Luis Medellin and his three little sisters—aged 5, 9 and 12—live in the middle of an orange grove in Lindsay, CA—a small farming town in California’s Central Valley. During the growing season, Luis and his sisters are awakened several times a week by the sickly smell of nighttime pesticide spraying. What follows is worse: searing headaches, nausea, vomiting.
The Medellin family’s story is not unique. From apple orchards in Washington to potato fields in Florida, poisonous pesticide ‘clouds’ plague the people who live nearby—posing a particular risk to the young children of the nation’s farm workers, many of whom live in industry housing at the field’s edge.
That’s why Earthjustice has petitioned the government to set safety standards protecting children who grow up near farms from the harmful effects of pesticide drift—the toxic spray or vapor that travels from treated fields. We’re also asking officials to immediately adopt no-spray buffer zones around homes, schools, parks and daycare centers for the most dangerous and drift-prone pesticides.
The Salinas Californian took notice of the petition and wrote this great in-depth piece.
Pesticide poisoning reports and scientific studies show that pesticides are ending up in the air and in people’s bodies at unsafe levels. Among a host of examples: recent air monitoring conducted near the Southwoods Elementary School in Hastings, Florida detected pesticides in every sample, sometimes at levels that may pose serious health risks to young children.
We’re working hard to gain protections for kids who live, go to school, or play near pesticide-treated farms and orchards before another growing season goes by.