[X] CLOSEMAIN MENU

  • Archives

  • Categories

    • air pollution (2)
    • Announcements (588)
    • Antibiotic Resistance (32)
    • Antimicrobial (11)
    • Aquaculture (30)
    • Aquatic Organisms (28)
    • Bats (6)
    • Beneficials (44)
    • Biofuels (6)
    • Biological Control (28)
    • Biomonitoring (36)
    • Birds (19)
    • btomsfiolone (1)
    • Bug Bombs (2)
    • Canada (10)
    • Cannabis (27)
    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (9)
    • Children (76)
    • Children/Schools (232)
    • cicadas (1)
    • Climate (14)
    • Climate Change (66)
    • Clover (1)
    • compost (2)
    • Congress (1)
    • contamination (125)
    • Disinfectants & Sanitizers (15)
    • Drift (4)
    • Drinking Water (3)
    • Ecosystem Services (5)
    • Emergency Exemption (2)
    • Environmental Justice (145)
    • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (383)
    • Events (82)
    • Farm Bill (11)
    • Farmworkers (165)
    • Forestry (5)
    • Fracking (4)
    • Fungal Resistance (3)
    • Fungicides (18)
    • Goats (2)
    • Golf (15)
    • Greenhouse (1)
    • Groundwater (3)
    • Health care (32)
    • Herbicides (17)
    • Holidays (32)
    • Household Use (6)
    • Indigenous People (1)
    • Indoor Air Quality (2)
    • Infectious Disease (3)
    • Integrated and Organic Pest Management (63)
    • Invasive Species (33)
    • Label Claims (47)
    • Lawns/Landscapes (230)
    • Litigation (329)
    • Livestock (7)
    • Metabolites (3)
    • Microbiata (16)
    • Microbiome (19)
    • Nanosilver (2)
    • Nanotechnology (54)
    • National Politics (386)
    • Native Americans (1)
    • Occupational Health (6)
    • Oceans (1)
    • Office of Inspector General (1)
    • Pesticide Drift (145)
    • Pesticide Efficacy (3)
    • Pesticide Mixtures (2)
    • Pesticide Regulation (719)
    • Pesticide Residues (167)
    • Pets (28)
    • Plant Incorporated Protectants (1)
    • Poisoning (6)
    • Preemption (29)
    • President-elect Transition (2)
    • Repellent (2)
    • Resistance (104)
    • Rights-of-Way (1)
    • Rodenticide (29)
    • Seeds (4)
    • soil health (3)
    • synergistic effects (9)
    • Synthetic Pyrethroids (11)
    • Take Action (543)
    • Textile/Apparel/Fashion Industry (1)
    • Toxic Waste (6)
    • Wildlife/Endangered Sp. (422)
    • Women’s Health (14)
    • Wood Preservatives (33)
    • World Health Organization (6)
  • Most Viewed Posts

Daily News Blog

19
Jun

This Juneteenth, We Celebrate Those Who Made this Country

(Beyond Pesticides, June 19, 2022) On Juneteenth Day, we commemorate the abolition of slavery and celebrate human freedom. At the same time, we recognize that we have significant work to do to eliminate systemic racism and advance environmental justice. We strive to ensure that people of color are not disproportionately harmed by pesticides and other toxic chemicals—from production, use, to disposal—and that all people have access to sustainable and organic food and organically managed communities.

Acute and chronic exposure to chemicals like pesticides cause a plethora of harmful effects, including (but not limited to) brain and nervous system disorders, birth abnormalities, cancer, developmental and learning disorders, endocrine disruption, immune disorder, and reproductive dysfunction, among others. However, people of color may experience more servere health effects from exposure, resulting in elevated rates of diseases. Communities of color and those living in low-socioeconomic conditions experience an inequitable number of hazards, including toxic waste plants, garbage dumps, and other sources of environmental pollution and odors that lower the quality of life. Therefore, these populations experience greater exposure to harmful chemicals and suffer from health outcomes that affect their ability to work and learn. When discussing health disparities and environmental justice, we need to focus on those most impacted by toxic chemical use.

Of 40 most commonly used lawn pesticides, 26 are possible and/or known carcinogens, 24 have the potential to disrupt the endocrine (hormonal) system, 29 are linked to reproductive effects and sexual dysfunction, 21 have been linked to birth defects, 24 are neurotoxic, 32 can cause kidney or liver damage, and 33 are sensitizers and/or irritants. Of those same 40 lawn pesticides, 21 are detected in groundwater, 24 can leach into drinking water sources, 39 are toxic to fish and other aquatic organisms vital to our ecosystem, 33 are toxic to bees, 18 are toxic to mammals, and 28 are toxic to birds. Although suburban lawns and gardens receive more pesticide applications per acre than agriculture (2.7 lbs. per acre on average), pesticide drift from nearby farms can worsen pesticide exposure in these areas. However, the same issues that impact suburban areas, which are majority non-POC, also impact urban areas that are disproportionately people of color, but at greater rates.

Protecting workers
People of color make up most employees who work in occupations with high levels of chemical exposure—including industrial factory workers, laborers, construction workers, landscaping, custodians, and agricultural workers. Farmworkers are at the greatest risk from pesticide exposure. A blatant example of systemic racism is embedded in risk assessments in environmental regulation. According to Farmworker Justice, 76% of all farmworkers identify as Latinx/Hispanic. Unfortunately, persistent exposure to pesticides decreases the average lifespan of a farmworker to just 49 years, a 29-year difference from the average lifespan of the general population (78 years). Considering the average life expectancy for those in the Latinx communities was above the national average before the Covid-19 pandemic, this is a glaring revelation.

