GroundTruth Blog

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

Linda Wells's picture

Well, it's been signed. The biotech rider, or the "Monsanto Protection Act," as it has been appropriately dubbed, was signed into law last week by President Obama. What does this mean, and why is everyone so upset about it?

For me, this sneaky little earmark, which was introduced anonymously into the short-term funding bill to keep the government afloat, is just one more example of an unfair system stacked in favor of big agribusiness — and stacked against the rest of us.

Pesticide Action Network's picture

Two new studies confirm that common pesticides are scrambling the circuits of bees’ brains. Researchers report that certain neonicotinoids and an organophosphate pesticide — particularly in combination — interfere with the insects' ability to learn, smell or remember, all critical capacities for foraging honey bees.

The new studies add to a growing body of evidence pointing to pesticides as a key driver to the dramatic losses in bee colonies reported by beekeepers.

Medha Chandra's picture

Did you know it was Poison Prevention Week last week? It is ironic that as we marked this week, we also grappled with the news that for the first time in nearly 20 years, a company went to court to challenge a decision by EPA to cancel one of their products — a pesticide that causes thousands of accidental poisonings each year.

Earlier this month Reckitt Benckiser — manufacturer of d-Con rat control products — filed a challenge against EPA’s decision to cancel specific over-the-counter rodenticide products, which are hazardous for children, pets and wildlife. No hearing date has been set, but the appeal could potentially drag on for years. Meanwhile, the products remain on the market.

Ana Duncan Pardo's picture

In honor of National Farmworker Awareness Week, we are reposting this powerful story of young farmworkers in North Carolina. This guest blog was originally published in September, 2011.

Last week Toxic Free North Carolina released our latest Farm Worker Documentary Project film, Overworked & Under Spray. It’s a short piece featuring six high school-aged farmworkers’ stories about being sprayed with agricultural pesticides while tending crops in fields across the state.

Paul Towers's picture

With other options exhausted over the past two years, beekeepers and partner organizations are now suing EPA to protect pollinators. We've filed over a million signatures from concerned individuals, a legal petition and a notice of intent to sue. And all to little avail. Now we're upping the ante.

There's too much at stake for EPA to stay stuck. Bees are in trouble, and they're vital to our food system and our agricultural economy. They're responsible for pollinating one in three bites of food we eat, including 95 types of fruits and nuts in North America. And commercial beekeepers report that their industry is on the verge of collapse.

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."