Science and Organic Cotton

January 1, 2003

Greater risks, fewer rights: U.S. farmworkers and pesticides.

Pesticide Action Network, United Farmworkers of America, and California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation analyzed California government data on agricultural poisonings and enforcement of worker safety standards. Nearly 500 pesticide poisonings were reported for California farm workers every year from 1997 to 2000. The actual number of pesticide-related illnesses is unknown, since many poisonings go unreported. Most poisonings occurred as a result of soil fumigation and pesticide applications to grapes, oranges, and cotton. Pesticide drift accounted for 51% of the cases, and another 25% resulted from exposures to pesticide residues. Violations of worker safety laws were common, contributing to 41% of reported poisonings. No violations occurred in another 38%, indicating that existing laws inadequately protect workers from pesticide exposure. This snapshot of human rights abuse through pesticide exposure in California-the site of some of the world's most stringent pesticide use and worker safety laws-illustrates the global problem of pesticide poisoning among agricultural workers

Reeves M - Int J Occup Environ Health - 01-JAN-2003; 9(1): 30-9

NLM Citation ID:
12749629 (PubMed)
Full Source Title:
International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Author Affiliation:
Pesticide Action Network North America, 49 Powell Street, Suite 500, San Francisco, CA 94102, USA.
Reeves M; Schafer KS

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