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Talking about pesticides at home


What's bugging the Israeli home?


Deborah Nuriel, a mother from Yesod Ha’Maala, an agricultural town in the Upper Galilee, is worried about her children breathing in pesticides on their way to school.


We met Deborah at our ‘Talking about Pesticides’ conference where she shared her story with us:


Photo credit: Beercha


“When I made Aliyah from bustling Toronto ten years ago, I knew that I wanted to raise my children in the countryside. Yesod Ha’Maala had the rustic charm, the view and the fresh air I’d always dreamed of- or so I thought".


Part of the charm of the pastoral town is the patchwork of residential homes and schools among lush agricultural fields and orchards. But, the manicured rows of crops demand meticulous maintenance and care. The farmers take great pride in their produce and employ an arsenal of chemical munitions to protect their crops. So much so, that the frequent use of pesticides has become part of the fabric of life for the community.


"Ever since I moved to the town, I could smell the pesticides in the air," says Deborah, "and often I could hear my neighbors spraying their crops in the fields, but it was easy to ignore the warning signs because I couldn’t see them. Out of sight, out of mind, guess.


The extent of the pesticide problem only dawned on me when we moved to a new house with an unobscured view of the orange grove across the street. Now, as I look out my kitchen window, to one side I see the tractor trundling between the rows of crops and to the other, I see my kids sitting in a cloud of pesticides at the bus stop. I have no idea what toxic mix of chemicals they are breathing in day after day and I don't know where to turn to find out".


Tractor sprays pesticides while children wait at bus stop

Deborah recalls working as a student at the Weizmann Institute. "In the chemistry lab there were strict regulations to prevent us from breathing in the same harmful chemicals our children are now exposed to on a perpetual basis. When I realized this, the severity of my situation hit home.


Farmers, my neighbors and friends, are legally using deadly toxins right next to their own homes. How am I supposed to protect my family from breathing in these poisons? I can’t lock my kids indoors with the windows closed, can I?” 


 Our proposed bill will call for the spraying of pesticides at times when our children and residents are less likely to be in the vicinity of the agricultural fields and harmful chemical substances. Read more on our proposed bill here.
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