GroundTruth Blog

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

Kathryn Gilje's blog
By Kathryn Gilje,

Anniston, Alabama: another case where a chemical corporation ran above the law, and left tragic consequences for generations to come. The families of West Anniston live with the legacy of a Monsanto plant, and the toxic soil Monsanto left behind. Now the science shows that residents have diabetes from exposure to chemicals (PCBs, in particular) in that soil. Those with diabetes are mostly African American, and mostly women. Truly, their health has been taken away, even as safer alternatives to compounds such as these exist. 

Margaret Reeves's blog
By Margaret Reeves,

The Senate has one more day to vote on key Farm Bill amendments. Yesterday, Day 1 of the complex voting process, was generally a good day — thanks to the hard work of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) and many groups and individuals across the country. Let’s aim for more good news today!

Today’s vote includes the Chamblish amendment on conservation compliance. This amendment (#2438) would protect our natural resources by requiring recipients of crop insurance subsidies (i.e. our tax dollars) to use practices that protect natural resources. Please call your senator now, and urge them to vote YES on the Chamblish amendment.

Kathryn Gilje's blog
By Kathryn Gilje,

I’m writing with significant news. Please allow me to introduce you to a fabulous new member of the PAN community, our incoming Executive Director, Judy Hatcher. The entire team here at PAN is so thrilled to have Judy at the helm, and we hope you'll join us in welcoming her.

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

Governments are gathering in Brazil, twenty years after the historic 1992 Earth Summit where nations around the world pledged to devote themselves to ending hunger and conserving the planet’s resources for future generations.

This week, governments gather once again, and food and agriculture are high on the agenda of “Rio+20.” Global leaders will be discussing which way forward to feed the world amidst growing food, climate and water crises. Monsanto & Co. have geared up with slick websites and sound bytes — to the point where some have dubbed the official meeting “Greenwash +20.” But the good news is that people around the world are mobilizing like never before for a new food system.

Linda Wells's blog
By Linda Wells,

On a rainy day in Iowa last month, I found myself crowded into a small building perched on the Mustard Seed Community Farm near Ames. I was joined by PAN's new staff scientist, Emily Marquez, and we were honored to teach a group of local farmers how to use the PAN Drift Catcher.

The training took place at a field day hosted by Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI), and despite the downpour, we had a productive and fascinating afternoon.

Margaret Reeves's blog
By Margaret Reeves,

What does the federal Farm Bill have to do with a healthy diet? More than you'd think, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

To get more fresh produce into our diets we need to reverse the policies that put up barriers — rather than provide incentives — for farmers to produce the fresh fruits and vegetables so urgently needed in the diets of most of us in the U.S.

Pesticide Action Network's blog
By Pesticide Action Network,

Lice shampoos containing lindane continue to be allowed in the U.S., despite being slated for a global ban due to the organochlorine pesticide's persistence and toxicity. Last week, Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA) urged the Obama Administration to pull these products from the U.S. market once and for all.

In 2009, more than 160 nations agreed to ban the agricultural uses of lindane, and to phase out pharmaceutical uses around the world by 2014. Lindane shampoos and lotions have been banned in California since 2002, and several other states have moved to severely restrict the use of these products.

Margaret Reeves's blog
By Margaret Reeves,

Farmers who protect their soil using organic or other sustainable methods often encounter hurdles that other farmers do not. Current policies provide disproportionately little support for such farming practices depite the clear benefits — for the soil, the environment, human health and economic growth.

This week the U.S. Senate will have a chance to partially correct this by supporting Food and Farm Bill amendments that link crop insurance to sound farming practices. We know that good stewardship builds diverse agroecosystems that are inherently less risky than conventional sytems. Less risk with greater protection of soil and other natural resources? That's where I want my tax dollars to go.

Heather Pilatic's blog
By Heather Pilatic,

Twenty years ago this week Dan Quayle went against scientific consensus to publicly proclaim that genetically engineered foods were “substantially equivalent” to non-GE food, and that he would therefore work to ensure that GE food would not be “hampered by unnecessary regulation.” In the pivotal 1992 FDA ruling that Quayle then proudly claimed as part of his “regulatory relief” agenda, the flood gates for GE were opened.

We’ve been living in that wake ever since because a small clutch of biotech “true believers,” ideologically anti-regulatory government officials and industry lobbyists have kept that flood gate open against great odds.

Kristin Schafer's blog
By Kristin Schafer,

There's an interesting debate emerging in the public health world. It has to do with whether we need to rejigger our thinking about the risks pesticides and other chemicals pose to children's health.

Traditionally, we've had a "disease-oriented" approach, assessing risk based on the severity of a health outcome (think birth defects or cancer). But earlier this month a provocative Environmental Health Perspectives article argued that a "population approach" might be wiser — meaning that even when a health effect is not severe, if it's affecting a huge number of our children (think dropping IQs), we should be paying attention.