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The State

November 06, 1987

About 200 people were evacuated from a labor camp in Santa Cruz because of leaking pesticide fumes from a plastic tarp-covered strawberry field that prompted complaints of dizziness, headaches and nausea. County Environmental Health Director Diane Evans said it appeared from a preliminary investigation that children from the camp sneaked through a fence and punctured what was supposed to be an airtight tarp covering the plants. A few hours after the spraying of methyl bromide on the patch, residents of the Monterey Labor Camp complained of dizziness, headaches, nausea, eye irritations and other minor ailments. There were no serious injuries. Authorities said the company that sprayed the fumigant agreed to pay the cost of putting the evacuees up for the night in hotels and motels. Health officials said air quality tests later determined that the area was safe for residents to return to the labor camp. The evacuees included about 44 families.

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