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Three workers at the Insect Vector Control Division headquarters, Cunupia, fell ill yesterday after breathing in fumes from a chemical storage area. Staff complained that they had been clamouring for the warehouse to be removed, as it posed a risk to their health. It is used to store poisonous chemicals such as Malathion and temephos, which are used to kill mosquitoes.
Public Services Association (PSA) president Watson Duke said he was aware of yesterday’s incident and warned that unless the chemicals were removed he would not be allowing his members back on the compound. But in response, Health Minister Fuad Khan said he believed acts of sabotage might be responsible for the three employees falling ill. In a telephone interview with the T&T Guardian yesterday Khan said the incident, which happened around 8.30 am, was the second “unusual” incident in two weeks.
He said an office building there was flooded two weeks ago “without cause” and the matter was now under investigation. “I will catch whoever is responsible,” Khan said. Employees who spoke to the T&T Guardian on condition of anonymity said the three workers began feeling ill shortly after arriving at work, but after complaining to their superiors they were told they were faking and they should “go and do the government work.”
The workers added that after one woman began vomiting and another fainted, their superiors contact edthe Emergency Health Services (EHS) ,who took them to the Chaguanas Health Facility.