Over 50 farm workers had to stop work last week after they were poisoned by a pesticide that was recently approved by President Donald Trump’s EPA — even though the previous administration had taken steps to ban the chemical that has been proven to cause brain damage in children.
David Edwards of Raw Story reported at least 50 farm workers were exposed to the pesticide on Friday, causing sudden illness at Dan Andrews Farms.
“We started getting an odor, pesticide odor, coming in from the mandarin orchards west of our field,” Dan Andrews supervisor Efron Zavalza said.
Zavalza explained that Vulcan pesticide, which contains a poison called chlorpyrifos, was sprayed on the orchards the night before workers came to work the cabbage fields.
“I’m not pointing fingers or saying it was done incorrectly. It was just an unfortunate thing the way it was drifted. The wind came and pushed everything east and you know we were caught in the path,” he observed.
KTEG confirmed that “[t]welve people reported symptoms of vomiting, nausea and one person fainted.” The station also noted that more than half of the 50 workers left the scene before medical services arrived.
The Obama administration banned the use of chlorpyrifos, but that changed after Trump appointed Scott Pruitt to lead the EPA.
“By reversing the previous Administration’s steps to ban one of the most widely used pesticides in the world, we are returning to using sound science in decision-making – rather than predetermined results,” the agency said in a statement in March.
Experts say that children who have been exposed to the chemical can experience brain damage and a lower IQ. The National Institutes of Health concluded that chlorpyrifos can cause “adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects.”
(Article By Jeremiah Jones)