Last week PAN released a new report, A Generation in Jeopardy: How pesticides are undermining our children's health & intelligence with events in 10 cities. The report has landed well, with media outlets across the country spotlighting the growing body of evidence that pesticides are one of the reasons that children are less healthy today.
We're excited this national conversation is underway — and we could not have made it happen without the support of our PAN Partners. Here in Minnesota we worked with doctors, moms and advocacy organizations who are also working in the state to keep kids safe from toxic chemicals.
One of the report's promoters was Bonnie Wirtz. I've written about Bonnie's exposure to the insecticide chlorpyrifos before. Bonnie is now part of a grassroots coalition promoting pesticide awareness, and she is speaking up in the media about the dangers pesticides pose to our kids. She's also talking to the women in her Holistic Mom's Group about the issue — next week Bonnie and I will present the findings of PAN's report to this group of concerned mothers.
Highlighting science on OPs
We also had the great pleasure of releasing A Generation in Jeopardy alongside David Wallinga, M.D., M.P.A., the Senior Advisor in Science, Food and Health at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. Dr. Wallinga was able to connect Bonnie's personal experience with pesticide exposure to his scientific research, which was cited in PAN's report.
Chlorpyrifos is just one of the organophosphate pesticides that can threaten kid's health by permanently altering their brain chemistry. According to Dr. Wallinga:
Pesticide use is increasing. At the same time, our children are suffering from an epidemic of expensive, hard-to-treat conditions and diseases that the science now ties to their exposure to pesticides. This is neither an acceptable, nor an affordable trend.
Stories of hope
A report focused on how pesticides are harming children's health can be pretty overwhelming.
But there is good news: this is a problem we can fix. A Generation in Jeopardy includes examples of communities across the country taking steps to protect children from pesticides where they live, learn and play, as well as policy recommendations that go well beyond shopping — including suggestions for dramatically changing which pesticides are allowed onto the market and where we allow pesticides to be sprayed.
We're asking our supporters to take a pledge to start a conversation in their communities — with neighbors, family and friends — about the need to better protect kids from pesticides.
One of partners, Julia Earl, helped us release the report with the positive example of what she's accomplished in Minneapolis. Through her work with Preventing Harm Minnesota and Clear Corps, Julia has successfully encouraged schools and parks to phase out pesticide use completely — including Logan Park, where we held our press conference.
Thanks again to all of our PAN Partners who are ramping up this important national conversation!