SASS is a coalition of more than 50 organizations and individuals working together to reduce pesticide exposure threats for Central Coast residents.
Most people don’t know that in California, you have no right to know in advance about applications of hazardous agricultural pesticides, and the ag industry is determined to keep it that way! We are calling on Santa Cruz County to publicly post all “Notices of Intent” to use Restricted Material pesticides BEFORE they are applied so that residents can protect themselves from harm and so doctors can understand what their patients may have been exposed to.
This is a racial justice issue right here in Santa Cruz: the vast majority of residents of farm working communities are Latinx, mostly low-income, and with the least political power to demand change. We organize and inform residents of most-impacted communities to make the ag industry accountable to those impacted by their practices.
Although Santa Cruz is a leader in organic and sustainable agriculture, there are still 1.2 million pounds of pesticides used here each year, including paraquat (which carries a “one sip can kill” warning label), and the highly drift-prone fumigant pesticide 1,3-dichloropropene, which is a Toxic Air Contaminant, Volatile Organic Compound, Prop. 65 carcinogen, and banned in 29 countries. More than 100,000 pounds of it are used on strawberry crops alone in our County each year.
Please help us increase transparency.
I have worked in the Central Coast Farmworker Community for over 20 years. I am frankly appalled by the number of farmworker families I have met that have at least one child with cancer, ADHD, autism spectrum disorder and learning disabilities. This is especially troubling in view of the fact that almost all farmworker parents want their children educated, career-bound and out of farm work. I have never met a farmworker who is informed about pesticides they are exposed to, even though they die at an average life expectancy of only 49 years!
Dr. Ann Lopez, Santa Cruz County