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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Farmworkers' Category


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, ‚ÄúThis 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‚Äôs (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‚Äôre 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‚ÄĒto move to meaningful practices that sustain, nurture, and regenerate life. In this context, let‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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. ‚ÄúWe 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,‚ÄĚ said Stuart Calwell, lead attorney for the plantiffs. ‚ÄúThen a little child picks up a teddy bear and holds on to it.‚ÄĚ […]

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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‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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‚Äôs world, advocates say it‚Äôs 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‚Äôs […]

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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‚Äôs administration of the changes. GAO focused its review on the implementation of the ‚Äėdesignated representative‚Äô 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‚Äôs 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, Organizaci√≥n 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. ‚ÄúNo farmworker should be exposed to poisonous chemicals when doing their job, let alone multiple times in two weeks,‚ÄĚ said Lisa Palumbo, Director of Legal Aid Chicago‚Äôs Immigrants and Workers‚Äô Rights project, which filed the suit alongside several other legal advocacy groups. ‚ÄúMigrant 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.‚ÄĚ ¬† 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, ‚ÄúChildren 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, [‚Ķ]future interventions should aim to reduce the health risks of these vulnerable populations, including their children.‚ÄĚ 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.‚Äôs loss of earning capacity), medical care costs, and ‚Äúpunitive damages for the willful, reckless, and recklessly indifferent conduct of the Defendants‚ÄĚ 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 ‚Äėinvisible‚Äô, despite the essential job they perform getting food to American‚Äôs 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‚Äôs (EPA) September 22 announcement asserts that, ‚Äúdespite several years of study, the science addressing neurodevelopmental effects [of the insecticide chlorpyrifos] remains unresolved,‚ÄĚ as reported in The New York Times. This conclusion contradicts both ample scientific evidence and the agency‚Äôs 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‚ÄĒAgency 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‚ÄĒwith 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 ‚ÄúHidden Toll‚ÄĚ 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. ‚ÄúIn these times, it‚Äôs necessity that makes us work despite the fear we have,‚ÄĚ 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. ‚ÄúDuring this public health crisis, it is important to ensure the strict enforcement and oversight of regulations that protect children from pesticide exposure,‚ÄĚ 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‚Äôs primary enforcement officers for pesticide laws, must ‚Äústrictly enforce all applicable health protections around homes and schools‚ÄĚ during the pandemic, seven days a week. Further, it stresses that pesticide applications ‚Äúare expressly prohibited,” when there is, ‚Äúreasonable possibility of contamination of the bodies or clothing of persons not involved in the application.‚ÄĚ The state will prioritize the investigation of any violations made in residential areas. The state will also ‚Äútake a strict approach to assessing penalties.‚ÄĚ Violations of pesticide law that occur near homes or schools during coronavirus quarantine will […]

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04
May

Take Action: Protect Farmworker Children

(Beyond Pesticides, May 4, 2020)¬†Exemptions to the Fair Labor Standards Act allow children to work unlimited hours in agriculture at the age of 12 and allow child farmworkers to perform hazardous work at the age of 16. These exemptions apply only to farm labor and are¬†significantly less stringent¬†than law applying to other sectors. U.S. Representative¬†Lucille Roybal-Allard of California has reintroduced H.R. 3394, the¬†Children’s Act for Responsible Employment and Farm Safety¬†(CARE) to correct these inconsistencies, which harm farmworker children. Tell your Congressional Representative to co-sponsor H.R. 3394. Thank those who are co-sponsors of the bill. Currently, children ages 12-13 may not be employed outside the home in non-agriculture labor, but may work in agriculture outside of school hours. Children ages 14-15 may work in non-agriculture only with strict limitations on time of day and hours per week, but may work in agriculture outside of school hours without any restrictions. The minimum age for hazardous work in agriculture, such as pesticide handling, is 16, but is 18 for non-farm labor. H.R. will make the restrictions for agriculture child labor consistent with non-agriculture labor.¬†The bill does not apply to the sons and daughters of farmers working on their family farm. The worker protection […]

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22
Apr

Earth Day 2020: The Road to Recovery is Organic

In 1962, Rachel Carson said we stood at a crossroads: ‚ÄúThe road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road ‚ÄĒ the one less traveled by ‚ÄĒ offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth.‚ÄĚ Eight years later, on April 22, 1970, the first Earth Day encouraged collective action for conservation. Now, in the midst of a pandemic and cascading environmental crises (arguably, down the road of disaster), forging a new path toward restoration will take courage and imagination. This Earth Day, Beyond Pesticides is putting forth a toolkit to abandon half measures and forge ahead with an organic approach for repairing human health and the environment. LISTEN TO SCIENCE Biodiversity is plummeting worldwide. The climate crisis looms even as COVID-19 grabs headlines. Environmental pollution is a predictor of coronavirus death. Never has it been more obvious that the global community is interconnected, and enforcing preventative measures is critical before it is too late. Meanwhile, the Trump Administration‚Äôs Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ignores science, moving ahead with deregulation to […]

