Act now to protect Oregon’s farmworkers!

In Pesticides by OLCVstaff

Tomorrow, the House is voting on a bill that would phase out chlorpyrifos in Oregon. We need to act fast! Help protect Oregon’s farmworkers and rural communities from this dangerous pesticide—ask your State Representative to vote yes on the Healthy Kids and Farmworkers Act (HB 4109) when it goes to a vote tomorrow! 

Chlorpyrifos was developed as a chemical weapon during WWII, and studies have shown just how dangerous it is as a pesticide. Even when sprayed a mile away, chlorpyrifos drifts into neighboring schools, parks, and homes, putting the most vulnerable in our communities at risk. Chlorpyrifos can cause developmental delays in children and pregnant women, as well as ADHD, autism, damaged motor skills, cancer, and more.

Last week, I attended a hearing on the Healthy Kids and Farmworkers Act, and the stories I heard were incredibly powerful. One woman—a farmworker who spoke through an interpreter—told us how she had mixed pesticides—including chlorpyrifos—while pregnant. She didn’t know of the dangers at the time. It was only after she miscarried that she learned just how dangerous chlorpyrifos is for pregnant women.

We also heard the story of Mizael, a farmworker whose life was changed forever when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2014. After two surgeries, doctors successfully removed the tumor, but Mizael now suffers from limited eyesight. Mizael had spent years harvesting lettuce, strawberries, broccoli, and other chlorpyrifos-treated crops on Oregon farms, which likely led to the tumor.

Just going to work puts Oregon’s farmworkers in danger, and it also puts their families at risk—chlorpyrifos clings to their clothes and is inadvertently carried home with them. Oregon needs to do better to protect our farmworkers and their families. PCUN (Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste/United Foresters and Farmworkers of the Northwest) has been leading the effort to pass the Healthy Kids and Farmworkers Act, and we want to do all we can to support their work. Will you send a message to your State Representative today, and urge them to pass this phase-out of chlorpyrifos? 

Hawaii, California, New York, and the European Union have already passed similar legislation. Oregon should be the next to phase out this dangerous pesticide. Please email your State Representative and ask them to vote yes on the Healthy Kids and Farmworkers Act, before the bill goes to a vote tomorrow!