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WDAY: The News Leader

Published July 17, 2012, 10:17 AM

Anti-pesticide movement gaining ground in Lakes Country

Frazee, MN (WDAY TV) - People in Lakes Country say they've had enough. They say pesticides from farm fields keep making them sick. They've part of an anti-pesticide movement that is gaining momentum. Their goal is showing the possible dangers of the air we breathe.

Frazee, MN (WDAY TV) - People in Lakes Country say they've had enough. They say pesticides from farm fields keep making them sick. They've part of an anti-pesticide movement that is gaining momentum. Their goal is showing the possible dangers of the air we breathe.

Norma Smith – Anti-Pesticide Activist: "It's really frustrating. We can't even go out and tend to our own garden."

Don and Norma Smith say that's their reality. Staying indoors, they say to avoid chlorothalonil, a pesticide used in aerial spraying.

Norma Smith: "Every day when the sun comes up it rises off the field and goes whichever way the wind blows."

The Smiths are helping the Pesticide Action Network keep tabs on area air quality. A 3 year study by the organization shows 64% of 250 air samples taken had significant levels of chlorothalonil, a pesticide commonly used to protect potato fields.

The Smiths say pesticides from aerial spraying on a nearby potato field are taking a toll on their hobby farm, and their health too."

Norma Smith: "I have a funny throat, I get a headache, Don gets a headache, depending on how long we're out there how bad it gets."

The Smiths have joined the fight for pesticide awareness, along with a dozen more in the region. Using drift catchers they're collecting research, showing chemicals in the air. They send results to the Pesticide Action Network, and hope for pesticides healthier to animals, and humans.

Norma Smith: "People need to have something safer. We need safer air. "

The EPA regulates the pesticide. It lists it as a probably carcinogen. We reached out to the farmer for comment, but he could not be reached.

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