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Pest controller indicted for leaving rodent poison in kindergarten yard

Company, managers also charged for giving workers poison in baby formula boxes; two toddlers who touched toxins unharmed

Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter.

Rodent poison left in a baby formula container in the puppet corner of a kindergarten in central Israel. (Ministry of Environmental Protection)
Rodent poison left in a baby formula container in the puppet corner of a kindergarten in central Israel. (Ministry of Environmental Protection)

A dangerous mishap was narrowly averted at a kindergarten in central Israel after two toddlers managed to open an old baby formula container and touch the rodent poison that an unlicensed pest controller had left next to puppets in a corner of the yard serving as a theater.

Seeing what they were doing, the kindergarten teacher put a stop to the toddlers’ activities and took them for a medical check. They were unharmed.

On Wednesday, the Environmental Protection Ministry announced that the exterminator, Sharon Sharabi, as well as the company, Sdot A.V.R. Extermination Solutions of Yavniel, and its directors, Yosef and Bar Or Linkovsky, were being indicted.

According to the charge sheet, the pest controller did not have an appropriate license, used the pesticide in violation of the instructions on the product label, endangered life by leaving the substance behind, and failed to report having left it behind to the relevant authorities.

Rodent poison left in a baby formula container in the puppet corner of a kindergarten in central Israel. (Ministry of Environmental Protection)

The pest controller’s license allowed him to operate in apartments only, and not in buildings, which would have qualified him to work at a kindergarten. He carried out activity both within the kindergarten and in the yard. The milk substitute box labeled as poisonous was given to him by the company and contained several cubes of a poison called Solo Blox. This was despite the fact that the maker of the pesticide expressly prohibits removing the substance from its original container.

The incident occurred in December 2018. An investigation was carried out by the Environment Ministry’s Green Police and police from the central city of Lod.

Three years ago, an exterminator was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for causing the death of two young girls when he treated their family’s home in Jerusalem with a dangerous poisonous substance.

Yossi Barkan, from Nataf outside Jerusalem, was convicted of causing the deaths of Yael and Avigail Gross, aged 1 and 4, by exposure to toxic chemicals, and causing serious injury to the other four members of the family. Barkan agreed to a plea bargain that saw him receive a relatively short sentence and have to pay the family NIS 200,000 ($51,700) in damages.

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