GroundTruth Blog

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

Pesticide Action Network's blog
By Pesticide Action Network,

The battle for healthy communities in Kaua'i is once again ramping up. Last week, a federal judge issued a ruling overturning a popular pesticide reform law passed by the Kaua'i County Council last year.

Four global pesticide and GE seed corporations — BASF, Syngenta, Dow, and DuPont Pioneer — were all parties to the legal challenge. In the face of this latest round of industry pressure, PAN has vowed to work with community partners and lawyers to "explore all available options" to help defend the County of Kauai and support a fair and green food system in Hawai'i.

Pesticide Action Network's blog
By Pesticide Action Network,

As summer comes to a close and kids head back to school in the next few weeks, we invite you to take action to protect their futures and help them achieve their full potential.

With our partners here in California, we are organizing a "week of action" pressuring state officials to better protect children's health by taking a stand against brain-harming pesticides. Please join us!

Pesticide Action Network's blog
By Pesticide Action Network,

Earlier this month, USDA made clear that they plan to give the final go-ahead to the next generation of herbicide-resistent GE seeds. Widespread public concern about this new technology delayed its approval by more than two years. But on September 6, the final 30-day "waiting period" will come to a close, and Dow's new 2,4-D corn and soy will be approved for market.

PAN stands with communities across the country who are outraged at the pending decision. "USDA is much more interested in working with Dow and Monsanto to bring their products to market than in protecting the well-being of our farmers and rural communities," says PAN Senior Scientist Dr. Marcia Ishii-Eiteman in a passionate press statement.

Paul Towers's blog
By Paul Towers,

Just yesterday, Colorado advocates got the signatures they needed to put a public initiative to label genetically engineered (GE) foods on the November ballot. Colorado's proposition 105, and its counterpart in Oregon which qualified last month (Measure 92), are the latest in efforts by a broad coalition of farmers, public interest groups and public health experts to provide consumers with straightforward information about what’s in our food and how it’s grown.

There are plenty of reasons to want that choice, and it should rest with families to make it. Labeling lifts the veil on the vast consolidation of the pesticide and seed market, highlights potential damages to the health and livelihood of family farmers and rural communities, and highlights environmental impacts.

Margaret Reeves's blog
By Margaret Reeves,

Six months after EPA published its long-awaited proposal for improving the federal rules protecting farmworkers from pesticide exposure, we’re ready to celebrate a tremendous show of farmworker solidarity. Next week is the deadline for telling EPA to ensure the Worker Protection Standard (WPS) rules are at least as strong as those protecting other workers. If you haven't yet, it's not too late to add your voice.

From unions to faith leaders, public health agencies and chefs (this past spring) the demonstration of unity in our collective call for better protections for farmworkers and their families is heartening.

Marcia Ishii-Eiteman's blog
By Marcia Ishii-Eiteman,

One morning a few weeks ago, I received an email from the National Academy of Sciences’ National Research Council (NRC), announcing the makeup of a provisional committee of experts that has been tasked with carrying out a comprehensive new study of GE crops. This study is supposed to assess the history of GE crops around the world, the diverse experiences of farmers in different countries and a wide range of “purported” negative and positive impacts of GE seeds and their associated technologies (for example, pesticides).

Done right, this could be an illuminating investigation, right? But as I looked over the bios provided on NRC’s webpage, I quickly realized that the Council appears to have a pretty poor idea of how to carry out such a challenging, complex and multi-faceted study. In fact, this week 67 scientists and researchers publicly rebuked the NRC for failing, right at the outset, to put together a slate of experts equipped for the task (full letter here).

Pesticide Action Network's blog
By Pesticide Action Network,

Three legal developments in the last week — in New York, New Delhi and Bhopal — set back the quest for compensation and contamination cleanup for residents of Bhopal who were killed or injured in the 1984 pesticide plant explosion, one of the world’s worst industrial disasters.

Not only were local residents harmed directly by the blast, but contamination at the accident site continues to put the surrounding community's health at risk. At the center of the past week's legal proceedings is the issue of corporate accountability for crimes against humanity, with Dow Chemical front and center.

Medha Chandra's blog
By Medha Chandra,

We’ve come to know that getting California’s Department of Pesticide Regulations (DPR) to take action is an exercise in patience. But communities across California ran out of patience last week. They have been waiting for years for DPR to take action on the brain-harming pesticide chlorpyrifos, with few results.

In January, over 60 groups from across the state sent a letter urging DPR to protect California’s kids from exposure to chlorpyrifos. We also delivered a petition with over 12,000 signatures in March, urging the agency to take action on this issue. But DPR didn't respond, and took no action. In frustration, these groups — including PAN — sent another letter last week with renewed urgency, urging the state to protect children from the neurotoxic pesticide chlorpyrifos. Join us in this call for action!

Pesticide Action Network's blog
By Pesticide Action Network,

We've known for some time that neonicotinoids — the class of systemic, bee-harming insecticides — are water soluble. They've been detected in surface water in several agriculture-heavy states. And now they're showing up in Midwestern waters.

Last month, the U.S. Geological Survey released a report finding clothianidin, one of the most widely used neonics, in 75% of Midwest streams surveyed. Other common neonics were detected too. Not good news.

Emily Marquez's blog
By Emily Marquez,

Epigenetic transgenerational inheritance. Say that again? Those three "little" words refer to environmental exposures causing genetic changes that can be passed on to future generations.

These effects appear to be transferred via modification of DNA — modifications that can sometimes increase the risk of disease. As a study released last week shows, the increased disease risk can keep showing up through multiple generations.