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children. And that was what we were talking to the farmer about. But he needs to spray his field, and-
Mrs. BOXER. So the center is right on the field, essentially.
Mrs. BOXER. Okay. It is interesting, because the uproar in the State over the Malathion spraying, which is, in most cases, a onetime occurrence. And here you are in a situation where you are probably getting the spray constantly.
Mr. HILL. It is constant. And it is-
Mrs. BOXER. Where you live, where you work, where you go to school. All those places where children are getting the spray.
Mr. HILL. And you know, it is hard to express how dangerous it is. You can see the children, and I talk to them every day. But, you know, children have no way of knowing what is happening to them.
And even the families, sometimes they do not understand that this is very toxic, and it can really damage them. And it is not that they are ignorant; it is just that they do not know what is being sprayed in the fields, and what they are dealing with.
And we try to do as best we can. Mr. Cuellar, his efforts in McFarland and Earlimart, I know they have tried to educate the farmworker as much as possible about the dangers. But until there is enough money spent on this, and enough intervention, we are not going to be able to resolve this problem.
Mr. Cuellar was saying about, was talking about how much a farmworker family makes. We made a study, conducted a study on our families that participate in our program. And the average income was $9,267 a year. The family unit was 5.39 members per family. That is way below the poverty level, poverty line.
And our families, they do not want to ask for any kind of help, or sometimes are afraid to ask for help. So they work for them. And they are always working, and they are very proud of what they do, and they are very proud of what kind of work that they do.
But, you know, it is very difficult to really live adequately with this kind of an income.
Mrs. BOXER. Well, to have $9,000 and have, over that, the worry, fear, and sickness, sounds like a nightmare.
I do have one last question, only to Mr. Cuellar. And that is, out of the farmworkers that you come in contact with, what percentage
of the farm workers back.
and then workers that you comly to Mr. Cue
and then they go back.
Mr. CUELLAR. My understanding, just roughly figured that we gather through the people that applied for amnesty, from Fresno all the way down to Bakersfield, which is a large area. We estimated—we found of the people that applied at that time, it was 800,000 people that applied for amnesty.
Now, in regard to farmworkers, just in this area, location that I come from, we are talking about 12,000 workers in just that area. So you are looking to like Maleno, Earlimart, and McFarland, we are talking about several thousand workers. They come and they leave.
ople that appard to farmworkert. 12,000 workers ia McFarland, we
for six hing has to ou knovutting he know,
Mrs. BOXER. They come and they leave, and they really are not part of the political pressure that you are trying to put to this issue.
Mr. CUELLAR. Right, right. And the ones that stay, which a lot of them have their families here, they brought the families in and try to enroll them in school. Right now, we are overcrowding our schools. We are trying to get some more funding to expand our area, which is a growth.
One of the other areas that is growing in our area, I see the Governor is putting a lot of money in the prisons. So like south of the Valley, from Fresno way down to where I come from, there is a lot of prisons to be built up. So that is going to create another growth for more people in that area.
But I do not see any money coming toward the needs of what we need in our area. And the workers, they come, they stay about five or six months out of the year here, and then they go back. But something has to be done, because child care, and lunches, and stuff like that, you know, like I been reading all that, you know, they are talking about cutting here and cutting there. And a lot of these families cannot afford, you know, to take care of the needs of these children.
Like Thomas Hill was saying right now, the survey they did. There is families, they got more than five kids, you know. You very rarely find families of three in a family, or four. But if you have large families, and a lot of these people, farmworkers, sometimes they put the kids to work, because that is the only way they are going to, you know, make ends meet. Mrs. BOXER. Thank you. Chairman MILLER. Mr. Stark? Mr. STARK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Dr. Sandoval, the concerns that you raised deal with direct exposure to these chemicals and pesticides, and not to exposure through residual amounts on fruit that you might buy in the supermarket. I mean, you are concerned with the commercial applications and the exposure to these chemicals as they may occur by being near the fields, or having equipment that is contaminated with them, and not the residual effects. Is that correct?
Dr. SANDOVAL. Well, the largest exposure is to the people working in the fields. The exposure, there has seen a lot of publicity about the contamination of food. And there is a lot of controversy on that.
I am concerned about that, too. I think what affects the consumer affects also the farmworker. We have to look at the issue broadly.
Mr. STARK. Well, that is what I was going to get at. I would like Mr. Cuellar to perhaps translate for me a little bit. We will hear later today that we are too concerned about residues on food, and after all, a witness will tell us later that the protection against cancer by eating a lot of fruits and vegetables outweighs any effects of pesticide residues. So we ought to use a lot of pesticides, because we will have more fruit and vegetables for the rich kids up in Piedmont. And then they can all avoid cancer.
What I would like to ask Mr. Ramirez is, if he would be happy to see one of his children get sick from these pesticides so that kids in
would have to putoing back to yonverse in Spanis
Pfy thinker mand by otherly inexpenditions, i
the city who are well-to-do can avoid cancer. Does he think that is worth seeing his children be sick?
[Mr. Cuellar and Mr. Ramirez converse in Spanish.]
Mr. CUELLAR. Going back to your question, he says that if he would have to put his life on the line to save his daughter, and some other children, he would do it. But he said, you know, in his respect, that is not fair.
Mr. STARK. All right. And I could not agree with him more, you tell him. But I think that is the position we get ourselves in here, is that while it might be nice to have Safeway and Lucky's just groaning with attractive produce, there is a very severe social cost to the people who grow that fruit, and harvest it, and work in those industries.
