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Daily News Archive
From August 8, 2006                                                                                                        

Protect Workers from Pesticide Poisonings
(Beyond Pesticides, August 8, 2006) Please e-mail the Environmental Protection Agency today to help protect farm workers from two very toxic pesticides, azinphos methyl and phosmet, that poison workers. Five years ago, the EPA found that these two highly toxic organophosphate neurotoxic pesticides pose "unacceptable" poisoning risks to workers who are exposed to them.

Organophosphate pesticides, derived from nerve agents used by the Nazis during World War II, attack the human nervous system. Exposure can cause nausea, dizziness, vomiting, seizures, paralysis, loss of mental function and even death. Farm workers returning home from the fields expose family members and other residents to organophosphates through their clothing, cars and skin.

When the EPA allowed continued use of these pesticides, the United Farm Workers joined Earth Justice and numerous other environmental and farm worker groups in filling a lawsuit to challenge the Bush administration over this decision. To settle the lawsuit, the EPA agreed to reconsider its decision to allow continued use of these toxins.

Now the EPA has announced it is planning to allow further use of one of the pesticides, phosmet, without sufficient restrictions to prevent worker poisonings. The EPA is proposing to phase out the other pesticide, azinphos methyl, over the next four years.

This is unacceptable. It’s already been five years since the EPA admitted both pesticides pose "unacceptable" risks. It’s time to stop putting workers in danger. Tell EPA to immediately ban the use of these toxic pesticides and stop playing political games that put farm workers and their families at risk.

The EPA is accepting comments through Aug. 8, 2006. It is vital for farm workers and their children that you send a message ASAP and tell your friends to do the same. We expect growers to urge the EPA to back down from the proposed phase out of azinphos methyl. It is critical that the EPA hear from people who support the phase out and believe it does not go far enough. Please send your e-mail today!