GroundTruth Blog

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

Kristin Schafer's picture

Scan the ingredient list of many "antibacterial" soaps and body washes, and you'll find triclosan. This pesticide — yes, I said pesticide — is so widely used that it's now found in most of our bodies. And after decades of thinking about it, FDA is finally saying "enough."

It turns out some significant risks are linked to triclosan, including altering how hormones work in our bodies, undermining our immune systems and making bacteria resistant to antibiotics. Oh, and according to FDA experts, it doesn't seem to get hands or bodies any cleaner than good old soap and water.

Paul Towers's picture

Like many, I was lucky enough to spend the holidays surrounded by family and food. So I was especially unnerved by new evidence, released just before the holidays, that bee-harming pesticides have been linked to impaired brain development and function in children.

The science showing that neonicotinoid pesticides (or neonics) harm bees is clear. New evidence highlighting impacts on children's health is also disturbing, especially as a father. And while other countries are stepping up to protect bees and kids from neonics, policymakers here in the U.S. are still seemingly stuck. My New Year’s resolution: This year we keep high heat on EPA and insist regulators take meaningful action on pesticides that harm bees and kids.

Judy Hatcher's picture

Reflecting on PAN’s accomplishments over the past year, I’m feeling deeply grateful to each and every person in our broad community — including you. Every person involved in this work provides the inspiration and muscle we need to transform corporate and government systems.

And as 2013 draws to a close, my attention turns to the coming year. How can we best work together to keep building momentum for powerful change? How can we make even more progress toward healthy, fair food and farming in the new year?

Margaret Reeves's picture

EPA recently fined Bayer CropSciences $53,000 for endangering the lives of farmworkers with pesticide exposure in their Puerto Rican research and nursery operations. While this is a tiny drop in Bayer's multi-million dollar budget, we do take it as an encouraging sign.

The good news: When rules are enforced — in this case, the federal Worker Protection Standards (WPS) — employers are held accountable for protecting workers from exposure to hazardous pesticides. The less good news: Enforcement actions like this one are all too rare, and the WPS itself is old, inadequate and in serious need of an upgrade.

Judy Hatcher's picture

This week marks the culmination of special commemorations and actions for PAN’s global community. And in 2013, No Pesticides Use Day (December 3) and International Human Rights Day (December 10) have an added level of poignancy as we join the world in reflecting on the remarkable life of the great Nelson Mandela.

Coming of age in the seventies and eighties, I was an anti-apartheid activist. What I learned about social change and international solidarity in those times still inspires me today. And PAN’s work around the world — to both protect communities from harm imposed by pesticide corporations and support ecological, sustaining food production — is a natural outgrowth of the grassroots-powered solidarity movements of past decades in at least three different ways.

Emily Marquez's picture

For quite some time, European policymakers have been working on a plan to regulate endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). In the last few months, the process has sparked a furor among researchers and public health experts, with a heated battle of editorials raging in scientific journals that highlights clear conflicts of interest among those critiquing European action.

EDCs are compounds that alter the hormonal systems in an organism, and many of these chemicals are in widespread use. If the European Union (EU) regulates EDCs, it will be the first policy in the world that addresses the endocrine disruptor problem.

Pesticide Action Network's picture

Minnesotans who live in potato country have been worried about pesticide drift for a long time. And the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is finally taking some steps to address the problem.

The agency is taking a closer look at the voluntary Best Management Practices they promote to potato farmers to minimize fungicide drift. And answering the call for public input, nearly 1,000 Minnesotans submitted comments last week, voicing their concerns about fungicides and the risks they post for human health, the toll they take on ecosystems, and their costs to the livelihood of small farmers.

Kristin Schafer's picture

Today, our PAN partners in Asia are releasing an in-depth, global study on children and pesticides. As a mom, I'm both deeply thankful for this report and profoundly frustrated that it needs to be written at all.

Dr. Meriel Watts reviewed hundreds of scientific studies from around the world, and found that children across the globe face serious — and growing — health harms from exposure to pesticides. Her report then outlines clear, doable steps to making real change.

Paul Towers's picture

Inaction? Intransigence? Negligence? Whatever the right word, we’re reminded that the U.S. is behind the curve when it comes to protecting bees. Yesterday, Europe’s restrictions on bee-harming pesticides went into effect.

Today, in a full-page advertisement in the New York Times and six other major papers, PAN and over 60 food, farm, faith and investor groups are calling on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take action. Quickly.

Judy Hatcher's picture

This week people all across the country will pause — over family feasts, football games, and special commemorations like this one sponsored by the International Indian Treaty Council — to count their blessings, and to appreciate their friends, families and community.

So before we head off to be with our loved ones, I want to thank the thousands of people — including you, Dear Reader — who make Pesticide Action Network a force to be reckoned with. Without the advocates, online activists, community partners, donors and allied organizations who all contribute to our movement, we wouldn’t have had nearly as much good news to celebrate.