Created by Hank Gilbert

Phostoxin: The Death of Vantashia Samules

The failure of Todd Staples to aggressively utilize the department’s regulatory powers to protect Texans from dangerous pesticides are directly to blame for the death of a two-year-old Lubbock girl, Vantashia Samuels in July of 2007. Phostoxin (the trade name for aluminum phosphide) is a toxic pesticide possessed by Red River Commodities in pellet form. The company was using Phostoxin for fumigation of grain warehouses, and storing the pesticide in a manner inconsistent with state law. By failing to secure and lock the cabinet holding the toxic pesticide, a Red River Commodities employee who wasn’t licensed by TDA to apply or use the pesticide acquired Phostoxin. The employee, in turn, sold the pesticide to a Lubbock family and applied it at their home to kill roaches. As a result of the misapplication of Phostoxin, five people in the home became sick from inhaling Phostoxin fumes and two-year-old Vantashia Samuels died of Phostoxin poisoning.