Fluoride Action Network

1080: ‘Extremely lucky to survive’: Company fined $275k for poisoning employee

Source: New Zealand Herald | July 28th, 2021
Location: New Zealand
Industry type: Pesticides

Note from Fluoride Action Network:

Molecular structure of highly toxic Sodium fluoroacetate (known as 1080). For more info, albeit outdated, click here

A Rolleston-based pest bait manufacturing organisation has been fined $275,000 after an employee was poisoned and nearly lost his life.

Pest Control Research Limited Partnership (PCR) appeared for sentencing in the Christchurch District Court yesterday. In addition to the fine given, a reparation of $8,177 was ordered, and costs of more than $96,600 was awarded to WorkSafe.

The worker spent four weeks in hospital being treated for fluoroacetate poisoning and a further two months recuperating out of hospital.

“His urine fluoroacetate reading was more than 500 times higher than WorkSafe’s Biological Exposure Index limit and he was extremely lucky to survive.” Head of specialist snterventions Dr Catherine Gardner said.

The frightful incident happened in May 2019 at PCR, a company which manufactures pest control products including baits containing sodium fluoroacetate (more commonly known as 1080) as the toxic active ingredient.

In 2018 and 2019, PCR was experiencing issues with the ongoing supply of sodium fluoroacetate and set up an internal project codenamed the “Home Brew Project” or “Project X” to manufacture its own supply of the highly toxic substance.

The incident occurred during the first trial production of sodium fluoroacetate when a runaway chemical reaction resulted in a loss of containment.

“Health and safety requirements were not met from the very start of this project and cumulatively designed.”

“Fabrication and process errors ultimately resulted in workers being exposed to highly toxic vapour from a failure in the manufacturing process and in PCR’s overall safety management systems.”