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EPA's Region 6 Office

Serving: Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and 66 Tribal Nations

"El Moscas" y Los Pesticidas

One of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s goals is to protect human health and the environment from adverse health effects resulting from pesticide use and ensure pesticides and alternatives are available for safe use. Under statutory authority the Environmental Protection Agency’s responsibilities include protecting consumers, pesticide users, and workers who may be exposed to pesticides. Achieving these protective outcomes requires the combination of programs and activities by citizens, pesticide users, manufacturers of pesticides, states, tribes, EPA Regions and Headquarters and other partners. Independent surveys and reports estimate that there are anywhere from two to four million farmworkers and dependants in the United States, and that these individuals may be at higher risk for pesticide-related illness.

Taking in consideration EPA’s mandate, the number of Hispanic farm workers who travel through our region, and the call from community leaders for outreach tools that go beyond the field training; EPA Region 6 developed “El Moscas” y Los Pesticidas. “El Moscas” y los Pesticidas is an interactive humorous play designed to increase safety awareness for individuals who work in areas that are treated with pesticides and to broaden their understanding of the "take-home" risks they may be bringing to their families. This script was written by a former migrant worker, Mr. Nephtalí De León, with input from federal, state and health agencies that have a shared interest in providing and communicating information about Pesticide Awareness. The dialogue goes beyond translation, and is filled with expressions and words used by Hispanic farmworkers.

In April and May 2009, the theater concept was tested in El Paso, San Elizario, and San Juan, Texas. Over 300 individuals, who ranged from established farmers to migrant workers to community activists, viewed the presentations and evaluated its content. Based on the feedback received, the pesticide awareness information was much needed and very well understood. After several modifications to the script were made, the theater production packet is now complete and ready for distribution to organizations wishing to put on their own performances. The packet includes the script, a list of messages to reinforce, pictures of props and costumes, performance advertisement pieces and an evaluation sample sheet.

This has been a very special project for the entire team - created from the heart in appreciation for the many individuals who often go unnoticed among long rows of vegetables and fruit orchards, filling buckets with produce under the stark heat of the summer sun and the bitter cold of late autumn. We understand that this production is not going to solve the existing gaps in communication and education programs in farmworker communities; but it can serve as a vehicle to begin to engage and involve the affected individuals as they become the players in the acts about their own lives.

Paula Flores-Gregg at (214) 665-8123, Linda Falk at (214) 665-8535, or Gerardo Acosta (214) 665-8042


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