To the Editor:
On Cesar Chavez Day, March 31, during National Farmworker Awareness Week, I pause to appreciate his commitment and historical accomplishments. Meanwhile, many questions remain.
Why are there no mandates regarding public notification of intent to use toxic pesticides, fungicides and fumigants? Why can’t we know what we’re breathing? Why must the California Department of Pesticides Regulations take until 2024 to develop this system (in a time when we can read detailed food ingredient labels)?
Why are most aerial spray applications scheduled on weekends when the Monterey County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office is closed? Why are potential hazardous chemical drifts referred to 911 on the weekends? Why is the Monterey County Agricultural Commissioner not held accountable for developing a better system?
Why are there no air monitoring systems in Salinas, “Salad Bowl of the World”? Why was the only air monitoring system (near the airport, far from most fields) removed after 2008 research showed high levels of toxicity? Why has CHAMACOS research over decades been ignored?
So many cases of birth defects, cancer, asthma, allergies, learning disabilities, etc. UCLA research showed children even 2.5 miles away from spraying 13 deadly pesticides in California developed high rates of cancer. Most of these pesticides have been banned in multiple countries. Nine continue to be used in our area.
Perhaps the recent whistleblower allegations about illegal dumping of deadly chemicals will reveal even more concerns about our local air, water, land and environment.
Much work remains. Many questions remain. Not enough viable answers. Keep asking, while appreciating the difficult work farmworkers do.
Safe Ag Safe Schools, Salinas
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