Saturday, October 04, 2008

Aren't We Forgetting Something (Again)?

A recent article informs us that the government program that "test the levels of pesticides in fruits, vegetables and field crops" will cease. The article encompasses a number of dire impacts on the long term studies of pesticides withing related agencies. This spans over to the Environmental Protection Agency's ability yo establish requisite safe levels of pesticides in food for consumption purposes. Further concern for the environment signals additional alarm in the article.

The decision to cease testing does in fact trigger apprehension on multiple levels. Yet an additional purpose governs this tirade. Specifically, the article fails to include the potential impact on the nation's domestic and foreign agricultural laborers and the potential injuries that could result from the failure to test pesticides. This omission raises red flags for those employed cultivating and harvesting fruits, vegetables and field corps with further emphasis for the children working in agriculture.

New Deal agricultural based exemptions permit child labor in agriculture and thus children pick fruits and vegetables for human consumption. State laws highly protection of child laborers also recognize agricultural exemptions that expedite children working in fields. Where and if available, the very few protections children receive are highly deficient and difficult to reconcile with protective mechanisms afforded other industries. This dilemma follows moreover the severe lack of enforcement that escapes the reaches of law's potential in protecting children in rural fields.

In sum, the omission of the human component of feeding the nation underscores their historical exclusion as valuable participants in the food chain and forces of production. Shrouded in historical amnesia, the plight of children working in fields is once again shielded from public scrutiny. Sadly and ultimately the new pesticide decision portends further harmful consequences and peril for the nation's youngest employees.

Posted on behalf of Guadalupe Luna


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