Remember when farm work was a wholesome summer job for kids looking for a little extra pocket money?
Back in the day, teens could work outside, learn about farming, and do some healthy physical labor without major health risks. Working on a farm built physical strength, skills, and character.
Now, with the advent of toxic agricultural practices, farm work can be deadly because of exposure to glyphosate and other deadly chemicals.
Nearly 80 teenagers working for Team Corn, a Princeton, Ill.-based company that contracts for Monsanto were sent to the hospital yesterday after a crop-duster sprayed the field they were working in with fungicide.
The teenagers were detasseling corn when the chemical drifted over them from a plane that was crop-dusting an adjacent field, said Tom Helscher, a spokesman for Monsanto, the St. Louis-based company using the field to produce seed corn. Pesotum is about 15 miles south of Urbana….
…Detasselers – commonly teenagers looking for summer jobs – pull the pollinating tassels off the top of corn plants that will produce seed for future planting…
…The 79 teens were decontaminated by firefighters at the field just outside Pesotum and then taken to the Carle Foundation Hospital’s emergency room in Urbana to be treated for what appeared to be minor ailments, hospital officials said.
Emergency room director Allen Rinehart said some of the teen workers had irritated skin but that they were all stable and being released to their parents as they were seen. (source)
The media glossed over the incident, emphasizing that the injuries were minor and that the kids were treated and immediately released from the hospital.
There is no doubt this was an unfortunate accident. As long as agriculture practices these highly toxic methods, though, we will continue to see such accidents. There would be no such risk of poisoning on a farm that implemented organic methods.
But considering that people spraying for Monsanto are generally pictured wearing head to toe protection as well as a respirator, and that reported health issues from chemical drift are severe, including cancer, miscarriage, asthma and birth defects, one has to wonder if the real injuries to these teens will show up a few years down the road.
With this direct exposure, will these kids join the long line of victims of Monsanto?