Stop exploitation of workers in the cut flower industry
According to Ekklesia website:
A study of 8,000 flower workers in Bogota in 2002 found they had been exposed to 127 different pesticides, one fifth banned in the US for their toxicity.
The Environmental Working Group reports that workers in Ecuador and Columbia often work from 7am to 3am in the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, while they are exposed to “100 varieties of pesticides.” Workers who are pregnant are exposed to these pesticides, and some researchers suggest that these pesticides, plus long arduous days, are factors leading to neurological impairment in the babies born to cut flower workers. See: study of female workers in Ecuador’s flower industry for more information on this research.
What can you do? Sign a petition to the flower industry in Columbia urging them to improve conditions for flower workers. You can also sign another petition to a large flower retailer in the US, 1 800 Flowers, and ask them to carry a fair-trade line of flowers, report on product sourcing and develop a code of conduct for suppliers. If you live in the UK, see the War on Want petition to call for a supermarket watchdog.