Copyright (c) 2007 San Joaquin College of Law
San Joaquin Agricultural Law Review
COMMENT: EXAMINING THE LAWS AFFECTING THE CHILD FARM WORKER AND THEIR IMPACT ON THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER
2006 / 2007
16 S.J. Agric. L. Rev. 37
Dede J. Agrava
Our nation's agricultural industry saves money daily by allowing children to work in our fields. The United States Department of Labor ("DOL") and state laws protect children and regulate the hours and conditions under which they may be employed. Generally, the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") restricts the amount of hours children may work. 1 However, the children working on farms are exempt from these guidelines; they have their own, more lenient, set of rules. 2
Many laws and rules govern the farm worker. The Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") controls the use of pesticides and the DOL controls the agricultural worker. 3
This Comment will examine whether these laws truly protect the child farm worker. Discussion will include: how labor standards for children in agriculture differ from those for non-farm jobs; 4 how the use of lawful pesticides directly affects the health of the child farm worker; and how pesticide exposure may cause illness, criminal behavior and death.
Most farm workers live in poverty. 5 At the expense of the American taxpayer, our government provides food and health care to the poor. The amount of tax dollars spent on our prisons has never been greater. 6 Are the laws governing the child farm worker contributing to this?
Lenient labor laws and lawful pesticide use provide a significant economic benefit to the farmer. The logical assumption would be that this savings translates into an economic benefit to the American ...
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