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April 18, 1995 - Image 19

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-04-18

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The Michigan Daily Tuesday, April 18, 1995 -19

Grape farmers
deserve support:
Join the boycott
to the Daily:
In support of the approximately
,00 farm workers employed in
California's vineyards, and in protest
aginst the hazardous and unjust liv-
ing and working conditions to which
ihey and their families are subjected,
the United Farm Workers (UFW)
latfuched a nationwide boycott of
Californian grapes in 1984. We in
Aianza, the Latina/o Student Alli-
ance at the University, along with
more than 1,000 other groups, includ-
ing, the American Library Associa-
tion, the National Organization for
Women and the Michigan Student
Ossembly and Residence Hall Asso-
ciation at the University have gone on
record to support the UFW's boycott.
We ask that you, the readers of The
Michigan Daily, do likewise by sup-
porting the UFW as well during the
summer months and refuse to pur-
chase or consume Californian table
grapes until the UFW declares the
boycott over.
The goal of the boycott is to en-
sure safe and just working and living
conditions for the work force directly
responsible for feeding the United
States. The boycott is aimed as well at
banning toxic pesticides that are used
widely despite their well-known haz-
ardous effects. While most of the food
pr6duced in the united states comes
intoY contact with pesticides at one
point or another, the largest amount
rd most deadly of these chemicals
used in the grape-growing indus-
. According to a report issued by
Kenneth D. Rosenman, dean of the
Cpllege of Human Medicine at Michi-
gar, State University, "California
grape production workers have in-
creased rates of pesticide related acute
illnesses, particularly dermatitis, as
pornpared to other farm workers ...
30 to 40 percent of the pesticides used
ortable grapes cause birth defects or
cancer in animals." Evidence of this
may be found in the grape-growing
town of McFarland, Calif., where in
1984 an abnormally high percentage
of farm workers' children were diag-
nosed with cancer or birth defects.
Latpr, high incidences of both cancer
andbirth defects resulting from expo-
4jre to toxic pesticides were discov-
ered in Earlimart and Fowler, two
neighboring towns that are also sur-
rounded by vineyards, groves and
fields. Towns such as these have a
cancer rate up to 1,200 percent higher
than the national average. This is a
result ofthe frequent and heavy use of
toxic pesticides such as Dinoseb,
Methyl Bromide, Parathion, Phosdrin
nd.. Captan. While Dinoseb was
>anned in 1988, and Parathion was
voluntarily withdrawn from use in
1992, Phosdrin and Methyl Bromide
are .not scheduled to be withdrawn
from use until the end of 1994 and
2001 respectively. Though known to

cause tumors, genetic mutations, hy-
pothermia, oligueria and anorexia,
Captan remains in use today. In 1989,
Captan was banned in several sectors
of the food industry. However, the
grape industry was exempted from
any regulations. Unless we continue
to support the boycott, such chemi-
cals will continue to be employed
without restrictions.
The loose regulation of the agri-
cultural industry violates the rights of
farm workers and seriously threatens
their well-being. Over one fourth of
the Right to Know laws in the United
States do not requite farm employers
to inform their employees about the
toxic chemicals they will come in
contact with on the job. Federal law
also exempts the farm industry from
child labor laws, thus allowing 16-
year-olds to work under hazardous
conditions and 10-year-olds to en-
gage in "non-hazardous" farm work.
Furthermore, the agricultural indus-
try is not required to provide clean
water and adequate sanitation facili-
ties for the workers. This means that
workers, who often end up drenched
in chemicals after a long day of work
in the fields, have no way of remov-
ing even mildly toxic chemicals from
their skin. These conditions are di-
rectly related to the abnormally high
incidences of brain tumors, nerve dis-
orders, lymphoma, leukemia, multiple
myeloma, lung cancer, sterility, aller-
gic dermatitis and chromosomal de-
fects among all workers, as well as to
the high rate of miscarriages and spon-
taneous abortions among women
These issues do not just apply to
farm workers. The use of pesticides
affects anyone who is involved in the
distribution, purchase and consump-
tion of grapes. The cumulative effects
of chronic exposure to pesticides ap-
ply not only to vineyard workers, but
also to the packers, whose job it is to
ensure that the grapes look nice when
they arrive at our local store, our
cafeteria and our kitchen table. Pesti-
cides affect the consumer as well.
"One third of the grapes analyzed by
the FDA were found to contain resi-
dues of one or more pesticides ...
Captan residues were detected in 15
percent of all samples..." It is impor-
tant to remember that the FDA's rou-
tine laboratory testing methods fail to
detect more than 50 percent of the
chemical residues in the grapes
The price for beauty is paid for in
human lives, in cases of cancer, neu-
rotoxicity, sterility, birth defects and
miscarriages. It is for these reasons
that we ask you to support the grape
boycott at the University. With your
support we were successful in sus-
pending the serving of grapes in the
residence halls over the past year.
Meanwhile, we continue to push for
NO GRAPES both on and off cam-
pus. Our ultimate goal is a University
proclamation in support of the UFW's
boycott. The more pressure that is
applied to the industry, the quicker it
will employ the standards of the UFW

