The United Farm Workers and UFW Foundation support a call from 28 federal lawmakers, including five U.S. senators, urging Donald Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency not to rescind stronger pesticide protections for farm workers the UFW worked with the EPA to issue in 2015. Senators Tom Udall (D-NM), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal and (D-CT), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) are among those signing the letter appealing to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to uphold crucial protections for farm worker youth, their families and the general public from life-threatening pesticide exposure.
The Trump administration’s EPA is reconsidering the minimum age requirement that prohibits children from applying pesticides, the right of farm workers to designate a representative who can access pesticide-application information on their behalf, and protections for workers and bystanders from pesticide drift through “application exclusion zones.” There are approximately 500,000 child farm workers throughout the country and as many as 20,000 workers are diagnosed with pesticide poisoning every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Farm worker youth should not handle and apply dangerous chemicals that can harm their developing brains and bodies. The UFW believes this and other strengthened pesticide protections the union worked closely with the Obama administration to create should be preserved. The UFW and UFW Foundation applaud the lawmakers for issuing their appeal to Pruit.