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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Farmworkers' Category


15
Apr

Beyond Pesticides Makes Science-based Case that It Is Imperative to Phase Out Pesticides in a Decade

The organic solutions to problems highlighted in the latest issue of Pesticides and You—based on the importance of healthy ecosystems and public health protection—are within reach, and the data creates an imperative for action now that phases out pesticides within a decade, while ensuring food productivity, resilient land management, and safe food, air, and water. (Beyond Pesticides, April 15, 2022) The current issue of Pesticides and You, RETROSPECTIVE 2021: A Call to Urgent Action, is a look at a year of science, policy, and advocacy that informs both the existential problems that the U.S. and the world are facing due to toxic pesticide dependency, and solutions that can be adopted now. The information in this issue captures the body of science that empowers action at the local, state, and federal level, and provides a framework for challenging toxic pesticide use and putting alternatives in place. The issue finds that 2021 was a pivotal year in both defining the problem and advancing the solution. This year in review is divided into nine sections that provide an accounting of scientific findings documenting serious pesticide-induced health and environmental effects, disproportionate risk to people of color and those with preexisting conditions, regulatory failures, at the same time […]

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10
Feb

Higher Disease Prevalence Among Farmers Highlights the Need Organic Practices and Compatible Materials

(Beyond Pesticides, February 10, 2022) A National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)-funded study finds that patterns of pesticide exposure among farmers have geographical and temporal significance. Specific use of and exposure to organophosphate and carbamate chemicals decrease enzyme activity within the body, resulting in greater health anomalies among farmers, especially during agricultural seasons. The use of xenobiotic (foreign chemical compounds) substances like pesticides and fertilizers in agriculture are increasing. Thus, those working with and around these toxicants must have protection. Considering that agricultural workers often experience pesticide exposure at higher rates due to occupation, long-term research must identify potential health concerns surrounding common pesticides. The study author, Dana Barr, Ph.D., states, “The majority of farmers in this study reported that they had at least one health symptom associated with pesticide intoxication. This investigation can be used to promote safer use of pesticides among farmers and mitigate exposure among residents living near a rice field. The findings will be critical for establishing and launching several preventive programs in the future.” Researchers evaluated the health effects of pesticide exposure among a cohort of farmers in Thailand during inactive and active rice farming periods. Using geographic information system (GIS) mapping, researchers compared […]

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30
Nov

CA Supreme Court Upholds $87M Award in Glyphosate Damage Lawsuit, Bayer/Monsanto Challenge Fails

(Beyond Pesticides, November 30, 2021) The chronicle of developments in the glyphosate saga has just grown longer: the California Supreme Court has rejected a request by Bayer AG for review of the August 2021 First District Court of Appeal (San Francisco) ruling, for the plaintiffs, that Monsanto knowingly marketed a product — Roundup — whose active ingredient (glyphosate) could be dangerous. The $87 million in damages awarded to the plaintiffs in the litigation, Alberta and Alva Pilliod, has thus survived Bayer’s challenge. This highest state court decision racks up another loss for Bayer (which now owns the Monsanto “Roundup” brand) — despite its dogged insistence, throughout multiple lawsuits (with many more still in the pipeline), that glyphosate is safe. Beyond Pesticides has covered the glyphosate saga extensively; see its litigation archives for multiple articles on glyphosate lawsuits. Glyphosate has been the subject of a great deal of public, advocacy, and regulatory attention, as well as the target of thousands of lawsuits — particularly since the 2015 declaration by the IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) that the compound is a likely human carcinogen. In June 2020, facing approximately 125,000 suits for Roundup’s role in cancer outcomes, Bayer announced a $10 billion […]

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19
Nov

Go Organic this Thanksgiving and Keep the Toxic Turkey and Fixings Off Your Plate

