chapter  12
26 Pages

Cancer Valley, California: Pesticides, Politics, and Childhood Disease in the Central Valley

When the Kern County Health Department undertook an investigation of the cancer cluster, laypeople and healthcare professionals, including the county health department, speculated that pesticides were most likely to blame. e community’s close proximity to heavily sprayed elds certainly made pesticides a prime suspect, but the speculations were supported by science as well. A number of previous scientic investigations found several pesticides either to be carcinogenic or to be strongly suspected of having those properties, some of which were subsequently taken o the market and banned in the United States.7 Recently banned pesticides were DDT (1972), aldrin (1976), dieldrin (1976), chlordane (1978), and heptachlor (1978). e removal of these sprays from the market did little to hush talk about the continued availability and use of carcinogenic pesticides.