Protecting the Health of Farm Workers from Pesticide Exposure


About Pesticide Exposure:

Pesticide exposure is a severe problem that affects the health of farm workers and their communities.

Farm workers in the fields are exposed to pesticides when they pick crops that have pesticide residue. Pesticide residue occurs when the pesticides applied to the crop dry and stay on the surface of the crop in the form of a white powder. When farm workers touch that powder, the pesticide is absorbed through their skin.

Farm workers are also exposed to pesticides just by breathing the air of the fields and nurseries where they work, every time they pick a crop, and even eating or drinking them if they don’t have the facilities to wash their hands at their workplace before lunch or before taking a break.

In some cases, farm workers are directly exposed to pesticides. This occurs when pesticides are sprayed in the fields while the workers are present. Many farm workers have suffered severe burns and rashes due to direct exposure.

cc_pesticidedirtylakeRural community residents are also exposed to pesticides. They may come into contact with a farm worker whose clothes have been contaminated with pesticides or breathe the air that drifts from the fields to their communities.

Pesticide exposure can cause horrible diseases such as cancer, birth defects, infertility, autism, respiratory diseases, neurological disorders, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and more. Exposure to pesticides can also cause death.

It is important that we work to change the agricultural system in our country to protect the health of farm workers.




What YAYAs are doing:

YAYAs have helped protect the health and safety of farm workers by:

cc_pesticidedriftcatcher• Working on campaigns to ban the use of some of the most dangerous pesticides currently used in our country

• Attending government meetings

• Collaborating with farm worker and environmental justice organizations on campaigns that address issues related to pesticides

• Writing letters demanding bilingual pesticide labeling

• Documenting cases of pesticide exposure in the fields

• Volunteering to help out with child care during pesticide trainings

• Monitoring pesticides in the air of farm worker communities

• Educating others about the dangers of pesticide exposure in farm worker communities


 Take action against pesticides!

• Sign up to receive our Action Alerts and newsletter to be notified about opportunities to get involved.

Visit the Pesticide Action Network of North America website to learn more about pesticides.

Contact us for information on how to set up a presentation or movie screening about pesticide exposure in your community.

Make a donation to support our work.

Buy a “Don’t Poison Me” T-shirt.


Our “Don’t Poison Me” t-shirts represent the food and the flower and foliage industries, where pesticides are heavily used. When you wear them you support our work and advocate for the health of consumers, members of rural communities and farm workers.

T-shirts are available in sizes Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large. The tomato design comes in a red T-shirt and the flower design in a black T-shirt.

Remember, when it comes to pesticides, say: “Don’t poison me!!!!”

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