(Beyond Pesticides, November 19, 2021) Thanksgiving offers an opportunity for people to come together and give thanks for the bounty of an organic harvest. Unfortunately, many Thanksgiving meals are produced by chemical farming practices that utilize hazardous pesticides, genetically engineered (GE) crops, and petroleum-based synthetic fertilizers. These inputs, apart from being unnecessary, degrade ecosystems and affect the health of consumers and agricultural workers alike. It’s never too late to start a new tradition – for this year and into the future, make your Thanksgiving feast sustainable by going organic. Now, more than ever, it’s important to go organic: For Our Own Health Going organic drastically reduces the amount of pesticide in a person’s body. Although Thanksgiving is generally no time to think about dieting, we’ll aim to make it instructive: recent research finds that one of the biggest health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet comes when you go organic. Compared to individuals on a Mediterranean diet filled with chemically farmed foods, those that ate organic had 91% lower pesticide residue. This finding is backed up by a considerable body of prior research. A 2015 study based on self-reported food intake found that those who eat organic generally have much lower […]

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04
Nov

45 Different Cancers Associated with Work-Related Pesticide Exposure

(Beyond Pesticide, November 4, 2021) A scientific literature analysis by the Federal University of Goias, Brazil, finds occupational (work-related) exposure to agricultural pesticides increases the risk for 45 different types of cancer. This analysis assesses studies from the last decade—2011 to 2020—to identify cancer risk associated with occupational exposure by country, pesticide type, and methods used to diagnose disease. Many pesticides are “known or probable” carcinogens (cancer-causing agents), and widespread uses only amplify chemical hazards, adversely affecting human health. However, research on cancer and pesticides lacks comprehensive information regarding human health effects associated with long-term chemical use. This study highlights the significant role that long-term research plays in identifying potential health concerns surrounding registered pesticides. The use of these xenobiotics (foreign chemical compounds) substances in agriculture are increasing. Thus, it is important those working with and around these toxicants have protection. The analysis notes, “Overall, then, the results of the present study emphasize the need to evaluate overuse of pesticides and the concomitant increase in the number of cancer cases. Future research should thus include active intervention in the correct use of pesticides by farmworkers and encourage adequate training and the use of PPEs [personal protective equipment], as well as routine periodic medical […]

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21
Oct

Women in Agricultural Work at Increased Risk for Skin and Blood Cancers from Pesticide Exposure

(Beyond Pesticides, October 21, 2021) A study published in Environment International finds higher rates of various cancers among agricultural workers, with multiple myeloma (blood cancer) and melanoma (skin cancer) disproportionately impacting female farmers. Although research studies link cancer risk to genetic and external factors (e.g., cigarette smoke), there are increasing reports and scientific studies that pesticide exposure augments the risk of developing common cancers like melanoma and less common cancers like multiple myeloma. This study highlights the importance of understanding how pesticide use can increase the risk of latent diseases, which do not immediately develop upon initial exposure. The researchers note, “Given the large size of the agricultural population worldwide and the presence of various potential hazards in its working environment, such epidemiological data are important in improving occupational health measures and ensuring better workers’ health.” To investigate the cancer incidence patterns, researchers evaluated data from the AGRICOH database involving various international studies. The studies assessed pesticide exposure scenarios, which researchers use to determine the etiological (causal) agent of cancer incidences among farmers relative to the general population. Researchers analyzed data from eight different AGRICOH groups in various countries: France (AGRICAN), the U.S. (AHS, MESA), Norway (CNAP), Republic of Korea (KMCC), Denmark […]

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23
Sep

Study Adds to 40 Year Analysis Linking Brain Cancer to Pesticide Exposure

(Beyond Pesticides, September 23, 2021) A study by Claremont Graduate University finds exposure to agricultural pesticides increases brain cancer risk up to 20 percent. This study expands on a 1998 study evaluating brain cancer risk among the farm population using epidemiologic studies. The etiology (cause) of brain cancer is inconclusive for many forms, including glioma and meningioma. Brain cancer risk factors include family history and exposure to radiation. However, geographical variance in brain cancer incidents suggests environmental pollutants like pesticides contribute to risk. Various research studies already note the adverse effects pesticide exposure has on the brain. These effects range from headaches and tumors to learning and developmental disabilities among children and adults. Although general cancer incidents are decreasing, brain and nervous system cancers are rising. Therefore, studies like this highlight the need to reevaluate pesticide exposure limits for those working with or around agricultural chemicals to prevent chronic, deadly diseases. The study researchers note, “This comprehensive review and meta-analysis encompassing 42 years of the epidemiologic literature and updating two previous meta-analyses by 20 years supports an association between farming and brain cancer incidence and mortality.[…]Our analyses suggest that the elevated risk has been consistent over time, and the addition of newer studies […]

