Pesticides in the Air, Kids at Risk

Photo of strawberries.

Each year, nearly one billion pounds of pesticides are sprayed into fields and orchards around the country. But as the families who live nearby can tell you, those pesticides don't always stay in the fields and orchards.

That's why we've asked EPA to set safety standards protecting rural children from the poisonous pesticides that drift from treated farms and into nearby communities.

With each new growing season, more children are exposed to these toxic chemicals—so we have filed a lawsuit to force EPA to take action. We’re in court because it’s time for EPA to decide whether it will stand with the weight of scientific evidence and protect children from pesticide drift


Learn More: Methyl Iodide

Pesticides applied to strawberries. Photo: Jerry Burke / Flickr.
Photo: Jerry Burke / Flickr.

Methyl iodide is an extremely poisonous and dangerous pesticide that causes cancer and pollutes groundwater. It's been linked to cancer and late-term miscarriages and, because it's a gas, easily drifts from the fields and into nearby communities.

Methyl iodide was approved for use as a pesticide in the waning days of the Bush administration—over the objection of more than 50 eminent scientists, among them six Nobel Laureates in Chemistry.

Though methyl iodide will likely be used primarily on strawberries, it is also registered for use on tomatoes, peppers, nurseries and on soils prior to replanting orchards and vineyards. Earthjustice is working to project the public from this toxic pesticide.

    Case: California's Approval of Methyl Iodide Challenged
    Press release: Maker of Cancer-Causing Methyl Iodide Pulls Federal Registration
    Press release: Cancer-Causing Methyl Iodide Pulled
    Press release: "Smoking Gun" Documents Show Science Ignored in Approval of Cancer-Causing Strawberry Pesticide
    Press release: As Embattled CA Pesticide Chief Steps Down, Feds Consider Petition to Ban Cancer-Causing Pesticide
    Press release: Coalition Sues California Over Approval of Cancer-Causing Strawberry Pesticide
    Press release: California Proposal Would Approve Carcinogenic Pesticide For Use in State
    Press release: On Cesar Chavez Day, Farmworker & Health Advocates Petition U.S. EPA to Cancel Carcinogenic Pesticide
    Trip's Column: We Sue to Ban Highly Toxic Pesticide
    Trip's Column: Farmworkers Savor the Sweet Taste of Victory

Featured Stories

Members of the farmworker justice movement are calling on Congress to implement stronger protections for farmworkers from hazardous pesticides. The federal government estimates that there are 10,000–20,000 acute pesticide poisonings among workers in the agricultural industry annually.
Coming from across the nation and from the frontlines of exposure to high levels of toxic pesticides, farmworkers met with their members of Congress to call for stronger protections from pesticides. These farmworkers and their allies seek to strengthen outdated safeguards the EPA has failed to revise for more than 20 years.
Take Action! It’s a funny question with a serious answer--Americans want inexpensive, perfect-looking fruit and vegetables, and pesticides do the trick. But those good looks come at the expense of farmworkers who wade through fields soaked with toxic pesticides to pick what we eat.
Each year, nearly a billion pounds of pesticides are sprayed in fields and orchards across the country. As the families who live nearby can tell you: those pesticides don't always stay in the fields and orchards where they're sprayed.
Domitila has lived in this agricultural community for 30 years. She has three grandchildren who attend the nearby Sunnyside Elementary School. She recalls a visit to the school that went horribly wrong.
Submitted on behalf of the United Farmworkers, Pesticide Action Network of North America, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and other groups, Earthjustice documents in this petition how the EPA has failed to protect children from exposure to toxic pesticides drifting from agricultural fields, and the actions that should be taken to correct these violations of federal pesticide law.
Genoveva Galvez knows there are pesticides in her 14-year old body. What she really wants to know is this: how does she get rid of them? See and hear her story, and others, in this video.
This interview with Janette Brimmer on Earthjustice's petition asking EPA to protect children in agricultural areas from pesticide drift was broadcast on nearly 500 radio stations nationwide.

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