NEW YORK – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is reaching out to help southern New Jersey farm workers reduce exposure to pesticides.
The EPA today announced it would provide a $25,000 grant to Comite de Apoyo a los Trabajadores Agrícolas, a non-profit agency, to help reduce exposure to pesticides.
CATA will use the funding to educate migrant farm workers in the counties of Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem.
“EPA environmental justice grants provide much-needed funds to tackle local pollution problems in low-income communities,” said Judith A. Enck, EPA regional administrator. “Exposure to pesticides can have serious effects on people’s health.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control, doctors diagnose between 10,000 and 20,000 farm workers with pesticide poisonings each year. Workers can become exposed to toxic levels of pesticides during spills, direct spraying or pesticide drift. In addition, migrant farm workers may not be supplied protective gear needed to protect their health or the equipment they do receive is defective, according to the EPA.
Southern New Jersey has a large population of migrant farm workers. For the past 20 years, CATA has managed an environmental program that provides information on pesticide protection.