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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Farmworkers' Category


17
May

California Regulators Propose Restrictions of Soil Fumigant

(Beyond Pesticides, May 17, 2013) California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) have proposed restrictions on the use of chloropicrin, a fumigant commonly applied to strawberries, peppers, tomatoes, raspberries, and blackberries. The proposed rule would not only increase buffer zones around application sites, but also restrict application acreage, impose notification requirements, enhance emergency preparedness requirements, and prolong the time that chloropicrin-applied fields must remain covered. Public comments will be accepted until July 31. The move is in response to recent data released by the California DPR, which indicates pesticide use in California has risen, causing 1,015 cases of illness between 1992 and 2007 for chloropicrin exposure alone. In total, more than 173 million pounds of pesticides were reported applied statewide, an increase of nearly 15 million pounds —or 9.5 percent— from 2009. For chloropicrin, injuries ranged from eye or respiratory problems to skin irritation, rashes, and burns. Additional evidence from a 2010 report released by the Pesticide Action Network of North American and local community members of Sisquoc, California, reveals that chloropicrin contaminated half of the 57 air samples collected, with average levels of exposure over the 19-day period at 23 to 151 times higher than acceptable cancer risks. Fumigant pesticides, […]

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26
Apr

Report Describes Dangers Female Farmworkers Face in the U.S.

(Beyond Pesticides, April 26, 2013) Female agricultural workers experience the same hardships as their male counterparts, but have additional responsibilities and danger at home and in the field, according to a report released by the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs (AFOP). While women make up only 22 percent of agricultural labor in the U.S., AFOP makes a strong argument that women face disproportionate burdens, while at the same time earning less for their labor: On average they earn  just over $11,000 per year compared to male agricultural workers who earn $16,000. Through hundreds of interviews and focus groups of female farmworkers in California and Florida, AFOP revealed some of the most dangerous  conditions associated with farm work, among the worst being pesticide exposure. Carmela, a farmworker from Florida, indicated in the AFOP report that, “More than anything else, we have problems with pesticides. Sometimes they put us to work right after they’ve sprayed the pesticides. And this is bad for us because when we go in the field and start working with the plants, it gets in our eyes. It makes your head hurt too.” According to the EPA’s “Pesticide Industry Sales and Usage: 2000 and 2001 Market Estimates,” female […]

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25
Apr

New Report Calls Into Question the Use of Nanomaterials in Our Food Chain

(Beyond Pesticides, April 25, 2013) A new report by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) finds that nanomaterials added to soil via fertilizers and treated sewage waste used to fertilize fields could threaten soil health necessary to keep land productive. The report, Nanomaterials in Soil: Our Future Food Chain?, draws attention to the delicate soil food chain, including microbes and microfauna, that enable plant growth and produce new soil. Laboratory experiments have indicated that sub-molecular nanoparticles could damage beneficial soil microbes and the digestive systems of earthworms, essential engineers in maintaining soil health. Other recent peer-reviewed scientific research showcasing potentially negative impacts of nano-fertilizers on public health and the food supply has been documented. Last month, Duke University published research which finds that low concentrations of silver nanoparticles in sewage sludge can cause significant disruptions to natural ecosystems. In February, a Dutch study revealed the harmful effects of silver imbued sewage sludge on earthworm health. “In light of published research, the Obama administration should institute an immediate moratorium on fertilizing with biosolids from sewage treatment plants near nanomaterial fabrication facilities. A moratorium would give researchers time to determine whether nanomaterials in soil can be made safe and to […]

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19
Feb

Farmworker and Environmental Groups Urge EPA to Act on Farmworker Protection Standards

(Beyond Pesticides, February 19, 2013) On February 14, Beyond Pesticides joined with Earthjustice, Farmworker Justice, and a number of other environmental and farmworker organizations to submit a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson, urging for long overdue revisions to the Workers Protection Standard (WPS) of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). The letter states that, “EPA’s inaction is unacceptable given farmworkers’ persistent exposure to harmful pesticides and ineffectual enforcement of the current WPS.” This letter comes after a previous petition in 2011 stressed the need for the agency to implement stronger protections for farmworkers. This letter also comes after fears from environmental and farmworker organizations over a recent EPA handout distributed during a November 2012 Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee (PPDC) meeting that downplayed the details of a 2010 EPA document released on farmworker safety. EPA has not effectively updated WPS for almost 20 years, leaving farmworkers at risk. Farm work is demanding and dangerous physical labor. A 2008 study by a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) researcher finds that the incidence rate of pesticide poisoning is extremely high among U.S. agricultural workers. An average of 57.6 out of every 100,000 agricultural workers […]

