On Monday, April 29th, some 35 occupational health professionals from the American College of Occupational and Environmental Health who were in Orlando attending a conference traveled from their hotel near the convention center to the Apopka area to experience a Lake Apopka Toxic Tour.
With former farmworker and quilt maker Linda Lee accompanying the tour and talking about her personal experiences, the group visited the former farm lands, passed the Zellwood Superfund site, saw a small labor camp, and stood on the shores of Lake Apopka at Magnolia Park.
The tour included the landfill, medical waste incinerator and sewage treatment plant that are all located in the community of South Apopka. The last stop on the tour was the FWAF Apopka office, where the tour group heard the personal stories from Maria and Yesica - current and former nursery workers who talked about their experiences of working around and being exposed to pesticides and the symptoms that they experienced. The group also heard from a representative from the Apopka family health clinic about the history of the clinic and the services they provide to the community.
Later that afternoon, back at the conference hotel, a follow up event, that was open to the media, was held which continued and broadened the discussion and explored future avenues of collaboration and communication to try to solve some of the occupational health problems facing today's farmworkers.