GroundTruth Blog

Karl Tupper's blog

Karl Tupper's blog
By Karl Tupper,

In 2004, a group of public utilities in Illinois took pesticide-giant Syngenta to court to answer for the pollution caused by its flagship herbicide atrazine. Syngenta’s response? Wage a PR campaign against the court itself. While transforming a lawsuit into a media spectacle is a common, if unfortunate, tactic these days, targeting the court itself is a new low.

Karl Tupper's blog
By Karl Tupper,

Geneva, April 29: I am extremely pleased to report that the Parties to the Stockholm Convention have just agreed to phase out endosulfan globally! This is a huge victory for PAN and our partners around the world, most especially our civil society colleagues in India who have worked tirelessly to make this happen.

The final decision has a few loopholes (they almost always do), allowing endosulfan to be used on certain crops against some specific pests for the next six years. But we’re nonetheless very happy, and I’m certainly relieved. The loopholes (“specific exemptions” in the language of the treaty) were a necessary, if unfortunate, compromise needed to get India to agree to the ban. Still, most uses will end next summer, with a short list winding down through 2017. And then that’s it: no more endosulfan.

Karl Tupper's blog
By Karl Tupper,

I know I've written it before, but we're really witnessing the endgame for endosulfan in Geneva this week. I'm here, once again, for negotiations under the Stockholm Convention, otherwise known as the POPS treaty. The global agreement bans the worst of the worst chemicals — Persistent Organic Pollutants like dioxins and PCBs. As I've been chronicling in this blog, endosulfan has been winding its way through the Convention's evaluation process for several years now. If the stars align, it'll finally be added to the Convention this week, triggering a global phaseout.

Karl Tupper's blog
By Karl Tupper,

Next Monday is World Malaria Day, and DDT will surely be in the news. The usual parade of opinion pieces calling for a revival of DDT spraying to control malaria (as though it ever stopped) will be on display.

You'll likely also read that the World Health Organization (WHO) has raised fresh concerns about its safety, and you may even hear that the Stockholm Convention has endorsed its continued use. Let me try to explain what's going on.

Karl Tupper's blog
By Karl Tupper,

A few weeks ago, California's Department of Pesticide Regulation announced the launch of a new, "first of its kind" air monitoring network designed to look for pesticides drifting into populated areas in the state's fertile agricultural valleys. Weekly samples will be collected over the course of a year in three communities: Shafter, Salinas, and Ripon. Each will be analyzed for 34 pesticides including many neurotoxic insecticides and highly toxic fumigants like methyl iodide. It's an ambitious project, and it's sure to yield a ton of interesting data, yet I just can't get excited about it because: a) PAN's been doing a version of this for years; and b) lack of data isn't the problem at this point.