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18
Jan

Acclaimed Scientists and Activists to Convene at 31st National Pesticide Forum

(Beyond Pesticides, January 18, 2013) Joining the list  of speakers at Beyond Pesticides’ 31st National Pesticide Forum are Tyrone Hayes, Ph.D., the biologist best known for his research on the effects of atrazine on frogs, and Isaac N. Pessah, Ph.D., the  Chair of the Department of Molecular Biosciences at the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. The conference will focus on cutting edge public health science, building resilience in our food system and communities, and bringing ecosystems back to balance, and will incorporate regional issues such as water and food sovereignty in the Southwest. The National Forum provides an opportunity for grassroots advocates, scientists, and policy makers to interact and strategize on solutions that are protective of health and the environment. The 31st National Pesticide Forum, Sustainable Families, Farms and Food: Resilient communities through organic practices, will be held April 5-6, 2013 (Friday afternoon and all day Saturday) at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, NM. Registration information can be found in our online store. The conference is convened by Beyond Pesticides, La Montanita Coop, and the University of New Mexico Sustainability Studies Program, and co-sponsored by local, state and regional public health and environmental organizations, including […]

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16
Jan

Elevated Chlorpyrifos Residues Detected in Indigenous Children

(Beyond Pesticides, January 16, 2013) Children living near chemical-intensive or conventional plantations in Costa Rica are exposed to twice as much of the insecticide chlorpyrifos compared to children living near organic plantations, a study reports. More than half the children, mostly from indigenous tribes- Ngäbe and Bribri – have a  higher daily exposures than allowed under U.S. federal standards. Chlorpyrifos is linked to neurological effects, especially in children, and is still permitted for use on crops. The study,  Indigenous children living nearby plantations with chlorpyrifos-treated bags have elevated 3,5,6-trichloro-2-pyridinol (TCPy) urinary concentrations, was lead by Berna van Wendel de Joode, PhD  (Central American Institute for Studies on Toxic Substances (IRET), Universidad Nacional, Heredia, Costa Rica). It was conducted in Costa Rica’s banana and plantain plantations in the Talamanca region, and  targeted villages situated nearby to the plantations where blue bags treated with chlorpyrifos are routinely used to protect banana and plantain crops from pests. Two villages under study are near plantations that use chlorpyrifos-treated bags, while the organic village is near several plantations  that use little or no insecticide. For 140 children, aged 6 — 9, mostly indigenous Ngäbe and Bribri, parent-interviews and urine samples were obtained. Chlorpyrifos’ environmental levels […]

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11
Jan

EPA Excludes Details on Worker Protection Rule

(Beyond Pesticides, January 11, 2012) Environmentalists, farmworkers, and farmworker advocates have become increasingly uncomfortable with the new proposal for pesticide safety measures which does not include details on how the proposed rule will protect agricultural workers, farmers, and applicators. These sentiments stem from the concern that this may mean less stringent regulations than those originally proposed. In 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a   document proposing Worker Protection Standards (WPS) that would determine ways to increase training, improve safety requirements, provide clear emergency information, and create strong protection for applicators. However, a recent EPA handout distributed  during a November 2012 Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee (PPDC) meeting downplays the details within those goals, and brings into question the agency’s  previous commitments. Advocacy groups have raised pointed complaints on the new document’s prose: “I have to agree that we are just really in the dark,” said one environmental group lawyer, “It is mysterious that it’s taken them so long to come up with a draft to propose, and the fact that they are being kind of tight-lipped about it and that even the very minimal detail about the proposal that was in the 2010 document disappeared from the 2012 […]

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28
Nov

Methyl Iodide Uses To Formally End in the U.S.

