German man poisoned after fighting voles with butyric acid | News | DW | 15.10.2019
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German man poisoned after fighting voles with butyric acid

A specialist team of firefighters in full biohazard gear was deployed to a garden in northwestern Germany where a man had tried to fight rodents with butyric acid. He was hospitalized after inhaling harmful vapors.

German authorities have had to remove polluted soil from a garden in the northwestern town of Heisfelde after a man used highly concentrated butyric acid as a pesticide.

The man, a resident of a nearby apartment building in the town west of Bremen, applied the toxic chemical on Monday in an attempt to fight voles plaguing the communal garden. However, he ended up inhaling harmful vapors and having his skin come into contact with the substance.

The chemical, which has a characteristic smell of rancid butter, can cause irritation, a burning sensation, coughing and breathing difficulties.

The man phoned for an ambulance after noticing the onset of symptoms. Medical responders then alerted the local firefighters, who passed the report to the biohazard team in the county fire department.

No danger for neighbors

Some 50 firefighters were deployed to the scene, some of them wearing full biohazard gear. With the cause of the danger not immediately clear, medical responders also wore protective suits while treating the man.

He was eventually hospitalized, but medical officials have described his injuries as "light."

Officials later secured the remaining acid and took samples from the site. The garden has been temporarily closed to the public.

However, authorities have said there was no immediate danger for other residents of the apartment building and their neighbors.

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