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Pesticide law will help Maryland farmworkers [Letter]

Your coverage of the 2014 General Assembly session failed to mention an important bill that was passed to create a database for collecting, assessing and reporting pesticide use ("Wage Hike, new marijuana bills OK'd as session ends," April 8).

Each year pesticide exposure poisons tens of thousands of farmworkers in Maryland and across the country, and it can cause nausea, blindness, cancer, infertility and even death. These injuries, illnesses and deaths are preventable.

A well-designed system to track the use of pesticides will provide health researchers with better information on exposure to pesticides throughout Maryland and help us understand the relationship between exposure and illness. The data collected also will assist in assessing pesticide-related injury trends.

This legislation is a valuable first step toward preventing injury and illness and better protecting the health of Maryland farmworkers, their families and the general public.

Virginia Ruiz, Washington

The writer is director of occupational and environmental health at Farmworker Justice, a nonprofit advocacy group.

To respond to this letter, send an email to Please include your name and contact information.

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