Powerful Pesticide Killed Kids in India
It was five times stronger than commercial levels, say police
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 20, 2013 3:57 PM CDT
Indian children who fell ill after eating lunch undergo treatment at a hospital in Patna, India, Saturday.   (AP Photo/Aftab Alam Siddiqui)

(Newser) – Forensic tests have explained why so many kids at a rural school in India died so quickly after eating lunch: The agricultural pesticide found in their food was five times more powerful than usual, reports the Wall Street Journal. Police bought a bottle of pesticide containing the chemical compound monocrotophos—the killer ingredient in this case—and compared it to the levels found in the students' food. "The intensity of the chemical in the meal was five times higher," says the local police chief. "Even if you smell the fumes of such a chemical it can be fatal. In this case, the children had eaten it."

So how on earth did it get in there, resulting in 23 deaths? That remains under investigation, though police have speculated that cooking oil used in the meal had been stored in a container that used to hold the pesticide, reports Reuters. They'll know more assuming they ever catch up with the still-at-large school headmistress. She reportedly dismissed complaints from the cook and the children that the food smelled horrible. The World Health Organization considers monocrotophos "highly hazardous," and the EPA says it is no longer used in American products.

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Showing 3 of 12 comments
debbiedoodle
Jul 21, 2013 1:31 PM CDT
you can but seeds to plant here in the US that warn not to handle without gloves. WTF are we allowing to go on? It is not good for the people or near the people only for the politicians that pass these shit bills that pay for their re-elections & YOU are the sheeple that buy into it. A few years ago, I read that there was a movement to elect NO incumbants. That might be a good idea now. They are literally killing us in the US
viva_yo
Jul 21, 2013 12:46 AM CDT
It sounds as if it were done on purpose.
HMD-SMD-ITY
Jul 20, 2013 10:54 PM CDT
India has all that great junk you can't get in the west anymore. DDT, Chlordane, Carbon Tetrachloride, etc. DDT did a number on the Panama Canal mosquito problem. Chlordane kept your grandparents home from getting termites. It is not biodegradable. What they spray for ground preparation today will lose effectiveness in less than 10 years. Carbon tet was the best cleaning agent for restoring motion picture film. We kept a nice backstock of it for the worst condition films that came in. I think we even had some picric acid on hand but don't tell anyone. I just know I went back to my high school a couple years after graduating to see if the teacher had any potassium perchlorate on hand. He did and he gave me all of it because he was told to get rid of any items that could be harmful. So we are looking for more good stuff you used to get in your 1970 "100 Chemistry Projects" kit at the hobby store. We move several bottles around and what do you know, a nicel solidified bottle of picric acid. I then tell him, "I think we need to just back up very carefully." I get my goods and tell him, "now call the sheriff and tell them to bring a bomb squad. I'm leaving because I don't want them to see what I'm taking out of here." I haul my aspirin out of there and am on the way home only to be passed by police, sheriff, hp, atf, and fire units. I settle in watching it on tv as they evacuate the school and remove the bottle. Maybe I saved some lives that day. All I know is the chemistry teacher retired after that semester.