The New York Times examines the slow-motion public health crisis that’s particularly concentrated in small towns and unincorporated communities in the Central and Salinas Valleys, the key centers of California agriculture. In other environmental health news: pesticides, air pollution, and drinking water contamination.
The New York Times: They Grow The Nation’s Food, But They Can’t Drink The Water
Water is a currency in California, and the low-income farmworkers who pick the Central Valley’s crops know it better than anyone. They labor in the region’s endless orchards, made possible by sophisticated irrigation systems, but at home their faucets spew toxic water tainted by arsenic and fertilizer chemicals.“ Clean water flows toward power and money,” said Susana De Anda, a longtime water-rights organizer in the region. She is the daughter of lechugueros who worked in lettuce fields and helped make California one of the agricultural capitals of the world. “Homes, schools and clinics are supposed to be the safest places to go. But not in our world.” (del Real, 5/21)
KCUR: Revised Worker Protection Standard Still Leaves Field Crews Vulnerable To Pesticides
More than 2 million people in the U.S. work in or near agriculture fields that are treated with pesticides. The Environmental Protection Agency has strict policies about what those workers need to know about pesticide risks, when they can be in those fields and what they should do if they come into contact with chemicals. …Yet even with recent updates to the decades-old Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS), the EPA has little ability to monitor how well regulations are working, and no way to determine how frequently agricultural pesticides drift onto, or otherwise make contact with, workers. (Mayer, 5/21)
The Associated Press: Research On Children’s Health Risks In Doubt Over EPA Funds
Long-running research projects credited with pivotal discoveries about the harm that pesticides, air pollution and other hazards pose to children are in jeopardy or shutting down because the Environmental Protection Agency will not commit to their continued funding, researchers say. The projects being targeted make up a more than $300 million, federally funded program that over the past two decades has exposed dangers to fetuses and children. (Knickmeyer, 5/21)
NPR: New Asthma Cases Fell When LA’s Smog Declined
Children who live in areas with bad air pollution are more likely to develop asthma, which is the most common chronic illness among young people. But when you clean up the air does that actually protect the health of kids? A study published Tuesday in JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association, looked to answer that question. (Harris, 5/21)
MPR: 3M, Lake Elmo Settle For $2.7M, Land Transfer In Drinking Water Lawsuit
The city of Lake Elmo and 3M have reached an agreement to settle a lawsuit over drinking water contamination. Lake Elmo City Council unanimously approved the resolution at its meeting Tuesday night.The settlement stipulates that 3M will pay $2.7 million into the city’s water account, which pays for maintaining its water system. (Marohn and Sepic, 5/21)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
Source : Kaiser Health