Today, our PAN partners in Asia are releasing an in-depth, global study on children and pesticides. As a mom, I'm both deeply thankful for this report and profoundly frustrated that it needs to be written at all.
Dr. Meriel Watts reviewed hundreds of scientific studies from around the world, and found that children across the globe face serious — and growing — health harms from exposure to pesticides. Her report then outlines clear, doable steps to making real change.
PAN Asia-Pacific's Executive Director Sarojeni Rengam makes the urgency of the problem very clear in this morning's statement to the press:
"The pesticide industry has evaded responsibility and accountability despite the harms caused, and continues to generate billions of dollars in profits. This has to stop now if we are to protect our lives, the health of our children and their mothers, and future generations."
The report's release coincides with International Day of No Pesticide Use, a day set aside to mark the anniversary of the disastrous pesticide factory explosion in Bhopal nearly 30 years ago. Each year, thousands of PAN activists around the world — farmers, farmworkers, consumers and moms — honor the day by calling for safer, saner ways to control pests.
In Malaysia, today launches a week of activities that will culminate in a celebration of International Human Rights Day next Tuesday. In Uruguay, PAN will host a national forum on the health harms of pesticides linked to GE soy and corn and the benefits of agroecological farming methods.
In Argentina, groups are celebrating recent wins against Monsanto's control of the agricultural system and supporting similar battles in communities across Latin America.
Here at PAN North America, we honor the momentum that's clearly building across the country to build a food system that sustains and nourishes our children rather than putting them at risk. From the statehouse in Maryland to California's Central Valley, from Kaua'i county council to Minnesota agencies, communities and states across the country are standing up for kids' health.
For the children
We've known for decades that pesticides and the problems they cause don't respect international borders — that's exactly why PAN was founded back in 1982 as a global network.
And as we documented in A Generation in Jeopardy, the science is ever clearer that pesticides just aren't good for kids. PAN AP's new report, Poisoning our Future: Children and Pesticides underscores the scope and urgency of a problem that's affecting families around the world.
In her final chapter, Meriel reminds us of the powerful words of Nelson Mandela:
"There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children."
So glad to be part of a global network that's rolling up its sleeves to meet this challenge. Let's keep up the good work.