- Secretary Vilsack
Demand Toxic Pesticide Protections
Americans want inexpensive, perfect-looking fruit and vegetables, and pesticides do the trick. But those good looks come at the expense of farmworkers who wade through fields soaked with toxic pesticides to pick what we eat.
Each year, 10,000 to 20,000 farmworkers and their families contract acute pesticide poisoning, according to the federal government. They suffer stinging eyes, rashes, blisters, nausea, headaches and even death. Long-term impacts include infertility, birth defects, endocrine disruption, neurological disorders and cancer.
You can help end this travesty by joining with us in demanding stronger worker protections.
Our target is the weak and outdated Worker Protection Standard, which is meant to safeguard farmworkers but hasn’t been revised for more than 20 years despite overwhelming evidence of its inadequacy.
Act with us in calling on the EPA to strengthen the Worker Protection Standard by:
-Providing more frequent and more comprehensible pesticide safety training for farmworkers
-Ensuring that workers receive information about specific pesticides used in their work
-Requiring safety precautions and protective equipment limiting farmworkers’ contact with pesticides
-Requiring medical monitoring of workers who handle neurotoxic pesticides
Workers in other sectors of industry are protected from hazardous chemicals, but not farmworkers. Let’s restore their right to a healthy environment!
- President of the United States
- Secretary Vilsack
A few weeks ago a large contingent of farmworkers and their allies came to Washington, D.C. to meet with their members of Congress to call for the implementation of stronger protections for farmworkers from hazardous pesticides.
An estimated 5.1 billion pounds of pesticides are applied to crops annually in the United States, and farmworkers face a greater threat from these chemicals than any other sector of society, with thousands of farmworkers each year experiencing pesticide poisoning.
I am calling on you to do the right thing and strengthen the Worker Protection Standard. These rules were established by the Environmental Protection Agency to set agricultural worker safety standards for pesticide use, but have not been updated or revised for more than 20 years, despite overwhelming evidence of their inadequacy.
The nation's 12 million farmworkers form the backbone of the U.S. agricultural economy and many are regularly exposed to pesticides. The federal government estimates that there are 10,000-20,000 acute pesticide poisonings among workers in the agricultural industry annually, a figure that likely understates the actual number of acute poisonings since many affected farmworkers may not seek care from a physician.
This is a travesty that must be addressed!
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