Sharjah: Twelve Asian workers were rushed to Al Qasimi and Al Kuwait hospitals Sunday morning from a workers’ accommodation in Industrial Area 10 in Sharjah with symptoms of suspected pesticide poisoning.
All the workers had earlier complained of dizzy spells and vomiting. It is learnt that workers living in a room adjacent to the one whose occupants reported sick may have used banned chemicals for fumigation.
The workers, who sources say are Bangladeshis, were questioned by Sharjah Police and an investigation is continuing. It is not clear if any charges have been filed against anyone.
Three men whose condition was reported to be more serious than the others were admitted to Al Qasimi Hospital and the rest were admitted to Al Kuwaiti Hospital where they will remain under observation for the next 48 hours, Dr Safiya Al Khaja, a doctor at Al Qasimi Hospital, told Gulf News.
Authorities initially suspected the workers were suffering from food poisoning, but hospital officials said they believed chemical poisoning from banned pest control products may be responsible.
Doctors initially treated the case as food poisoning but on speaking to the affected men, were told that workers in the neighbouring room at the workers accommodation had used pesticides.
“Many of the workers vomited and some fainted,” said Asif, a Pakistani foreman of a furniture factory four of whose employees took ill. “We found four pieces of pesticide in the neighbouring room,” he said.
Hospital officials said only licensed and certified companies are permitted to administer pest control products in the UAE, and the municipality must approve each professional. “This is an education issue. People have to know what to do before and after treatment,” Dr Safiya said.
Earlier this month, two-year-old Habiba Hesham Abdul Rahman died after exposure to pesticides. Her brother Abdul Rahman was left critically ill in hospital but has since made a recovery. Seven suspects have been arrested for running unlicensed pesticide companies. “Controlling pests is really the job of experts,” Dr Safiya said.
The hospitalised workers are suspected to have been poisoned by aluminium phosphide, a highly toxic substance used to kill insects and rodents.