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Pregnancy And Pesticides: Farmworker Health In The Salinas Valley

Maritza Flores and her mother Maria Nunez
Angela Johnston
/
KALW
Maritza Flores and her mother Maria Nunez work in the strawberry fields in Salinas. Maritza has been part of a study for her entire life, measuring the effects of agricultural pesticides on her health.

Pregnancy And Pesticides: Farmworker Health In The Salinas Valley

According to a study done by the California Institute for Rural Studies, agricultural workers in Monterey County are three times more likely to contract COVID-19 than workers in other industries.

Even before COVID-19, working in agricultural fields could be hazardous for peoples’ health. Almost 9 million pounds of pesticides were sprayed in Monterey County in 2017. Some workers there spend much of their lives breathing in these toxins, many of which are meant to kill bugs and weeds. And, this has been happening for decades.

Still, scientists are only beginning to learn about pesticides' detrimental long term effects, especially for pregnant farmworkers.

In this series, we hear about a decades-long study measuring the effects of working in the fields while pregnant. And we hear about potential solutions: Major lawsuits and grassroots efforts led by community clinics in the Salinas Valley.