In the interim between legislative sessions, Texas lawmakers on the House Agriculture Committee will have an opportunity to examine an important but under-the-radar problem that’s making people sick in farming communities across the state. Then again, their attention might drift.
Pesticide drift occurs when crop dusters—pilots or tractor drivers hired by farmers to spray pesticides on fields to kill weeds and bugs—miss the mark and inadvertently deliver a cloud of poison to people, plants, and animals. Since 2013, the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) has fielded roughly 1,300 complaints of pesticide drift affecting trees, gardens, crops, and animals. In more than 200 of those complaints, people said they were directly exposed to potentially dangerous chemicals. Complainants reported asthma attacks, bleeding gums, headaches, burning rashes, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Read more from Christopher Collins with The Texas Observer here.