GroundTruth Blog

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

Judy Hatcher's picture

Another October is passing, in a rosy fog of marketing and special events meant to raise awareness about breast cancer. Everyone from the National Football League to fast-food franchises is cheerfully urging us to walk, run and shop to find a cure for a disease that now affects one in eight women in the U.S.

The attention is certainly warranted. But a growing chorus of commentators is now urging us to "rethink pink." What should we do instead? I’d say let’s put more energy into doing what we can to reduce our exposure to carcinogenic chemicals. Seems like pure common sense.

Paul Towers's picture

Last week I sat through a long hearing in the California legislature, all about bee declines. By the end, I was both excited and frustrated. As I noted in my closing comments at the hearing, California can and must take action to address the dramatic declines.

This is an important opportunity for the state to be a driver of good public policy nationally. And addressing the issue here in California will be good for our business — the benefits of bees to our agricultural economy are tremendous. While it was encouraging to see legislators taking the issue up at the hearing, it was frustrating to see the room filled with pesticide corporations and their allies trying to confuse the discussion and delay action.

Margaret Reeves's picture

Mexico is known across the globe as the “birthplace of corn.” It’s home to thousands of types of traditional maize, as well as teoesinte, the grass ancestor of any and all corn varieties. Corn is also a cornerstone of food traditions in Mexico, from tortillas to tamales to pozole.

That’s why last week’s announcement from a federal judge that all field trials of genetically engineered (GE) corn are suspended in Mexico is very, very big news.

Pesticide Action Network's picture

In Iowa today, the World Food Prize was presented to top executives from Monsanto and Syngenta for their work in developing genetically engineered (GE) crops.

PAN and our partners were there, delivering nearly 350,000 signatures to the prize organizers protesting the absurdity of this year's award, and highlighting the failed promises of GE technologies. Recipients of the alternative "Food Sovereignty Prize" were also in Iowa today, raising awareness about real, ecological solutions for how we can truly feed the world.

Pesticide Action Network's picture

In the wee hours of Thursday morning, after a 19 hour hearing, the Kaua'i County Council passed landmark legislation requiring that pesticide use on the island be publicly disclosed.

The local victory came despite powerful pressure from some of the world’s largest pesticide corporations, many of which use land on Kaua'i to develop and field test their genetically engineered (GE) seeds and pesticide products.

Emily Marquez's picture

Right now, I'm sitting in a room at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, located in Rome, Italy. Though I get to walk by the Coliseum every morning on the way to the FAO building, I don't leave the building until well after the sun has set.

I'm representing PAN at the Stockholm Convention's Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC), and learning a great deal about the scientific review of new POPs that's part of the global chemicals treaty process.

Paul Towers's picture

10 million dollars. That’s what Monsanto and other pesticide corporations have spent so far to defeat a ballot initiative in Washington State to label genetically engineered (GE) food. In a replay of what took place in California last year, a handful of companies is trying to confuse the issue so people vote against our right to know. But the money trail — and corporate spin tactics — are very clear.

To date, more than half of the funds spent to defeat I-522 have come from pesticide and biotech corporations, with Monsanto making the largest contribution of $4.8 million. Why are these corporations so invested in defeating GE labeling initiatives? Likely because they fear losing marketshare for their GE, pesticide-resistant corn and soy.

Pesticide Action Network's picture

The health harms of atrazine are no secret. A widely used herbicide — particularly on corn — it is a known endocrine disruptor that can cause birth defects and reproductive harm at very low levels. It's also a suspected carcinogen. Still, atrazine’s defenders, especially its manufacturer, Syngenta, return time and again to economics to rationalize the chemical's continued use.

Industry-funded studies claim that without atrazine, our agricultural economy would suffer devastating consequences. But a report released yesterday — Atrazine: Consider the Alternative — tells a different story. Taking a close look at the economics of atrazine, report authors conclude that Syngenta’s defense of the herbicide is full of holes.

Pesticide Action Network's picture

This Saturday, immigrants and their allies will be heading into the streets in cities across the country to "march for immigrant dignity and respect." And with a new bill in the House of Representatives, policymakers in the Capitol are a step closer to comprehensive immigration reform.

For many farmworkers, immigration reform is long-awaited and critically important. This weekend and beyond, farmworkers are "bringing the fight for immigration reform from Capitol Hill to the richest agricultural fields in the world."

Emily Marquez's picture

Glyphosate, the active ingredient of Monsanto's RoundUp, is the most commonly used pesticide active ingredient in the U.S. From the product's beginnings back in the 1970s, it's been touted as a relatively safe, non-toxic chemical.

But the use of glyphosate has surged dramatically since the 1990s, when genetically engineered (GE) "RoundUp Ready" corn and soybean crops were introduced. This intensive usage raises an important and increasingly urgent question: have the human health and environmental impacts of glyphosate been carefully and exhaustively evaluated? What do we know and what don't we?