Cesar Chavez fasted for 36 days in 1988 to bring awareness to the health impacts on farmworkers from exposure to toxic chemical pesticides. Twenty-seven years later, the struggle for pesticide health and safety of farmworkers continues, even as increasing scientific studies link pesticide exposure to a host of health and environmental problems.
In honor and commemoration of Cesar Chavez’s birthday on March 31, a coalition of organizations – including the Farmworker Association of Florida - delivered a 635 page petition with over 21, 000 signatures to the Environmental Protection Agency demanding that the agency not delay any longer in issuing a stronger Worker Protection Standard to enact stronger regulations to better protect farmworkers from occupational exposure to pesticides.
Thanks to our allies at Pesticide Action Network for hosting the online petition and compiling all the petition signatures, and thanks to our collaborators at Farmworker Justice, Earthjustice, and the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), for meeting with EPA officials and hand delivering all 635 printed pages of the petition to the EPA and for representing the other organizations in the coalition who could not be in D.C. in person.
The official public comment period on the proposed WPS closed on August 18, 2014. The petition delivered yesterday demands that EPA issue the new regulations no later than August 18th of this year. One year is enough! Twenty-seven years is too long! Every day that the EPA delays in issuing stronger WPS protections, farmworkers’ health and lives are put at risk, just so that the rest of us can have a plentiful supply of food to eat. Protecting farmworkers is the right thing to do. Yesterday, the EPA heard that message loud and clear!
Thanks to everyone who signed the petition!
Foto: From left to right, Hector Sanchez (LCLAA, NHLA), Bruce Goldstein (Farmworker Justice), Andrea Delgado (EarthJustice), Jorge Ramos (LCLAA), and Chelly Richards (Farmworker Justice)