|Date(s):||August 1, 1969|
|Location(s):||Dist Columbia, District of Columbia|
|Tag(s):||occupational health, migrant farm worker, Cesar Chavez, Pesticides, Environment|
|Course:||“Environmental History in Detroit,” University of Michigan|
Rashes, eye irritation, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, headaches, double vision, dizziness, skin irritation, loss of fingernails, nervousness, diarrhea, amongst a slue of other dangerous side effects are all results of chemical poisoning. Cesar Chavez, a former migrant farm worker and member of the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee, took into account all of these illnesses when he was testifying to discuss the results of the pesticide exposure in 1968. He testified before the US Senate to bring up the discourse of the severe health effects that have been suffered for decades by minority populations. Chavez’s testimony helped to bring the connections between occupational and environmental health to the forefront.
This gives a personal view about what is going on with the environment. It relates the dangers of the pesticides to actual human life. His testimony focuses on human suffering, while another prominent activist at the time, Rachel Carson, focused more on the impacts of pesticides on the nonhuman environment. Chavez's testimony reflects a shift in the environmental movement during the 1960s and 1970s towards an understanding of the interrelations of human health and the ecosystem as a whole.