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19
Aug

Commentary: Are Children, Agricultural Workers, and the Food Supply Safe with EPA’s Chlorpyrifos Decision?

(Beyond Pesticides, August 19, 2021) Does a science-based, public health-oriented, occupational safety focused, children-concerned, ecologically protective society allow the use of toxic pesticides that are unnecessary to achieve land management, quality of life, and food productivity goals? Should victims of poisoning have to plead with regulators to protect them? Should organizations have to fight chemical-by-chemical to achieve basic levels of protection from individual neurotoxic, cancer causing, endocrine disrupting pesticides? Of course not. But, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) announcement that it is stopping food uses of the insecticide chlorpyrifos after being registered 65 years ago provides us with an important opportunity for reflection, not just celebration. The collective effort to remove this one chemical is a tremendous feat in eliminating one exposure to a hazardous material for children. That is the point. The action we’re celebrating required an amazingly resource-intensive effort at a time in history when we are running against the clock in an urgent race to transition our society and global community away from the use of petroleum-based, toxic pesticides—to move to meaningful practices that sustain, nurture, and regenerate life. In this context, let’s put chlorpyrifos in perspective. EPA was forced into its decision by a court […]

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14
Jul

Parents of Harmed Children Sue Manufacturer of Brain-Damaging Insecticide Chlorpyrifos

(Beyond Pesticides, July 14, 2021) Corteva (formerly DowDupont) is facing a potential class-action lawsuit after several California families filed suit claiming that the use of the insecticide chlorpyrifos around their homes resulted in birth defects, brain damage, and developmental problems in their children. Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate insecticide that has been linked to a range of health ailments, posing significant hazards particularly for pregnant mothers and their children. The lawsuits come as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approaches a court-imposed 60-day deadline to decide the fate of the pesticide’s registration. Attorneys for the court cases, filed on behalf of individuals located in four California communities (Fresno, Kings, Medera, and Tulare counties), indicate they intend to pursue class-action status, which would allow additional injured parties to join the lawsuit. The plaintiffs argue that the effects of chlorpyrifos exposure lingers in the agricultural communities where they reside. “We have found it in the houses, we have found it in carpet, in upholstered furniture, we found it in a teddy bear, and we found it on the walls and surfaces,” said Stuart Calwell, lead attorney for the plantiffs. “Then a little child picks up a teddy bear and holds on to it.” […]

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01
Jun

Tell EPA to Protect Farmworkers Now; Hear Directly from Farmworker Community Members

(Beyond Pesticides, June 1, 2021) Farmworkers are at greatest risk from pesticides. EPA’s policies toward farmworkers comprise a blatant example of systemic racism. Although everyone suffers from pesticide poisoning, farmworkers and their families shoulder a disproportionate burden of the hazards.  Agricultural justice demands that we ensure a workplace with fair wages and benefits, no discrimination or coercion, and protection from hazards, such as harmful chemicals, including pesticides. Acknowledging, respecting, and sustaining the workers who plant, cultivate, and harvest our food is central to the basic values and principles that advance sustainable practices. Agricultural justice demands that we ensure a workplace with fair wages and benefits, no discrimination or coercion, and protection from hazards, such as harmful chemicals, including pesticides. Acknowledging, respecting, and sustaining the workers who plant, cultivate, and harvest our food is central to the basic values and principles that advance sustainable practices. Tell EPA to protect farmworkers from pesticides. Worker Protection Standards Are Inadequate to Protect Farmworkers Worker protection standards are set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). The original standard was developed after field hearings in which EPA heard from growers, but not farmworkers. With the threat […]

