Several industries around the country and in Colorado routinely use chemicals that are considered dangerous if the proper safety procedures for their use and storage are not followed. One such chemical is a colorless gas called methyl mercaptan, which, at high levels, will attack the central nervous system and cause death by paralyzing the respiratory system. An incident involving this pesticide ingredient led to four men being fatally injured at work.
The employees worked for DuPont, which uses the methyl mercaptan gas in the manufacturing of a pesticide called Lannate. On Nov. 15, 2014, a worker was in a tower without protective equipment and opened a drain vent line and was unexpectedly overwhelmed by the gas. She managed to radio for help, and two other workers came to her aid, but they, too, failed to put on the proper protective gear and were also overcome.