Stories On Pesticide Drift: The Teen Organizer

Photo of Genoveva and her mother.
Adelaida Galvez and her daughter Genoveva live across the street from an orange grove in Lindsay, CA. (Credit: Earthjustice)
Photo of the chain link fence that separates Genoveva's home from the neighboring olive grove.
The chain link fence that separates Genoveva's home from the neighboring olive grove can't keep pesticides from drifting into her backyard. (Credit: Earthjustice)
The Teen Organizer

Genoveva Galvez of Lindsay, CA

Genoveva Galvez knows there are pesticides inside her body. What she really wants to know is this: how does she get rid of them? The dark-haired high school freshman has a pretty good idea of how these nerve-damaging chemicals got there in the first place.

She remembers one sweltering summer evening in particular. Genoveva was sitting with her mother and a cousin on the front stoop of her family's modest home in California's Central Valley. Dusk was just settling in between the branches of the nearby olive trees and orange groves when a sickly smell began to burn their eyes and sent them reeling indoors. With nowhere else to go, they closed the doors and windows and waited it out in the oppressive heat.

Later, Irma Medellin with the local organization El Quinto Sol, dropped by to ask if they'd ever had problems with nearby spraying. She was looking for people to join a pesticide monitoring study. Genoveva reminded her family of that night and convinced them to sign up for the study. With the help of scientists from Pesticide Action Network, Genoveva and her family set up a device in their backyard to measure pesticides in the air. And one by one, family members were tested to see if the toxic chemicals were present in their bodies.

Genoveva has banded together with other citizen activists who successfully persuaded their county agricultural commission to adopt a quarter mile buffer zone around schools and residential areas for aerial pesticide spraying.

When asked how her high-school friends greet her work on pesticides, Genoveva grins. "They probably think I'm crazy," she says, then stops smiling. "But this is toxic. And it doesn't go away."

Next Story: A Cloud Over Earlimart

Stories on Pesticide Drift

Photo of Genoveva Galvez. The Teen Organizer Genoveva Galvez (Lindsay, CA)

She knows there are pesticides in her body. What she really wants to know is: how does she get rid of them?
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Photo of Domitila Lemus. Pesticides on the Playground Domitila Lemus (Plainview, CA)

"They had no concern for children’s safety or health. All they cared is that the trees would have fruit..."
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Photo of Earlimart road sign. A Cloud Over Earlimart Esteban Agpalza (Earlimart, CA)

"It looked like fog; it was about ten feet above. I looked overhead and thought, 'What is that smell?'..."
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Earthjustice logo. Pesticides in the Air, Kids at Risk

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