Chemical warfare: the horrific birth defects linked to tomato pesticides
About six weeks later, a few cabins away, Jesus Navarrete was born to Sostenes Maceda. Jesus had Pierre Robin Sequence, a deformity of the lower jaw. As a result, his tongue was in constant danger of falling back into his throat, putting him at risk of choking to death. The baby had to be fed through a plastic tube.
Two days after Jesus was born, Maria Meza gave birth to Jorge. He had one ear, no nose, a cleft palate, one kidney, no anus, and no visible sexual organs. A couple hours later, following a detailed examination, the doctors determined that Jorge was in fact a girl. Her parents renamed her Violeta. Her birth defects were so severe that she survived for only three days.
In addition to living within one hundred yards of each other, Herrera, Maceda, and Meza had one other thing in common. They all worked for the same company, Ag-Mart Produce, Inc., and in the same vast tomato field. Consumers know Ag-Mart mainly through its trademarked UglyRipe heirloom-style tomatoes and Santa Sweets grape tomatoes, sold in plastic clamshell containers adorned with three smiling, dancing tomato characters named Tom, Matt, and Otto. 'Kids love to snack on this nutritious treat,' says the company’s advertising.
From the rows of tomatoes where the women were working during the time they became pregnant, the view was not so cheery. A sign at the entry warned that the field had been sprayed by no fewer than thirty-one different chemicals during the growing season. Many of them were rated 'highly toxic,' and at least three, the herbicide metribuzin, the fungicide mancozeb, and the insecticide avermectin, are known to be 'developmental and reproductive toxins,' according to Pesticide Action Network. They are teratogenic, meaning they can cause birth defects.
'When you work on the plants, you smell the chemicals,' said Herrera, the mother of limbless Carlitos. Subsequent investigations showed that Herrera worked in fields that recently had been sprayed with mancozeb twenty-four to thirty-six days after conception, the stages where a child begins to develop neurologically and physically.
Meza recalled: 'It has happened to me many times that when you are working and the chemical has dried and turned to dust that you breathe it.' Although regulations require that handlers of many of these pesticides use protective eyewear, chemical-resistant gloves, rubber aprons, and vapour respirators, the three pregnant women said they had not been warned of the possible dangers of being exposed to the chemicals. They wore no protective gear, unless you count their futile attempts to avoid inhalation by covering their mouths with bandanas.
DO YOU THINK ANYONE CARES IF YOU OR YOUR CHILDREN ARE EXPOSED TO THIS SAME DUST!
ON YOUR FOOD OR IN PRODUCTS YOU BUY
This is why we must support the National Health Federation!
And their mission at the Codex Alimentarius Talks!
'The pesticides got into her system and affected this child that was forming and lo and behold, he ends up being born with no arms and no legs,' he told me.