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17
May

Stop EPA’s Racist Policies that Disproportionately Harm Farmworker Children’s Brains: Ban Chlorpyrifos

(Beyond Pesticides, May 17, 2021) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has less than two months to decide whether to cancel or modify its registration of the brain-damaging organophosphate insecticide chlorpyrifos, following a decision from a federal appeals court. The ruling comes after more than a decade of delay from the federal agency tasked with protecting public health and the environment from the hazards of chemicals like chlorpyrifos. The decision now falls to the Biden Administration’s EPA Administrator Michael Regan, after the previous administration reversed a proposal to ban agricultural uses of chlorpyrifos in 2017. Most residential uses of the chemical were banned in 2000.  Tell EPA to ban chlorpyrifos and other neurotoxic pesticides. The target of action by which chlorpyrifos and many other pesticides kill is the nervous system. It is not surprising, then, that pesticides also target the nervous system in humans. They are particularly hazardous to children, who take in greater amounts of pesticides relative to their body weight than adults, and whose developing organ systems are typically more sensitive to toxic exposures. The body of evidence in the scientific literature shows that pesticide exposure can adversely affect a child’s neurological, respiratory, immune, and endocrine systems, even at […]

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16
Mar

Pesticide Exposure, Agricultural Work Associated with Chronic Lung Disease

(Beyond Pesticides, March, 16, 2021) Occupational and environmental exposure to pesticides and other contaminants in the environment increase the risk of developing a lung condition known as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), according to a meta-analysis published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports. IPF is a chronic, degenerative disease with no certain cause or cure. It is estimated to affect roughly 13 women and 20 men in 100,000 adults worldwide annually, with onset averaging age 66. With scientific literature continuously findings new connections between pesticide use and diseases that are all too common in today’s world, advocates say it’s critical for residents and officials at all levels to embrace safer, alternative organic methods of addressing weed and pest issues. To determine risk factors for IPF, researchers narrowed down relevant research in the available literature from thousands of studies to eight relevant for their meta-analysis. These eight studies looked at IPF risk factors for a number of different populations with different life histories. Overall, roughly 1,000 IPF patients, ranged in ages 50 to 75, were compared to a control group of approximately 2,500 non-IPF patients. The studies covered risk factors based on the environmental contaminant in question, as well as an individual’s […]

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29
Jan

GAO Report Identifies Need for Improving EPA Protection of Farmworkers

(Beyond Pesticides, January 29, 2021) More oversight is needed to ensure farmworkers are protected from toxic pesticides, according to a report published this month by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) (the federal agency that provides auditing, evaluation, and investigative services for Congress). Revisions to the Worker Protection Standards (WPS) governing farmworker safety were updated by the Obama administration in 2015, but GAO identified a number of shortfalls in EPA’s administration of the changes. GAO focused its review on the implementation of the ‘designated representative’ provision, which grants farmworkers the ability to task an individual they designate to request information on toxic pesticides from their employers. Providing farmworkers with a designated representative allows for the access of pesticide application and hazard information, so that they may take proper precautions or seek medical care. A farmworker may use this provision when they are no longer near the farm they worked on, or if there are language barriers. Without this provision, the information farmworkers receive would be at the whim of employers, and past incidents show that lack of information can lead to hazardous, abusive conditions for workers. EPA officials, state officials, and stakeholders told GAO there was no evidence of such […]

