Daily News Archives
Workers Poisoned by Pesticide Drift
(Beyond Pesticides, May 14, 2005) Pesticides poisoned
nineteen farm workers on Sunday, May 2 at a California peach orchard
in Kern County, according to United Farm Workers. As the workers were
laboring in the early morning hours, they were exposed to drifting toxic
chemicals that were sprayed on a nearby potato field. Thirteen of the
workers were transported to Bakersfield hospitals, and three of the
women were required to remain in the hospital in guarded condition.
The workers were
exposed to the pesticides Monitor 4 and Penncozeb 75 DM. Monitor 4 contains
methamidophos, an acutely toxic cholinesterase-inhibiting neurotoxin
which is highly toxic to humans. It is carcinogenic, can cause reproductive
and developmental harm, and effects the nervous system. The active ingredient
in Penncozob 75 DM is mancozeb, which probably causes cancer and is
especially dangerous for pregnant women, causing reproductive and developmental
Unfortunately, farmworker exposure to hazardous pesticides is not uncommon.
In fact, in June 2003, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
cited 200 violations
in Colorado of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act’s
(FIFRA) Worker Protection Standard (WPS), a regulation aimed at reducing
the risk of pesticide poisonings and injuries among agricultural workers
and pesticide handlers.
More recently, monitoring of farmworker blood samples by the Washington
Department of Health has shown a higher rate than expected of possible
overexposures to organophosphate or carbamate chemicals, according to
has shown that in California, the state in which the 19 workers were
poisoned two weeks ago, pesticide safety laws fail to protect many of
the state's 700,000 farmworkers from poisonings even when the laws are
TAKE ACTION: Sign the petition
to the California Department of Pesticide Regulation to immediately
investigate and take action over Sunday's poisoning of farm workers.
In addition, the Farm
Labor Organizing Committee details steps to take to get farmworkers
the rights that they deserve, summarized in Beyond Pesticides’
Daily News story Support
FLOC’s Mt. Olive Pickle Company Boycott.