AFOP pioneered and perfected the use of AmeriCorps members to deliver Worker Protection Standard (WPS) pesticide safety education to farmworkers beginning in 1995 with the introduction of the SAFE AmeriCorps program. (Serving America’s Farmworkers Everywhere).

In 2005, AFOP introduced Project HOPE (Health Outreach through Pesticide Education) which expanded our capacity to deliver WPS training to organizations that could not support an AmeriCorps program.
Project LEAF (Limiting Exposures Around Families) is our newest pesticide safety education project which addresses “take home” exposure which can harm farmworker children by accidentally exposing them to pesticides when their parents have residues on their clothing, boots, work tools and lunch coolers.

Pesticides and Farmworkers

  • The EPA estimates that 300,000 farmworkers are poisoned by pesticides each year.
  • The most common route of pesticide exposure is through the skin.
  • According to the Environmental Working Group celery, peaches, strawberries, apples and blueberries contain the highest amounts of pesticides of all fruits and vegetables.
  • Pesticide exposure is linked to devastating diseases such as Alsheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and many kinds of cancer including brain, stomach, kidney, and leukemia.
  • Pesticides can affect fertility for both men and women.
  • You can find pesticides in your own home in products such as bleach and other household cleaners and OFF, Raid, and other insect killers.
  • Farmworkers can better protect themselves against the hazards of pesticide exposure by wearing gloves, pants, and long-sleeved shirts.

AFOP’s Farmworker Health & Safety Alliance also works with the following partners to promote pesticide safety awareness and education among the farmworker community:

Student Action With Farmworkers and AFOP work together each summer to provide pesticide safety and other farmworker health related training to the SAF summer interns. Through generous support of the EPA in 2009, 25 SAF interns reached out to 4,500 farmworkers in just 10 weeks of service. Visit SAF here for updates on the exciting work performed by their team of young leaders in the farmworker community.

AFOP has teamed up with the Hispanic Communications Network to produce and broadcast public service announcements to farmworker communities around the country that bring important messages about take home exposure, heat stress and pesticide safety to farmworkers.  The Spanish language public service announcements reach thousands of farmworkers.

Farmworker Justice and AFOP are working on an EPA-funded project to bring farmworker community stakeholders into a series of dialogues to explore how the Worker Protection Standard (WPS) can be improved in Florida. This pilot project will serve as a model for opening discussions among stakeholders in other key agricultural states, and ultimately offer important recommendations on how farmworkers can be better served by the WPS.

National Chavez Center (NCC) plays an important role in the SAFE AmeriCorps member orientation. In February, 2010, the NCC provided the perfect venue to train and inspire our SAFE AmeriCorps members as they embarked upon their service to farmworkers.