GroundTruth Blog

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

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: 

Kathryn Gilje's blog
By Kathryn Gilje,

This week, PAN International is gathered with governments from across the globe in Nairobi, Kenya, pushing assertive and fair action on chemicals. Our goal: protect the health and well-being of our families and ecosystems the world over.

The auspices for the gathering: it's time to check progress on the Strategic Approach to Integrated Chemicals Management (better known as SAICM), an agreed-upon global plan of action to reduce to a minimum the harm chemicals wreak on health and ecosystems by 2020.

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

Very big news exploding across the papers yesterday. Eating genetically engineered (GE) corn has been strongly linked to serious health effects — including mammary tumors, kidney and liver damage. A team of European scientists yesterday released the first independent long-term animal feeding study of its kind on the health effects of eating GE foods in the peer-reviewed journal Food and Chemical Toxicology. 

Pesticide Action Network's blog
By Pesticide Action Network,

This fall's mix of elections and anniversaries has stirred up a hornet's nest of talking heads.

September marks the 50th anniversary of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring as California is gearing up for a landmark vote on labeling genetically engineered food in November. The combination appears to be a perfect storm for pesticide-promoting pundits.

Pesticide Action Network's blog
By Pesticide Action Network,

A recent study from Sweden shows that background exposure  — or long-term, low dose exposure — to persistent organic pollutants (POPs) may play an important role in the development or progression of stroke in the elderly.

Research has shown that exposure to POPs can lead to such chronic health problems as diabetes, obesity and hardening of the arteries leading to cardiovascular trouble. The recent Swedish study adds to this litany of human health harms.

Margaret Reeves's blog
By Margaret Reeves,

When Congress returned from recess this week they started negotiating the terms under which the Farm Bill will be extended (beyond its September 30 ending date) and funded for at least the next six months. The proposal on the table guts conservation programs.