For years, agricultural workers in the United States have experienced serious health risks related to the use of pesticides in the fields where they work. Studies have revealed links between pesticide exposure and diverse illnesses including cancer, bronchitis and asthma. Exposure is especially harmful for children, young people and pregnant women.
Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published new standards that will help protect agricultural workers from the risks associated with pesticide use. Employers will now be required to:
· Train their workers annually in workplace safety, and improve the quality of trainings;
· Provide higher-quality protective gear;
· Increase workers' access to information about the pesticides that are used in the fields where they work;
· Broaden the application-exclusion zones surrounding pesticide application equipment;
· Ensure that pesticide handlers are over 18 years of age.
For more details about the protections, click here.
If you have a question about your working conditions or your labor rights in the United States, call Centro de los Derechos del Migrante toll-free at 1-855-234-9699 from the U.S. or 01-800-590-1773 from Mexico.
Image: Brian Evans, Flickr