A lawsuit filed Tuesday by the United Farm Workers of America, the Pesticide Action Network, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and others claims the government has failed to protect the children of farmworkers from the harmful effects of pesticides. Of the more than 1,000,000 children of farmworkers who live near farms, over 300,000 are under the age of six. This is an age when children are particularly vulnerable to exposure to toxic pesticides.
The complaint alleges that the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has simply chosen to ignore compelling scientific evidence that children who grow up on or near farms are at greater risk of harm from toxic pesticides in the air, soil, water, food, and clothing. The plaintiffs claim that the EPA failed to respond to a 1998 petition to recognize the special needs of farmworkersÃ children when setting pesticide tolerance levels as required by the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996.
Michael Wall, an attorney for the National Resources Defense Counsel, stated: "The EPA has turned s blind eye to this problem, which has left another generation of our children at risk." The EPA has taken the position that its "decisions are protective of childrenÃs health and fully meet the toughest scientific and legal standards under the Food Quality Protection Act."