Community questions safety of pesticides amid EPA inaction

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Strawberries are an economic boon to Oxnard, California, and the agriculture sector has been bolstered by the immigrant communities here. The lush, green rows of strawberries surround schools, line highways and seemingly permeate every aspect of life in this coastal city. But the omnipresence of the industry gives second-generation Oxnard resident Mario Quintana pause: he and his wife have decided to send their daughter to school in the next town over to shield her from potential pesticide exposures from the nearby fields. Evidence of harm is inconclusive,  but for Quintana, personal  anecdotes are telling: of his extended family that grew up in this agricultural mecca, only one aunt has made it to 60. Quintana said his mother died in her 30s, after diagnoses of kidney failure and heart disease. At 30 years old, Quintana’s been in and out of the hospital with symptoms relating to the autoimmune disease lupus: blood clots as well as kidney and pulmonary issues. He sees the rampant use of pesticides near homes and schools as a silent scourge on the community.