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14
Apr

Take Action: Our Food Supply Depends on Protecting Farmworkers

(Beyond Pesticides, April 14, 2020)¬†An op-ed in the¬†New York Times¬†asks, ‚ÄúWhat Happens if America’s 2.5 Million Farmworkers Get Sick?‚ÄĚ Without those farmworkers, the year-round supply of fresh fruits and vegetables that we take for granted would be impossible. The supply chain of those vital foods starts with the workers who plant, cultivate, and harvest them. Our society and everyone living in the U.S. depend on farmworkers. Tell Congress to provide essential benefits to essential farmworkers. But farmworkers are at high risk from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Living in crowded conditions, social distancing is impossible for them. They have little access to health care. Washing hands is often impossible in the field. With children home from school, they have additional childcare costs to pay with their low wages. They also have increased costs from using private transportation to avoid crowded buses. And many farmworkers are exposed to respiratory hazards like pesticides and fungal spores that make them more susceptible to the coronavirus. As the medical demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) increases, farmworkers are being faced with potential shortages of masks, gloves, and suits.¬†Last month, a group of Washington farmworkers walked off a worksite because their employer was not offering sufficient […]

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02
Apr

Farmworkers at High Risk During Coronavirus Pandemic

(Beyond Pesticides, April 2, 2020) As COVID-19 grips the U.S. and medical workers scramble for personal protective equipment (PPE), farmworkers charged with applying pesticides are facing potential shortages of the same protective masks, gloves, and Tyvek suits. Farmworkers are a frontline community to the compounding crises of pesticide poisoning and the coronavirus pandemic. PPE producers announced plans to increase production of masks and other gear, but orders for disposable respirators and masks may take over three months to arrive to agricultural suppliers. ‚ÄúAll of our major suppliers is being impacted,‚ÄĚ said Carl Atwell, an agricultural PPE provider in Wisconsin, ‚ÄúWhether it‚Äôs Dupont, 3M, Honeywell‚ÄĒthey‚Äôre all being told by the government to divert supply to hospitals first.‚ÄĚ Worsening the dilemma, common toxic pesticides are respiratory irritants that put farmworkers at higher risk. Epidemiological studies of farmworkers link toxic pesticide exposure with asthma or asthmatic symptoms. Individuals with underlying respiratory issues are less likely to recover from COVID-19. ‚ÄúThis issue of workers being exposed to toxic chemicals was already a big problem before the pandemic, so I can only imagine what will happen now,‚ÄĚ Iris Figueora, a staff attorney with Farmworker Justice, told Bloomberg Environment. Just last month, a group of Washington […]

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24
Mar

Maryland Legislature Passes Limited Ban on Chlorpyrifos Insecticide

(Beyond Pesticides, March 24, 2020) Last week, Maryland became the latest state to prohibit use of the brain-damaging insecticide chlorpyrifos, after a measure cleared both the state Senate and House. Although the legislation implements a limited ban that sunsets after four years, advocates consider this action a step in the right direction that will protect the health and safety of Maryland residents. ‚ÄúEven amidst our current public health crisis, the Maryland legislature acted to protect all Marylanders‚Äô health for years to come by banning this toxic pesticide, and we are so grateful,‚ÄĚ said Ruth Berlin, Executive Director of the Maryland Pesticide Education Network to WBOC. Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate insecticide known to inhibit the proper nerve functioning by affecting the enzyme acetylcholine esterase. The impacts of this pesticide are particularly concerning for young children, as research finds that children exposed to high levels of chlorpyrifos had mental development delays, attention problems, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder problems, and pervasive developmental disorder problems at three years of age. While Maryland is the fourth state to restrict the use of chlorpyrifos, it is the second to implement these restrictions through legislation. In California, the state Department of Pesticide Regulation is implementing a phase out of […]

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23
Mar

Farmworkers and Conservationists Sue EPA for Re-Approving Monsanto/Bayer’s Cancer-Causing Pesticide, Glyphosate/Roundup

(Beyond Pesticides, March 23, 2020)¬†Ignoring science to side with Monsanto/Bayer, EPA has repeatedly failed to assess glyphosate‚Äôs impacts on public health and endangered species. Last week, a broad coalition of farmworkers, farmers, and conservationists, filed a federal lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over its January 2020 re-approval of the pesticide glyphosate, best known as the active ingredient in Monsanto‚Äôs Roundup pesticides. With Center for Food Safety (CFS) serving as legal counsel, the suing organizations are¬† Beyond Pesticides, the Rural Coalition, Organizaci√≥n en California de Lideres Campesinas, and the Farmworker Association of Florida. While EPA defends glyphosate, juries in several cases have found it to cause cancer, ruling in favor of those impacted by exposure. Glyphosate formulations like Roundup are also well-established as having numerous damaging environmental impacts. After a registration review process spanning over a decade, EPA allowed the continued marketing of the pesticide despite the agency‚Äôs failure to fully assess glyphosate‚Äôs hormone-disrupting potential or its effects on threatened and endangered species. The review began in 2009, has already taken 11 years, without a full assessment of the widespread harmful impacts on people and the environment in that time period. ‚ÄúEPA‚Äôs half-completed, biased, and unlawful approval sacrifices the […]

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