GroundTruth Blog

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

Margaret Reeves's blog
By Margaret Reeves,

Last month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released compelling findings from a study on the air-borne movement (aka "drift") of the pesticide endosulfan in Florida.

Researchers found that this soon-to-be-banned persistent pesticide traveled miles from tomato fields where it was applied, and that drift levels jumped significantly during spray season. More details on the study are outlined below, but first consider this: with USDA stepping into the ring to document pesticide drift, is it possible that EPA and USDA might actually look at pesticide use and regulations together? Now that would be interesting news indeed.

Medha Chandra's blog
By Medha Chandra,

September was a good month for wins against hazardous pesticides. China took steps to end the use of the persistent pesticide endosulfan — as did Mexico, which will ban it fully by January 2015. Costa Rica announced it will stop using the ozone-depleting pesticide methyl bromide. And El Salvador banned a host of pesticides in one fell swoop.

Many PAN partners and allies were involved in campaigns against these pesticides, and these health-protective actions from around the world are inspiring us in the U.S. to keep up the good fight.

Kristin Schafer's blog
By Kristin Schafer,

EPA is doing a better job protecting children's health, according to a new government report. This is very welcome news indeed — kudos to EPA for recognizing that when it comes to environmental harms, kids cannot be treated like little adults.

The bad news? The report flagged one arena where kids' health protection is lagging: pesticide decisionmaking. Yikes. As we know from our recent A Generation in Jeopardy report, pesticide exposure is a biggy when it comes to childhood health harms.

Paul Towers's blog
By Paul Towers,

“We are a united Kaua’i.” That’s what over 4,000 Hawaiians chanted as they marched across the Garden Island last week in the sweltering sun. The broad Pass the Bill coalition of physicians, teachers, hotel workers and farmers has continued to press for greater information around pesticide use. The issue is being hotly debated before the Kaua’i County Council, and the world’s largest pesticide-seed corporations are clearly not happy about it.

Despite repeated statements about the desire for compromise and unity, this handful of pesticide corporations and their front groups (e.g. the misleadingly named “Save Kauai Farms”) have rejected any proposals that meet community concerns. They’ve refused to provide information about the pesticides they use on the island's test fields, or to consider no-spray zones around sensitive locations like schools.

Pesticide Action Network's blog
By Pesticide Action Network,

Here we go again. With November's election on the horizon, the world's largest pesticide and biotech corporations are investing heavily to defeat Washington state's GE labeling ballot initiative. Topping the list of opponents, Monsanto gave $4.6 million to the "No on 522" campaign earlier this month. And last week, DuPont gave $3.2 million.

Bayer and Dow — also among the "Big 6" pesticide corporations — have contributed significant funds to defeat the initiative, too. And as we know from last year's labeling battle in California, the corporate cash is likely to keep pouring in.

Margaret Reeves's blog
By Margaret Reeves,

I just called my legislators on Capitol Hill to tell them how important it is to get a fair Food and Farm Bill passed, and soon. I told them we need policies that support farmers who are working to protect vital resources — soil, water, pollinators — and that provide access for everyone to good quality food.

It's pretty clear that Congress needs some pressure on this one. They were on the hook to pass a new Farm Bill in 2012 — and they didn’t. Instead, we’ve seen two failed attempts, followed by a terrible last-minute extension of the 2008 Farm Bill that left many of the best programs for small, family farmers on the cutting room floor. We're working with partners across the country to press legislators to get it right this time, and you can help.

Chela Vazquez's blog
By Chela Vazquez,

China has joined the global effort to eliminate endosulfan. This is very good — and very big — news, since China is both a large user and major producer of this harmful, longlasting pesticide.

"We are glad that China's leadership has taken the right steps in protecting its citizens," says Dou Hong of Pesticide Eco-Alternative Center (PEAC), a PAN partner group in the Yunnan province. The 12th National People's Congress agreed to eliminate China's production and use of endosulfan in late August, when it ratified a global treaty amendment requiring the ban.

Pesticide Action Network's blog
By Pesticide Action Network,

Last week, Syngenta filed a legal challenge against the European Union's decision to suspend use of its pesticide, thiamethoxam. At the heart of the challenge? Syngenta says their product is wrongly accused of contributing to bee declines.

But the independent science detailing harm to bees from this and other pesticides is clear. And earlier this year, after reviewing the evidence for themselves, European policymakers determined that three widely used neonicotinoids — including thiamethoxam — pose a "high acute risk" to honey bees. Still, the pesticide corporation is protesting. Vehemently.

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

Last month, a few news outlets carried a story about Filipino farmers trampling a test plot of genetically engineered (GE) “Golden Rice.” The news triggered a swift avalanche of more stories and opinion pieces, with ample space devoted to Golden Rice proponents’ harsh accusation that skeptics and critics are holding back a desperately needed, promising technology and, in so doing, are causing children’s deaths around the world.

We’ve seen all this before: both the promises that ultimately fail to deliver, and the attempts to silence those asking important questions. Why, after 30 years of research and millions of dollars poured into development of this supposed miracle seed, are we still talking about Golden Rice?

Judy Hatcher's blog
By Judy Hatcher,

At a gathering in Malaysia this week, I sat with a small group of activists from China, Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and other countries. English is a second or third language for many, but upon hearing the phrase “a progressive global phaseout and ban of highly hazardous pesticides,” everyone in the room nodded vigorously and said, “Yes, yes!”

It’s an idea whose time has come.