I am sorry that this gets turned around. I apologize for those of us who enjoy healthy food, because it is just not worth any child being sick to produce it for us. And I want to ask you to thank Mr. Ramirez for his help.
And Dr. Sandoval, thank you for the work you are doing. Thank the witnesses very much. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman MILLER. Thank you. And I want to thank this panel for their participation. I am sorry we were not able to hear from Natalie and her mother, Ramona, but they have their own health problems right now.
I think what is clear is that the choices as outlined by Congressman Stark and by others is that we ought not to continue a system that subsidizes relatively inexpensive food in our supermarkets by the poor health, and working conditions, and the environment of the people who are responsible for harvesting that food.
This committee has tried to make sure that we have allotted time over our years of existence to deal with special populations, and migrants are one of those populations in all regions of the country that we have tried to address. And the tragedy is that they continue to subsidize the price of food with their poor health, with the death of their children, and the maiming of members of their family in the field and elsewhere, in the harvest of that crops. And not very much has, in fact, changed from the 1940s to the 1990s.
We have fits and spurts about treating farmworkers with some dignity, and providing health facilities, and just the ability to go to the bathroom in privacy. And yet all of those are resisted, essentially, by the various farm employer organizations.
With respect to toxins, it is a population that causes us very, very special concern, because of the constant, ongoing exposure within their total daily environment. I spent many years working with families of asbestos victims. And there again, we saw in many instances the danger posed by asbestos brought home on the Levis of the workers, and to the members of the family in that household, as asbestos dust just continued to build up inside those houses, and eventually struck down members of the families that were not, in fact, employed in the industry.
So the issues you raise here today are of very serious concern to us. And we will continue to follow up on them.
And Mr. Ramirez, thank you very much for your testimony. And I hope that Natalie is feeling better, and I hope that she continues to experience recovery from her cancer.
Thank you very much. STATEMENT OF KATHLEEN ISRAEL, PARENT AND CO-CHAIRPER
SON, CONCERNED RESIDENTS OF MARIN COUNTY (CRMC), SAN RAFAEL, CA
Ms. ISRAEL. Good morning, and thank you for this special opportunity.
Chairman MILLER. Speak right into the microphone, or no one will hear what you have to say.
Ms. ISRAEL. Can you hear me now?
Chairman MILLER. Just talk louder, and speak up, and relax and enjoy yourself. Come on.
Ms. ISRAEL. My name is Kathleen Israel, and this is my story. I am a mother of a child who attended Davidson Middle School in San Rafael. I have two other children, and I am the co-chairperson for the Concerned-
Chairman MILLER. Into the mike.
Ms. ISRAEL. Residents of Marin County. I believe that my child was exposed to a variety of hazardous chemicals while attending his school last year. These chemicals emanated from the PG&ELindaro Street Dumpsite in San Rafael, and are listed in Exhibit 1.
The PG&E-Lindaro Street is approximately 900 feet upwind to the north of Davidson Middle School. And this dumpsite was formerly occupied by a coal gasification facility from 1875 to 1960.
My concerns for my child are both the potential for the development of cancer in the future, as well as his immediate health problems, which include fatigue, severe headaches, irritability, confusion, and loss of concentration.
My concerns are for all children and families who are exposed to toxic chemicals from abandoned coal gasification sites, both in California and all throughout the United States.
The PG&E-Lindaro Street Dumpsite has buried subterranean coal gasification waste products, which included approximately 1,200,000,000 pounds of lampblack and/or coke; approximately 10 million gallons of coal tars, including polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, or PNAs; and approximately 30 million gallons of by-product, including benzene, toluene, xylenes, and other light hydrocarbons.
Please formulate and implement an effective policy that directs the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to clean up this site and other dumpsites, with technologies that are safe, effective, and utilize onsite recoveries of these waste products so they can be recycled and used as chemical feedstocks.
And I would just like to add these. To emphasize that it is very important to inform the educators regarding the effects of toxics so they can take the responsibility in educating the parents and the children. And I would like to ask you to please help us with the future for our children.
[Prepared statement of Kathleen Israel follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF KATHLEEN ISRAEL-A PARENT AND CO-CHAIRPERSON,
CONCERNED RESIDENTS OF MARIN COUNTY (CRMC), SAN RAFAEL, CA
My name is Kathleen Israel and I am a mother of a child who attended Davidson Middle School in San Rafael; I have two other childreu I also am the co-chairperson for the concerned Residents of Marin County (CRMC). I believe that my child was exposed to a variety of hazardous chemicals while attending his school last year. These chemicals emanated from the PG&E - Lindaro Street Dumpsite in San Rafael and are listed in EXHIBIT ONE; the PG&E - Lindaro Street Dumpsite is approximately nine hundred feet upwind, to the north, of Davidson Middle School. This Dumpsite was formerly occupied by a coal gasification facility from 1875 to 1960.
My concerns for my child are both the potential for the development of cancer in the future as well as his immediate health problems which include: fatigue, severe headaches, irritability, confusion, and loss of concentration.
in all children and families who are exposed to these types of toxic chemicals from abandoned coal gasification sites both in California and all throughout the United States.
The PG&E – Lindaro street Dumpsite has buried subterranean, coal gasification waste products which included:
1) approximately 1,200,000,000 pounds of lamp
black and or "coke
(EXHITIT TWO gives the estimates of the amounts of these waste products during the lifetime of the PG&E coal gasification facility's operation from 1875 to 1930. This facility produced approximately ten billion cubic feet of coal gas during this period. )