By Alyssa Morones
Maria Castro * has worked in Kern County’s fields for 14 years, since her family moved to Delano, Calif., from Mexico when she was 16 years old. She started working as a grape harvester two days after her arrival.
She soon noticed a weird scent on her clothes that wouldn’t come off, even after washing. Her brother-in-law told her it was sulfur that growers applied to fields to help the grapes grow faster.
“They never really tell us the names of the pesticides,” said Castro, “or their dangers.”
But Castro learned first-hand about the health issues that come with exposure to pesticides.
She’s noticed that soon after chemical applications on or near where she’s working, she feels nauseous and dizzy. Sometimes she vomits. She said she’s seen co-workers faint.