GroundTruth Blog

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

Karl Tupper's picture

As we reported in last month's update of What's On My Food?, USDA's 2010 pesticide residue data has been mysteriously delayed for five months.

As we suspected, it seems the produce industry isn't happy with the way USDA has been presenting its annual public summary of the data, and has been pressuring the Department to make changes. In a letter sent to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack last month, they charge that the annual report "has, in previous years, been mischaracterized repeatedly by environmental activists and news media to the extent that it has discouraged people from consuming fresh produce." Apparently "mischaracterized" is industry-speak for "brought to the attention of the public".

Kathryn Gilje's picture

On May 13th, the country's top scientists and 200,000+ ordinary people urged EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to prioritize scientific evidence over corporate influence and ban the cancer-causing pesticide methyl iodide. Called “one of the most toxic chemicals on earth” by Dr. John Froines, the chair of California's scientific review of the chemical, methyl iodide is promoted by Arysta LifeScience — the largest privately-held pesticide company in the world.

Margaret Reeves's picture

May has been a good month for farmworker advocates across the country — a fitting celebration of international labor day, celebrated on May 1st around the world. From California to Oregon to Florida, several hard-won and important victories deserve recognition.

Here in California, we're celebrating a legislative victory moving the Fair Treatment for Farmworkers Act to the governor’s desk. Thanks to our California supporters for your calls to Sacramento; you helped keep this important bill moving. We'll keep you posted on the outcome.

Marcia Ishii-Eiteman's picture

With gas prices well over $4/gallon, conversation with my neighbors frequently turns to the vulnerability of our fossil-fuel-based economy and to the future of our planet. The good news I can share today is that organic farms — besides being good for the soil, environment and our health — are proving to be much more energy efficient than conventional systems.

Kristin Schafer's picture

Last week a friend posted a slideshow of her niece on facebook. The girl's father had written a song to accompany the photos of his daughter's battle with leukemia. It made me cry.

The fact that a 5-year-old girl should have to summon such courage takes me quickly from tears to anger. Children should not be battling cancer, yet more and more are forced to do exactly that. A report released last week confirmed that childhood cancer rates are higher than ever before, and continue to climb. 

Pesticide Action Network's picture

Organic farmers Larry Jacobs and Sandra Belin have made a life-long commitment to sustainability and social justice. And as reported in PAN's spring newsletter, they recently won confirmation of their right to farm free of pesticides in a $1 million court case.

Larry and Sandra started farming in San Mateo County, California, in 1980, producing fresh organic culinary herbs. Then in 1985 they began working with the Del Cabo community in Baja California, Mexico, to develop a source of organic fruit and vegetables during the off-season. Today, Del Cabo Cooperative is a thriving community of 400 farmers that sells organic produce across the U.S. 

Kristin Schafer's picture

Autism affects many, many more children than we thought, according to a study released this week that stunned experts around the world. Meanwhile, evidence keeps rolling in that exposure to pesticides and other chemicals is at least partly responsible for the epidemic.

We may have finally reached the tipping point, where policymakers can no longer wring their hands and call for more studies — and where wearing a blue ribbon in April to raise awareness is clearly just not enough.

Pesticide Action Network's picture

India's Hindustan Insecticide Limited (HIL) is the world's only company still producing DDT. This week, one of HIL's three factories was ordered closed by the Indian state of Kerala for that plant's failure to safely handle waste from the manufacture of endosulfan.

After issuing several warning letters like this one, Kerala's State Pollution Control Board finally issued a closure notice to the HIL plant based in the city of Eloor. 

Karl Tupper's picture

In 2004, a group of public utilities in Illinois took pesticide-giant Syngenta to court to answer for the pollution caused by its flagship herbicide atrazine. Syngenta’s response? Wage a PR campaign against the court itself. While transforming a lawsuit into a media spectacle is a common, if unfortunate, tactic these days, targeting the court itself is a new low.

Marcia Ishii-Eiteman's picture

A big thanks to all who came out Monday night and joined us in what was a lively conversation on Growing Food Democracy: Connecting Global Lessons to Local Action. I was thrilled to see such interest and to meet so many people in the Bay Area so deeply engaged in the work of building a just and sustainable food system.