Sixty-one year old Geraldean Matthew, a former Lake Apopka farmworker , spends most of her days in ill health. Suffering from congestive heart failure, Lupus, and kidney failure, she believes that exposure to highly toxic pesticides that were sprayed several decades ago is responsible for her various illnesses, as well as those of her children.
The predominantly African American community of former Lake Apopka farmworkers in Central Florida, U.S.A., was exposed for decades to the organochlorine pesticides aldrin, endrin, dieldrin, chlordane, DDT, and toxaphene. Used for vegetable cultivation beginning in World War II, these pesticides were eventually all banned, because of their toxicity which resulted in their serious impacts on wildlife and the environment. Because of their persistence in the environment, their legacy continues decades after their use was curtailed. However, survivor farmworkers who were exposed to these same chemicals have yet to achieve justice for violations of their right to life, health, and livelihood.