A Torquay commercial flower farm manager has been fined for misusing agricultural chemicals.
The farm manager was found guilty and fined $75,000 without conviction for charges brought by both the Environment Protection Authority Victoria \and Agriculture Victoria.
Agriculture Victoria statewide chemical specialist Steve Field said the incident resulted in four people being hospitalised.
He said a number of people also reported experiencing symptoms such as burning eyes, vision impairment, headaches, nausea, vomiting and skin irritation.
"An inter-agency investigation into the incident which took place in June 2020 involved Agriculture Victoria, EPA Victoria, WorkSafe, Department of Human Health Services and Surf Coast Shire," Mr Field said.
"The chemical used was a soil fumigant that contained metham sodium.
"The chemical is commonly used and effective in managing problematic soil pests and diseases."
Mr Field said in Victoria schedule seven dangerous poisons, such as metham sodium, are classified as 'restricted use' chemicals.
He said they must be used in accordance with label directions and can only be purchased by authorised people who hold a endorsed permits.
"Restrictions are placed on these chemicals because they require caution and proper handling, due to the potential and higher risk of negatively affecting public health and the environment," he said.
Agriculture Victoria confirmed that the chemical user was authorised to use a schedule seven poison but did not comply and follow specific label instructions as indicted as a requirement relevant act.
"Agriculture Victoria strongly emphasises the importance of proper use of agricultural chemicals and the need to follow all label directions and regulations that are in place to minimise the potential risks associated with the use of 'restricted use' chemicals," Mr Field said.
For more information, visit agriculture.vic.gov.au/farm-management/chemicals/report-a-chemical-use-issue.
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