Abilene exterminator weighs in on pesticide that killed 4 in Texas


ABILENE, Texas - Four children are dead and five people are in the hospital after inhaling a poisonous pesticide Monday in Amarillo, but an Abilene exterminator said the chemical isn't commonly found.

The Amarillo Fire Department said the cause of death was aluminum phosphide, a pesticide that can produce a deadly gas called phosphine when wet.

Homer Gallindo, owner of Sure Shot Pest Management in Abilene, says the product isn't easily obtainable.

"I don't even carry it on my trucks, I just know it's a highly restrictive product," Gallindo said. "It requires a certain certification and credentials to even get that."

Aluminum phosphide is used to kill insects and burrowing rodents. According to the EPA, there are 23 registered products in the U.S.

AFD said the children's father purchased the aluminum phosphide and used it under the home, but residents inside began getting sick. The father then tried to wash the pesticide away and dilute it, but that caused a reaction producing the phosphine gas.

The poison is not to be used within 15 feet of a home or building. In 2010, two children died in Utah after a pest treatment on their home.

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