GroundTruth Blog

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

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?

Kristin Schafer's picture

When you're pregnant, there's a lot to think about. If it's your first, you're vaguely aware that your life is about to change forever. In the meantime, you worry. Am I eating right? Taking the right vitamins? And just what do I need to know about pesticides and other harmful chemicals during pregnancy?

The critical importance of this last question just got an official nod from the largest national organization of OB/GYNs. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) released a groundbreaking report last month recommending that every mother-to-be receive advice in prenatal visits on how to avoid chemicals that can harm fetal development — and the future health of her child. This is a very good, very powerful idea.

Linda Wells's picture

Here in Minnesota, the state Department of Agriculture (MDA) just announced a review of Best Management Practices (BMPs) for all agricultural insecticides, but with a special focus on chlorpyrifos.

Why chlorpyrifos? Like many places around the globe, Minnesota has alarmingly high levels of chlorpyrifos in our lakes and rivers. And while chemical build-up in the environment is never a good thing, with chlorpyrifos it's especially troubling because of its well-documented harms to children's health.

Margaret Reeves's picture

Last month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released compelling findings from a study on the air-borne movement (aka "drift") of the pesticide endosulfan in Florida.

Researchers found that this soon-to-be-banned persistent pesticide traveled miles from tomato fields where it was applied, and that drift levels jumped significantly during spray season. More details on the study are outlined below, but first consider this: with USDA stepping into the ring to document pesticide drift, is it possible that EPA and USDA might actually look at pesticide use and regulations together? Now that would be interesting news indeed.

Medha Chandra's picture

September was a good month for wins against hazardous pesticides. China took steps to end the use of the persistent pesticide endosulfan — as did Mexico, which will ban it fully by January 2015. Costa Rica announced it will stop using the ozone-depleting pesticide methyl bromide. And El Salvador banned a host of pesticides in one fell swoop.

Many PAN partners and allies were involved in campaigns against these pesticides, and these health-protective actions from around the world are inspiring us in the U.S. to keep up the good fight.

Kristin Schafer's picture

EPA is doing a better job protecting children's health, according to a new government report. This is very welcome news indeed — kudos to EPA for recognizing that when it comes to environmental harms, kids cannot be treated like little adults.

The bad news? The report flagged one arena where kids' health protection is lagging: pesticide decisionmaking. Yikes. As we know from our recent A Generation in Jeopardy report, pesticide exposure is a biggy when it comes to childhood health harms.

Paul Towers's picture

“We are a united Kaua’i.” That’s what over 4,000 Hawaiians chanted as they marched across the Garden Island last week in the sweltering sun. The broad Pass the Bill coalition of physicians, teachers, hotel workers and farmers has continued to press for greater information around pesticide use. The issue is being hotly debated before the Kaua’i County Council, and the world’s largest pesticide-seed corporations are clearly not happy about it.

Despite repeated statements about the desire for compromise and unity, this handful of pesticide corporations and their front groups (e.g. the misleadingly named “Save Kauai Farms”) have rejected any proposals that meet community concerns. They’ve refused to provide information about the pesticides they use on the island's test fields, or to consider no-spray zones around sensitive locations like schools.

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.