ERIC Number: ED439899
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Pesticides: Improvements Needed To Ensure the Safety of Farmworkers and Their Children. Report to Congressional Requesters.
Guerrero, Peter F.
In response to a Congressional request, the General Accounting Office examined issues related to pesticide safety for children in agricultural settings. Pesticides can cause acute, chronic, or delayed-onset illnesses. Children may be exposed to pesticides through farm work; eating pesticide-treated foods; or contact with drift from pesticide applications or with treated plants or soils. Children are more vulnerable to pesticides than adults. In 1998, an estimated 129,000 youth aged 14-17 worked on crops. However, this number may be an underestimate; younger children who are employed illegally are not reported, and parents may bring young children to the fields because child care is unavailable. The Food Quality Protection Act directs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reevaluate the amount of pesticide residues allowed on or in food and to consider "major identifiable subgroups of consumers" (such as farm children). Comprehensive information on the acute and chronic health effects of pesticide exposure does not exist for farmworkers, farm children, or the general population. The EPA has implemented the Worker Protection Standard, intended to reduce farmworkers' exposure to pesticides. These protections were designed for persons over age 12. Furthermore, the EPA has been inconsistent in monitoring the protections and has little assurance that they are actually being provided to adult or child farmworkers. Recommendations pertain to improving data on acute pesticide illnesses, protecting children under age 12 who are in the fields, evaluating the adequacy of the protections for teenagers working in agriculture, and strengthening EPA oversight of state implementation of the Worker Protection Standard. Appendixes include scope and methodology and EPA comments. (SV)
Descriptors: Agricultural Laborers, Child Health, Child Labor, Federal Legislation, Federal Regulation, Food Standards, Information Needs, Labor Standards, Migrant Children, Migrant Workers, Occupational Safety and Health, Pesticides, Safety, Work Environment
U.S. General Accounting Office, P.O. Box 37050, Washington, DC 20013 (first copy free, additional copies $2.00 each, 25% discount on 100 or more copies sent to same address). Tel: 202-512-6000; Web site: http://www.gao.gov.
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: General Accounting Office, Washington, DC. Resources, Community, and Economic Development Div.