MANATEE -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office issued a warning Thursday saying synthetic marijuana being sold in the area may be contaminated with a pesticide.
"During an ongoing undercover operation, the sheriff's office recently purchased two kilos of a substance that was supposed to be used in manufacturing 'spice,' which is a term for synthetic marijuana, the sheriff's office said in a news release Thursday.
The substance turned out to be a acephate, a pesticide used, for example, on food crops and citrus trees. Most uses around homes are no longer allowed, according to the National Pesticide Information Center.
People exposed to acephate may have nausea, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, shaking, sweating, rapid heart rates and/or confusion, according to the NPIC. The Environmental Protection Agency says it is a "possible" cause of cancer.
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"The sheriff's office has concerns that the pesticide may have been used or will be used as an ingredient in spice," the release states. "If the pesticide is manufactured in spice, it could result in illness and possibly death."
The sheriff's office noted that there have been numerous incidents around the country of people getting sick after using tainted spice.
The sheriff's office said arrests have been made, but no other information will be released at this time because of investigation is ongoing.
Anyone with information about tainted spice can call the sheriff's office at 941-747-3011.