As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies determine “acceptable” risks of pesticides, exposure assessments inevitably discount the impact on workers, people of color, and those with preexisting health conditions or comorbidities. For example, EPA routinely calculates worker exposure separately from other exposures. In applying aggregate exposure assessments of pesticides, EPA does not include worker exposure. Risk assessments do not include exposures to multiple chemicals—and such exposures routinely occur to fenceline communities, farmworkers, and factory workers. Disparities in protection from agrochemicals in low-income and black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities yield elevated instances of pesticide-induced diseases (e.g., respiratory illness, neurological disorders, endocrine/immune disruption, cancers, etc.). Although there are regulatory systems to evaluate and monitor pesticide use and exposure limits (i.e., the Federal, Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act [FIFRA] and the Food Quality Protection Act [FQPA]), pesticide-related illnesses continue to harm communities due to environmental racism that ignores people of highest risks or increased vulnerability due to preexisting health conditions—many associated with socioeconomic conditions. For example, federal pesticide law does not take into consideration the combined effect of high-exposure, high-risk occupations with the exposures that are endured as a result of pesticide use in residential areas, around the home and garden, parks, schools, and even residues on food, hair, and clothing. 

Taking a systemic approach

We must widen the lens even further and recognize that the experiences of the past cry out for broader and deeper systemic change—requiring that we look at the interaction of all the pieces that allow the system to work. Some important teachings from the Covid-19 pandemic include: that different population groups have disproportionate vulnerabilities, from children to older people; essential workers (from hospital personnel to grocery store workers, landscapers, to farmworkers) suffer elevated risk factors due to exposure patterns, creating disproportionate rates of disease; those with preexisting conditions or comorbidities face higher risks; a lack of complete scientific knowledge requires a precautionary approach or standard. In this spirit, we must evaluate the introduction of toxic pesticides, which are developed to disrupt biological systems. As a part of ecosystems, from humans to microbial life in the soil or mayfly nymphs (keystone species at the bottom of the aquatic food web), we coexist and depend on each other.

Beyond Pesticides executive director Jay Feldman said: “By eliminating toxic pesticide use, we will provide critical protections for community health, particularly for children, the elderly, and vulnerable population groups, which includes people of color in the highest risk population group.”

The fact that racial disparities accompany the production, transportation, use, and disposal of toxic pesticides and other chemicals makes the industries and sectors that produce and use these toxic materials unsustainable. It is necessary to recognize that while children and people of color face disproportionate harm from pesticide exposure, the hazards associated with the toxic chemicals inflict multi-generational diseases like diabetes, asthma, respiratory illness, and learning disabilities. Therefore, it is critical to reimagine our nation’s laws to eliminate toxic pesticides and advance the adoption of organic practices that respect the complexity of life and the ecosystems, and put an end to institutional biases that codify environmental racism.

We work to move forward to correct the policies and practices that establish reliance on pesticides and other toxic chemicals and result in elevated harm to people of color. We commemorate Juneteenth as a day to redouble our efforts to create an equitable and sustainable society and world.

All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.

Share

Leave a Reply

  • Archives

  • Categories

    • air pollution (2)
    • Announcements (588)
    • Antibiotic Resistance (32)
    • Antimicrobial (11)
    • Aquaculture (30)
    • Aquatic Organisms (28)
    • Bats (6)
    • Beneficials (44)
    • Biofuels (6)
    • Biological Control (28)
    • Biomonitoring (36)
    • Birds (19)
    • btomsfiolone (1)
    • Bug Bombs (2)
    • Canada (10)
    • Cannabis (27)
    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (9)
    • Children (76)
    • Children/Schools (232)
    • cicadas (1)
    • Climate (14)
    • Climate Change (66)
    • Clover (1)
    • compost (2)
    • Congress (1)
    • contamination (125)
    • Disinfectants & Sanitizers (15)
    • Drift (4)
    • Drinking Water (3)
    • Ecosystem Services (5)
    • Emergency Exemption (2)
    • Environmental Justice (145)
    • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (383)
    • Events (82)
    • Farm Bill (11)
    • Farmworkers (165)
    • Forestry (5)
    • Fracking (4)
    • Fungal Resistance (3)
    • Fungicides (18)
    • Goats (2)
    • Golf (15)
    • Greenhouse (1)
    • Groundwater (3)
    • Health care (32)
    • Herbicides (17)
    • Holidays (32)
    • Household Use (6)
    • Indigenous People (1)
    • Indoor Air Quality (2)
    • Infectious Disease (3)
    • Integrated and Organic Pest Management (63)
    • Invasive Species (33)
    • Label Claims (47)
    • Lawns/Landscapes (230)
    • Litigation (329)
    • Livestock (7)
    • Metabolites (3)
    • Microbiata (16)
    • Microbiome (19)
    • Nanosilver (2)
    • Nanotechnology (54)
    • National Politics (386)
    • Native Americans (1)
    • Occupational Health (6)
    • Oceans (1)
    • Office of Inspector General (1)
    • Pesticide Drift (145)
    • Pesticide Efficacy (3)
    • Pesticide Mixtures (2)
    • Pesticide Regulation (719)
    • Pesticide Residues (167)
    • Pets (28)
    • Plant Incorporated Protectants (1)
    • Poisoning (6)
    • Preemption (29)
    • President-elect Transition (2)
    • Repellent (2)
    • Resistance (104)
    • Rights-of-Way (1)
    • Rodenticide (29)
    • Seeds (4)
    • soil health (3)
    • synergistic effects (9)
    • Synthetic Pyrethroids (11)
    • Take Action (543)
    • Textile/Apparel/Fashion Industry (1)
    • Toxic Waste (6)
    • Wildlife/Endangered Sp. (422)
    • Women’s Health (14)
    • Wood Preservatives (33)
    • World Health Organization (6)
  • Most Viewed Posts