Reclaiming the future of food and farming

Frontline Communities

Pesticide Action Network's picture

Victory for California Farmworkers

On September 25 Governor Schwarzenegger signed into law the Farmworker Health Act (AB 1963). Pesticide Action Network was a co-sponsor of the bill, which took four years and multiple attempts to pass through California's legislative process.

For the first time since the state’s medical monitoring program was established in 1974, we will be able to evaluate whether or not farmworkers are actually being protected from poisoning by the organophosphate and carbamate insecticides they handle.

Pesticide Actio...
Kristin Schafer's picture

Real-life costs of slow decisions on pesticides

The glacial pace of government decision-making on pesticides is costly. Not just the cost of years of paperwork, collecting and reviewing the endless stream of industry studies. And not just the cost of medical care for those who are damaged by toxins before they are taken off the market.

Sometimes, slow decisions result in pesticide exposures that cause such harm they fundamentally change the course of a child’s life. A cost that’s so high, it really can’t even be measured.

Kristin Schafer
Pesticide Action Network's picture

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.

Pesticide Actio...

Fields of Poison 2002

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Fields of Poison, a joint report by United Farm Workers, PAN and the California Legal Rural Assistance Foundation, reveals that weak enforcement of pesticide-related worker health and safety laws remains a serious problem in California. The report analyzes the state's pesticide poisoning data and finds that pesticide safety laws fail to protect many of the state’s 700,000 farmworkers from poisonings even when the laws are apparently followed.

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Schools & Playgrounds

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Kids on playground

Playgrounds, daycare centers and schools: every parent hopes these are safe places, where children can flourish and grow. Unfortunately, pesticides used in and near schools and playgrounds can make children an unintended ‘frontline community,’ exposing them to dangerous chemicals just when their developing brains and bodies are especially vulnerable.

Rural Families

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Rural family

Rural life in the U.S. has long meant hard work and healthy living, and farm families and Indigenous communities have been steady stewards of the land. Yet since the advent of industrial agriculture after World War II, the on-the-ground reality of country life has changed.