Herbicide Spraying Update

A state official says a company that accidentally sprayed a group of toddlers in Abingdon with weed-killing chemicals committed previous pesticide violations and likely will face a fine.

A NatureChem tanker truck hired by Norfolk Southern to spray herbicide on weeds along railroad tracks on Tuesday accidentally sprayed several toddlers playing outside a day-care center.

Center owner Amy Bowie says 16 children were in the play area near the tracks, and four were beside the fence nearest the tracks when the chemical was sprayed.

Jim Hartlage is a pesticide investigator with the Virginia Department of Agriculture. He says the label on the chemical NaturChem was using bans it from being sprayed so it lands on other property or people.

He says NaturChem was fined two years ago for a violation in Giles County, and it was fined for more than 800 violations in Kentucky.

NaturChem general manager Eddie Johnson says the spraying was an accident and his company will pay for cleanup costs at the day-care center and for the children's medical bills.

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