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Life Insurance and Annuities Martin Elfant, CLU 4223 Richmond, Suite 213, Houston, TX 77027 SIc.Plaie conditions` with farrnworkers, like isolated worksites, exposure to adverse climates, and hard, physical, hand labor,” said OSHA. The agency also admits that, in areas lacking sanitation facilities, farmworkers suffer “widespread and varied medical problems . .. such as skin rashes, upper respiratory tract infections, urinary tract infections, abdominal pain, infection diseases, and heat stress.” Problems for w, ‘ in the field are more extreg ~vose of men. Even that women, 22% of rker population, suffer an e ly high incidence of medic prob lems: “The association between urine retention and increased risk of urinary tract infections in women . .t el ounded.” than W ommeenn d bast st more embarrassing,c relieve them. selves in front of a gang of several hundred workers. There often is simply no hidden place to go, and many women will wait until they get home. Children, too, are embarrassed by the fields’ lack of privacy. Child labor laws don’t apply to farmworker children. They are in the fields, as young as six or seven years, picking fruits and vegetables. Even then, farm work is not new to them toddlers regularly travel to the pesticide-dusted sites with their parents. But in the same OSHA report, while noting health and safety hazards to farmworkers, the agency says that current standards in the twelve states, combined with voluntary action in other states, may make federal standards unnecessary. In other words, maybe things should be left as they are. D. L. Iiist a century, OSHA’ now ques-: tions whether standards for farmworkers are ‘ ‘reasonably necessary” and claims not to have enough “quantitative data’s proving that farmworkers need the sanitation laws. Agribusiness organizations, such as the American Farm Bureau Federation, resist the implementation of sanitation standards, even though sanitation facilities would cost only 53 to 77 cents daily for each worker \(as OSHA’s research ing to OSHA, “substantial in terms of the national economy or the general industry’s overall market structure.” And, while holding out for more ‘quantitative data,” OSHA admits, in the same proposal, that “adverse health effects” could result from hazards farmworkers encounter daily: contaminated drinking water; insufficient potable water to prevent heat-related illness; insufficient washing water; inadequate toilet facilities, leading to the exposure of many employees to disease-causing organisms; transmission by diseasecarrying flies to people living or working near contaminated fields; and disease caused by urine retention. Also, the report says, agricul tural workers may lack resistance to disease because of their generally poor diets. Little data on disease incidence among farmworkers exist few can afford medical help, so their names seldom appear in medical reports. But here are a few facts. According to Texas Impact, an Austinbased lobbying group representing churches, the incidence of diseases such as tuberculosis, hepatitis, scarlet fever and pneumonia is 100 to 300% higher for fartnworkers than for other Texans. Farmworkers suffer frequent, poisonings because they lack facilities to wash pesticides off their skin. Eighty percent of all farmworkerss families remain below the poverty line. The average lifespan for Texas farmworkers is only 50 years, compared to about 74 years for the average U.S. citizen. As the OSHA report notes, farmworkers remain the only employed group not covered by sanitation standards. Oil field and construction workers, for example, receive OSHA protection, and they “share many common working Printers Stationers Mailers Typesetters High Speed Web Offset Publication Press Counseling Designing Copy Writing Editing Trade Computer Sales and Services Complete Computer Data Processing Services ,. Pitivri 0 -*FU TURA 7 TRADES UNION PRESS RE ,/, AUSTIN ‘EVSTIN, TEX P. TEXAS UMW’ 512/442-7836 1714 South Congress P.O. Box 3485 Austin, Texas 78764 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 17