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February 22, 2024Justice40 tools must ensure that farmworkers are recognized as Environmental Justice communities and receive benefits.

Press Release

Media Contact

Deidre Nelms; Coming Clean;, (802) 251-0203 ext. 711.

Today members of Coming Clean’s Farmworker Health and Justice Team submitted a comment urging the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) to improve its Environmental Justice (EJ) Scorecard to ensure that federal agencies are providing Justice40 benefits to farmworkers. Phase One of the EJ Scorecard was launched in 2023, as mandated by President Biden’s Executive Order 14008 on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad. It is intended to track the progress of federal agencies in ensuring that 40% of climate, housing, energy, pollution remediation, and related federal benefits flow to “disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution,” as part of the implementation of the Justice40 Initiative

Farmworkers are “a particularly important EJ community,” states the comment, because they often live in remote, rural areas, are disproportionately exposed to toxic pesticides, intense heat and high humidity, and wildfire smoke and pollution, and experience other health stressors such as substandard housing, harsh working conditions, and lack of access to affordable healthcare. 

"For a brief time during COVID, farmworkers became ‘visible’ as essential workers.  Now, they need to be made ‘visible’ as an environmental justice community nationwide that deserves the same attention and action as other EJ communities,” said Jeannie Economos, Coordinator of the Pesticide Safety and Environmental Health Project at the Farmworker Association of Florida. “Every one of us depends on the hard work of farmworkers. They must not be left out."

The comment noted that federal agencies are not currently collecting adequate data to track how “government decisions affect the health of farmworkers,” and advised CEQ to “consider other metrics as proxies for the extent to which agencies are successfully addressing the interests of farmworkers. Farmworker-focused metrics should include: community engagement and outreach, measures of environmental stressors, and (where possible) direct measures of health outcomes.”

Last year, the CEQ made improvements to its Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool (CEJST) that enable it to better identify farmworkers as “disadvantaged communities,” incorporating several recommendations provided by Coming Clean and the Environmental Justice Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform

Comments submitted on the EJ scorecard were co-developed and endorsed by members of Coming Clean’s Farmworker Health and Justice Team, including Alianza Nacional de Campesinas, California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, Clean-Healthy, Earthjustice, Farmworker Association of Florida, Farmworker Justice, Migrant Clinicians Network, Pesticide Action Network of North America, and Toxic Free North Carolina. Coming Clean also endorsed separate comments submitted by the Environmental Justice Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform.


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Coming Clean is a nonprofit environmental health collaborative working to transform the chemical industry so it is no longer a source of harm, and to secure systemic changes that allow a safe chemical and clean energy economy to flourish. Our members are organizations and technical experts — including grassroots activists, community leaders, scientists, health professionals, business leaders, lawyers, and farmworker advocates — committed to principled collaboration to advance a nontoxic, sustainable, and just world for all.


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