As a resident of an agricultural community, I read with concern reports regarding the reclassification of the pesticide chlorpyrifos earlier this year. Scientific studies have shown this pesticide is a neurotoxin, with negative impacts even in small dosages. Scientific advisory groups suggested it was on its way to being banned. Now, a report from Kern County shows that farmworkers inadvertently exposed to this chemical became sick. Many of the farmworkers left the scene before public health officials could arrive.
Maybe the workers were too afraid to ask for help, which is not unlikely in this time of elevated fear in immigrant communities. I am troubled by this event. It does not bode well for public health, community safety or worker protections. Agriculture and safe working conditions are important for all of us.
Constance Dunbar, Arroyo Grande