A coalition of farm worker unions and environmental advocacy groups is asking the Environmental Protection Agency to amend its ruling in May that allows the continued use of soil fumigant pesticides with modified safety measures in place.
In a letter to EPA administrator Lisa P. Jackson, the coalition said the use of fumigation agriculture equipment on crops is poisoning of farm worker communities and accuses the EPA of "inhumane neglect of toxic pesticide effects on farm worker community health."
The chemicals used in production of tomatoes, carrots, strawberries and nuts escape into the environment and drift into communities where the families and children of farm workers live and play, the groups said.
Signed by 28 groups from across the country, the letter said that the new fumigants policy "continues an outdated EPA approach to pesticide regulation that adopts unrealistic and unenforceable standards as risk mitigation measures, in an age of safer, greener approaches to agricultural pest management."
Advocates believe that the country's farmers can do better to phase out the use of highly hazardous chemicals that have devastating impacts on exposed workers and communities.