(Beyond Pesticides, November 28, 2012) Earlier this year the maker of the fumigant methyl iodide indicated it would stop producing the toxic chemical. Now, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the registrant, Arysta LifeScience North America, LLC have entered into a Memorandum of Agreement to formally terminate all agricultural use of methyl iodide in the U.S. by the end of 2012 and ultimately remove all methyl iodide products from the U.S. market. EPA is opening a 30-day comment period for Arysta’s request for voluntary cancellation of all of the company’s methyl iodide product registrations, as stipulated in the agreement. Methyl iodide, or iodomethane, has been registered since 2007 for use as a pre-plant soil fumigant to control pests in soil where fruits, vegetables, ornamental plants, and turf are to be grown. In March 2012, Arysta, the sole registrant, announced its plans to immediately suspend all sales of its methyl iodide MIDAS ® products in the U.S. Under the recently signed agreement and the voluntary cancellation request, all of Arysta’s existing methyl iodide end-use product registrations will be cancelled and use of existing stocks in the U.S. will be prohibited effective December 31, 2012. Further distribution and sale of methyl […]

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04
Sep

Decision to Ban Hazardous-to-Farmworker Pesticide Stands

(Beyond Pesticides, September 4, 2012) After considering comments from growers and other stakeholders, including over 2,000 emails generated from Beyond Pesticides’ supporters on the recent proposal to reverse a decision to end the use of the organophosphate insecticide azinphos-methyl (AZM), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has once again come to the conclusion that the chemical presents health risks to workers and can cause negative ecological impacts, while effective alternatives to this insecticide are available to growers. The agency has decided to maintain the initial September 30, 2012 date for cancellation of the remaining uses of AZM, on apples, blueberries, sweet and tart cherries, parsley, and pears. Though this represents a victory for farmworkers and health and environmental advocates, EPA has decided to allow growers to use only existing stocks of AZM in their possession for another year, through September 30, 2013, citing unusually bad weather conditions throughout 2012. All the required mitigation measures now reflected on AZM labeling will remain in effect during this use. Distribution or sale of AZM after September 30, 2012 remains prohibited. Due to industry pressure, the agency initially announced that it was conducting a new risk-benefit analysis (analysis of the impacts of cancellation) and […]

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05
Jul

EPA Proposes to Reverse Decision to End Azinphos-Methyl Use

(Beyond Pesticides, July 5, 2012) After a 2006 cancellation of uses due to unreasonable risks to farmworker health and the environment, and a 6-year phase out scheduled to conclude this September, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is conducting a risk-benefit analysis to make a determination whether to keep in place or amend the cancellation order for the organophosphate azinphos-methyl (AZM), citing new information on the economic costs of using alternatives. In 2001, EPA found that insecticides azinphos-methyl (AZM) posed unacceptable risks to farmworkers and announced that 28 crop uses were being canceled, seven crop uses were to be phased-out over four years, and eight crop uses were to be allowed to continue under a “time-limited” registration for another four years. Farmworker advocates challenged that decision in federal court citing that EPA failed to take into account the costs of poisoning workers, exposing children, and polluting rivers and streams. A settlement agreement effectively stayed the legal challenge pending EPA’s reconsideration of the “time limited” uses of AZM. In November 2006, EPA decided that AZM poses unreasonable adverse effects and issued a final decision to cancel AZM, but allowed continued use on some fruit crops (apples, cherries, pears) for six more […]

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29
Jun

Pesticide Exposure Associated with Sleep Disorder

(Beyond Pesticides, June 29, 2012) New research from the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) in Montreal suggests that pesticide exposure, as well as smoking, head injury, farming, and less education, may be a risk factor for a rare sleep disorder that causes people to kick or punch during sleep, according to a study entitled “Environmental risk factors for REM sleep behavior disorder: A multicenter case-control study” published in the June 27, 2012, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. People with the disorder, called REM sleep behavior disorder, do not have the normal lack of muscle tone that occurs during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, causing them to act out their dreams. The movements can sometimes be violent, causing injury to the person or their bed partner. The disorder is estimated to occur in 0.5 percent of adults. “Until now, we didn’t know much about the risk factors for this disorder, except that it was more common in men and in older people,” said study author Ronald B. Postuma, MD, MSc, with the Research Institute at MUHC and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. “Because it is a rare disorder, it was […]

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23
Mar

Methyl Iodide Maker Halts Sales in the U.S.

