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Pesticide exposure bill approved

Farm workers applauded Tuesday as House members voted unanimously to require farmers to tell them what pesticides they are exposed to on the job.

"The workers need to be protected," said farm worker Luckner Millien of Apopka, who awoke at 2 a.m. to travel to Tallahassee with about a dozen Apopka and Dade City farm workers. "It's always hard to defend these people, to get what's right for them."

Some were in the House gallery when a similar bill failed in the 1993 Legislature.

"Last year, I went home crying," said Margarita Romo of the Farmworker Self Help group from Dade City. "It feels good to win one."

The measure passed 113-0 and goes to the Senate.

Florida doesn't have a law giving farm workers a right to written information about pesticides used in fields where they work. The bill would let them or their doctors or other representatives get that information within two days.

It would require the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to produce a pesticides safety information sheet for farm workers.

The department would monitor any complaints of retaliation against farm workers who seek information under the law and report on them to the 1996 Legislature.