However, kids even younger than 12 often accompany their parents to work on American farms and fields. This means that farmworker children are being put at risk from a very young age – even before birth – from the pesticides, dangerous equipment, and other hazards populating those environments. Teenagers are permitted to operate various equipment from a young age, which corresponds to an increase in the rate of tragic accidents involving youth. Though children are at the height of vulnerability when they are still in the womb, there are inadequate protections for farmworkers who are expecting a child. Children also interact with their environment in fundamentally different ways than adults, yet this is not in regulators’ minds when setting standards for things such as pesticide use.
*Minimum age for handlers and early-entry workers Handlers and early-entry workers must be at least 18 years old. (Members of owner’s immediate family are exempt from this and most other requirements of the WPS. Source: https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-worker-safety/requirements-under-worker-protection-standard-owners-agricultural