Extermination company defends technician, says manual is not law

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LAYTON -- Investigators believe a toxic gas released from a rodent pesticide killed a 4-year-old Layton girl and put her 15-month-old sister in the ICU on life support. They say they found traces of the chemical Fumitoxin at several points around the home.

According to the Fumitoxin manual, the chemical shouldn't be used closer than 15 feet from any home or building; investigators detected it at 3 feet from the garage and 7 feet from the home. Still, the owner of the pest control company who deposited the chemical says the manual isn't the law.

Bugman Pest Control owner Ray Wilson said the past few days have been a nightmare, but he said it's nothing compared to what the Toone family is dealing with.

"I'm extremely upset and sorry that a young girl not only died but that her sister is in the hospital," Wilson said.

A Bugman technician used the chemical Fumitoxin in burrows around the Toone's home, but exactly how many pellets and how many burrows they were placed in isn't known. Wilson says the technician didn't properly document it.


"Maybe he's fried himself by writing down an incorrect measurement," Wilson suggested.

Wilson says the technician wrote down the pounds of chemical -- approximately 1-1/2 -- rather than the pellets as he was supposed to.

Wilson estimates based on the pounds, around 800 pellets were used. He has no way of knowing whether that was the proper amount because the employee didn't document how many burrows there were.

Wilson also says they would normally use a different and less-toxic chemical, Ramik-brown, for vole burrows, not Fumitoxin.

He says the technician used his own judgment when planting the Fumitoxin pellets, without Wilson's knowledge.

Going outside the protocol is one thing, but breaking the law is another. Wilson says the technician did not break the law.

"By law, the technician has to comply with the label on the product," he said.

In the 40-page applicator's manual for Fumitoxin, it talks specifically about distance limitations, saying you shouldn't apply the product fewer than 15 feet away from any home or building.

But according to Wilson, you don't have to follow the manual, you have to follow the label on the bottle. The label doesn't talk about limitations at all.

Wilson says he is not defending the technician's actions because he doesn't have all the information, based on the incomplete paperwork.

But if the technician did what he says he did, his actions were within EPA standards.

The technician is on unpaid leave. Wilson says he would like to reach out and assist the Toone family in any way he can.

E-mail: jstagg@ksl.com.

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