Pioneer Promotes Sun Sense During the Detasseling Season and Beyond

Jul 08, 2002, 01:00 ET from Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.

    DES MOINES, Iowa, July 8 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 27,000 people will find
 a job detasseling seed corn for Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., during
 the month of July. This outdoor employment is the source of income for many
 Midwestern teenagers each summer, but the job doesn't come without risks.
     Each day detasselers can experience eight or more hours of sun exposure.
 Unprotected sun exposure is ranked as the highest environmental risk factor in
 the development of skin cancer. The sun's ultraviolet rays (UV) also may lead
 to premature aging and other skin irritations.
     A typical day for a detasseler begins early in the morning to capitalize
 on cooler temperatures and can stretch into the early afternoon. Detasselers
 also work seven days a week during the two- to three-week season in order to
 complete the process of removing corn tassels at a crucial time in the plant's
 growth -- prior to pollination. The process of detasseling is laborious, but
 necessary for the production of Pioneer corn seed, which will be sold to more
 farmers than any other brand.
     "I looked forward to detasseling every summer while I was in high school,"
 said Leanne Schwickerath, former detasseler. "I'll admit it was hard work, but
 I really enjoyed the money and the tan I developed. I'm glad Pioneer is taking
 precautions against sun exposure because it wasn't something I thought about
 15 years ago and now I regret it."
     Pioneer and its parent company, DuPont, place an emphasis on safety for
 both full-time and seasonal employees. As a part of the company's ongoing
 efforts to protect its seasonal employees, Pioneer has partnered with the Iowa
 Department of Public Health (IDPH) to distribute literature with tips on how
 to protect skin from the sun's UV rays. The "Choose Your Cover" brochures were
 distributed this June to temporary Pioneer employees in 10 states.
     The Iowa Department of Public Health recommends people working outdoors
 generously apply a sunscreen, with a sun protection factor of at least 15 not
 less than 30 minutes before going outdoors. They also recommend reapplying it
 frequently throughout the day and encourage wearing a wide-brimmed hat,
 lightweight clothing to cover the skin, and a pair of sunglasses.
     "Our goal is to create awareness among detasselers about the importance of
 proper sun protection in and out of the field," said Terry Garner, production
 manager for Pioneer's North American corn operations. "We encourage all
 employees to protect their skin throughout their entire lives."
     The joint effort between Pioneer and the IDPH was formed to increase
 awareness and education about the importance of protecting one's skin from the
 sun's UV rays. The "Choose Your Cover" campaign is a national program
 sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
     "We are pleased to develop this partnership with Pioneer because we will
 reach so many young people," said Lorrie Graaf, public health advisor assigned
 to the Iowa Department of Public Health and former detasseler. "Together, we
 have the opportunity to spread the word on the harmful effects of exposure to
 the sun's UV rays."
     In addition to sun safety, Pioneer takes extensive precautions to protect
 employees while in the field. Pioneer detasseling crews are supervised by a
 crew leader trained by Pioneer on safety in the fields. These leaders ensure
 gloves and safety glasses are worn by all employees, initiate break periods,
 supply drinking water, and maintain fire extinguishers and first aid kits.
 Pioneer also certifies crew leaders in CPR.
     The "Choose Your Cover" campaign is just one of many health promotion and
 education activities designed by the CDC to improve the health of the people
 of the United States.
     Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., a subsidiary of DuPont, is the
 world's leading source of customized solutions for farmers, livestock
 producers, and grain and oilseed processors. With headquarters in Des Moines,
 Iowa, Pioneer provides access to advanced plant genetics, crop protection
 solutions, and quality crop systems to customers in nearly 70 countries.
 DuPont is a science company, delivering science-based solutions in food and
 nutrition, health care, apparel, home and construction, electronics and
 transportation that make a difference in people's lives.
     For additional company or product information, visit the Pioneer worldwide
 Web site: .
     For more information, contact:  Lanie Ast for Pioneer Hi-Bred
 International, Inc., +1-515-248-4974, or .
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SOURCE Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.