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05
Jan

Federal Court Blocks EPA from Weakening Farmworker Protections

(Beyond Pesticides, January 5, 2021) In the waning days of 2020, a federal court provided a hint of hope that farmworkers will retain basic buffer zone protections from toxic pesticides. The District Court for the Southern District of New York  issued in late December a temporary restraining order against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), prohibiting the agency from implementing industry-friendly rules that weaken application exclusion zones (AEZs) for farmworkers. The ruling, a result of a lawsuit brought by groups Farmworker Justice and Earthjustice, is likely to put the onus on the next administration to determine the fate of the rule. Application Exclusion Zones (AEZs) are buffer zones where individuals are not permitted to enter during a pesticide application, as doing so would put one at risk of dangerous exposure. EPA’s proposal,  pushed forward by Administrator Andrew Wheeler and finalized in October 2020, included a number of changes to the way AEZs would be managed. Chemical intensive farms would no longer be required to keep bystanders out of off-site spray areas, and pesticide applications could be restarted when an individual leaves an AEZ. Current rules require farms to keep individuals out of areas where pesticides are applied, both on and […]

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22
Dec

Farmworkers and Conservationists Ask Court to Remove Monsanto’s Roundup from the Market

(Beyond Pesticides, December 22, 2020) Opening arguments and evidence were filed by a coalition of farmworkers, farmers, and conservationists last week in litigation challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) re-approval of glyphosate, best known as the active ingredient in Monsanto’s “Roundup” pesticides. The lawsuit charges that the Trump Administration unlawfully ignored cancer risks and ecological damage of glyphosate.  Represented by the Center for Food Safety (CFS), plaintiffs, including the Rural Coalition, Farmworker Association of Florida, OrganizaciĂłn en California de Lideres Campesinas, and Beyond Pesticides, filed the federal lawsuit in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in March. The groups seek to have the pesticide prohibited from use or sale because of its unlawful approval. “Farmworkers are on the frontlines of nearly every health and environmental crisis, from the COVID-19 pandemic to climate change, and are particularly at risk of health impacts from pesticide spraying,” said Amy van Saun, senior attorney at CFS. “EPA failed these essential workers. It rejected evidence that glyphosate causes cancer and entirely failed to assess the main way people are exposed at work, through their skin.” The court filing includes volumes of evidence showing how EPA ignored glyphosate’s health risks, including cancer risks, to farmworkers and farmers exposed during spraying. The evidence […]

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15
Dec

Migrant Farmworkers Repeatedly Doused with Toxic Pesticides, Lawsuit Documents

(Beyond Pesticides, December 15, 2020) Over two dozen Texan farmworkers working in Illinois fell ill after toxic pesticides were repeatedly sprayed over them via aircraft, according to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court this month. As the suit details, indiscriminate pesticide spray brought harm to several minors, elderly workers, and a pregnant mother. Plaintiffs are seeking numerous claims against Pioneer Hi-Bred, a subsidiary of Corteva (formerly DowDupont), as well as the aerial spray company and applicator that contaminated workers. These include violations of federal law and other tort, wage, contract, and damage claims. “No farmworker should be exposed to poisonous chemicals when doing their job, let alone multiple times in two weeks,” said Lisa Palumbo, Director of Legal Aid Chicago’s Immigrants and Workers’ Rights project, which filed the suit alongside several other legal advocacy groups. “Migrant farmworkers are some of our most vulnerable workers, who grow and harvest the food we eat. Their employer is obligated to ensure they are safe from pesticide exposure, and that they are properly cared for and provided truthful information if exposure occurs. This did not happen here.”   Two incidents are detailed in the complaint. With the first, occurring in July 2019, all […]

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25
Nov

Pesticide Exposure Triggers Headaches and Other Cognitive Issues Among Youth in Farms Areas

(Beyond Pesticides, November 25, 2020) New research from the Centre for Environment and Occupational Health Research at the University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa, finds a link between pesticide exposure and adverse neurological symptoms among children and adolescents living in agricultural areas. Considering the etiology (cause) of many brain and neurological disorders are unknown, research like this is significant for understanding how pesticide exposure promotes disease development, especially among vulnerable populations. Researcher notes, “Children who indicate activities related to pesticide exposure may be at higher risk for developing headaches and lower cognitive performance in the domains of attention, memory and processing speed. […]Given [the] history and socio-economic divide to the farm laborers, [
]future interventions should aim to reduce the health risks of these vulnerable populations, including their children.” The study demonstrates that there is a relationship between pesticide exposure from various farm-related and leisure activities and headaches and neurocognitive functioning (i.e., autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), lower intelligence (IQ), and harmful social behavior and behavioral regulation) in children and adolescents. To assess which farm-related/leisure activities concerning pesticide exposure cause cognitive symptoms, researchers administered a questionnaire addressing child pesticide handling, direct consumption of field crops, interaction with field adjacent water sources, […]

