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Pesticide Action Network

California Updates: November 2020

Each year, pesticide use continues to harm hundreds of farmworkers and rural community members across California. And the real number of cases is probably much higher than what is reported.

As California is one of the states in which PAN does on-the-ground campaign work, we send out regular updates on PAN and partners’ work in California and beyond — from pesticide-related science to opportunities to take action. If you’d like to receive these updates via email, sign up here.

State updates

Pesticide illness in California: In August, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation released new data on acute pesticide-related illnesses and injuries in the state. The grim — though unsurprising — findings? Each year, pesticide use continues to harm hundreds of farmworkers and rural community members across California. And the real number of cases is probably much higher than what is reported, as many pesticide-related illnesses go unreported. Read more here.

Farmworkers and COVID-19: The preliminary findings of a COVID-19 Farmworker Study (COFS) have brought to light how this new health threat exacerbates existing vulnerabilities in farmworker communities. Survey data indicates that over half of all participating farmworkers reported barriers to accessing healthcare even if they were ill, including lack of insurance, high costs, and lack of sick leave provided by the employer. Only a small pool of employers were found to provide masks and face coverings, and among those who didn’t, farm labor contractors were least likely to provide life-saving protective gear. Read more here.

Nationwide updates

Now we get to work: We’ve been so inspired by the incredible organizing across the country, and the network of (mostly young and BIPOC) organizers behind it. People showed up for democracy last week. Now, like many across the country, we’re taking a deep breath and looking toward the year ahead.

Our priorities for the new administration are the priorities we’ve been working toward all along: a healthy food and farm system that’s rooted in justice. We know this takes deep, structural changes, and a fundamental break from the corporate-controlled agriculture that our political and regulatory systems support. At the national level, we’ll be working with partners across the country to press the Biden/Harris administration to support the deep food and farming system changes so urgently needed in the months and years ahead. Read more here.

Latest science

Testicular cancer and pesticides: Testicular cancer rates have been rising in the U.S., especially quickly in the Hispanic community — which is disproportionately exposed to many endocrine-disrupting (ED) pesticides. A case-control study of 381 California-born men diagnosed with testicular germ cell tumors between the ages of 15-19 years was compared to a control (otherwise healthy) group of 762 men. Researchers used California’s pesticide use reporting database for agricultural use of 15 ED pesticides within a 3 kilometer radius of the participants’ birth address in the year before birth. Among the findings: nearby applications of 13 of the 15 ED pesticides were greater among Hispanic men compared with non-Hispanic men. In an analysis of individual pesticides’ risk, an increased risk for testicular germ cell tumors was associated with exposure to acephate. Read more here.

Upcoming events

Pollinator protection webinar
Join PAN and our friends at the Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides (NCAP) for the third and final installation in the Protecting Migratory Pollinators series, “Policy successes and lessons from Minnesota.” This hour-long webinar will explore what folks in other states can learn from Minnesota’s leading pollinator protection policies — including the very successful Lawns to Legumes (L2L) habitat grant program for homeowners.

Take action

Our communities have the right to know about nearby applications of hazardous agricultural pesticides before they happen — for the sake of children, workers, and families.

Tell the California Department of Pesticide Regulation to ensure the public’s right to this information in real time.

Take Action



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Pesticide Action Network

Pesticide Action Network is dedicated to advancing alternatives to pesticides worldwide. Follow @pesticideaction

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