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19 Nov 2016

Associated Press, in Fox News, USA

Royal Van Zanten says it will take more precautions to protect workers from toxic chemicals; ill workers treated

"Ugandan incident prompts concern for flower farm workers"

More than 80 Ugandan women accuse a Dutch-owned flower exporter of exposing them to a toxic fumigant, in a case that suggests the difficult conditions faced by African workers at the lowest end of the lucrative international flower industry. The women were sickened by metam sodium, a soil fumigant widely used internationally as an agricultural pesticide...

Royal Van Zanten said about 45 women had been sickened by metam sodium and they had all been treated, according to Sam Wambi, the company's human resources manager in Uganda, who said he spoke for the company. Following the allegations, Royal Van Zanten temporarily discontinued use of metam sodium and instead steams its flower beds, Wambi said. He said new precautions would be followed when the use of the pesticide resumes. Now, flower pickers will not be required to return to greenhouses until seven days after any fumigants have been applied, he said.