More than a million residents in California -most of them Latino farm workers that make up the backbone of the agricultural workforce- don’t have safe drinking water in their homes and schools.
Scientists say the water is tainted with unsafe levels of arsenic and harmful pesticides such as 123 TCP and other cancer-causing carcinogens.
The toxic drinking water is said to have led to higher levels of serious or terminal illnesses over the last several decades. The communities impacted are also among the hardest hit by COVID-19 in the state.
California’s governor recently described the situation as a “moral disgrace,” and signed new legislation that provides 130 million dollars in funding to ensure clean and safe drinking water in years to come.
But local environmental activists - and many farm workers - say the federal government must step up with millions of dollars more in funding if there is any chance to provide safe water for the masses here.
Mike Kirsch reports from California’s Central Valley.