A plane spraying herbicides near a school poisoned 92 children and 3 teachers on Wednesday in northern Peru.
The students of the San Jose high school were left vomiting and fainting while suffering from stomach pains, headaches, and eye irritation after the plane allegedly sprayed glyphosate — the active ingredient of Monsanto's Roundup weed killer — during a fumigation of a nearby sugar cane field.
“We have four very serious cases, in which the children have been transferred unconscious with IVs to the Regional Hospital of Nuevo Chimbote. The others are receiving attention in San Jacinto and the Essalud hospital in Nepeña,” said city manager Benito Agreda
Environmental rights activists have called for the component to be banned, and the World Health Organization has said that it "probably" causes cancer.
Investigators say the spraying done by Agroindustrias San Jacinto didn’t have a municipal permit, and the justice department will launch an investigation. Spokesmen for the company said it will cover health care costs for those affected and clean the fields.
The fields, which are only 10 to 15 meters away from the school, belong to the Gloria group, one of the largest agriculture companies in Peru.
The Environmental Protection Agency recommends not entering crop fields for 12 hours after spraying them with glyphosate, even after saying it has low toxicity for humans.