MOHAVE VALLEY—The Mohave County Department of Public Health announced Wednesday the results on a plastic egg and candy collected from an egg drop in March have tested positive for pesticide dimethoate.
Special Programs Manager Jeannie Bowen said MCDPH was alerted on March 24 about the possible eggs being tainted after about a dozen attendees complained to the organizer.
“There were complaints that an oily substance was on the eggs,” Bowen said. “The organizer—Harvest Bible Church—contacted the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office who than in turn contacted Mohave County Emergency Management. They in turn contacted us and the Mohave Valley Fire Department.
Bowen said an egg and candy were collected at the site by the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office and sent to the Arizona State Public Health Laboratory. Bowen did not say if any testing had been done prior to the alert being issued.
When asked what information and/or proof the MCDPH had to continue with the alert, Bowen said, “There was a potential risk of contamination because the plane used to drop the candy was reportedly used for agricultural purposes.”
The pilot, identified as Jake Dare, was interviewed by the sheriff’s department regarding the eggs and his plane that was used, said Bowen.
Dare told The Bee he does not agree with the allegations laundered against him.
“The aircraft was cleaned out this morning by myself. All messages I have been sent, people are saying they smelt fuel,” said Dare. “That would be from the smoke which comes out of the exhaust.”
Dare added the aircraft is cleaned out by himself personally before every event he participates in.
Although a total number of eggs that were reportedly tainted have not been confirmed by the health department, Bowen said about 2,000 eggs were dropped from the plane out of approximately 30,000 that were scattered around the area.
She said at this time no illnesses have been reported to their agency and onset symptoms would’ve been immediate.
When asked if the alert at the time was a “knee-jerk” reaction, Bowen said, “Our priority is the health and safety of our community. We have to weigh the risk and if the potential exists we have a duty to address those risks.”
“We understand the concerns from the community about the potential health risks, and have been advised by poison control that if people had been exposed in any measurable amount you would have experienced symptoms immediately,” said Director of the Mohave County Department of Public Health Party Mead.
“The Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center also confirmed there is no delayed onset of symptoms and no long term lasting effects,” Mead said. “Thankfully for our community, no illnesses have been reported associated with this event.”
MCDPH advises that the eggs and candy should be disposed of properly in a trash container. Anyone who touched the eggs or the candy should wash their hands thoroughly to avoid and further contamination.
Bowen said no other incidents like this have occurred in Mohave County.