GroundTruth Blog

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

Linda Wells's blog
By Linda Wells,

Something courageous happened today. A small group of farmers and rural residents dared to hold McDonald's accountable to its promises. Since 2006, PAN has been working with a grassroots coalition of farmers and White Earth tribal members to document the pesticide problem in the potato-producing regions of Minnesota.

Now, after seven years of talking to agencies, testifying in the state legislature and negotiating with the producer, community members are stepping into the public eye and asking for support. The campaign is called Toxic Taters, and the request is simple: McDonald’s has promised to reduce pesticide use in the production of their potatoes. It’s time for the company to make good on that promise.

Lex Horan's blog
By Lex Horan,

Last Wednesday morning, thirty people braved the cold to swarm a Minneapolis Home Depot, asking the store to “show bees some love” on Valentine’s Day.

Babies in bee suits, beekeepers on bicycles, and a slew of other Minnesotans were eager to urge home garden stores to stop selling bee-harming neonicotinoid pesticides — and plants pre-treated with "neonics." Retailers like Home Depot have a unique opportunity to act as industry leaders by taking these products, known to endanger bees, off their shelves.

Margaret Reeves's blog
By Margaret Reeves,

Each year we mark Valentine's Day by urging people to remember the workers who make those gorgeous bouquets of roses possible. I'm very pleased to report that this year, we're finally seeing some real progress toward safer conditions — and more protections from pesticides — for farmworkers across the country.

Just this week, 52 members of Congress sent a letter to EPA urging the agency to make sure that the long-awaited improvements in the federal Worker Protection Standard (WPS) are meaningful and promptly completed. So after you buy (or enjoy a gift of) cut flowers this week, keep an eye out here for upcoming opportunities to support better safety rules for the farmworkers who toiled to grow and harvest that bouquet.

Margaret Reeves's blog
By Margaret Reeves,

Phew! After a long, arduous two-and-a-half year process, we finally have a Farm Bill. The bill, approved recently in both the House and Senate, now goes to President Obama for near-certain approval. Unfortunately, as we reported last week after the House vote, the new law is a real mixed bag.

On the plus side, support is up for local and regional food systems; farmers must conserve soil and water if they want help paying for crop insurance; and more insurance options are now available for organic farmers. On the minus side, food stamp funding was slashed; Congress failed miserably to rein in huge payments to millionaire farmers; and conservation funding was reduced for the first time since the program began in 1985.

Pesticide Action Network's blog
By Pesticide Action Network,

A recent study links exposure to the insecticide DDT to Alzhiemer’s disease. According to the study, even exposure to DDT decades ago may lead to a person developing the disease later in life.

DDT — a World War II-era pesticide used extensively in the U.S. until it was banned in 1972 — accumulates in people’s bodies and persists for decades. Alzeimer's joins a long list of associated health harms.

Emily Marquez's blog
By Emily Marquez,

Earlier this week, the industrial agriculture-backed Alliance for Food and Farming launched a new effort to challenge organic farming. And a few days ago, an article was posted on Slate underscoring many of the same points — challenging the benefits of organic food and farming, and downplaying the harms of pesticides to children.

We wholeheartedly agree with the Slate article author that eating fruits and veggies is important to children's health. But as I noted in a media statement yesterday, the fruits and vegetables children eat should provide nutrition to their bodies without exposing them to health harms that can last a lifetime. 

Pesticide Action Network's blog
By Pesticide Action Network,

Neonicotinoid pesticides (or neonics) continue to gain notoriety as a driving factor in declining bee populations. But a mounting body of evidence also shows that neonics aren’t the only class of pesticides harming these critical pollinators.

A report released this week — by researchers from Penn State and the University of Florida — helps build a case that several pesticides commonly found in hives kill bee larvae.

Paul Towers's blog
By Paul Towers,

The Hawai'i State Capitol in Honolulu is currently swarming with pesticide industry lobbyists. Upset that several counties are taking steps to curb corporate control of island farm land and pesticide use, Monsanto & Co. are attempting to strip authority away from local governments.

Two bills, one in the House and one in the Senate — quickly dubbed the “Hawai'i Monsanto Protection Acts” — have pesticide industry fingerprints all over them. They were introduced last week in an apparent attempt to undermine legislation recently passed (or in progress) on several islands. In response, thousands of residents marched in Honolulu yesterday. Their message? Protecting pesticide industry interests over the health and well-being of communities is unacceptable.

Pesticide Action Network's blog
By Pesticide Action Network,

At long last we have a Farm Bill. And while it includes much-needed programs that will strengthen local food systems and support smart, healthy farming practices, this legislation is far from perfect.

Eleventh-hour changes — behind closed doors — stripped the bill of some important reforms that had already been agreed upon by both the House and Senate. Now, after a two-and-a-half year process that left too many farmers without a safety net along the way, the House is expected to pass a Farm Bill by noon Wednesday, then send it along to the Senate for approval.

Medha Chandra's blog
By Medha Chandra,

As another spring planting season nears in California, I'm beginning to worry. Not just about the rain, but about all the kids and communities who could be harmed by pesticides drifting from agricultural fields. These same chemicals — year after year — end up as pesticide residues on our food.

Chlorpyrifos is one of these worrisome pesticides. The California Department of Pesticide Regulations or DPR has taken barely any action on this brain-harming chemical. Today, a group of public health and environmental groups are sending a letter to DPR officials urging them to stop stalling, and act to protect California’s kids today. Please join us in urging DPR to move!