From apple orchards in Washington to potato fields in Florida, poisonous pesticide "clouds" plague the people who live nearby. The harmful spray poses a particular risk to the young children of the nation's farm workers, many of whom live in industry housing at the field's edge.
Our government must set safety standards protecting children who grow up near farms from the harmful effects of pesticide drift - the toxic spray or vapor that travels from treated fields. Officials should also immediately adopt no-spray buffer zones around homes, schools, parks and daycare centers for the most dangerous and drift-prone pesticides.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has taken the first step in addressing this problem -- opening up the petition for public comment. In order for us to stop the use of toxic chemicals we must tell the EPA before the March 3rd deadline for public comment.
We can't let another toxic growing season go by! Please urge your member of Congress to take action to end the use of toxic presticide spraying.
Dear Congressmember [Name],
Thank you for the opportunity to submit comments on the Petition to Protect Children From Pesticide Drift and the Draft Guidance for Pesticide Registrants on Pesticide Drift Labeling.
[Your comment will be inserted here]
After years of delay under the previous administration, I am heartened to see your office taking the first step toward making sure all of our nation's children are protected from exposure to pesticides.
In 1996, Congress required your agency to set standards by 2006 to protect children from pesticides. Three years have passed since that deadline, and the job is only partially complete. EPA has made some progress -- banning the use of some pesticides in the home and on lawns. But your agency has failed to protect children from these same pesticides when they drift from treated fields into nearby yards, homes, schools, parks and daycare centers.
The threat to children is real and these risks must be fully evaluated. In the meantime, EPA must adopt immediate protective buffers. Without these protective buffers, children face the risk of drift exposure to such dangerous pesticides as chlorpyrifos. The short term effects of exposure to this nerve toxin have been likened to a chemically-induced flu.
Finally, the proposed general label warnings, while welcome, are not adequate alone to protect children from pesticide drift. Please conduct a full evaluation of risk posed by drift and adopt immediate protective buffers for the most harmful pesticides The proposal starts EPA down the right path by requiring drift warnings tailored to each pesticide. But it may be many years before this process is complete -- and children are being threatened by exposure to pesticide drift right now. Accordingly, EPA should adopt the immediate buffer zones as outlined in the petition.
Thank you for the opportunity to submit these comments. I urge you not to let another growing season go by without taking action. The children who live, play, and go to school near our nation's fields and orchards are counting on you.
Keep up the great work. Look what you've accomplished!
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