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New study finds pesticide exposure in the U.S. up to five times greater for people of color

Brian Evans Flickr.jpg
Brian Evans via Flickr Creative Commons

The risk of harm from pesticide exposure in the U.S. is up to five times greater for people of color and that a weak regulatory environment and lax enforcement of existing protections play a significant role in the disproportionate risk faced by Black, Indigenous and people of color, as well as people in low-income communities.

The first-of-its-kind peer reviewed study titled “Pesticides and Environmental Injustice in the USA: Root Causes, Current Regulatory Reinforcement and a Path Forward,” was published this month in the academic journal BMC Public Health. It’s a collaboration between researchers with Historically Black Colleges and Universities, environmental conservation groups, and racial justice and farmworker advocacy organizations.

We’ll explore the comprehensive study’s findings and recommendations with Jeannie Economos, Pesticide Safety and Environmental Health Coordinator for the Farmworker Association of Florida and Nathan Donley, Ph.D., Environmental Health Science Director for the Center for Biological Diversity.

A former farmworker in Apopka, who we’re only identifying as Yesica, also shares her first-hand experiences with pesticide exposure and adverse health impacts.