Yellow Airplane

This week on our drive to school we saw the little yellow airplane. It was the airplane we’d seen many times on the trip to Grandma and Pop’s house.  It’s usually parked in the hanger, but not this time. This time it was zipping through the air as if it were manipulated by a remote control. My son was in awe. We watched it fly around, back and forth, and then it released it’s puff. The crop duster released it’s cloud right over the crop below. While I realize there is a reason for this type of application for pesticides and fertilizers, it immediately brought so many questions to mind.

How far does this dust travel once it’s released into the air?

Should we be holding our breathe? 

Do the people who live near here know this is happening right now?

What if they have their windows open? Erin Brockovich comes to mind.

I realize that I live pretty close to a few sugar cane and corn fields. How often does this happen around my house and I don’t see it? 

In a time when I’ve just had my third friend diagnosed with cancer younger than 45 years old.  How does this affect our health?

Can our bodies detoxify this from the air we breathe? 

Has this ever been tested to see how far it travels in the air? 

What impact does this have on our children?

These questions swirl in my mind as the plane continues its path across the sky. I can’t help but think about the long-term effects of pesticide exposure. Reports and studies have linked various chemicals used in agriculture to health issues, including respiratory problems and even cancer. Yet, here we are, watching the chemicals drift through the air as if it’s just another day.

I remember reading about buffer zones and regulations meant to protect residential areas from pesticide drift. However, seeing it firsthand makes those regulations feel inadequate. The sight of the little yellow plane, once a source of fascination, now fills me with unease.

“Mama,” he says, “isn’t that plane so cool?” I’m not so sure what to say. I just nod. “Yep.”

As we continue our drive, I think about how I can protect my family. Should we invest in air purifiers? Can planting more trees and greenery around our home act as a natural barrier? There are no easy answers, but these moments remind me of the importance of staying informed and advocating for safer practices in our community.