The United States uses about 1.1 billion pounds of pesticides each year. Pesticides are toxic materials – they are developed and used to destroy or prevent growth or infestations of unwanted insects, plants, and other pests in agricultural, commercial, industrial, and household settings.
Farmworkers, and especially those who mix and apply pesticides, face greater risks of becoming poisoned by pesticides because they work with pesticides at their greatest concentrations and strengths.
Victoria Sanchez De Alba, a local businesswoman and candidate for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society San Francisco’s 2017 Woman of the Year, is highlighting these environmental and health concerns while raising money for cancer research through her campaign, Por Vida Juntos (We Can Beat Cancer).
“Many people do not realize that people who are exposed to pesticides while working in agricultural fields are at a higher risk of getting cancer,” said Sanchez De Alba. “My mission is to honor my father, Sebastian Sanchez, who worked in the Salinas Valley agricultural fields and who we lost to non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2002. I want to raise awareness about the serious health risks facing all farmworkers.”
According to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, blood cancers are the 3rd largest cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. and the largest type of pediatric cancer.
The exact number of workers injured each year by pesticides is unknown, because there is no national surveillance system for acute pesticide illness reporting and no surveillance system for tracking chronic illness related to pesticide exposure. Thirty states require health professionals to report suspected pesticide poisoning, but many incidents go unreported due to a number of factors, including workers’ failure to seek medical care, workers seeking medical care in Mexico, medical misdiagnosis, and health provider failure to report.
Sanchez De Alba’s campaign goal is to raise $50,000 by June 3, 2017. The funds raised will be used for research to benefit non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a cancer that is associated with pesticide exposure. To donate to the campaign, please go to: http://bit.ly/vsda2017.
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