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.