in fields close to swamps and public water sources. Running rainwater carries the chemicals from the fields to unintended areas in the valley. In the two studies, Glyphosate was the herbicide with the highest overall average concentration for the 86 water points for two sampling regimes in Budaka, Kamwenge, Gulu, Bushenyi, Rakai (Lake Kijanibarora) and in Sembabule.

Other toxic chemicals found in public water sources in the areas include Aldicarb, Dichlovos, Atrazine and Chlorfenvinphos. The research findings indicated that surface water sources had an over-all average higher pesticide concentration compared to groundwater sources. The most polluted water points were fetch ponds (in Budaka, Rakai, Pallisa, districts) streams (in Kamwenge, Sembabule, Kapchorwa) a lake (Kijanibarora, Rakai District) protected springs (in Bushenyi District) and boreholes (in Gulu Districts).

Another cause of worry, according to the study, is the way Ugandan farmers handle the empty containers of the agrochemicals. Most farmers abandon the containers in the compounds of their houses where children use them as toys and from where the containers are driven by running water into swamps and public water points. The researchers recommend that the government should put in place incentives to compel farmers to return empty triple rinsed and punctured pesticides

containers to pesticide shops or to central collection points for proper disposal. Empty pesticide containers remain poisonous and dangerous. The research projects also revealed that most farmers don’t use protective gear when handling or applying pesticides which is a big health risk.

The study reports emphasized the need for increased training of medical workers in dealing with herbicide and pesticide poisoning cases. It was emphasized that those taking a patient to the hospital should carry the container of the agro-chemical that caused the accident for the doctors to know what treatment to provide.

“Approximately 90% of the respondents agreed that pesticides are harmful to human health and that tomatoes sold in their local markets contain pesticide residues,” says the study report. “The reason for buying tomatoes containing pesticide residues is that majority (58.97% have no alternative. Approximately 82% mentioned peeling of the tomatoes as the best preparation method of reducing pesticide residues, though in practice, less than 24.63% of the consumers reported to actually peel the tomatoes during preparation of meals.”

Dr. Deogratias K Sekimpi, Executive Director of UNACOH (Uganda National Association of Community and Occupational Health) said, “We are not saying that farmers should completely stop using agro-chemicals. Rather we are asking everybody to be careful with them. All safety measures should be observed by everybody using them and they should all apply the right doses and avoid randomly mixing the chemicals without any expert guidance. Consumers should be cautious of the dangers of pesticide residues and wash the vegetables or peel off their outer skin during meal preparation.”