GroundTruth Blog

California's Farmworker Health Act

by Pesticide Action Network

Governor Schwarzenegger has before him a bill — the Farmworker Health Act (AB 1963) — that provides the state with a simple, cost-effective solution to prevent pesticide poisonings among California’s farmworkers by strengthening the current medical supervision program.

In 1974 California established Medical Supervision Program for monitoring farmworkers who handle organophosphate (OP) and carbamate pesticides in order to identify overexposure so that workers and their employers can act to eliminate the exposures BEFORE poisoning occurs. Laboratories use a readily available blood test to measure exposure. Nearly three decades after this program was enacted, it is impossible to judge its effectiveness — i.e. whether or not workers are really being protected — because the program requires no reporting of test results to state agencies responsible for worker health and workplace safety.

To address this gap, PAN has co-sponsored a bill that is straightforward and cost-effective. The Farmworker Health Act (AB 1963) would require the handful of laboratories that do these tests to electronically report test results to the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR). This easy request would bring this program up to par with reporting for such things as childhood lead exposure, communicable diseases, and a similar pesticide monitoring program in Washington State. 

Californians, please call or fax Governor Schwarzenegger and urge him to sign the Farmworker Health Act (AB 1963). Phone: 916-445-2841, Fax: 916-558-3177

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