(Beyond Pesticides, March 23, 2012) In a victory for environmentalists and farmworkers, manufacturers of the controversial and highly toxic fumigant methyl iodide announced it will cease selling its products containing the chemical in the U.S. market earlier this week. Representatives from the Tokyo-based company, Arysta LifeScience say that the decision was made as a part of an internal review and based on its economic viability in the U.S.; however, the company will still continue to sell methyl iodide products in other countries. “Today I’m really happy. It feels like someone finally listened to us about something really important.” Gabriela Rincon, told the Los Angeles Times. Ms. Rincon is the daughter of farmworkers who pick strawberries in the Salinas area in California. Methyl iodide causes late term miscarriages, contaminates groundwater and is so reliably carcinogenic that it’s used to create cancer cells in laboratories. It is on California’s official list of known carcinogenic chemicals and has been linked to serious risks in reproductive and neurological health. The pesticide poses the most direct risks to farmworkers and those in the surrounding communities because of the volume that would need to be applied to fields and its tendency to drift off site through […]

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09
Mar

With Environmental Laws Under Attack, Pesticide Conference to Convene in New Haven, CT

(Beyond Pesticides, March 9, 2012) With Members of Congress attempting to gut pesticide protections from the Clean Water Act and state legislators threatening to repeal Connecticut’s historic pesticide ban on school grounds, environmentalists from the Northeast and beyond are joining with researchers, authors, beekeepers, organic business leaders, elected officials, and others to discuss strategies for protecting health and the environment. Healthy Communities: the 30th National Pesticide Forum will take place March 30-31 at Yale University in New Haven, CT. Register online. Fees start at $35 ($15 for students) and include all sessions, conference materials, and organic food and drink. A limited number of partial scholarships are available, contact Beyond Pesticides for details. Conference Highlights: Pesticide-Free Lawns and Landscapes With the Connecticut General Assembly’s considering legislation that would repeal the state’s ban on toxic pesticide use on school grounds by replacing it with a weak “integrated pest management” (IPM) system, this issue will be a central theme at the conference. Speakers on this topic include: Warren Porter, PhD, professor of Zoology and Environmental Toxicology at the University of Wisconsin at Madison with expertise in lawn chemicals, especially low doses and mixtures; Chip Osborne, national organic turf expert and president of Osborne […]

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21
Feb

California Farm County Says No to Methyl Iodide

Beyond Pesticides, February 21, 2012) Last week, the Monterey County Board of Supervisors urged California Governor Jerry Brown to reconsider the state’s approval of the carcinogenic fumigant methyl iodide. Monterey County, one of the largest agricultural counties in California, joins Santa Cruz County in mounting pressure to re-examine the controversial decision to approve the toxic chemical as a replacement to the ozone-depleting methyl bromide. This news comes at the heels of the announcement earlier this month that Gov. Brown appointed Brian Leahy, a former organic farmer and the former assistant director at the California Department of Conservation, to head the state Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR). According to The Californian, agricultural interests present asked County Supervisors to take no action. However, with dozens of local farm workers in attendance pleading their case, the board passed the resolution on a 4-1 recommending that Gov. Brown take another look at the fumigant. Methyl iodide is known to cause miscarriages, thyroid dysfunction, and cancer, and is applied to crops like strawberries and peppers. It was approved by California state pesticide regulators in December as an alternative to methyl bromide, an ozone-depleting chemical being phased out under international treaty. In 2007, EPA fast-tracked the […]

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26
Jan

EPA Awards Grant to Help Farm Workers Reduce Pesticide Risks

(Beyond Pesticides, January 26, 2012) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Monday that it is providing a $25,000 grant to the Comite de Apoyo a los Trabajadores Agrícolas (CATA) to reduce exposure to pesticides for farm workers in southern New Jersey. CATA, a Latino-led nonprofit organization, will educate migrant farm workers throughout the counties of Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem, New Jersey about the risks of pesticide exposure and how to protect their health during field work. Farm work is demanding and dangerous physical labor. A 2008 study by a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) researcher finds that the incidence rate of pesticide poisoning is extremely high among U.S. agricultural workers. An average of 57.6 out of every 100,000 agricultural workers experience acute pesticide poisoning, illness or injury each year, the same order of magnitude as the annual incidence rate of breast cancer in the United States. As a result of cumulative long-term exposures, they and their children are at risk of developing serious chronic health problems such as cancer, neurological impairments and Parkinson’s disease. Southern New Jersey has a large population of migrant farm workers. For the past 20 years, CATA has managed […]

