Pesticides: A Labor Rights Issue

Even with dramatic underreporting, California data (Fields of Poison, 2002) on farmworker poisonings highlight the extent of the problem and demonstrate the regulatory system’s absolute failure to protect farmworkers.

Immigration Politics Keep Workers at Risk

As political rhetoric swirls around the issue of undocumented workers, little is done to address the dangers of pesticide exposure faced daily by families who cross the border to harvest US strawberries, apples or broccoli.

Undocumented workers are less likely to seek medical care when exposed to pesticides, and almost never report poisonings. Whatever your political stance on immigration, the result of the current system is that hundreds of workers – many of them women and children - suffer from pesticide-related illnesses every year.

Thoughtful reform of U.S. immigration policies could be a major step toward acknowledging and addressing the shameful working conditions faced by thousands of migrant farmworkers every year.

Safe, Fair Food Benefits Farmworkers

A healthy, safe and fair food system would protect the health and serve the economic needs of farmworkers, farmers, rural communities and consumers. Shifting away from reliance on hazardous pesticides is a key step toward this goal. Also essential is bringing decision-making power back to the farm. Currently, corporate giants control everything from seeds and chemical farm inputs to the purchase, processing and marketing of farm products.

This tectonic shift is already well underway; as local markets grow, farmers demand more control of inputs and production on their own farms, and farmworkers experience and support the safer and healthier working conditions resulting from sustainable farming.

Devika Ghai, works for the Pesticide Action Network, which calls for a healthy, safe and fair food system that protects and promotes the health of farmworkers and their families. 


re: Pesticides: A Labor Rights Issue

We want to eat healthy food,meanwhile, we should pay more attention on the health of farmers and farmworkers.