Although data on the carcinogenicity of agricultural pesticides are still being generated and are thus incomplete, research such as the Agricultural Health Study indicates that populations with increased, regular exposure to pesticides have high rates of a variety of cancers (National Institutes of Health & Environmental Protection Agency 2008). Policies that regulate toxins such as pesticides are envisioned by the public to be empirical and objective, but toxins are socially produced and their regulation is just as often based on political and economic factors as it is on science (Luke 2000). This does not bode well for farm- workers who are simultaneously burdened by disproportionate exposure to pesticides, low socioeconomic status, and political disenfranchisement—factors that can prohibit them from accomplishing change. The social, political, and economic barriers that farmworkers have historically faced are so deeply intertwined and embedded that the community remains unable to address the environmental injustice of adverse occupational exposure through current pesticide policy.
Joan Flocks, Pesticide Policy and Farmworker Health, 24 Rev Environ Health 327 (2009), available at http://scholarship.law.ufl.edu/facultypub/640