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20
Jan

Judge Questions California Approval of Methyl Iodide

(Beyond Pesticides, January 20, 2012) A California Superior Court Judge has questioned whether the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) complied with its legal obligation to consider alternative options before approving use of the toxic fumigant methyl iodide in 2010. Judge Frank Roesch raised the concern in comments from the bench during a January 13 hearing involving a lawsuit filed by farm worker and environmental organizations against CDPR and the Arysta LifeScience Corporation, which manufactures the methyl iodide products used in the state. The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires that state agencies consider alternative options to a regulatory action that meets the definition of a “project.” Projects include an action undertaken by a public agency which may cause either a direct physical change in the environment or a reasonably foreseeable indirect change in the environment. A project may not be approved as submitted if feasible alternatives or mitigation measures are able to substantially lessen the significant environmental effects of the project. While CDPR’s pesticide regulations have previously been recognized as “projects” as defined in the CEQA, it is unusual for judicial review to raise concerns about the validity of the alternatives assessments. “Did you consider not approving methyl iodide? […]

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05
Dec

Six Largest Pesticide Manufacturers Stand Trial at International People’s Court

(Beyond Pesticides, December 5, 2011) On December 3, the 27th anniversary of the Bhopal pesticide plant disaster in Bhopal, India, a trial began in an international people’s court in India involving the world’s six largest pesticide companies: Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer, BASF, Dow and Dupont. These companies, collectively known as the “Big 6,” are cited by prosecutors for their human rights violations, including internationally recognized rights to life, livelihood and health. Beyond Pesticides joined Pesticide Action Network (PAN) and others in signing a joint statement demanding that these companies be held accountable for their human rights violations, which was presented at the trial. The trial, hosted by PAN International, is facilitated by the Permanent People’s Tribunal (PTT), an international opinion tribunal independent from State authorities. The prosecution’s 230-page indictment outlines the global threats to human rights. It begins: The victims and survivors of [pesticide industry] aggression are the poor peasants, small-scale farmers, agricultural workers, rural women, children, and indigenous and agricultural communities around the world. They are at the mercy of the expanding power of the agrochemical [corporations] and are losing their control over their seeds and knowledge, and suffering debilitating physical and chronic effects due to pesticide poisoning, including coping […]

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22
Nov

Groups Ask EPA to Strengthen Overdue Pesticide Protections for Farmworkers

(Beyond Pesticides, November 22, 2011) Several farmworker groups filed a petition last week with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), urging the agency to implement stronger protections for farmworkers, with particular regard to health effects of exposure to toxic pesticides on the job. The petition seeks to eliminate the existing dual standard providing fewer workplace protections against pesticide exposures for farmworkers than for workers using hazardous chemicals in non-agricultural sectors. “Most American workers enjoy workplace protections created by the federal Office of Safety and Health Administration, but not farmworkers,” said Eve Gartner, lead attorney for Earthjustice, the public interest law firm representing the groups. “They get second class treatment which exposes them to high levels of very dangerous pesticides which is not only unhealthy but also fundamentally unfair.” According to Earth Justice, the health and safety of industrial workers falls under the jurisdiction of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Farmworkers must rely on EPA’s Worker Protection Standard of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) which is far more lenient than the OSHA rules that protect industrial workers encountering potentially dangerous chemicals. “All we are asking is that the EPA […]

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03
Oct

New Film Reveals Child Farmworkers’ Exposure to Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, October 3, 2011) A new film highlights North Carolina farmworker children’s stories about being sprayed with toxic pesticides while working in the field. Overworked & Under Spray: Young Farm Workers’ Pesticide Stories features interviews with six high school-age children about their experiences working in the fields in eastern NC. Most of the children’s stories involve incidents of pesticide exposure that are illegal according to NC law. The film is the latest documentary short to be released by Toxic Free North Carolina. “You could see the spray coming at you…but we kept on working. The next day I didn’t feel so good,” said Felix Rodriguez, one of the high school-age farm workers featured in the film. “I wouldn’t feel comfortable talking about pesticides to the owner or supervisor because they’ll see you as nagging. They just really want you to work.” Farm work is demanding and dangerous physical labor. A 2008 study by a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) researcher finds that the incidence rate of pesticide poisoning is extremely high among U.S. agricultural workers. Young farmworkers and children of farmworkers are especially at risk. Children are much more vulnerable than adults to the injuries and […]

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15
Jun

Pesticide-Food Guides Highlight Importance of Eating Organic for Health, Workers and the Environment

