Fidelia Morales | Lindsay, California

The Morales home sits on a patch of parched earth surrounded by orange groves in the small agricultural town of Lindsay, California.

Fidelia and Luis moved here 10 years ago, when their triplets were 10 and their son Matthew was 2. Their youngest, Luis Junior, was born a year later.

The triplets are in college now, but Fidelia still worries about her children – mostly about Junior. Teachers report behavioral problems in the classroom. The 9-year-old is bright and active but has a hard time listening and doing his work.

Fidelia believes pesticide drift is partly to blame.

The mother of five has become an active member of the Coalition Advocating Pesticide Safety (CAPS) in Tulare County. She has filed two reports with the local Agriculture Commissioner, who found chemicals on her property near the swingset and trampoline where children play. So Fidelia speaks out in media interviews, at hearings held by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, and at press conferences. She has joined a growing number of voices calling for a ban on the neurotoxic pesticide chlorpyrifos.

“She’s taken on a different vision of engagement,” says Angel Garcia, a CAPS organizer. “She’s empowered and not afraid to talk about use of chemicals around her property.”

Related Links

Californians for Pesticide Reform

Coalition Advocating for Pesticide Safety

The Guardian: 'Like a slow death': families fear pesticide poisoning after Trump reverses ban (04/17/17)

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