A Class Action Lawsuit Against the Sugarcane Industry Seeks to Put an End to a Years Long Public Health Catastrophe
Reality Check | WURD radio Special to ecoWURD
Quiet as it’s kept, the sugarcane industry burns about 9 million tons of sugarcane foliage each year in Florida alone. It seems harmless because it’s sugar, but it’s not: most of that burning foliage contains dangerous pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals and that impacts over 40,000 people, mostly Black, who live in Belle Glades, Florida. They are living under a blanket of toxic “black snow” that rains carcinogens over poor and disadvantaged communities.
Frank Biden, Senior Advisor to the Berman Law Group (and younger brother to former Vice President and 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden) talked with Charles Ellison, host of ecoWURD radio on WURD’s Reality Check about a recent class action lawsuit he and others have filed against the state’s sugarcane industry.
“Sugarcane is certainly an environmental threat. Imagine on afternoons when your kids are in school and then you look up at the sky and see this black fallout,” said Biden. “People are breathing it in. Kids have to bring in oxygen tanks in the schools so they’re not breathing in the fallout. It’s very normal to see babies on respirators. The level of damage we are just beginning to grasp. Nearly every child in the community has some sort of breathing device/treatment at home. It really is unconscionable. If it were in an upper class or middle class community, it wouldn’t be tolerated.”