which would benefit the consumer
and alleviate the dire situation for
California's farm workers. Pleasejoin
us in our effort; we need your support.
!Que Viva la Causa!
ALIANZA, the Latina/o Student
Wayne Alejandro Wolbert
Liberal Daily: Don't
vilify GOP Contract!
To the Daily:
Iam writing in response to "Newt's
Contract: It Slices, It Dices, It Soaks
the Poor!" (3/16/95). The editorial
commences with criticism of $55 bil-
lion worth of "corporate welfare" and
then goes on to distort the realities of
the Contract With America. Much
has been written recently in the Daily
which attempts to discredit a revolu-
tionary strategy which delivered as-
tonishing results on Election Day. It
has been customary for politicians to
promise everything to everyone in
vague terms and then to renege on
their promises once in office. The
House Republicans who signed the
Contract knew they would be held to
it, and thus made sure that its provi-
sions be popular and possible to pass.
Most American voters are knowl-
edgeable enough to know that "cor-
porate welfare" is not something that
the government gives to CEOs so
they can buy extra yachts. If that were
where the money actually went, vot-
ers would not have been to eager to
place Republican majorities in both
houses of Congress. Subsidies to cor-
porations have many functions. One
is to assist with research.this research
is used to improve technology and
create new products, often resulting
in lowerprices for consumers. I fail to
understand why someone would view
corporate research grants as unac-
ceptable, but support grants for Uni-
versity research. Subsidies often also
go toward industry maintenance of
their global competitive edge. French
farmers are heavily subsidized, yet
some would argue that publicly pro-

viding fertility drugs for welfare re-
cipients is more worthwhile than sub-
sidizing American farmers. Subsidiz-
ing farmers allows the government to
purchase excess produce to prevent
prices from free-falling, and to dis-
pense it for free in foreign aid each
year. Needless to say, corporate sub-
sidies create many jobs at all levels
and are well worth their expense.
This leads to my discussion of
what the author referred to as "the
crucial safety net." The real action in
welfare reform is at the state levels,
and Michigan's John Engler and Mas-
sachusetts' William Weld are held in
high regard by all, except those who
would unfairly profit off the
government's generosity. The reason
why Congress wants to cut welfare
but not subsidies for defense contrac-
tors is simple.
The author also referred to the
expansion of jobs as "The Spotted
Owl is Robbing Decent, Hard-Work-
ing Men of Their Job Act." The
author's condescending attitude and
disdain for working people are not
surprising when viewed in the con-
text of his belief that Congress should
only make spending cuts if they pro-
mote class envy. "Corporate welfare"
creates jobs at all levels and promotes
unity. Since humans are the most ad-
vanced beings on the planet, it makes
little sense to subordinate them to
spotted owls. For too long we have
been conditioned to believe that pro-
tecting an owl's natural habitat justi-
fies causing human hardship.
Speaker Gingrich and Majority
Leader Dole demonstrate leadership
and caring by doing what needs to be
done. They are responsible by not
acquiescing with the high-spending

president to raise taxes and spend
more on existing programs. If they
were to be generous with other
people's tax dollars, they could wake
every morning to another page of the
New York Times editorials proclaim-
ing how wonderful they are. When
the economy finally collapsed, they
could just say it was a result of "12
years of Reagan and Bush and the
Decade of Greed."M
However, America voters want a
balanced budget and sensible entitle-
ment reform. They will no longer be
deceived by verbal sleight-of-hand
about how their long-overdue tax re-
lief comes at the expense of children.
Eliminating military and logging jobs
can only hurt the children of the fired
employees. Why is the Children's
Defense Fund silent?
Ian Goldenberg
RC first-year student
What gives Daily
the right to
criticize music?
To the Daily:
I am writing in regard to the April
6, 1995 article entitled "Cobain's
death marked end of creative era,"
which was written by Brian A. Gnatt.
I read the Daily every day, and I
noticed that Gnatt was lambasted by
Van Halen fanatics who took offense
to his thrashing of the new Van Halen
album. I am sure he will receive a
large negative response for the April
6 article as well, seeing as he once
again violated a cardinal sin, namely
"Thou shalt not disagree with MTV."
What right does Brian A. Gnatt have

to not support the corporate shit MTV
now plays (when they are not playing
"The Real World" for the 800th time
in a weekend.)?
I am appalled that he did not no-
tice the superb originality and crafts-
manship of Van Halen's "Balance",
even though it does not sound exactly
the same as their previous three "ef-
forts." This is merely a setback that a
good, mindless music consumer
should overlook when purchasing the
album. After all, man, Eddie is a rock
and roll God. Remember that one
good song they had a few of years
ago? Remember? I also found it hard
to swallow Gnatt's bashing of Bush,
arguably one of the best bands to
come out this week. Throughout their
album, Bush remains true to their
influences, even going so far as to
completely rip-off, note for note, other
songs. In fact, if you look closely,
Kurt Cobain and Billie joe are prob-
ably credited with writing some, if
not all of the songs. Oh wait, Neil
Young wrote one, that song
"Everything's Zen Cuz We're Rockin'
in the Free World."-
I also do not take kindly to his
abuse of Aerosmith. Sure they put out
the same song 12 times on "Get a
Grip," but they have five more al-
bums on their Geffen contract, and
you can't expect them to put all their
"good" songs on one album, can you?
Let's face it. Who are we to argue
with what MTV decides is the "next
big thing (until next week)." Bands
like Veruca Salt and Collective Shit
have the integrity and originality to
last for the ages. Just ask Warrant.
Chris Parish
LSA sophomore

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September 22, 1995





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