GroundTruth Blog

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

Kristin Schafer's blog
By Kristin Schafer,

Last week, our national pesticide laws were the target of a sneak attack. An amendment that would have stripped EPA's power to protect our nation's waterways was attached to — of all things — the completely unrelated China Currency bill.

If the stakes weren't so high, it would be laughable. Attached as an amendment to what? Thanks in no small part to hundreds of outraged phone calls to the Senate from PAN supporters, the offending amendment was pulled — for the time being.

Margaret Reeves's blog
By Margaret Reeves,

There is nothing “niche” about the recent story on the economics of organic farming in the Agronomy Journal.

The journal reports on an 18-year study demonstrating that organic crop rotation is consistently more profitable than conventional corn and soybean production, even when organic price premiums are cut by half. That is very good news for both organic producers and the agricultural economies in which they operate.

Pesticide Action Network's blog
By Pesticide Action Network,

Ever had lunch with a high-powered lobbyist for the chemical industry? As the Monterey County Weekly reported last week, a small-town high school teacher and a university graduate student were invited to share cookies at the offices of a well-known Sacramento lobbying firm concerned about the growing public opposition to the cancer-causing strawberry pesticide methyl iodide.

Goal of lunch: Diffuse and disorient the local movement against methyl iodide.

Target: visible community leaders.

Didn't work. The problem with the lobbyist's approach is that it's hard to dissect a movement, especially when so many people have the facts. As PAN's Kathryn Gilje previously reported, the movement is made up of high school students, chemists, farmers, farmworkers, moms and many others working in different ways to protect health and the environment. Just last May, over 200,000 people across the country called on EPA to ban methyl iodide.

Pesticide Action Network's blog
By Pesticide Action Network,

Health professionals are adding their voices to the demand that EPA protect children from the brain toxicant chlorpyrifos. 

Citing a growing body of scientific evidence linking exposure to this widely used pesticide with harms to children's health, more than two dozen health care professionals from across the country submitted a letter to EPA yesterday, calling on the agency to follow their prescription and take the pesticide completely off the market.

Pesticide Action Network's blog
By Pesticide Action Network,

A staggering majority of Americans, 93% in fact, want to know when we're eating genetically engineered food. With up to 80% of the non-organic products on our shelves containing GE ingredients, and little-to-no long-term studies on their effects, we are concerned. 

Meanwhile much of the rest of the world — including Japan, Australia, the European Union and China — already requires genetically engineered foods to be clearly labeled, but in the U.S., biotech companies like Monsanto enjoy unfettered and unlabeled access to the market. The only sure way to know that a food product contains no GE components is to look for the organic seal.

Kristin Schafer's blog
By Kristin Schafer,

From edgy films about sustainable food to intimately personal stories about the dangers of chemicals in the womb, this year’s Heinz Award winners bring a powerful blend of poetry, science and humor to their work. 

Since 1994, this award has honored people doing extraordinary things in an area important to the late Senator John Heinz. This year’s winners are working to protect our environment, and they're doing it with creative flare.

Kathryn Gilje's blog
By Kathryn Gilje,

Last week in Peru 90 people were poisoned and at least three children died from donated food contaminated with pesticides. A horrifying example of the on-the-ground consequences of broken policy.

If only this were an isolated incident. But the reality is, tragedies like this happen because the rules on pesticides just don't workNot in the U.S., and not in many countries around the world.

Margaret Reeves's blog
By Margaret Reeves,

A new study supports earlier findings that Monsanto’s biggest selling weedkiller may actually be harming crop production by increasing the incidence of fungal root disease. This could be why the "RoundUp-ready" corn and soybeans that Monsanto has engineered to be used with the herbicide have failed to deliver promised yields.

Add this to recent stories of RoundUp’s ubiquitous presence, concerns of serious health effects such as birth defects, and the creation of superweeds (as RoundUp resistance spreads from engineered crops to weeds) — you'd think this would be the final nail in RoundUp’s coffin, right? Not quite, but we're keeping the pressure on.

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

Sin Maíz, No Hay País!” The chant is ringing out this morning across the fields, villages and towns of Mexico, in recognition of Mexico’s National Day of Corn, September 29. “Without corn, there is no country!” is the literal translation of this ongoing national campaign to celebrate and protect the cultural heritage and significance of corn to the Mexican people.

With the campaign entering its fourth year, Mexicans can also celebrate the good news that the maize that Mexican farmers have been cultivating in traditional farming systems for thousands of years already contains much of the genetic diversity they’ll need to weather the challenges of climate change in the coming century.

Medha Chandra's blog
By Medha Chandra,

I want to share some good news that brightened my day. One of the largest pesticide manufacturers in the world — Bayer CropScience — announced on September 15 that it will withdraw its most hazardous pesticides from the global market. 

This is huge victory for the PAN International network and other NGOs from Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa who have campaigned for years for Bayer to take this step. While I'm happy that Bayer finally did the right thing, it saddens me that the company waited 16 years to act after it first promised to withdraw these pesticides back in 1995. Who knows how many pesticide poisonings worldwide could have been avoided?