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Pesticides: Stories from the Frontlines, Part 2

A bag made by the child of a farmworker. The bag, embroidered with the words "Don't kill my family please," is adorned with skulls. It was presented to Sen. Charles Shumer's office by farmworkers and advocates, who had traveled to Washington, D.C. in July

A bag made by the child of a farmworker. The bag, embroidered with the words "Don't kill my family please," is adorned with skulls. It was presented to Sen. Charles Shumer's office by farmworkers and advocates, who had traveled to Washington, D.C. in July of 2013 to lobby for strengthened protections.

Matt Roth / Earthjustice

Farmworkers share stories from the frontlines, in this second installment of a weekly series:

Part 2: When going organic isn’t possible

"I am a farm worker and only use organic methods. It is the only way to protect all.

"When I first heard about the illnesses that our farmworkers were having, I began to only buy organic produce. It was more expensive, but it was doable. Then when we began to farm, we knew the way we needed to proceed.

"I care about the health and safety of our country's 2 million farmworkers and their families who work tirelessly to put food on our table. While I commend the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for proposing a stronger Worker Protection Standard (WPS) to safeguard farmworkers from harmful exposures to pesticides, I write to support many aspects of the proposed rule that foster worker health and safety and to underscore areas of the rule in need of strengthening in order to better protect farmworkers.

"Stopping the use of pesticides is really the only ethical way, even though it will cause problems with the companies making them.

"Farmworkers are the population most overexposed to pesticides, and for far too long farmworkers have been treated as second class citizens, afforded fewer protections than other workers.

"At a minimum, farmworkers should to be given the same protections afforded to workers in most other industries. Thank you for proposing the updated WPS and I appreciate the consideration given to these suggestions."

– Anne from New York

 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wants your feedback as it updates rules meant to protect children and adult agricultural workers from pesticides.

In this weekly series, farmworkers share personal stories, illustrating why we need an even stronger standard than EPA proposes. Join us next week for part three in the Stories from the Frontlines series: "Living Near Toxic Fields." (If you missed it, read the previous installment, Part 1: Strengthening Protections for Farmworkers.)

Join with these farmworkers in taking action, and share your story below.

About the Earthjustice Blog

unEARTHED is a forum for the voices and stories of the people behind Earthjustice's work. The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders. Learn more about Earthjustice.