GroundTruth Blog

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

Pesticide Action Network's picture

Here we go again. With November's election on the horizon, the world's largest pesticide and biotech corporations are investing heavily to defeat Washington state's GE labeling ballot initiative. Topping the list of opponents, Monsanto gave $4.6 million to the "No on 522" campaign earlier this month. And last week, DuPont gave $3.2 million.

Bayer and Dow — also among the "Big 6" pesticide corporations — have contributed significant funds to defeat the initiative, too. And as we know from last year's labeling battle in California, the corporate cash is likely to keep pouring in.

Margaret Reeves's picture

I just called my legislators on Capitol Hill to tell them how important it is to get a fair Food and Farm Bill passed, and soon. I told them we need policies that support farmers who are working to protect vital resources — soil, water, pollinators — and that provide access for everyone to good quality food.

It's pretty clear that Congress needs some pressure on this one. They were on the hook to pass a new Farm Bill in 2012 — and they didn’t. Instead, we’ve seen two failed attempts, followed by a terrible last-minute extension of the 2008 Farm Bill that left many of the best programs for small, family farmers on the cutting room floor. We're working with partners across the country to press legislators to get it right this time, and you can help.

Chela Vazquez's picture

China has joined the global effort to eliminate endosulfan. This is very good — and very big — news, since China is both a large user and major producer of this harmful, longlasting pesticide.

"We are glad that China's leadership has taken the right steps in protecting its citizens," says Dou Hong of Pesticide Eco-Alternative Center (PEAC), a PAN partner group in the Yunnan province. The 12th National People's Congress agreed to eliminate China's production and use of endosulfan in late August, when it ratified a global treaty amendment requiring the ban.

Marcia Ishii-Eiteman's picture

Last month, a few news outlets carried a story about Filipino farmers trampling a test plot of genetically engineered (GE) “Golden Rice.” The news triggered a swift avalanche of more stories and opinion pieces, with ample space devoted to Golden Rice proponents’ harsh accusation that skeptics and critics are holding back a desperately needed, promising technology and, in so doing, are causing children’s deaths around the world.

We’ve seen all this before: both the promises that ultimately fail to deliver, and the attempts to silence those asking important questions. Why, after 30 years of research and millions of dollars poured into development of this supposed miracle seed, are we still talking about Golden Rice?

Pesticide Action Network's picture

Last week, Syngenta filed a legal challenge against the European Union's decision to suspend use of its pesticide, thiamethoxam. At the heart of the challenge? Syngenta says their product is wrongly accused of contributing to bee declines.

But the independent science detailing harm to bees from this and other pesticides is clear. And earlier this year, after reviewing the evidence for themselves, European policymakers determined that three widely used neonicotinoids — including thiamethoxam — pose a "high acute risk" to honey bees. Still, the pesticide corporation is protesting. Vehemently.

Judy Hatcher's picture

At a gathering in Malaysia this week, I sat with a small group of activists from China, Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and other countries. English is a second or third language for many, but upon hearing the phrase “a progressive global phaseout and ban of highly hazardous pesticides,” everyone in the room nodded vigorously and said, “Yes, yes!”

It’s an idea whose time has come.

Margaret Reeves's picture

Far too many of the United State's 80 million workers still don't receive fair wages or adequate workplace protections. This Labor Day, people across the country — in the streets and in Washington D.C. — are joining the call for better labor practices.

In his speech commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington this week, President Obama noted: "For over a decade, working Americans of all races have seen their wages and incomes stagnate." Workplace protection policies for many, including farmworkers, have also remained stagnate — and wholly insufficient. Change is long overdue.

Paul Towers's picture

In a letter submitted yesterday, scientists called out California officials for downplaying evidence of health hazards — including cancer — posed by a widely used fumigant pesticide.

Often applied to the state's strawberry fields, new rules may pave the way for even more use of chloropicrin unless policymakers follow recommendations from both state and independent scientists. This story is all too familiar.

Pesticide Action Network's picture

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced new labels intended to better protect bees from neonicotinoid pesticides. While seemingly a move in the right direction — and explicit acknowledgement from the agency that neonics indeed pose a threat to bee populations — these labels fail to establish truly meaningful protections.

There is no clear path for enforcing EPA's new labels. And even if followed to the letter, the labels fail to address a primary route of exposure through pre-treated seeds. Neonics are systemic, permeating the plant (including pollen and nectar), and are commonly applied as seed coatings to widely planted crops like corn. In short, EPA's labels appear to be an empty gesture.

Linda Wells's picture

It’s amazing what can happen in a year. Just ten months ago, we watched as the ballot initiative to label genetically engineered (GE) food in California — Prop 37 — was defeated by massive spending from the "Big 6" pesticide and GE corporations. And now there is more momentum than ever for GE labeling across the country.

With bills already passed in Maine and Connecticut, a big fight gearing up in Washington State, and stores implementing their own GE labeling policies, it seems Monsanto and other opponents of labeling won't be able to hold back the tide for much longer.