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23
Oct

Parents Sue Manufacturer of Neurotoxic Insecticide Chlorpyrifos, Corteva (formerly Dow), for Causing Child’s Disabilities

(Beyond Pesticides, October 23, 2020) In central California, what promises to be a landmark series of lawsuits against Corteva (formerly DowAgroSciences), maker of the pesticide chlorpyrifos, is under way, spearheaded by the case Alba Luz Calderon de Cerda and Rafael Cerda Martinez v. Corteva Inc., et al. This first suit, brought by the parents of Rafael Cerda Calderon, Jr. on his behalf, charges that his lifelong disabilities were caused by chronic exposures to chlorpyrifos. The parents are suing for general damages, compensatory damages (due to Rafael, Jr.’s loss of earning capacity), medical care costs, and “punitive damages for the willful, reckless, and recklessly indifferent conduct of the Defendants” in intentionally hiding the dangers of their chlorpyrifos products from customers and the public. As with so many dangerous pesticides, absent effective federal regulation, states, cities, and other entities are taking action to protect people from this compound, and as in this case, individuals are seeking redress for harms suffered. Beyond Pesticides has long advocated for a ban on the use of chlorpyrifos because of the grave risks it poses. The case was filed in mid-September in California Superior Court, Kings County, and names not only Corteva, but also, the cities of Huron and Avenal, Woolf […]

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21
Oct

Report Finds Latina Farmworkers Confront Unique Challenges

(Beyond Pesticides, October 21, 2020) Women now account for one in four agricultural jobs in the United States, and these important workers face unique challenges to their health and well-being, as outlined by a report published by Boise State University scientists. Farmworkers, often immigrants, or from communities of color, are frequently referred to as ‘invisible’, despite the essential job they perform getting food to American’s dinner tables. With their struggle and plight outside of the view of mainstream news, it is critical that U.S, residents better understand the lives they lead, and their daily obstacles, to inform how their conditions can be improved. “In this study, we tried to understand the women that we were working with what their concerns were and what their challenges were rather than coming in and just saying what we thought the concerns were,” Cynthia Curl, PhD, Associate Professor at Boise State University, told Idaho News 6 (IN6). To better assess the well-being of women farmworkers, researchers conducted mixed method data collection, through surveys, focus groups, and urinary analysis for pesticide body burden. Surveys were received from 70 Latina farmworkers, with 22 participating in focus groups and 11 in semi-structured interviews. An assessment of pesticide […]

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02
Oct

EPA Dismisses Disproportionate Harm to Farmworker Children from Neurotoxic Insecticide Chlorpyrifos, Leaves in Food Supply, Rejects Scientific Method

(Beyond Pesticides, October 2, 2020) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) September 22 announcement asserts that, “despite several years of study, the science addressing neurodevelopmental effects [of the insecticide chlorpyrifos] remains unresolved,” as reported in The New York Times. This conclusion contradicts both ample scientific evidence and the agency’s own findings. Beyond Pesticides has repeatedly advocated for a ban on the use of chlorpyrifos because of the grave risks it poses. This organophosphate pesticide is used on approximately 60 different crops, including almonds, cotton, citrus fruits, grapes, corn, broccoli, sugar beets, peaches, and nectarines. It is also commonly employed for mosquito-borne disease control, and on some kinds of managed turf, including golf courses. Exposure to the pesticide has been identified repeatedly as problematic. Most residential uses were taken off the market in 2000, after the manufacturer, DowDupont (now Corteva) was faced with EPA action. Chlorpyrifos is a cholinesterase inhibitor that binds irreversibly to the receptor sites of acetylcholinesterase (AChE), an enzyme that is critical to normal nerve impulse transmission. In so doing, chlorpyrifos inactivates the enzyme, damages the central and peripheral nervous systems, and disrupts neurological activity. The compound is associated with harmful reproductive, renal, hepatic, and endocrine disrupting effects, and most […]

