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NPR: Pesticide Drift Plaguing Rural Communities


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View Kathleen Sutcliffe's blog posts
01 March 2010, 9:25 AM
Five days left to tell EPA to protect rural kids from pesticides
Teresa de Anda, Californians for Pesticide Reform. Photo is from Tracy Perkins' collection: 25 Stories From the Central Valley

In case you missed it, NPR had a very good piece Sunday on Earthjustice's efforts to protect rural children from "pesticide drift"—the toxic spray or vapor that travels from pesticide-treated fields and into nearby communities.

Each year, nearly a billion pounds of pesticides are sprayed into fields and orchards around the country. And as our partner Teresa de Anda with Californians for Pesticide Reform told the NPR reporter, just about everyone in these agricultural areas has a story to tell about unnerving encounters with pesticides.

The NPR reporter talked with two children who were drenched in pesticides while waiting for the school bus in their San Joaquin Valley community. It was one of seven pesticide drift incidents involving school buses reported last year in this intensely agricultural area. That there was not one, but seven, oddly similar incidents in this region gives you some sense of just how commonplace they have become.

There are young children being poisoned on the playground, in their homes. Our friends at MomsRising recount the story of a young girl poisoned after an outdoor gym class and then ten days later at a track meet.

In the midst of these heartbreaking stories there is reason to hope.

In October, Earthjustice petitioned EPA asking the agency to protect children from pesticide drift and impose immediate no-spray buffer zones around homes, schools, parks and daycare centers for the most dangerous pesticides. We've gotten EPA's attention and now the agency is accepting public comments on our petition. But we've only got five days left to make our voices heard and let EPA know that they need to act. And fast. If you haven't already weighed in, now is the time to write EPA. I don't know about you, but I certainly don't want another growing season to pass with rural kids paying the price for our country's system of industrial agriculture.

(The above photo is courtesy of Tracy Perkins' 25 Stories From the Central Valley, a multi-media exhibit sponsored by the Environmental Justice Project at UC Davis' John Muir Institute of the Environment. It's brimming with inspiring stories of grassroots activists working to improve environmental conditions in California's Central Valley. Check it out here.)

Victims of Dangerous Pesticide Contamination Win Settlement has been working on the issues of pesticide drift for many years.
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great post, keep up the good work man!
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Agree with the article, we have to do something. Our children needs to be protected.

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Super sad that making the food that we eat to live is actually killing us because of the way they are growing it.

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great work, keep up the quality posting!
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great post! and you are right, they should be stoppend!
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When pesticides are not properly used they can cause problems especially to our health.

let's save the children from pesticide poisoning
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It's really some kind of irony that what is ment to fight certain pests becomes something endangering humans. I wish stories like this one would be broadcasted on TV more often.

I am wondering in what world do we live and how we will grow up our children?
I am very pessimistic about the future of our planet.

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Pesticides ! Damn , that will make our kids seek! We should stop them!!

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This is horrible. People who spray pesticides should also consider that there are children around and could get affected. Like what happened in this news. This is a tragedy. Now the question is, who will to be blame in this incident.
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This issue sounds interesting! Children should be protected from dangerous pesticides. I have heard several news regarding children poisoning from pesticides. EPA should take in-charge about this issue and they should find other techniques or create a children protection program against pesticides. auto insurance st. Augustine

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It's horrible that stuff like this is happening to local communities. Let's hope that are able to control pesticide spraying more so protect children.

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How sad that innocent children not only are exposed to the pesticides on there food but also get sprayed while waiting for the bus or just playing with friends . People need to start seeing what is really important . How much money do these greedy pieces of shit really need to make them happy . Healthy communities are what make people happy and healthy ! sesli siteler

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We have to realize that our children are the assets of the future and take necessary steps to protect them! We have to make strict laws about the “pesticide drift” which is the cause of a lot of illness in the rural communities, not only for the kids, but adults and pregnant women as well! It is strange that EPA is turning a blind eye to this serious problem where children will be the worst affected!! It is good that we have organizations like Earthjustice who are concerned for the protection of our environment!

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How sad that innocent children not only are exposed to the pesticides on there food but also get sprayed while waiting for the bus or just playing with friends . People need to start seeing what is really important . How much money do these greedy pieces of shit really need to make them happy . Healthy communities are what make people happy and healthy !

I live in the San Joaquin Valley of CA and this pesticide problem is no joke. It is serious problem here and I want it to stop. It was like this when I was a kid and now I am almost afraid to let my kids go to school on certain days when I know the fields are being sprayed... What is a mother to do? How can we get our government to listen to us? Our children are getting sick - they have higher rates of asthma and are being poisoned on the playground. Thank you Earthjustice for giving us a voice and bringing this issue to light.

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