Pesticides

Pesticides are toxic chemicals used to kill or control pests. Many pesticides can pose public health and environmental threats, but they are of particular concern for farm working families who face the highest levels of exposure to these toxic substances. One of the largest contributors to farm workers’ coming into contact with pesticides is pesticide drift, which is the movement of pesticide dust or droplets through the air at the time of application or soon after in any site other than the area intended. Studies have estimated that as much as 45% of spray misses its target and becomes drift or ground deposits, an eminent danger to farm workers laboring nearby.

 

From agricultural fields to the meals that reach our tables, the toxic chemical chlorpyrifos poisons farm workers and threatens the healthy development and intellectual potential of children across the nation. We stand ready to work with Republicans and Democrats to protect agricultural communities from pesticide exposure, illness, injuries, and deaths. California Governor Gavin Newsom announced in 2019 a settlement agreement with manufacturers to eliminate use of the toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos by the end of 2020–this is a first good step. It ensures that after December 2020 and during the Newsom administration, the dangerous, brain-damaging chemical chlorpyrifos will not be used in California. We look forward to working with Governor Newsom to turn it into a permanent ban. We will continue working with farm workers and our partners to understand the risks that remain from granular products that will not be banned through this settlement and cancellation process. The fight to protect children and farm workers from toxic exposure is far from over since chlorpyrifos is one of the nearly two-dozen nerve agents that are applied to our food. We will continue fighting to rid our food supply of this neurotoxic insecticide and are heartened to learn that a major manufacturer will stop producing it. 

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