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Pesticide Protection for Farmworkers

Farmworkers pick strawberries in Wayne County, NY.

Farmworkers pick strawberries in Wayne County, NY.

Photo Courtesy Of Alina Diaz / Alianza Nacional De Campesinas

Case Overview

The Environmental Protection Agency is allowing the continued use of azinphos-methyl and phosmet, two highly dangerous agricultural chemicals that attack human nervous systems and can cause death. Earthjustice represents farmworkers and others to halt the use of the chemicals. In April 2005, the United States Supreme Court upheld the right of people to sue pesticide maufacturers to compensate for injuries caused by toxic pesticides. Earthjustice Managing Attorney Patti Goldman was the chief author of the friend of the court brief.

Case Updates

February 24, 2014 | Blog Post

EPA to Farmworkers: Ask the Boss to Show You the Papers

After more than two decades, the EPA has announced revisions to the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard, an outdated standard intended to protect farmworkers from pesticide exposure. While advocates welcomed signs of life in progress to provide stronger protections from pesticides for approximately 2 million farmworkers, the proposal raises questions about the EPA’s understanding of the population the WPS is meant to serve.

February 21, 2014 | In the News: The Center for Public Integrity

Revised Safeguards to Protect Farmworkers from Pesticides Fall Short

After 22 years since the last revision, the Environmental Protection Agency introduced new rules to safeguard farmworkers from pesticides exposure by increasing the frequency of mandatory pesticide training and the establishment of buffer zones. However, the new rules fall short as they don’t require worker medical monitoring, sets 16 as the minimum age to handle pesticides, and eliminate a requirement for growers to centrally display information of the pesticides being applied.

February 20, 2014 | Blog Post

Farmworker Advocates Seek Stronger Pesticides Safeguard

When Mario Vargas showed up at the Washington, D.C., offices of representatives from his home state of Ohio in July of 2013, he shared stories from farmworkers who are getting sick from pesticides. Joined by his family and other farmworkers, he spoke about how it feels to inhale pesticides while pregnant, how farmworkers don’t know what their basic rights are, and how many workers are afraid to tell the truth about what is really going on in the fields.

January 6, 2014 | Blog Post

Teen Lobbies for Farmworker Protections

18-year-old Selena Zelaya of Mount Dora, FL, was one of about a dozen farmworker advocates who traveled to D.C. to lobby for farmworker protections against harmful pesticides. Selena’s mother and father are farmworkers and from a young age she began advocating on behalf of them and others. Selena shares why she is so committed to the fight for farmworker protections.