Two Maryland Legislators Awarded for Advancing PFAS Protection for Frontline Farmworkers

Marylanders for Food and Farm Worker Protection (MFFWP) Honors Two Maryland Legislators for Advancing PFAS Protection for Frontline Farmworkers

May 12, 2022 – For Immediate Release:

Marylanders for Food and Farm Worker Protection (MFFWP) Coalition pays tribute to individuals, organizations, and programs whose often tireless work addresses the health and labor inequities facing food and farmworkers. The MFFWP Coalition’s Excellence in Food and Farm Worker Health Award honors legislators once a year whose work in the Maryland General Assembly session advances protections for food and farm workers’ health and well-being.

MFFWP is pleased to present its Spring 2023 award to Delegate Dana Stein and Senator Shelly Hettleman.

In light of the increased risk from pesticides faced by Maryland’s farmworkers, MFFWP honors Delegate Stein and Senator Hettleman for their bill sponsorship and work in passage of HB319/SB158. These legislators merit this recognition because of their groundbreaking work to protect Marylanders from the toxic ‘forever chemicals’ PFAS in pesticides. Senator Hettleman’s and Delegate Stein’s bills take an important step to advance restrictions on PFAS in pesticides. The bills were signed into law by Governor Moore on May8th. The law brings to light emerging awareness of significant PFAS pollution associated with pesticides, its impact on Maryland crops, farmworkers, residents, and the environment, and establishes a 6-month three-state agency study to address PFAS testing questions in preparation for a 2024 bill to restrict PFAS in pesticides.

PFAS are a class of 12,000 per- and poly-fluoroalkyl chemicals that are highly associated with significant health harms including testicular and kidney cancer, liver disease, high cholesterol, low birthweight in newborns and impaired vaccine response in children exposed in utero. Exposure to PFAS has been associated with more severe disease after exposure to COVID 19.

New research is finding common pesticides contain PFAS, often at very high levels, as active ingredients, as undisclosed inert ingredients added by manufacturers, and from container contamination. “Millions of pounds of pesticides are applied annually to Maryland crops, putting our farmworkers on the front lines for toxic exposures to both pesticides already known to cause harm, and PFAS.” said Ruth Berlin, MFFWP coalition member representing Maryland Pesticide Education Network.

Marylanders for Food and Farm Worker Protection commends Delegate Stein and Senator Hettleman for their continued efforts to protect the health of all Marylanders and for their support for farmworker health and the health of Maryland crops, water, soil, and environment.

MFFWP presented the Excellence in Worker Health Award to Delegate Stein in the House Chambers in Annapolis. Senator Hettleman was unavailable and will receive her award separately. See the awards for Delegate Stein and Senator Hettleman.

Point of Contact:
Bonnie Raindrop,

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