Expert weighs in on pesticide responsible for Amarillo deaths

Local News

The Amarillo community is dealing with a New Years tragedy after four people died after being exposed to a poisonous chemical.

The house was sprayed with the pesticide weevil-cide.

“This fumigant contained a chemical called aluminum phosphide, and when mixed with water it creates a gas called phosphine gas which is highly poisonous,” Amarillo Fire Captain Larry Davis said.

Pest control worker Juan Garza said it’s highly dangerous and he would not use it residentially.

“It’s mainly for agricultural use out in open areas where livestock or people will not be affected by it,” Petty’s Pest Control worker Juan Garza said.

According to manufacturer UPI, weevil-cide is used to protect “against the most destructive pests, such as grain-boring insects, moths, weevils, beetles and burrowing rodents.”

Garza also said it should not have been left to activate.

“A lot of liability goes with it because you don’t know what’s gonna happen or when it will be activated, who would put the water on it, or when the moisture would get to it,” he said.

He said if you hire a qualified pest control company to spray your home, this should not happen.

“Ask your pet control people what they’re using and what the precautions are for it,” Garza said. “Ask for a label if you’re wanting to know the differences in them, and make sure that the people you use are professional and licensed by the Texas Department of Agriculture.”

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