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have seen people with effects related to heat. For example, one little girl that had heat stroke, and developed seizures. Since then, I have become concerned because there are not really enough child care facilities for farmworkers.
Last year, in a town not too far from us, there were about 100 families that were living in orchards, because migrant housing was not available. And I would be concerned about what exposures they can get there, besides just from the heat.
Last year, in one of our clinics, a child was born with anophthalmia. That is the absence of eyes. Both parents were farmworkers; they had migrated from the Imperial Valley.
Although it is difficult to prove causal relations, the nurses anecdotally remarked that they had seen more anencephalic babiesthat is babies born without heads—and other birth deformities than usual.
Another small town, where one of our satellite clinics is, has experienced a high number of miscarriages in the past. This included the clinic staff who lived in the area. This was reported, but nothing has come of the investigation so far.
Another one of our satellite clinics also has yearly notices of large number of asthmatic exacerbations when cotton defoliants are sprayed. And the latest example is, this one is-I just saw this man about two weeks ago. He came to me because he had cancer. He was turned away by the local hospital, because they thought he was undocumented.
It turned out that he was not undocumented, but he was dying of disseminated cancer. His cancer had been diagnosed while he was in Mexico, having taken his wife, who was in her thirties, who had just died of cancer. And he is in his forties.
They lived on a farm, on a dairy farm, about an hour away from where I worked. I am concerned about their three children.
One camp close to our clinic also had a case of lead poisoning. I guess the camps had been painted with lead-base paint donated by the Navy. And in another town, people had been left homeless basically because the panelling that was going to be done was not done until the camps opened. So that contributed to the 100 families that were living in the orchards.
There are also a lot of traumatic injuries. A 17-year-old was killed about six weeks ago, and his boss was severely mauled, when first the 17-year-old was sucked into an irrigation canal turbine, and then the boss tried to save him.
At least once every three years we hear of farmworkers, or farmers' children, that are killed or severely injured on tractors.
Okay. I may be raising more questions than I am answering by talking to you here today. But I feel that it is important to look at it broadly. There are chemicals that are affecting the environment, and the workers. These are compounded by poverty, lack of housing.
Education of the children suffers, for example, when they have to work to help their families out.
dis mexico, havice. And he is dairy far their three lead poisonted by
PREPARED STATEMENT OF SALVADOR SANDOVAL, M.D., GENERAL PRACTITIONER AT THE
CHILDS AVENUE HEALTH CENTER; COORDINATOR OF THE LOWER WESTERN STREAM FOR THE MIGRANT CLINICIANS' NETWORK, MERCED, CA
I am a Family Practice physician with 14 year'oxperience working with farmworkers and other rural poor in the Central Ban Joaquin Valley of California. I work for • foderally and state funded migrant and community health center, the Horced-Stanislaus Health clinics. Additionally, I am the current lower West Coast nigrant Stream Coordinator for the Xigrant clinician', Network.
I have taken extra postgraduato medical training in occupational medicine bacause of experience, in dealing with farmworkers and foodprocessing workers.
Over th. years I have trated illness.. and lajuries of farmworkere, their families, and nontormworkers allected by pesticide drift. In addition to the lajuries I have seen acute organophoephate poisonings, chemical dermatitis, chemically induced asthma, chemical pneumonitis, pesticide related peripheral neuropathies, Parkinson's · disease, cardiomyopathy, neurobabavioral changes, and other disease states that I have suspected wer. chemically induced. I have viewed with alars developments such as groundwater contamination by chemicals, the development of cancer clusters in several valley towns, talk of reintroducing the short handle boe in California agriculture, and concerns over pesticide residuos 10 food.
Specifically in regards to children, I will relate the following situations:
1. In a case of an organophosphate (guthion) pesticide drift from a peach orchard lato a residential area 300 people were evacuated 18 June of 1987. They were allowed back lato their homes after about 2 hours. 30 people subsequently want to a local energency room. Kone ware tested, and the case was dienissed a. "hase bysteria". Subsequently we saw 3 different families, including children. Savoral of thom tested positive (1.e. had depressed cholinesterase levels which subsequently rose back towards baselina). One child was admitted with pneumonia. Through one of the families we heard of a newborn infant that developed seizure, shortly after being brought home in the affected area, and had to be transforred out to a specialized center.
