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West Ventura County Focus

CAMARILLO : Woman's Death Not Related to Spraying

October 20, 1994|JOANNA M. MILLER

The death of a Camarillo woman who suffered a severe asthma attack five days after helicopters sprayed malathion near her home was in no way connected to the aerial Medfly eradication, a state health official said Wednesday.

Lisa Barker, 26, who had a lifelong asthma condition that required previous trips to the hospital emergency room, died Monday at a Camarillo hospital, authorities said.

She had left the area before the malathion spraying began Oct. 12 and returned four days later, health officials said.

"There is no reason to believe that malathion played a role in this unfortunate fatality," said Dr. Richard Kreutzer, a physician and epidemiologist with the California Department of Health Services. Kreutzer made his findings after examining records and interviewing doctors who attended Barker.

The county coroner's office elected not to perform an autopsy because Barker's private physician had signed the death certificate, citing an asthma attack as the cause of death, a coroner's official said.

Barker's parents, Tim and Mary Ann Barker do not believe their daughter's death was connected to the spraying either, said Lisa's sister, Sarah Barker.

"Our dad is a farmer and has dealt with malathion for a long time," she said. "My sister had a chronic asthma problem, probably since she was about 3."

But Leonard Mehlmauer, a malathion spraying opponent and a holistic practitioner who was treating Lisa Barker, said he believes the malathion may have played a role.

Barker sought Mehlmauer's help to replace her asthma medication with good diet and a healthy lifestyle, Mehlmauer said.

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