Leading from the Left

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Farm Worker Rights

There is an important bill in the legislature which would help protect farmworkers from exposure to harmful pesticides. Please contact your state house member and ask him/her to support H1818, "Agricultural Family Protection Act."

Co-sponsored by Representatives Grier Martin and Dan Blue, both Wake County Democrats, the "Agricultural Family Protection Act" will close a number of loopholes in NC pesticide law--loopholes that currently leave farmworkers open to exposure to harmful chemicals. You may recall reading last year about a suspiciously high number of birth defects in babies born to farm workers in Eastern North Carolina. This bill is, in part, an attempt to address the conditions that lead to harmful exposure.

H1818 is being heard tomorrow in the House Agri-business Committee which is chaired by Orange County Rep. Bill Faison.

Here's what Agricultural Resources, a Raleigh non-profit has to say about the issue and about this bill;

"Pesticide exposure can pose health risks for everyone in North Carolina, but farmworkers are at greatest risk because they work with pesticides and live close to application sites. The workplace protections in place for farmworkers are minimal, and the result can be serious harm to the health of workers and their families - as tragically illustrated in the Ag-Mart case.

Lawmakers in North Carolina are considering changes to the NC Pesticide Law that would close some important loopholes that increase the risks to farmworkers and their families. Click here to contact members of the House Agribusiness Committee to and urge them to support H 1818, the Agricultural Family Protection Act.

Important: The House Agribusiness Committee will hear this bill on Wednesday, July 25 at 1 PM. Please take action before then!"