Twenty-two people — most of them children — are in stable condition after suffering from pesticide poisoning, Costa Rican authorities said.
The Ministry of Health has asked the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG) to launch an investigation into the incident, which apparently occurred near a pineapple farm in close proximity to La Ceiba School in San Juan de Florencia, in Alajuela province.
“The Ministry of Health seeks to know the details of the facts in order to manage the administrative, or possibly criminal, measures that are required to prevent the repetition of similar situations,” a Casa Presidencial press release reads.
“Similarly, the existing regulations on the appropriate proximity of plantations to community centers will be analyzed.”
Of the 22 affected individuals, 16 are children. They presented with symptoms of headache, dizziness and nausea, among others, the Ministry of Health said.
Per capita, Costa Rica is among the world’s leading users of pesticides. As a 2015 Semanario Universidad report detailed, the Regional Institute of Toxic Substance Studies (IRET) found that Costa Rica used an average of 18.2 kgs of pesticides per hectare of farmland.