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Pesticide Exposure in Tulare County, USA


Lindsay, CA is a largely Hispanic community, about 85% Hispanic (Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 Census. DP-1). Linsay, CA is located in Tulare County which has the highest poverty rates in California (

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Pesticide Exposure in Tulare County, USA
Country:translation missing: en.countries.united_states_of_america
State or province:California
Location of conflict:Lindsay
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict: 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Intensive food production (monoculture and livestock)
Specific commodities:Fruits and Vegetables
Project Details and Actors
Project details:

Tulare County used more than 17.5 million pounds of pesticides in 2005”the third highest use of any county in California (

Type of populationRural
Affected Population:up to 12,833
Start of the conflict:1999
Relevant government actors:Department of Pesticide Regulation, California Department of Food and Agriculture
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Californians for Pesticide Reform (CPR), Pesticide Action Network (PAN), Safe Air for Everyone (SAFE), Community Water Center (CWC)
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local ejos
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Street protest/marches
Impacts of the project
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Genetic contamination, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Occupational disease and accidents, Other Health impacts
Other Health impactsNitrates have been linked to thyroid disease and make infants susceptible to “blue baby syndrome,” a potentially fatal condition that interferes with the blood’s capacity to carry oxygen (
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Violations of human rights, Other socio-economic impacts
Other socio-economic impactsResidents spending about 10% of their income on water. These residents are already impoverished.
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:New legislation
Strengthening of participation
Development of alternatives:Drift catchers have been developed by residents to measure exposure.
The state allocated $4 million for interim solutions like filters under sinks that can remove arsenic and nitrates. These are only temporary solutions for people who have already been suffering the consequences of contamination (
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:There is still an absence of effective state groundwater regulation in California and residents are still suffering the effects of pesticide exposure. The proper changes have not been made to inform residents of what they can do to reduce their exposure nor have strong efforts been made to change agricultural practices in California.
Sources and Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner- Forms, Information, and Useful Links
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Fields of Poison 2002, California Farmworkers and Pesticides
[click to view]

Farmworker Women and Pesticides in California's Central Valley- a report by Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA), United Farmworkers of America AFL-CIO (UFW), and Organización en California de Líderes Campesinas (Líderes Campesinas)
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Mapping a menace, Humboldt University project
[click to view]

Environmental Justice in the Central Valley
[click to view]

Filthy Water in California Farmworker Communities- NY Times
[click to view]

Californians for Pesticide Reform
[click to view]

Other comments:This is one of the top 40 influential environmental justice cases in the United States identified identified from a national survey of environmental activists, scholars and other leaders by graduate students at the University of Michigan
Meta information
Contributor:Bernadette Grafton, [email protected], University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment
Last update07/05/2015
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