GroundTruth Blog

GroundTruth: PAN's blog on pesticides, food & health

Emily Marquez's picture

"There's a perception that drift happens." That's what I heard an industry rep say when I listened in on a Kaua'i County Council meeting on pesticide issues last summer (before the landmark Bill 2491 passed). A perception of drift? Really?

If you've been following our work here at PAN you already know that pesticide drift is a problem. On-the-ground data from across the country leaves no question that drift happens — and that people in rural communities are being harmed. But did you know there's more than one kind? It's true. And right now, EPA is reviewing how to best assess the risks of the "other" kind of drift: volatilization.

Kristin Schafer's picture

Last week, I harvested the first cherries from our backyard tree. They were yummy, gorgeous and fresh — so satisfying! Having planted the little tree just last spring and tended it since, it was also satisfying to know the sweet fruit is completely free of any chemicals that could harm me or my family.

If I'd picked up non-organic cherries from the store instead, they could be coated with any of the 42 pesticides USDA found in their most recent round of residue sampling. According to PAN's newly updated WhatsOnMyFood.org online tool, 20 of the chemicals found on cherries are suspected hormone disruptors, seven are harmful to the human nervous system and five have been linked to cancer. Yikes.

Paul Towers's picture

Two. That’s the number of votes a bill to label genetically engineered (GE) foods recently fell short of in the California Senate. And not for lack of trying, or lack of public support. A powerful coalition of moms, farmers, businesses and public interest groups joined together to push the bill forward; they filled the Capitol halls, offices and phone lines of State Senators for days leading up to the vote.

After several attempts to bring SB 1381 to a vote on the Senate floor, including convincing several Senators to abstain from voting, it narrowly failed to pass. Still, the movement to label GE food in California and beyond shows no sign of slowing or backing down.

Medha Chandra's picture

I have some good news to share! After a prolonged tussle, Reckitt Benckiser — the company that manufactures d-CON rodent control products — agreed to pull these rodenticides off the market.

The company and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) came to an agreement: d-CON products will stop being produced by the end of 2014 and distribution of any remaining product will stop by March 2015. This is a victory for PAN and our allies campaigning to stop the use of these products, which have been responsible for poisoning up to 10,000 children a year in the U.S.

As I blogged earlier, EPA and the California Department of Pesticide Control had previously banned these specific rodent control products — called second generation anticoagulant rodenticides — on the grounds that they were hazardous to children, wildlife and pets. Manufacturers of d-CON then challenged these actions by filing legal petitions against the agencies, thus keeping their products on the market while the legal process took its time. But no more.

Romeo Quijano's picture

My grandson, David, stays at our house 2-3 times a week while his parents are at work, and I often have the chance to babysit when I am at home. I began to teach him about healthy diet, organic fruits and vegetables, and the dangers that pesticides bring to children's health when he was about three years old.

Today, we're launching a new international campaign to protect children from the harms of pesticides. Our collective aim is to press for policies that better protect our children from dangerous pesticides — and phase out those that we know are most harmful to children. I'm holding David and his future firmly in mind.

Linda Wells's picture

Time sure flies, doesn't it? This spring marks the not-so-happy 20th anniversary of the introduction of Monsanto's flagship "RoundUp Ready" GE crops. USDA approved the first of these pesticide-intensive systems for commodity crops back in 1994. The new products came with big promises: they would fatten farmers' wallets and at the same time feed starving people around the world.

Farmers bought into RoundUp Ready corn, soy and cotton in a big way. Now, 85% of all corn and 90% of all soybeans grown in the U.S. have that trademarked RoundUp Ready gene. RoundUp Ready is king of the hill when it comes to commodity seeds — but not for long. Five years from now, RoundUp Ready may be nothing more than a relic of the past.

Kristin Schafer's picture

As we head into the warm summer months, I often hear this question from neighbors, friends and fellow moms: how can I best avoid pesticides?

It's a season of outdoor romping, family travel, daycare, camps and play. In many parts of the country, it's also high season for pesticide spraying in agricultural fields, and in and near places where children are spending their days. So what to do?

Lex Horan's picture

McDonald’s held its annual general meeting (AGM) last Thursday. If shareholders wanted a quiet meeting, they sure didn't get it! The company’s headquarters in Oak Brook, Illinois, was packed: 2,000 fast-food workers, clergy, parents and food system activists poured into town with a thing or two to say to McDonald’s.

The Minnesota-based Toxic Taters Coalition — a longtime partner of PAN — was one of several groups with a message to deliver to the fast-food giant. Toxic Taters delivered a petition with more than 20,000 signatures, calling on McDonald’s to cut pesticide use on potatoes, work with a third party certifier to transition to sustainable practices, increase transparency about pesticide use and fund a public health study in areas impacted by potato production.

Pesticide Action Network's picture

Minnesota became the first state in the country to ban the “anti-microbial” pesticide triclosan from antibacterial soaps, toothpastes, deodorants, cosmetics, fabrics and other consumer products.

Announced this month and taking effect in 2017, this ban is great news since triclosan can cause hormone disruption in people — including interfering with thyroid gland function, sperm production in males and immune system health. And its use is unnecessary since using plain soap and water is no less effective in preventing disease. 

Paul Towers's picture

Whew, three islands in four days. I recently returned from a whirlwind speaking tour in Hawai'i with Dr. Tyrone Hayes covering issues of pesticides, corporate control in agriculture and genetically engineered (GE) seeds.

Addressing the topic in high school auditoriums and community health clinics, it’s increasingly clear that people across the state want to build a food system that feeds them, protects community health and fragile ecosystems, and offers fair employment — including pushing back against corporate takeover of the islands' farming land. And they're making real headway.