Environmental conditions

San Joaquin Valley, CA
United States

Pesticide Action Network North America Regional Center University of California, Irvine

Addressing the disproportionate impacts of pesticide exposure in agricultural communities by building the capacity of local organizations in the San Joaquin Valley to advocate for policy change.

Farmworkers in California—the vast majority of whom are Latinx, Spanish-speaking, and immigrants—face disproportionate harm from exposure to pesticides. Agricultural communities have suffered from a lack of occupational protections and a system that focuses on preventing harm to consumers rather than harm to workers. Despite recent state-level policies to advance environmental justice, existing laws are difficult to enforce; state agencies lack the ability to comply with civil rights laws; public data are underutilized; and state agencies have not involved agricultural communities in the development of policies to advance equity. Californians for Pesticide Reform (CPR) has worked with community-based organizations in the San Joaquin Valley for more than 25 years on issues related to environmental justice and seeks to build their capacity to use data to advocate for policies that will reduce pesticide exposure in their communities. 

CPR and faculty at the University of California, Irvine School of Law’s Center for Land, Environment, and Natural Resources will collaborate with community organizations in Fresno, Kern, and Tulare counties to develop research questions, carry out data analyses, and disseminate findings. Together, they plan to conduct focus groups and interviews and review state legislation, regulations, and programs related to civil rights and environmental justice. Project staff will also use data to identify particular groups affected by pesticide exposure and potential mitigation measures. CPR will use the findings to design civil rights compliance metrics for pesticide regulatory programs, identify changes to existing rules to improve enforcement, and draft a People’s Blueprint for a racial equity resolution for adoption by environmental and occupational health agencies.  

CPR will discuss these products at a public People’s Tribunal forum, where community members, organizations, and researchers will deliberate on final recommendations and advocacy efforts. It will also disseminate these products to the California Department of Pesticide Regulation and other state agencies, local agricultural and public health officials, and community organizations in the southern San Joaquin Valley.