(Beyond Pesticides, June 15, 2011) This week’s release of the new Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce (Dirty Dozen/Clean 15) by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which focuses on pesticide residues on conventional produce, highlights the importance of eating organic fruits and vegetables to minimize personal exposure to toxic pesticides. Beyond Pesticides’ Eating with a Conscience guide complements the EWG list, going beyond residues on food to examine the impacts of the pesticides used to grow conventional produce on the health of farmworkers and rural communities, water quality, honey bees and wildlife poisoning, and more. Both Beyond Pesticides and EWG encourage shoppers to choose organic food whenever possible. To create their seventh edition of the Shopper’s Guide, analysts at EWG synthesized data collected from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Most samples are washed and peeled prior to being tested, so the rankings reflect the amounts of the chemicals likely present on the food when is it eaten. Apples, celery and strawberries top this year’s “Dirty Dozen” list. Making an appearance in the guide for the first time is the herb cilantro, which had never been tested by USDA until now. The data […]

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07
Jun

NIOSH Study Confirms Pesticide Drift Hazards Posed by Conventional Agriculture

(Beyond Pesticides, June 7, 2011) A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and state agency partners finds that pesticide drift from conventional, chemical-intensive farming has poisoned thousands of farmworkers and rural residents in recent years. According to the authors, agricultural workers and residents in agricultural regions were found to have the highest rate of pesticide poisoning from drift exposure, and soil fumigations were a major hazard causing large drift incidents. The study, “Acute Pesticide Illnesses Associated with Off-Target Pesticide Drift from Agricultural Applications ”” 11 States, 1998—2006,” was published June 6, 2011 in the online edition of the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. Using data from NIOSH’s Sentinel Event Notification System for Occupational Risks (SENSOR) – Pesticides Program and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, the study identifies 2,945 cases of pesticide poisoning associated with agricultural pesticide drift in 11 states. While the study focuses on top agriculture producing states, it provides only a snapshot of the poisoning of farmworkers and other rural residents nationally and around the world. Advocates also point out that pesticide poisoning is often underreported by farmworkers. According to the Cesar E. Chavez Foundation, only […]

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17
May

EPA Considers Bilingual Pesticide Labels, Public Comments Needed

(Beyond Pesticides, May 17, 2011) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has received a petition from the Migrant Clinicians Network, Farmworker Justice, and other farmworker interest groups asking the agency to require that manufacturers make their pesticide product labels available in both English and Spanish. EPA is inviting public comment until June 28, 2011 (see Docket # EPA-HQ-OPP-2011-0014-0001 and submit comments). After the 90-day comment period ends, the agency will use the comments received in developing a decision on this petition. Farmworker groups are asking people to submit comments to EPA supporting the petition. See talking points below. Currently, pesticide labels are only required to be in English. This policy has a disproportionate impact on farmworkers, particularly pesticide applicators, who primarily speak Spanish, with little or no ability to speak or read English. As a consequence, they cannot read the pesticide labels and do not understand the pesticide use directions, the personal protective equipment (PPE) required or the instructions to avoid contamination of water bodies. The current provision, which directs Spanish-speaking workers themselves to get the label translated, is grossly inadequate. In a recent study in Washington State, farmworkers who could not read English exhibited higher rates of pesticide exposure […]

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26
Apr

Report Examines Impact of Pesticides on Farmworker Children

(Beyond Pesticides, April 26, 2011) One year after the President’s Cancer Panel released its groundbreaking report highlighting environmental causes of cancer, the non-profit Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs (AFOP) released a new report, Dangerous Exposure: Farmworker Children and Pesticides. The report focuses on farmworker children, examining birth defects, neurological and behavior disorders, respiratory disease, as well as leukemia and other childhood cancers and their connections to pesticides. “The weight of evidence described in our report, Dangerous Exposure: Farmworker Children and Pesticides, is overwhelming, if not conclusive,” notes Levy Schroeder, Director of Health & Safety Programs at AFOP. “The risk is high for farmworker children whose lives are surrounded by dangerous agricultural toxins.” In a ten-month immersion in evidence-based findings on pesticide exposures, farmworker children and various illnesses, including cancer, the AFOP Health and Safety team reviewed primary scientific research published in professional medical and public health journals. In an effort to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the issue of pesticide exposure to farmworker children, the team also conducted focus groups and interviews with farmworker parents around the country. The parents shared stories of exposure, of having to make choices they know are not healthy for their children, of their […]

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