Pesticide Exposure

The Working Families Project continues to protect the health and safety of farmworkers in solidarity with farmworkers throughout the state of Washington. Pesticide exposure causes farm workers to suffer more chemically-related injuries and illnesses than any other occupational group in the nation. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 10,000-20,000 farm workers nationally are poisoned on the job each year due to pesticide exposure.

The Washington Department of Health found that from 2004 through 2013, there were 737 agricultural pesticide illness cases in our state. The actual number of workers sickened by pesticides is far greater. Workers who perform hand labor tasks in areas that have been treated with pesticides face exposure from direct spray, drift of pesticides off-target, or contact with pesticide residues on the crop or soil. Drift is, by far, the biggest source of farm worker pesticide poisoning in Washington. We are urging the legislature to pass the Pesticide Exposure bill (HB 1564), a law that requires companies spraying pesticides to simply inform their neighbors so that they can protect themselves and their workers from pesticide exposure.

Watch Poison Control: Protecting the Health of the People Who Feed Us, a short documentary featuring the personal stories of three farm workers impacted by pesticide drift.

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HB 1564 is currently before the House Health Care and Wellness CommitteeRead the Bill

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