2. This past month a mother and her son who both have asthma, experienced increased shortness of breath aftor an adjacent orchard was sprayed. Symptoms subsided after several hours.
3. A young girl and her brother played in and around the family car on a hot summer day while the parents worked in the field. The girl began to vonit, was selt to be bot, and was ruohed to the hospital when she began to have seizuros. · The parents were told that she had euttered heat otroka. To this day she is "mentally slow according to the parents. Increasingly I hear of tarmworkar tanillos that are having to take their children with them to the fields because there are no childcare conters. And in Patterson, California 100 familles lived in orchards because migrant housing was unavailable for thom.
4. Last year a child was born with anophthalmia (absence of eyes). The mother had received prenatal car. in one of our outlying satellite clinice. Both parents worked out in the field, and had migrated from
the imperial Valley wher, they also work in farmlabor. Although it 18 difficult to prove any causal relation, obstetrical nursos had commented that there had been more anencephalics and other birth deformities than usual.
8. The small tarn town whare one of our natellite ollaio. 10 located axperienced a bigAumber of miscarriago., including from among some of the cliaic stall who lived la the area--right about the time that serial spraying was taking place; Although this was reported, nothing to date has come from the favestigation.
6. Another small town where a satellite cliaic is located experiences a large number of asthmatic axacerbations when cotton decollaato arm sprayed.
7. Although thi. 1. nlno bard to prove, and 1. baing lavestigated: I recently saw a man who had been turned away from the county clinic because he was thought to be undocumentad. It turned out that he wasn't. But he was dying from disseminated cancer. Hie cancer had Just been diagnosed while he was in Mexico to bury his wife who had just died of cancer. She was in her 30's. He is la his early 40's, They both lived on a farm with their three children, where he worked : in the dairy. I fear for his three children.
8. In a farmworker camp close to our clinic a child from a family that migrates every year from Moxico had lead poisoning diagnosed. It turns out that California campe had been painted in the 1970'a with paint donated from the Navy with lead baca. The child had come with the family to the camp for coveral years before concern was rained and the children were tested
9. The county whor. I work is not exempt from the traumatic injuries that occur la other parta of the country. Recently a 17 year old farmlaborer was killed and his boss severely mauled when first be wa. sucked into an irrigation canal turbina, and then his boss tried to extricate him. Also, at lenet once every three years we hear of larmer's children that are killed or severely injured on tractors.
From what I can assess from the situation, farmworker children, 11ko their familie. lack basic necessities such as safe, adequate housing, basic vanitation that is enforced, and childcar. facilities. Children labor in the fields (as recent DOL raids have shown), and they are there because their parents don't make a consequence, their education autfers, let alone oftea times their health.
Certainly, children in farmlabor should be covered by the same legislation that should protect children in other industry. For example, nowhere else are children at such a young age supposed to work around heavy machinery, dangerous chemicals, and hazardous : environments.
But equally disturbing is what we do not know as yet. The cancer risk, tha teratogen risk, and other long term effects have been suspected but hard to prove. Only recently have tumor registries and birth defects registries boon started in the San Joaquin Valley. and then only in certain counties. Also, 1t is only this year that universal reporting for agricultural chemicals was instituted in California. Hopefully we will know more soon. Certainly these measures should be made available nationally.
Chairman MILLER. Thank you very much. Mr. Hill? STATEMENT OF THOMAS HILL, DIRECTOR, TRI-COUNTY (MI. GRANT) HEAD START OF FRESNO, MONTEREY, AND SAN BONITO COUNTIES, FRESNO, CA
Mr. Hill. I run the Head Start Program in the three counties of Fresno, Monterey, and San Bonito. And we work directly with farmworker families.
In our program alone, we service about 600 families per year. And during that time, we see all matters of problems that the families have. And especially-usually we do not see a lot of the problems the families have, except through the children. Because we serve the children, we are able to help the families.
