GroundTruth Blog

Guest Blog: Toxic treadmill testimony

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by Teresa DeAnda

Anti-pesticide signPAN is collecting messages for the Big 6 pesticide/biotech corporations that keep the global food system on a toxic treadmill. Here's one from an ally in California's central valley:

I have lived in Earlimart my whole life. I guess my family and neighbors are the poster children of what can go wrong when you grow up around pesticide applications. 

Before they were table grapes, now they are almond trees. Both these crops use very many applications of bad actor pesticides that can cause cancer, reproductive and nervous system damaging illnesses.

Always we just would accept the spray.The headaches and the nausea would come and go. We did not know we could report the drift. We did not know who to call when it would leave droplets on us.

Through the years my neighbors began talking about the various cancers they had come out with. One neighbor learned of her brain cancer and died a month later. Another neighbor had a double mastectomy. A couple of children got leukemia and have since then died at the age of 19.

This is very unjust that we are being effected by pesticides, the test scores of our kids are lower than normal kids at their age.

More and more neighbors said the child they had was diagnosed with autism more frequently. My son who is 19 is also diagnosed with autism. The little school bus that used to carry 10 kids now carries 30. My father, and my two uncles died from prostate cancer.

My grandson was born prematurely after a big pesticide drift. That accident sickened close to 200 people with burning eyes, nausea, headaches, and dizziness. This is very unjust that we are being effected by pesticides, the test scores of our kids are lower than normal kids at their age.

I am infuriated by being inundated by the several types of different pesticides over the years, over and over. Here instead of enjoying the springtime, we dread it because that is when the most pesticide applications are done. The pretty blossoms are very deceptive indeed.

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Teresa DeAnda has worked as the Central Valley Coordinator for Californians for Pesticide Reform since 2003. She is also the President and Director of El Comite Para el Bienestar de Earlimart, in Earlimart, a small farmworker town in Tulare County, California's Central Valley.

We all want off the toxic treadmill. Join us by telling your story » How have pesticides impacted your life? Share your message for the Big 6 pesticide/biotech corporations and tell them we want off the toxic treadmill.

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FurAndFeathers wrote:

Dear Teresa,
I was recently driving through the Central California Valley on my way to my daughters in Stockton. In Buttonwillow, while stopping for gas I was forced to breathe in pesticides that quickly and seriously effected my functioning. I started to have numbness in my extremities and felt weak. A man at the next pump said it's like that all the time, every night, every day.
As someone who is is Chemically sensitive I had heard that about drift but had no idea that it was so prevalent. Not just once in the cycle of a crop but constant as farmers are not spraying in unison. I have no idea why I hadn't understood this, maybe it is just too scary to comprehend.
After reading your contribution I felt I must do something. Your blog is well written and you should be proud of it. I have nothing of that caliber to offer in this campaign so I did something that I hope will make a difference. I forwarded your blog to President Obama. I have requested that an answer be sent to me. It is likely just going to be a little form thank you. I hope that it won't be ignored. My hope is that it will be one of the daily letters that the President reads. My main point in the letter is that this is an example of why the American people no longer trust the government to protect them from corporate practices.
I will let you know if and when I recieve a reply.
All the best,
Barbara