The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that more than 10,000 and up to 20,000 farmworkers are poisoned on the job because of exposure to pesticides. The exact figure is unknown due to inefficient reporting and tracking procedures as well as the fact that many migrant workers are scared to seek healthcare or get treated in other locations.
Often, pesticide exposure is misdiagnosed because workers do not understand the risks and neglect to tell their healthcare providers about their exposure. Many workers fear that they will lose their job if they come forward when they are sick. Because so many farmworkers are undocumented immigrants, they are not warned or do not understand the dangers of working with pesticides or coming in direct contact with them.
It does not matter what your legal status is—if you or a family member has been exposed to pesticides on the job and became ill because of it, you are entitled to have your healthcare provided for you.
Exposure to Pesticides
If you work on a farm and apply pesticides, it is easy to see how you can be exposed. Small spills, ineffective or non-existent protective gear, and chemical drift can all contribute to your exposure.
Individuals who live or work in areas where pesticides have been applied also face high levels of exposure. If your family members play near a field where pesticides are used, they can be exposed. Even if your loved ones live miles away, they can be exposed to harmful pesticide residue if you hug them before taking a shower and changing your clothes.
Symptoms of Pesticide Exposure
If you have been exposed to pesticides, immediate effects include rash, vomiting, headaches, eye irritation, and dizziness. Serious effects like difficulty breathing or loss of consciousness need immediate medical attention. Do not be afraid to request medical treatment for your condition. It will get worse and could cause long-term health issues if you do not care for yourself.
Even exposure to low levels of pesticides can lead to chronic health problems. Although you may not notice these problems as readily, they are very serious. Conditions caused by pesticide exposure include cancer, reproductive health problems, and neurological disorders. If you have been diagnosed with a disease that is attributed to pesticide exposure, you should talk to a workers’ compensation attorney.
What to Do Next
Farmworkers are asking their government representatives and the EPA for more pesticide safety training for migrant workers. They want rules to mandate explanations and medical monitoring for those who work with these harsh chemicals. Beefing up the standards for workers will help future generations, but it will not help you if have already been exposed.
If you are experiencing health problems because of pesticide exposure, you need to contact John Snyder Law. Get the health care you deserve with strong representation by an attorney with years of experience in workers’ compensation claims.