GroundTruth Blog

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

Linda Wells's blog
By Linda Wells,

Criticisms of genetically engineered (GE) food have gone mainstream lately — from Chipotle going GMO free to GE labeling bills moving forward in states across the country. But very little public attention has been given to the important crossroads we are facing right now around how GE crops get onto the market to begin with.

After the controversial approval of Dow Chemical's latest GE corn and soybeans, Enlist Duo, USDA announced it will finally be revising the agency's outdated, ineffective, hands-off approach to regulating GE crops. We have until June 22nd to weigh in on how GE products should be evaluated before they enter our fields, and how the USDA should regulate them once they are planted. So what needs to change?

Judy Hatcher's blog
By Judy Hatcher,

To mark World Environment Day on June 5, the United Nations challenged the whole world to take action: “Seven billion dreams. One planet. Consume with care.”

A beautiful sentiment, to be sure. But I’d add, between the dreams and the planet, “Thousands of networks.” Because we’ll need to link our dreams — and our actions — across communities, borders and oceans if we want to see the sweeping changes that many of us envision.

Kathy Connell's blog
By Kathy Connell,

Last Friday, I was sitting at a coffee shop thinking about the previous 24 hours — and feeling uncertain about my next steps. I’d just gotten back from the McDonald’s annual shareholder meeting in Chicago, where I had planned to share my concerns about pesticides used to grow potatoes that become McDonald’s french fries.

Though I had mustered up the courage to speak before hundreds of people at the high-profile meeting, the corporation's security people turned us away.

Pesticide Action Network's blog
By Pesticide Action Network,

Once again, it looks like federal decisionmakers are sidestepping the issue of bee-harming pesticides. The Pollinator Health Task Force, launched almost a year ago by President Obama, released its strategy for addressing pollinator declines last week — without tackling the pesticide problem.

While the plan sets an ambitious goal for reining in honey bee losses, and calls for state plans to increase habitat for pollinators, it fails to directly address the impact of neonicotinoids and other insecticides, despite crystal clear science that these chemicals are impacting pollinators. 

Medha Chandra's blog
By Medha Chandra,

An important victory and a disappointing setback came out of the global policy meetings I wrote about recently. The victory is a huge one: civil society leaders helped to secure a worldwide ban of the pesticide pentachlorophenol (PCP) under the Stockholm Convention. 

In a dramatic twist, participating countries took the historic step of 'voting to vote' instead of trying to achieve consensus, as is the norm. The step was taken in response to a few countries' aggressive efforts to thwart progress.

Paul Towers's blog
By Paul Towers,

Chalk up another win for the little guy. A handful of residents of Kauai’s Waimea community prevailed in court over biotech giant DuPont-Pioneer last week. Citing extensive, harmful dust generated by DuPont’s seed operations, a jury awarded 15 residents $500,000 in damages.

This is just the latest in an impressive string of victories against pesticide and genetically engineered (GE) seed corporations in Kaua’i, the global epicenter for GE seed testing.

Emily Marquez's blog
By Emily Marquez,

What, you may ask, is the "spring flush?" In late spring and early summer, large concentrations of herbicides are flushed from croplands. These chemicals — like the herbicide atrazine — then get transported far and wide through surface water systems.

Herbicides are water-soluble and thus have the potential to leach into groundwater supplies as well as streams, lakes and other surface waters. Atrazine is a frequently found contaminant in drinking water supplies throughout the Corn Belt, and every year the spring flush raises concerns over the potential of atrazine spikes in drinking water supplies.

Medha Chandra's blog
By Medha Chandra,

Every year, our PAN International partners carry out amazing on-the-ground campaigns for safer food systems. As a network, we also have a long history of influencing global policies by participating in international treaties. One such gathering is taking place right now in Geneva, and PAN activists from all five regional centers are participating.

The key role PAN plays in these meetings is bringing the realities of pesticide exposures — both the latest science and stories from the field — into the room where high-level decisions are being made. Our active participation has led to significant wins over the years, like a global ban of the hazardous pesticide endosulfan, and strong restrictions on the use of DDT.

Emily Marquez's blog
By Emily Marquez,

Guess what? Two more studies have confirmed that neonicotinoid insecticides (aka "neonics") are bad for bees. One study documented neonics' impacts on wild bees, which hasn't been looked at much to date. The second found that bees show a preference for neonic-laced food.

A third report from the European Academies Science Advisory Council underscores the importance of the ecosystem service provided by pollinators. The scientific case for taking action to protect bees and other pollinators from neonics just keeps getting stronger.

Lex Horan's blog
By Lex Horan,

What does it take to recruit a group of Iowa farmers and rural residents to an all-day, indoor training on one of the first beautiful days of spring? An issue as serious as pesticide drift.

A few weeks ago PAN Staff Scientist Emily Marquez and I led PAN’s fourth Drift Catcher training in Grinnell, Iowa. The Drift Catcher is a long-standing PAN program that uses community air monitoring to document the problem of pesticide drift in rural communities.