Migrant Clinicians Network

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Pesticide drift from a pear orchard sickened 20 farmworkers laboring in a neighboring cherry orchard. Many sought care, but the state’s health department wasn’t notified by the workers’ clinicians. It was a newspaper reporter who called authorities. Where were the clinician reports and why are they so important?

“For us it’s personal,” said Jeannie Economos, Farmworker Association of Florida Pesticide Safety and Environmental Health Project Coordinator. “It’s a daily issue for us. Every day with a weaker protection standard is another day a worker is exposed to pesticides,” she said. On February 20th the EPA proposed revisions to its Worker Protection Standard for agricultural pesticides. Farm worker advocates are welcoming the proposal – the first update since 1992 – but see both improvements and what some are calling “steps backward.”