GroundTruth Blog

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

Pesticide Action Network's blog
By Pesticide Action Network,

According to filings released by the California Secretary of State last week, the world’s six largest pesticide corporations are now the six largest funders of opposition to Proposition 37.

Collectively the "Big 6"  have contributed more than $20 million to oppose the measure that would label genetically engineered food, including an intensive advertising campaign over the past two weeks.

Judy Hatcher's blog
By Judy Hatcher,

One of America’s most influential environmentalists, Barry Commoner, died last week. Over 40 years ago, he promoted these Four Laws of Ecology:

Everything is connected to everything else.
Everything must go somewhere.
Nature knows best.
There is no such thing as a free lunch.

I saw evidence of all four laws in action at the UN-sponsored Strategic Approach to Integrated Chemicals Management (SAICM) meeting in Nairobi last month.

Pesticide Action Network's blog
By Pesticide Action Network,

The Collaborative on Health and the Environment, an international partnership of more than 4,000 health professionals and organizations engaged with environmental health issues, is sponsoring an open-access teleconference to explore the latest research on how pesticides are affecting children's health.

50 Years After Silent Spring: Pesticides, Children's Health and the State of the Science will feature PAN staff scientist Dr. Emily Marquez, co-author of PAN's new report A Generation in Jeopardy, along with Dr. Bruce Lanphear, MD, MPH, senior scientist at the Child and Family Research Institute at Children's Hospital in Vancouver, BC.

Kristin Schafer's blog
By Kristin Schafer,

Today's children are less healthy than they were a generation ago, and science shows that pesticides are contributing to the trend. This is the core finding of PAN's new report, released today with partners in California, Minnesota and Iowa.

As a mom who, like all parents, cares deeply about the health of my kids, I find the report both profoundly disturbing and deeply motivating. As one of the report co-authors, I'm hoping A Generation in Jeopardy will be used to jumpstart a long overdue national conversation about how pesticides are undermining our children's health and intelligence — and how we can do better.

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

As a scientist at Pesticide Action Network, I am frequently asked these days to explain what genetically engineered (GE) crops have to do with pesticides. When I answer that GE crops both contain and drive up pesticide use, I am often met with earnest incredulity. We seem to need to believe that GE technology is the best thing since sliced bread.

Pesticide Action Network's blog
By Pesticide Action Network,

In news out earlier this week, food and farming leaders from the Evergreen State are taking up the issue of labeling genetically engineered foods on the state’s ballot. Despite the fact that federal and state governments have largely either ignored or assiduously avoided the issue, Washington joins California in taking the matter directly to the voters.

This should be no surprise, as ballot initiatives have proven the last resort when other policy arenas fail to take up or take action on public issues.

Pesticide Action Network's blog
By Pesticide Action Network,

A new study this week adds more weight to the case against atrazine. A rare birth defect that requires surgical correction to avoid life-threatening airway obstruction was associated with counties in Texas known to have high rates of atrazine use. The defect, known as choanal atresia and stenosis, is characterized by complete blockage and narrowing of regions of the airway, and often requires multiple surgeries to be corrected.

Mothers living in areas with high use rates of the common herbicide had a nearly two-fold increase in risk. 

Margaret Reeves's blog
By Margaret Reeves,

Last week California’s pro-farmworker governor of the 70s showed himself as a farmworker foe when he vetoed two important bills — The Humane Treatment for Farm Workers Act and the The Farm Worker Safety Act. The first would make it a misdemeanor crime, punishable by jail time and fines, to not provide appropriate water or shade to workers laboring under high heat conditions. The second bill would have allowed workers to enforce the state’s heat regulations by suing employers who repeatedly violate the law. Both common-sense interventions are critical precisely because what few protections exist for farmworkers are rarely enforced. 

Margaret Reeves's blog
By Margaret Reeves,

The Farm Bill expired on Monday (here's a roundup of what that means). So while we still have no Farm Bill, I'm here to tell you that Congress is feeling the heat. From all around the country — from farmers and mothers, environmentalists and faith communities — people are calling on Congress to pass a Farm Bill this year. While it won’t happen before the November elections it can happen during the short lame duck session that follows.

Heather Pilatic's blog
By Heather Pilatic,

Silent Spring turns 50 next week, giving occasion for all manner of reflection on Rachel Carson's legacy as the author who catalyzed the U.S. environmental movement. The small, but vocal rightwing fringe continues in its campaign to paint Carson as the devil "responsible for more deaths than Hitler." But most mainstream reflections thus far have sought to contemporize Carson by drawing links between the issues she outlined in Silent Spring and the concerns we still face today. 

Claiming no special insight other than working daily in Carson's wake, I speculate that she'd be reporting in her way on one of these still-untold and/or under-reported pesticide stories: