Each year nearly 300 million pounds of strawberries are produced in Central Florida, most within about a twenty mile radius of Plant City. The region is once again in the midst of strawberry growing season, meaning we are well on our way toward enjoying the strawberries grown and tended by about 100 farmers on nearly 11,000 acres of land.
The kickoff of the growing season will remind some of picking strawberries with family, and attending the Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City. Some Plant City residents will focus on the smell of garlic or rotting garbage that began unofficially marking the beginning of each growing season in 2013. The odor is caused by a product that is meant to help growers safely produce strawberries, a soil fumigant marketed under the label Paladin.
Paladin Soil Fumigant is intended to treat soil before a strawberry crop is planted, effectively killing anything that can put the crop at risk. Paladin’s active ingredient is dimethyl disulfide, which served as a replacement for methyl bromide. While dimethyl disulfide is supposed to be organic and safe, it carries with it a list of potential problems.
Hazards posed by Paladin (DMDS) use:
- Paladin may dissolve in the water table.
- Dimethyl disulfide can be highly flammable.
- Paladin may cause irritation to the eyes and skin.
- Vapors may cause lung irritation, dizziness or suffocation.
- DMDS may cause toxic effects if inhaled or absorbed through the skin.
- Fire caused by Paladin will produce irritating, corrosive and often toxic gases.
If you are experiencing symptoms you believe are caused by exposure to Paladin or you have concerns regarding its application in and around Plant City, you will want to first contact a medical professional regarding your health. After addressing pressing health concerns, please feel free to contact our office at 813.254.2637 to discuss any and all dangers posed by the application of Paladin.