GroundTruth Blog

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

Kristin Schafer's picture

Access to information can be a powerful thing. The pesticide industry understands this, which must be why they're fighting tooth and nail to block — for the third time — a commonsense law that would require pesticide use reporting in Maryland.

But the people of Maryland are fighting back. A strong coalition has formed around the "Smart on Pesticides" law, which is being considered right now by state legislators. They're making the case that children, communities and the precious Chesapeake Bay will all be better protected if decisionmakers know what pesticides are being used and where. A very simple — and very smart — idea.

Pesticide Action Network's picture

Turns out, the pesticides that harm bees are also harming birds. According to a report out this week, the class of widely used, systemic insecticides that science shows are a key factor in dramatic bee die-offs are also contributing to falling bird populations.

At a congressional briefing yesterday, an expert panel highlighted the damage that neonicotinoid pesticides — or "neonics" — inflict on bees, birds and the agricultural economy. Beekeepers, scientists and public interest organizations called on elected officials to take action, and soon.

Linda Wells's picture

Whew! I just got off the road from a wintry, whirlwind tour of farms, churches and schools in Minnesota and Iowa. My colleague Emily Marquez and I completed our last of four Drift Catcher trainings, certifying 26 new citizen Drift Catchers.

The participants are passionate farmers and parents who are affected by pesticide drift each year and want to use PAN's monitoring technology to document that exposure. Together, we'll be working to highlight the very real problem of pesticide drift in the Midwest, and to work towards concrete ways to reduce the health and economic harms of pesticides.

Margaret Reeves's picture

The Farm Bill is again in motion, and budget negotiations are first up. This past week the House and Senate passed different versions of a Continuing Resolution (CR), the short-term budget fix that will keep programs afloat for the coming year.

The House version fails to fund key conservation programs or provide support for rural communities. The Senate did a bit better, but their version still leaves many important programs stranded. Between now and March 27 Congress will be reconciling these two versions of the budget, and we'll be pressing hard for decisions that support smart, innovative farming. We’ll keep you posted as the process unfolds and action is needed.

Pesticide Action Network's picture

Small farmers in the rural Indian state of Bihar are setting yield records for rice, potatoes and wheat — without the use of genetically engineered (GE) seed or pesticides.

Using an agroecology technique known as SRI, the farmers have more than quadrupled their previous yields. An official from the state's Ministry of Agriculture calls SRI "revolutionary."

Paul Towers's picture

Legislators in Minnesota introduced a bill last week to label genetically engineered (GE) food, joining similar efforts across the Midwest. States are taking matters into their own hands as the federal government has failed to provide people with information about what’s in their food and how it’s grown.

GE labeling bills in Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois represent the groundswell of Midwesterners frustrated with the lack of information and oversight of genetically engineered seeds, crops and food. 

Pesticide Action Network's picture

Good news for public health and water quality from Minnesota this week. By June of this year, state agencies and institutions will no longer be buying soaps and cleaning products containing the pesticide triclosan.

Governor Mark Dayton made the shift with an executive order signed Monday. The new policy — the first of its kind in the country — comes in response to a combination of strong science and public concern about the chemical's prevalence and harms.

Pesticide Action Network's picture

Prairie bird populations are falling in many Midwestern states, from ring-necked pheasants to horned larks to sparrows. Scientists now say insecticides are a primary culprit.

Minnesota birds are hardest hit with 12 species in decline, followed by Wisconsin with 11, and Illinois, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska and New York with nine affected species each.

Pesticide Action Network's picture

A new technical report from the World Health Organization (WHO) and UN Environment Program (UNEP) made a remarkable splash earlier this month, raising worries that hormone-disrupting chemicals currently on the market pose a "global threat" to human and ecosystem health.

In the paper, State of the Science of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs), scientists flagged serious concern about the level of endocrine-related diseases and disorders on the rise, including: low semen quality and non-descended testes in young males; breast, endometrial and ovarian cancers; early onset of breast development in women; and developmental effects on the nervous system in children.

Kristin Schafer's picture

Something's rotten in Denmark. Well, in DC actually. That's where the decision's been made — again and again and again — to keep a nasty insecticide called chlorpyrifos on the market. The result? A generation of kids is sicker and less smart.

I'm truly not being melodramatic, though I admit the story of chlorpyrifos does make me hopping mad. I'm particularly riled at the moment because EPA is taking another look at this pesticide, and is once again overlooking known dangers to children's health and developing minds. What's up with that?