GroundTruth Blog

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

Pesticide Action Network's picture

As the 50th anniversary of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring approaches, the purveyors of Monsanto & Co’s falsehoods are out in full force.

The American Council on Science and Health (ACSH)  — a front group for the pesticide industry — held a briefing last week, announcing a new report extolling the virtues of pesticides to federal legislators. If this is where our decisionmakers are getting their information, we're in trouble.

Marcia Ishii-Eiteman's picture

As frost silvers the still-green grass outside, and I take advantage of the mild Berkeley winter to sow a small cover crop in my garden, I’m reminded that winter is a precious time of renewal and regeneration: not only in the soil and on our farms, but also within our communities and our minds.

Along those lines, I’ve been enjoying the very mind-enriching experience of reading a fascinating new book from the UK-based International Institute for Environmental Development. The forward-thinking authors of Virtuous Circles: Values, Systems and Sustainability (Michel Pimbert, Janice Jiggins and Andy Jones) take a fresh look at what we need to do to survive and thrive in the coming century.

Marcia Ishii-Eiteman's picture

Last week the giant German pesticide and biotech company (and largest chemical company in the world), BASF, announced its decision to pack up and flee Europe.

Why? For 13 years, ordinary Europeans have stood firm in challenging the right of biotech companies to dump their risky genetically engineered (GE) seeds onto their fields and have steadfastly rejected the intrusion of GE foods onto their plates. They built up an informed and powerful citizens’ movement that has made itself heard, even over the din of the monied GE lobby. For this, hearty congratulations are due to our cousins across the Atlantic!

Pesticide Action Network's picture

Two years ago, on January 21, 2010, a Supreme Court panel that included ex-Monsanto lawyer Clarence Thomas made a decision that has since changed the face of election campaigning. The landmark ruling in Citizens United v. FEC declared corporations to be people and, under the guise of the First Amendment, permitted the pumping of unlimited amounts of corporate money into politics, opening the floodgates for a corporate buyout of democracy. The decision, which undid over a century of campaign finance reform, passed 5-4. Monsanto’s Clarence Thomas provided the critical vote.

Kristin Schafer's picture

When I worked in Kenya many years ago, I visited a small farm where they processed chrysanthemums for use as a natural pest killer. I vividly remember the powerful, not unpleasant smell rising from the mesh shelves where the flowers were drying in the sun.

You'd think a pesticide based on flowers would be harmless, right? The promoters of synthetic pyrethroids — which mimic the natural pyrethrum extracted from chrysanthemums — certainly want us to think so. But once again, the latest batch of "safer" pesticides are not as harmless as we thought, and pose particular risks to children. Unfortunately, EPA seems to be turning a blind eye to emerging evidence, and is poised to open the floodgates to more pyrethroid products and uses.

Pesticide Action Network's picture

The online journal PLoS One released two bee studies last week: one on an old parasite newly found in honey bees, the other confirming that bees are being poisoned by the controversial pesticide clothianidin in and around the 88 million acres of U.S. countryside planted with treated corn seeds. 

Pesticide Action Network's picture

Opposition to cancer-causing methyl iodide is at a fever pitch in California, a year after the Schwarzenegger Administration approved the chemical for use in the state.

As Gov. Jerry Brown considers action on methyl iodide in 2012, as well as the appointment of a new chief pesticide regulator, it’s worth reflecting on PAN's efforts to ensure safe strawberries over the past year.

Marcia Ishii-Eiteman's picture

You’ve all heard the news: farmers across the country are losing their fields to superweeds so formidable and fast-spreading that they break farm machinery and render millions of acres of farmland useless. These superweeds have evolved as a direct consequence of Monsanto’s RoundUp Ready pesticide-seed package. Now superbugs are emerging, resistant to Monsanto’s transgenic insecticidal crops. Ecologists predicted this ecological disaster 15 years ago.

Chela Vazquez's picture

Acabamos de vivir momentos muy emocionantes el 3-6 de diciembre, 2011, en Bangalore, India.  Frente a cientos de campesinos, trabajadores agrícolas, comunidades indígenas y rurales, y testigos de cinco continentes, un jurado del Tribunal Permanente de los Pueblos (Permanent People’s Tribunal o PPT por su siglas en Inglés), pronunció su veredicto en contra de las compañías agroquímicas transnacionales que fabrican y venden plaguicidas altamente tóxicos, producen semillas transgénicas, y controlan la agricultura a nivel mundial.

Pesticide Action Network's picture

Researchers in Sweden have confirmed that exposure to pesticides classified as persistent organic pollutants (POPs) increases the incidence of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries.

Known to be a “major risk factor” for heart attacks and strokes, atherosclerosis is one of many health threats posed by POPs pesticides, which can persist in the environment for years or decades after use. In fact, this study comes on the heels of several others in recent years that show a correlation between POPs and health harms associated with poor heart health, such as hypertension, obesity, and diabetes.