Ag Today December 28, 2017

After Pesticide Incidents Sicken Farmworkers, Advocates Push to Make Penalties Stronger

Farmworker advocates say they hope four separate pesticide drift incidents this year that appeared to sicken more than 150 workers will prompt state lawmakers to strengthen rules governing use of the agricultural chemicals.

“These drift incidents happen all the time,” said Valerie Gorospe, a community organizer with the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment, an environmental justice group based in Oakland and Delano, who has helped farmworkers in the aftermath of several chemical drift events.

“Our current laws and our regulations that we have for the state of California are completely inadequate,” Gorospe said.

Activists like Gorospe want the chairman of the state Assembly committee that oversees toxic chemicals to push forward legislation that would increase fines for violating California’s pesticide laws and expand the power of the state’s pesticide regulator.

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