I feel compelled to respond to Supervisor Pete Schabarum's remarks to the Downey Rotary Club luncheon last Tuesday (Times, Oct. 26). Schabarum stated that "a couple of local politicians, desperately seeking some kind of issue to justify reelection, have jumped on the construction of a county facility and have repeatedly described it as some kind of chamber of horrors." Schabarum was referring to Norwalk Assemblyman Bob Epple and Downey Councilman Roy Paul. These gentlemen have tried to inform the citizens in the area adjacent to the pesticide warehouse of the potential dangers.
"A chamber of horrors," if I may borrow from Schabarum, is an accurate description of the present warehouse in Pico Rivera. In January of 1987, my husband, a 14-year employee with the Los Angeles County Department of the Agricultural Commissioner, was exposed to aluminum phosphide gas. He and two other county employees were hospitalized for 24 hours. Aluminum phosphide is used to fumigate grain for the control of rodents, etc. The fumigation was not properly performed and the poisonous gas was vented into the interior of the warehouse. My husband and the other two men were in the warehouse attending to work-related responsibilities and were not involved in the ill-fated fumigation. After release from the hospital, all three were homebound for three weeks per doctor's orders.