This death of a teen-aged agricultural worker is another opportunity to remember that farm work is literally one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States.
from the National Center for Farmworker Health:
While farmworkers face workplace hazards similar to those found in other industrial settings, such as working with heavy machinery and hard physical labor, they also face unique occupational hazards including pesticide exposure, skin disorders, infectious diseases, lung problems, hearing and vision disorders, and strained muscles and bones. Lack of access to quality medical care makes these risks even greater for the three million migrant and seasonal farmworkers who work in the fields every year.
|Hanna Kendall (center) and Jade Garza (right) were killed in a Monsanto corn field last month. |
(Photo contributed to the Quad City Times.)
Because of an exception in the federal child labor law, children can work for hire in agriculture at far younger ages, for far longer hours, and in far more hazardous conditions than other working children. Most are Hispanic and poor; many start working at ages 11 or 12.
While the Twilight Saga of vampires and love enthralls contemporary teens and the young-at-heart, there is another shadowy tale of danger that is all-too-real for a different segment of North America: the agriculture work of child and teen laborers. And now the bite of a vampire bat has felled one of them.