The three documents included here were attestations in a report carried out by the Hawai‘i state Department of Agriculture over herbicide spraying on the Westside near Waimea Canyon School late last year.
Dec. 5 2006
To whom it may concern,
I was recently informed about the closing of Waimea Canyon School due to the presence of noxious scents in the environment. It was disturbing news to me because ground zero is Building T in which our Special Education classes receive most of their daily instruction along with other intermediate regular education classes. It was also a validation that I have not been imagining changes in my health since I’ve been there. I was transferred from the upper Elementary campus four years ago. While there, I have no recollection of any upper respiratory problems but have had many headaches and migraine headaches. After moving down to Building T, I began having what I felt were allergy attacks. I experienced more colds, nasal congestion, flu-like symptoms, nausea, headaches and feeling lethargic. I did call [redacted] who at the time acknowledged my concern verbally.
A few years ago while teaching Science on a very humid day, our students voiced their concern about feeling sick and unable to concentrate. They thought it was unusual that we were all feeling the same way. They composed their concerns and even requested for an accounting of the kinds of chemicals put into the fields and the air. They were very upset and I felt I should place a call again to [redacted]. I was assured that they would make attempts to work with the school. I don’t know if any communications were ever established; however, I continued to work in that environment year after year and continued to notice that my health was deteriorating. I have had ongoing bouts with sinus problems. I took an extended leave of absence this school year, feeling I needed to recuperate. I am still experiencing allergies and sinus problems.
On any given day, our teachers in Building T have films of dirt that sift in through their louvres from the adjoining fields. With all their attempts to try to till the ground on windless days, we continue to encounter elevated amounts of dust and dirt in our classrooms.
I had planned to return to Waimea Canyon in January. After the recent occurrences, I am reluctant to resume teaching there without reassurance that the environment is indeed safe. Has sufficient extensive testing been conducted in addition to merely digging up the culprit plant? I am more concerned about the chemicals that are tilled into the soil constantly and the short and long term health effects they may have on the air Waimea Canyon students and staff may be breathing. For and in behalf of the health, safety and welfare of students and staff, I would hope that any further planting and chemical spraying will be terminated until these matters can be resolved.
COMPLAINT – AGRICULTURAL USE
Complaint No. KA-06-17
Syngenta Seeds, Inc.
P.O. Box 879
Waimea, Hawaii 96796
On 11-17-06, I returned to WCS to collect Attestations from the School Health Aid, [name redacted]. WCS had been closed for the day and [redacted] had just left. I spoke with Mr. Randy Higa, State of Hawaii n Department of Education n Safety and Mr. Shawn Haruno, Environmental Health Specialist for the State of Hawaii n Department of Health n Noise and Radiation and Indoor Air Quality Branch. Higa and Haruno flew in from Honolulu in response to the 11-14-06 incident. Higa and Hauno were with Vice Principal Uyehara reviewing the campus. No odor was present.
On 11-17-06, a control sample (111706-01-KA-AK) was collected from an area in Hanapepe, Hawaii located 7.3 miles away from the Syngenta fields.
On 11-20-06, I met with [redacted]. [Redacted] stated that on 11-14-06, 60 students came to the health room with complaints of nausea, headache, stomach ache, dizziness, watery eyes and vomit. [Redacted] said students started to come in the health room from 8:47 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. [Redacted] said in addition to the 60 students, 4 more students were seen in the health room, 3 that were related to the previous symptoms and 1 that needed a band-aid. [Redacted] shared these statistics:
Grade Came to Health Room Went Home
8th 6 3
7th 4 0
6th 12 8
5th 24 15
4th 10 7
3rd 2 0
2nd 3 1
Kindergarten 1 0
[Redacted] said on 11-14-06, they smelled an unknown odor while in the health room. [Redacted] said the students came in complaining of a “chemical smell.”
[Redacted] said as students are seen in the health room she writes down what students say and provide first aid. [Redacted] said the symptoms that are given by students are logged in the health room log. [Redacted] could not provide this log for my review because of privacy laws.
[Redacted] said she does not diagnose and/or determine why students are having symptom. [Redacted] said that prior to 11-14-06, she did not experience the unknown odor; she only noticed the odor on 11-14-06.
[Redacted] said prior to 11-14-06, no students came into the health room complaining of an unknown smell or chemical odor.