But all the things that Mr. Cuellar, and Mr. Ramirez, and Dr. Sandoval talked about, we see in Fresno County, and Monterey County, and elsewhere.
I was involved with the McFarland cancer cause from when it first began. And the things that we saw there were outrageous. Some of the children with swelled heads, water in the brain, and things like that. It is awful. Birth defects, different kinds of things that chemicals—the way chemicals affect the system, the body.
Our families are affected by the fact that they work in the fields. We try to educate our families to, when they come home from work, that they wash their clothes, wash themselves, before they handle the children. But, you know, it is very difficult to do that. You cannot be there every day, and you cannot be helping them all the time.
And invariably, they will not—they will hold the children before they clean themselves. And that, you know, that hurts our children extremely. We have seen a lot of cases where you have to take the children to the hospital for either burns on their skin, blisters on the skin, different things that are caused by the chemicals. And we know it is caused by chemicals when we asked the doctor, you know, “What would cause this kind of an injury?” They say, “Well, I think it is chemical poisoning," or you know, chemical burn, or that kind of a thing.
We have a center that is located directly across from a field. And every year, we have a battle with a farmer who wants to spray. This year, we won the battle. By that I mean that the farmer could not spray until we were able to close down our center.
But he wanted to spray, and say, you know, “Can you close down your center for three or four days while I spray our field?” And I had to contact the Department of Agriculture. And they said he could not spray while the children were there, he could not spray. And, “We will call him and we will talk to him.” So the Department of Agriculture helped us in that regard.
And, you know, some other times, we have not called, and he would have probably sprayed, and the children would have been exposed to it.
As I was driving up from Fresno just today, off Interstate Five, in the Valley we could see a cropduster spraying a field. And I thought it was kind of like an omen, because I am coming to this kind of thing.
And if you could see the spraying. It was not even-it did not seem like he was landing, or three-fourths of the spray, or whatever it was, was not even landing on the crops or the field that he was spraying. It seemed to be drifting with the wind. And it is going to be drifting, you know, to people's homes, to the farmer's home, to other places where people are located at. And invariably, people are going to get sick because of that.
Some of our State Legislators have said-especially the ones from the Valley—say that they do not believe that there is any poison on the crops and things like that. And I would like to challenge them to drink a cup of a chemical that they put into each one of these sprayers, drink a cup of that in front of the Capitol steps. And if they do not die, it is safe, you know. (Laughter.]
But every time I see one of these cans that is labelled "toxic," toxic to me means poison. And you see the skull and crossbones. Whenever you teach children that that is danger, you know, that is death, that is poison, stay away from that. And all these cans have that skull and crossbones on each one of the cans. So that is poison. And to me, everybody is getting poisoned.
And it is not restricted to the fields any more, and to the farmlands. In Fresno alone, they have closed 15 wells in the City of Fresno because of contamination.
In the City of Clovis, a suburb of Fresno, they have closed six wells already.
My child-my two children have to go to elementary school drinking bottled water because they had to close a well that serviced that school, and the area there. And this has been about eight years that they had to drink bottled water.
And some schools do not even get the bottled water. I recall one of the elementary schools, they were asking for, the parents were asking for bottled water for the children. And they had bottled water in the teachers' lounge, and in the principal's office, but they did not have any bottled water for the children.
So those are the kinds of things that we see. Every time, if you hear Mr. Ramirez talking about the things that he is talking about, and Dr. Sandoval, you may be shocked, but that is happening every day. Here in the Valley, in California, and I am sure it is happening in every agricultural area in this country.
And until we do something about it, some local communities, you know, stonewall it because they are afraid. You know, their tax base is built on agriculture and these other things. And I think, you know, you cannot blame them for being afraid. But it is going to have to come from the Federal Government, and you are going to have to help us out. Because we are going to have to have intervention from other sources.
And if you have any questions, I am willing to answer whatever I can.
[Prepared statement of Thomas Hill follows:]
bottle mers lou waterings