I like strawberries a lot. But Driscoll's Berries, the nation's largest strawberry company isn't being a good neighbor. Rural communities like mine are on the frontlines of pesticide exposure, especially from pesticide fumigants.
Many pesticide fumigants are linked to a variety of adverse health impacts, incuding cancer, and are prone to drift on neighboring residents and farmworkers. It's no surprise that they create so many problems -- they are a gas injected into the ground. They have names like Telone (1,3-D), choloropicrin, methyl bromide and metam sodium. We recently worked with Pesticide Action Network to test the air near our homes and found high levels of chloropicrin, a pesticide linked to respiratory problems and cancer.
And I'm especially concerned as a father of two young children. California state scientists say my children are 76 times more likely to get cancer over the course of their life because of exposure to fumigants.
But it doesn't have to be this way. To be clear: I am not anti-farming. In fact, just the opposite. We encourage J. Miles Reiter, the CEO of Driscoll's, to be a good neighbor and use the fields near our homes as an opportunity to show how safe, green and cutting-edge farming can be done. And do the same across California and the rest of the country.