GroundTruth Blog

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

Margaret Reeves's picture

Farmers know that taking care of soil and water is essential to keep farmland productive, both now and for future generations. We, as taxpayers, should be doing all we can to support those farmers who steward the land best — especially when they face unavoidable losses.

That’s precisely why Iowa Farm Bureau leaders had agreed to press for renewing the link between crop insurance and conservation in the new Farm Bill. Sadly, it seems this position supporting sustainable farmers was overturned by last-minute, behind-the-scenes caucusing. It makes one wonder, just who is the Farm Bureau supporting?

Kathryn Gilje's picture

I was born 20 miles from the Canadian border, as the crow flies. Childhood runs for a 'mack' and regular trips to the border were common. But this week, my Canadian journey was quite different: to Ottawa, seat of the Canadian government, and to a convergence of over 50 pesticide regulators from 30 countries, the global CEO of the pesticide industry, grower organizations, and PAN.

I had the honor of representing PAN at the 1stInternational Gathering of Heads of Pesticide Regulatory Authorities, convened by the Canadian government. The meeting offered a rare opportunity to think outside the box with pesticide rulemakers from around the world.

Kristin Schafer's picture

As parents, we have plenty on our minds as we settle into a new school year — new teachers, carpools, sibling rivalry — the list goes on. We really shouldn't have to add this: apples and peaches we're packing in our kids' lunchbags may expose them to chlorpyrifos, a pesticide known to lower IQs and increase risk of ADHD. I'm sorry, what??

If you ask me, the following scenario makes much more sense: Fruits and veggies help make kids healthy and smart. Farming with chemicals like chlorpyrifos that harm children is unthinkable. And what we pack for lunch doesn't risk damage to our child's nervous system.

Marcia Ishii-Eiteman's picture

The ecological, economic and agronomic disaster accompanying herbicide-tolerant transgenic crops is by now well known: over 10 million acres of superweeds resistant to Monsanto’s weedkiller, RoundUp; farm machinery breaking on RoundUp-resistant pigweed thick as a baseball bat; Monsanto paying farmers to spray their fields with competitors’ herbicides; a new generation of transgenic crops in the pipeline engineered to withstand older even more dangerous chemicals like 2,4-D.

Last week brought more bad news for Monsanto: the same phenomenon is also occurring in insect pest populations that are developing resistance to transgenic “Bt corn” in the Midwest.

Margaret Reeves's picture

Like many people, I once believed in the safety of RoundUp. Back in the 1980s when I was a young graduate student in ecology, it was the “safe” herbicide of choice for clearing weeds from study plots.

Monsanto would like us to continue to believe their flagship product is safe, but the data are increasingly saying otherwise. The latest? Widespread exposure is a near certainty, since RoundUp — now linked to birth defects — shows up regularly in our water and air.

Pesticide Action Network's picture

Twelve years passed. And without prior notice, federal and state pesticide regulators announced a surprise settlement last month, acknowledging that, compared to their white peers, Latino schoolchildren had been disproportionately impacted by use of pesticide fumigants. While the case marks a step towards recognizing environmental injustice, it fell short of providing compensation for children, many of whom have since graduated from high school, or of protecting future generations from pesticide drift.

Pesticide Action Network's picture

Men who live in neighborhoods that experience pesticide drift are 1.5 times more likely to develop prostate cancer.

This is what scientists found in a one-of-a-kind study that compares rates of the cancer among men who lived near agricultural fields where methyl bromide, captan or organochlorine insecticides were applied with those who lived farther from drifting pesticides.

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.