GroundTruth Blog

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

Pesticide Action Network's picture

Yesterday, PAN joined United Farm Workers (UFW) for part of their 13-day, 200-mile pilgrimage to Sacramento, demanding fair policies for farmworkers.

About 20 people affliliated with PAN, including Co-Director Kathryn Gilje, joined the march for workers' rights yesterday morning on a stretch of highway between Lodi and Galt. "Peak fumigation season in California's strawberry fields is just a few weeks away," she said. "Governor Brown should follow the science, ensure fair treatment for farmworkers and take immediate steps to pull methyl iodide off the shelves."

Pesticide Action Network's picture

New science confirms that exposure to pesticides — especially those classified as persistent organic pollutants (POPs) — can impair the body's ability to regulate blood sugar, and can also promote obesity. Both these effects in turn increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The recent study, led by Riikka Airaksinen of the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare, measured levels of several POPs in the bodies of about 2,000 older adults. More than 15% of the subjects had type 2 diabetes, and researchers found that those carrying the highest levels of pesticides in their blood were most likely to suffer from the disease.

Pesticide Action Network's picture

"Puzzled by some of the numbers...not scientifically credible...apparent 'mix and match' approach." These are some of the phrases found in a pair of memos authored by California officials looking into the state's controversial decision to approve methyl iodide.

The documents were unearthed by attorneys at Earthjustice earlier this week, working on behalf of PAN and the United Farm Workers, among others. They substantiate what independent scientists had been saying all along: state officials caved to pressure from pesticide manufacturer Arysta LifeScience and approved the use of cancer-causing methyl iodide in California.

Kristin Schafer's picture

At long last, the writing is on the wall for triclosan. FDA is still finalizing their review of the “anti-microbial” pesticide, but according to the New York Times, companies are already starting to pull it out of their hand soaps, face washes and baby toys.

It's so very nice to see common sense prevail! Of course it has taken, um, nearly 40 years.

Marcia Ishii-Eiteman's picture

Warning! Nina Federoff — former “Science and Technology Advisor” to the U.S. State Department and well-known genetic engineering apologist — is back on her soapbox. In an Op Ed published in the New York Times last week, Federoff strings together one blazing falsehood after another, extolling the virtues of a technology that much of the rest of the world has rightly rejected. What is behind her evangelical commitment to this particular technology? Let’s take a look.

Pesticide Action Network's picture

With peak fumigation season in California just weeks away, efforts to prohibit the use of cancer-causing methyl iodide in the state’s strawberry fields have taken on a new level of urgency.

PAN joins partners today in Sacramento in staging a mock “fumigation” on the Capitol’s west steps at 12:30pm to underscore the dangers posed by methyl iodide, and to keep the heat on Governor Jerry Brown. Dressed in “moon suits” and wearing gas masks, participants will simulate the process for fumigating strawberry fields: injecting the liquid pesticide into the ground – where it volatizes and becomes a gas – and sealing it into the soil with black tarps.

Pesticide Action Network's picture

Dupont's new systemic herbicides, designed to keep turf grass free of troublesome weeds, seem to pose little direct danger to human health. But it turns out they do kill trees.

After receiving more than 7,000 reports of damaged or killed trees in states throughout the midwest, last week EPA ordered Dupont to immediately "halt the sale, use or distribution" of the company's herbicide Imprelis.

Chloe Schwabe's picture

In early June, I had the incredible opportunity to represent PAN at the 25th anniversary celebration of the Colectivo Ecologista Jalisco (CEJ) in Guadalajara, Mexico. 

Over the course of my three days at the celebration, I learned how the 20-year partnership between PAN and CEJ has transformed local, national and international pesticide policies, as well as the health of farmlands and the environment in this region of Mexico. But most importantly, I learned how the collaborative work has transformed people’s lives.

Margaret Reeves's picture

Soils are the Earth’s largest carbon storage depot after oceans and fossil fuels. Yet scientists estimate that since the industrial revolution, agricultural practices have caused massive carbon losses from the soil, contributing up to a third of all the increased CO2 in the global atmosphere.

But there's hope for restoring this great carbon sink. The science and practice of ecological farming now show that farmers can effectively put carbon back into the soil – and that this, in turn, can be a huge help in the battle against climate change.

Pesticide Action Network's picture

Red. Ripe. Delicious. That’s how you might describe the baskets of strawberries you see at your local farmer’s market or neighborhood store. What you don’t see are the green opportunities behind the berry – both environmental and economic – long before the fruit lands on your shortcake. And farmers say this deserves some attention.