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California Farm Workers Exposed To Toxic Pesticide Told To Seek Medical Help


Dozens of farmworkers in Bakersfield, Calif., were recently exposed to extremely toxic pesticides, Mother Jones reports. It is believed that the poisoning was caused by chlorpyrifos, a chemical found in the pesticide that was being used on crops in the area.

As the New York Times reported, chlorpyrifos chemicals have alarmed public health officials for years, and until recently were on the Environmental Protection Agency’s radar for banning. However, since President Trump appointed EPA head Scott Pruitt, the chemical was given the go-ahead. Mother Jones pointed out that the chemical in question was manufactured by Dow AgroSciences, whose parent company, Dow Chemical, gave $1 million to Trump’s inaugural committee.

While more than fifty workers were exposed, only twelve workers reported symptoms of chemical exposure, including vomiting and nausea. Another twelve were checked but exhibited no symptoms. The remaining farmworkers dispersed before receiving medical attention, leaving their condition unknown.

Michelle Corson, a public health official for Kern County, released a statement, Kern Golden Empire reports, saying, “Anybody that was exposed, that was here today, we encourage them to seek medical attention immediately. Don’t wait. Particularly if you’re suffering from any symptoms. Whether it’s nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, seek medical attention immediately.”

[VIA] Mother Jone’s: Trump’s EPA Greenlights a Nasty Chemical. A Month Later, It Poisons a Bunch of Farmworkers.

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Latino Businessman Allegedly Had Mexican Farmworkers Living in Buses And Paid Them Less Than What He Promised

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Latino Businessman Allegedly Had Mexican Farmworkers Living in Buses And Paid Them Less Than What He Promised

peterhaden / Flickr

Santiago Gonzalez, the owner of G Farms in El Mirage, Arizona, is accused of housing 70 Mexican immigrants in school buses and trailers, and not fully paying their wages, The Los Angeles Times reports.

All the workers were legally working at the location under the H-2A temporary visa, the U.S. Department of Labor said, which means Gonzalez was required by law to pay them fair wages and house them in proper living quarters. The workers, with duties that included cultivating and harvesting potatoes, watermelon, and onions, were required to work 40-hour weeks for $10.95 minimum hourly rate, but that was not the case.

Kristina Espinoza, a labor department investigator, told The Los Angeles Times that Gonzalez was paying the workers $0.13 to $0.70 per bag. She also described the farm as a “makeshift labor camp” that was “dangerous” and “unsanitary.”

The conditions of their “home” sound truly terrifying. The workers apparently showered in stalls that were inside a cargo container. They didn’t have a working sewage system, and had to share one toilet in the trailer or resort to using port-a-potties.

Gonzalez responded to the charges by placing the workers at two hotels. But just last week, an employee told the labor department that Gonzalez charged his own employees for staying at the hotel.

The U.S. Department of Labor has reported that H-2A visas have doubled in the past five years, due to the fact that there’s fewer Mexican immigrants coming to the United States.

[VIA: The Los Angeles Times]

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