GroundTruth Blog

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

Pesticide Action Network's picture

Today, 75-year-old Indiana soybean farmer Hugh Vernon Bowman will face off with Monsanto in front of the Supreme Court. Five years ago, Monsanto sued Bowman for seed patent infringement and won. Now the high court will hear the farmer's appeal.

Monsanto's aggressive pursuit of patent infringement lawsuits like Bowman v. Monsanto is well documented in a recent report by the Center for Food Safety and Save Our Seeds. As of January 2013, the corporation had filed 144 suits against 410 farmers in 27 states. Corn and soybean growers across the country will be watching the outcome of today's case very closely.

Margaret Reeves's picture

Every year around this time, I blog about the invisible impacts of how we spend our Valentine’s Day dollars, and why it matters. Our choices for chocolate and flowers can either support innovative farmers and safe, dignified livelihoods for farmworkers whose labor brings you such Valentine’s goodies — or not.

This year I'm broadening my call for food system justice to include not only the millions of workers who harvest our food, but also the millions who work in restaurants to serve it. Did you know that Valentine's Day is the highest grossing day in the restaurant industry? A perfect moment to show your support and raise your voice for farmworkers and restaurant workers alike.

Linda Wells's picture

The near-exponential spread of herbicide-resistant "superweeds" across U.S. farmland is reminding us all that no matter how much the Big 6 pesticide corporations invest in research and development, they can't outsmart Mother Nature.

In just the past two years, the number of fields with glyphosate-resistant weeds has doubled. Farmers reported these particular superweeds on 61.2 million acres in 2012, up from 32.6 million acres in 2010. This, according to a new report by the agrichemical industry consultancy firm, Stratus.  

Medha Chandra's picture

I have some very good news: EPA is banning a group of rat poisons known to be especially dangerous for children, pets and wildlife. Finally.

Apparently, the agency got tired of waiting for the manufacturer of d-CON mouse- and rat-killing products to voluntarily follow their safety guidelines. Instead, UK-based Reckitt Benckiser was spending its energy pushing back with an army of lawyers and lobbyists. This time, their tactics backfired.

Pesticide Action Network's picture

Pesticide giant Syngenta kicked off 2013 by writing checks to communities whose water supplies have been contaminated with their endocrine-disrupting herbicide, atrazine.

According to the Associated Press, the money will go to community water systems that serve more than 37 million Americans in all, mostly in farming states — including Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri and Ohio — where atrazine has been commonly used to control weeds in corn fields.

Paul Towers's picture

Last week, the European Commission announced its position against the use of bee-harming neonicotinoid insecticides, urging nations within the European Union (EU) to impose a two-year suspension on their use. Great news for bees across the pond.

But here in the U.S., policymakers aren't stepping up. EPA officials are continuing to ignore the emerging body of science that point to pesticides, and especially neonicotinoid insecticides, as a critical factor in bee declines. What's worse, the agency is poised to approve yet another bee-harming pesticide.

Pesticide Action Network's picture

Frogs exposed to commonly used pesticides in the lab had mortality rates between 40-100%, according to a new study in Germany. One fungicide, when applied at doses approved for use, caused frogs to die within an hour.

The new study provides strong support for earlier research pointing to pesticide exposure as a contributor to the global decline of amphibians, a disturbing trend that has puzzled researchers for years. Like canaries in a coal mine, frogs are often considered a "sentinel" species — and declines may be an early warning of broader harms.

Pesticide Action Network's picture

New research shows that men exposed to certain agricultural pesticides are more likely to develop "aggressive" forms of prostate cancer. This latest news confirms earlier findings linking pesticide exposure with this type of cancer, which is the third most common cause of cancer death among males.

The recent study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, looked at exposure data from the Agricultural Health Study (AHS) and cancer incidence information from state registries. The numbers showed that workers in Iowa and North Carolina exposed to certain organophosphate and organochlorine pesticides had significantly higher prostate cancer risk.

Pesticide Action Network's picture

In good news for farmers and communities across the country, Dow announced last week that it is no longer planning to market its 2,4-D corn for the 2013 planting season.

The new genetically engineered (GE) seed has spurred strong opposition from farmers, consumers and public health officials, and the widespread concern seems to have slowed approval of the product. Organic and conventional farmers alike are worried about damage to their crops from 2,4-D drift; they also cite health risks to their families, especially their children who are particularly vulnerable to the chemical.

Pesticide Action Network's picture

As we honor Martin Luther King's legacy this month, we also mark the third anniversary of Citizens United v FEC. This landmark Supreme Court decision essentially declared corporations to be people, opening the floodgates for unlimited political corporate contributions, and changing the face of election campaigns.

Citizen's United v. FEC undid over a century of campaign finance reforms, and the effects of the decision were clearly evident in the November elections. One clear example was the opposition to California's Proposition 37 — an initiative to label genetically engineered (GE) food in the state — which was almost entirely funded by corporations. Contributions totaled 46 million dollars.