Daily News Archives
From March 21, 2005
in Babies of Farmworkers Spark Investigation
According to press reports, the three women who gave birth to these babies and the fathers all lived within 200 feet of one another at the same migrant labor in Immokolee, called Tower Cabins, and all tomatoes when they became pregnant in 2004. Dale Dubberly, chief, Bureau of Compliance Monitoring, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs, told The Palm Beach Post that the defects ”may have nothing to do with pesticides, but we’ll try to get the facts.”
The newspaper accounts say that posted at the entrance to the field where the farmworkers worked is a sign that lists the use of 38 different pesticide products involving 30 chemicals. The farm belongs to Ag-Mart Produce company.
AP continues, “Between 1993 and 2003, Ag-Mart was cited three times by state inspectors for violations of pesticide regulations at other fields. The violations involved failure to keep workers out of fields for a sufficient time after chemicals have been used, failure to provide proper protective equipment and failure to keep proper records of pesticide and herbicide use.” Company president Don Long, who says that the company has resolved past problems, is quoted as saying, “We're looking into the issue of children born with birth defects to women who may have worked for our company.”
The state official in charge of maintaining reports of pesticide poisoning, Kim Hainge, says the reporting system does not work. AP reports her as saying, “In 2004, we received only four such reports. In 2003, it was all of eight. I know it can’t be accurate.”
TAKE ACTION: Contact Dale Dubberly, chief, Bureau of Compliance Monitoring, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs, to express your concern and see how his investigation is going, 850-48-8731, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Identify what your state does regarding the reporting of pesticide poisoning and the protection of farmworkers. To identify your state’s contact information , go to Beyond Pesticides’ states webpage. Let Beyond Pesticides know what you find out.