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03
Aug

Tell Congress to Require EPA to Stop Ignoring People of Color in Setting Safety Standards—Agency Ignores People at Elevated Risk to Deadly Combination of Pesticides and Covid-19 Exposure

(Beyond Pesticides, August 3, 2020) The effects of pesticide use are important, yet ignored, factors affecting people of color (POC) who face elevated risk from Covid-19 as essential workers, as family members of those workers, and because of the additional or cumulative risk that pesticides pose. As a part of this deadly combination, exposure to pesticides occurs at work, in community parks, schools and playing fields, and through food residues. EPA is ignoring the real hazards resulting from a combination of exposures that is reflected in the statistics that have emerged—with farmworkers suffering a rate of coronavirus five times higher and landscapers three times higher than community rates. Why is this the case? Because pesticide exposure weakens the respiratory, immune, and nervous system and makes those exposed more susceptible to the coronavirus.  EPA has the power to immediately, on an emergency basis, adjust allowable pesticide use and exposure, recognizing that we have alternative practices and products to meet food production and landscaping needs. Tell Congress to require EPA to examine the contribution of pesticide exposure to Covid-19 and protect those at greatest risk, people of color. Farmworkers and landscapers have been deemed essential employees during the coronavirus outbreak, but without mandated […]

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29
Jul

Much Higher Rates of Covid-19 Infection and Death in Farmworkers and Landscapers, May Be Enhanced by Pesticide Exposure

(Beyond Pesticides, July 29, 2020) Farmworkers and landscapers are deemed essential employees during the coronavirus outbreak, but without mandated safety protocols or government assistance, have experienced an explosion in Covid-19 cases. Workers in these industries are primarily Latinx people of color, many of whom are undocumented. According to a report published by the University of California Los Angeles, Latinx Californians aged 50 to 64 have died from the virus at rate five times higher than white people of the same age. The poor working conditions farmworkers and landscapers are subject to already put them at disproportionate risk of pesticide-induced diseases. Alongside other hardships such preexisting health problems, family obligations, cramped housing and transportation, threat of deportation, and communication difficulties, the risks of these essential workers contracting and dying from Covid-19 are compounded exponentially. The PBS Frontline documentary “Hidden Toll” follows the experiences of many California farmworkers, and how their daily struggle has been exacerbated as a result of the virus. One worker profiled, Sinthia Hernandez, has both diabetes and cancer but must continue to go to work to support her family. “In these times, it’s necessity that makes us work despite the fear we have,” Hernandex told Frontline. Despite the […]

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12
May

California Governor Emphasizes Pesticide Enforcement During Coronavirus Outbreak

(Beyond Pesticides, May 12, 2020) California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) is issuing new enforcement guidelines intended to protect children and residents from toxic pesticides during the Covid-19 pandemic. With schoolchildren spending their time at home while in quarantine, many, particularly those in agricultural communities, are at increased risk of pesticide exposure. “During this public health crisis, it is important to ensure the strict enforcement and oversight of regulations that protect children from pesticide exposure,” Governor Newsom wrote in a letter to the state Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA). While much of the guidance simply reinforces current legal requirements, it places an emphasis on strict enforcement. County Agricultural Commissioners (CACs), the state’s primary enforcement officers for pesticide laws, must “strictly enforce all applicable health protections around homes and schools” during the pandemic, seven days a week. Further, it stresses that pesticide applications “are expressly prohibited,” when there is, “reasonable possibility of contamination of the bodies or clothing of persons not involved in the application.” The state will prioritize the investigation of any violations made in residential areas. The state will also “take a strict approach to assessing penalties.” Violations of pesticide law that occur near homes or schools during coronavirus quarantine will […]

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