February 25, 2008

NEWS: Pestacides Aside

The Plain View on Pesticides
Photos by John J. Tipton, The Porterville Recorder, Noticiero Semanal

New America Media's Photo of the Day blog features a victory march that reminded me of my days as a farmworker.

The march, which took place in Plainview, Calif., came in response to new buffer zones established in Tulare County. The buffer zone prohibits cropdusters from spraying pesticides near residential areas, labor camps and schools.

As farmworkers, my family primarily worked around Plainview, Texas. I remember being 10 years-old and having cropdusters spray us as we worked to clear weeds from the soybean and cotton fields.

My mom would yell for us to get down and to cover our noses and mouths. But I always welcomed the low flying cropdusters. The chemical droplets felt like cool rain on my skin -- even if it made my clothes smell the way medicine tasted.

My mother died of breast cancer in 1992. She was 47.