Take action: Farm workers were 50 feet away when applicator exposed
them to poisons!
Friends, we need your immediate help. Thousands of you responded to
last Thursday's action alert after 23 women table grape workers were
exposed to toxic pesticides--including one that may cause reproductive
harm--as they worked in the grapes in a Kern County, Calif. vineyard.
As details leak out, this incident has become more horrifying.
According to the Bakersfield Californian, "when the worker's were
hit, the sprayer was about 50 feet away" in a nearby field.
It gets worse. It was reported that grower officials from both fields
spoke to each other before the incident occurred. The newspaper notes
that some one at Paramount Citrus, the orchard where the pesticides
were sprayed, talked to the supervisor of the crew in the adjoining
vineyard about the farm workers' close proximity to the spraying. "A
vineyard supervisor in the field thought the spraying would stop," the
Californian reported. "Instead, San Joaquin Helicopters made two more
runs through the grove," according to the grower. ""When the workers
were hit, the sprayer was about 50 feet away, according to the
victims." The Kern County Agricultural Commissioner said "the crews
were actually right on top of each other."
The pesticide application firm, San Joaquin Helicopters, has a long
record of infractions according to the Bakersfield Californian. In
1996, the state levied a fine of $60,000 and suspended the licenses of
two San Joaquin Helicopters employees for spraying pesticides on 1,100
vineyard workers. Since 1989, the applicator has also been fined on
eight occasions for pesticide infractions. Our research shows other
violation notices which carried no fine have also been issued against
Enough is enough. The California Department of Pesticide Regulations
should immediately investigate and prosecute San Joaquin Helicopters
and anyone else found to be responsible. There have been too many
violations over the years. It is time for the state of California to
consider permanently revoking the company's license.
Please send your email to the California Department of Pesticide
Regulation TODAY and demand it take immediate action!
Go to: http://www.unionvoice.org/campaign/pesticidedrift505