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Reclaiming the future of food and farming

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California's Farmworker Health Act

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.

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Native Bees to the Rescue

Bees may not qualify as charismatic megafauna, but they do, or should, attract the attention of anyone who eats fruits, vegetables or nuts, or whose livelihood depends on growing these crops.
 
The sudden collapse of honeybee colonies — Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) — has been reported throughout the U.S. and elsewhere since the mid-1980s. Explanations include a combination of lack of adequate nectar and pollen, disease, the stress of transporting hives over thousands of miles, and pesticides.

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