In California, where agriculture has an occupational disease rate 50 percent higher than any other industry, people have known for some time that farm workers are endangered by pesticides. Since 1954 the number of doctors’ reports involving pesticides and agricultural chemicals has doubled, and since 1958 there have been 800-1,100 of these reports annually. Even the Chief of the California Bureau of Occupational Health has acknowledged that “war gases and organic phosphate pesticides [TEPP, parathion, malathion] have a very close similarity.”
Recently a legal battle to gain access to the applicator reports filed by commercial pesticide companies has been started by Cesar Chavez’s United Farm Workers Organizing Committee. It is now appealing the March 27 decision by Superior Count Judge George A. Brown denying it access to the applicator reports for Kern County.
UFWOC’s concern with this problem began as a result of its Coachella Valley str...
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