How does our nation’s reliance on pesticides affect the health of those who plant and harvest our food?
Molly Rauch, MPH
August 24, 2011
Pesticides are designed to harm
living organisms. Although many can be used without harm to humans, it’s not
surprising that some cause serious health problems. From birth defects to
cancers, the health effects of pesticides are felt disproportionately by our
nation’s over two million farmworkers.
Farmworkers labor in sprayed
fields, sometimes while the fields are still wet. They touch sprayed plants and
walk on sprayed soil. They often handle the chemicals, and may have inadequate
training to do so. They may live next to or near the treated fields, and may be
exposed to pesticides through the air. They bring chemicals home on their
shoes, clothes, and skin. Finally, they are generally poor and have limited
access to healthcare. In addition to these occupational conditions, farmworkers
enjoy fewer workplace protections than other classes of workers. Moreover, the
regulatory landscape of pesticide policy prioritizes chemical company profits
over farmworker health.
It is in the context of these
disparities that we address farmworkers and pesticides. How does our nation’s
reliance on pesticides affect the health of those who plant and harvest our
food? How does our pesticide use affect the health of those living in
surrounding communities? What can we do about these health hazards?
The views expressed in these essays are those of their respective authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Physicians for Social Responsibility.
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Janette Brimmer and Patti Goldman
Bilingual Pesticide Labels: Farmworkers Deserve No Less
The Health Costs of Our Food Production System: Pesticide Exposure and Effects on Farmers, Farm Workers, and Rural Residents
Susan Kegley, PhD
Advocating for Policy Change to Require Clinical Diagnostic Tools and Biomonitoring of Exposures to Pesticides
Amy K. Liebman, MPA and Matthew C. Keifer, MD MPH
Farmworker Community Health and Pesticides in the Golden State: Leadership or a Tarnished Record?
The Safe and Healthy Children Initiative: Increasing the Knowledge and Confidence of Clinicians and Others to Address Farmworker Pesticide Exposures
Marybeth Palmigiano, MPH
US Pesticide Regulation: Weaknesses, Loopholes, and Flaws Undermine Farmworker Health
Jennifer Sass, PhD and Mae Wu, JD