March 24-31, 2014, marks the 15th annual Farmworker Awareness Week. Culminating in a national day to commemorate the legacy of Cesar Chavez, this week is a time when communities across the country remember the essential and challenging work of farmworkers helping to put food on the nation’s tables.
This week, EPA posted a blog by Jim Jones, Assistant Administrator for Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, in which he shares his first introduction to Cesar Chavez: http://go.usa.gov/KAke #farmworkerawarenessweek .
EPA continues to support multiple resources and initiatives to promote the health and safety of farmworker communities, including proposed updates to the pivotal rule protecting farmworkers from pesticide exposure:
- EPA announced in February 2014 proposed changes to EPA’s most pivotal farmworker protection effort: the agricultural Worker Protection Standard. EPA is proposing significant improvements to worker training regarding the safe use of pesticides, including how to prevent and effectively treat pesticide exposure. Representing more than a decade of extensive stakeholder input, these revisions protect workers while ensuring agricultural productivity and preserving the traditions of family farms. EPA strongly encourages comments on these proposed changes from all members of the agricultural community and general public.
- The Agency completed in summer 2013, the 6th Edition of Recognition and Management of Pesticide Poisonings, which is now available at no cost. Through a cooperative agreement with EPA, the Medical University of South Carolina and the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture revamped this pivotal resource, which provides to clinicians emergency and primary care information for treating individuals exposed to pesticides. This edition reflects new clinical toxicology and treatment information on pesticides in order to provide clinicians with the best resources to treat their patients with suspected pesticide-related illnesses.
- Through funding provided by a cooperative agreement with EPA, the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs provides resources and training for farmworkers on how to stay safer around pesticides. AFOP also teaches farmworker families how to limit their exposure to pesticide residues brought home from work on clothes, tools, boots, and other items. AFOP’s Project LEAF (Limiting Exposures Around Families) features a fictional farmworker family that faces the challenge of reducing pesticide exposure in their home and includes flipcharts, magnets, posters, brochures and radio messages. Order free materials now!
- To support doctors and nurses in providing quality healthcare, the Migrant Clinicians Network trains clinicians to address the pesticide related health concerns of farmworkers and their families through funding provided by a cooperative agreement with EPA. Resources include tools to help properly report potential pesticide incidents. Pesticide exposure incident reports can help patients get appropriate care and help public health experts identify trends and emerging problems.