Bread and Oil: California’s Central Valley

(Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

By Doug Lazy on February 15, 2018

ARVIN, CA - AUGUST 11: Edible nopales, or prickly pear cactus, are seen near a residential trailor on August 11, 2004 near the town of Arvin, southeast of Bakersfield, California. California?s Central Valley is one of the nation's most important agricultural and oil producing areas. Mass food production has brought heavy use of chemicals, including pesticides that have sickened hundreds of area workers and residents. In 2002, the last year for which numbers are available, 172 million pounds of pesticides were used on California fields sickening 478 people as airborne chemicals drifted 39 times, according to the state Department of Pesticide Regulation. On May 2, a crew of 100 workers was caught in a drift of pesticide near Arvin that made 19 of them sick, including a woman who was five months pregnant. This spring, state Sen. Dean Florez introduced a bill, the Pesticide Drift Exposure Response Act, to help pay for field workers' medical care. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

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