GroundTruth Blog

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

Medha Chandra's blog
By Medha Chandra,

California's Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) announced today that the brain-harming pesticide chlorpyrifos is now a "restricted use" pesticide. Sounds pretty impressive, right? But wait, it’s actually not that great.

What it really means is this: anyone wanting to use chlorpyrifos in the state now has to file additional paperwork with county agricultural commissioners. Some conditions may apply once use is approved, such as adhering to small "protection zones" — which can be as little as 25 to 150 feet — around sprayed fields. We think California's children and rural communities deserve much better.

Lex Horan's blog
By Lex Horan,

It’s been quite a roller coaster. After a series of gubernatorial vetoes and late-night negotiations, the Minnesota legislative session came to a close on June 13. This time around, our legislators passed a bundle of worrisome agricultural and environmental policy that had Minnesotans across the state voicing their concerns loud and clear.

Here at PAN, we focused on fighting for state policies to better protect honey bees and other pollinators from pesticides. How did things shake out on our issues? Well, there was some good, some hopeful and some ugly.

Margaret Reeves's blog
By Margaret Reeves,

Innovative farmers and ranchers have, for generations, deliberately invested in building soil health. And this year — with the UN’s International Year of Soils and implementation of California's Healthy Soil Initiative well underway — we'll be pressing policymakers to turn innovation for healthy soil into standard practice.

The timing could not be better. Widespread implementation of practices that build and protect soil health is the only certain thing that will ensure farmers’ ability to both mitigate and adapt to worsening conditions associated with climate change. California's historic drought provides a dramatic case in point.

Paul Towers's blog
By Paul Towers,

Gadgets and ties are great, but this Father's Day I'm celebrating the growing momentum to protect kids' health from pesticides in California and beyond.

Over the past two weeks, parents, teachers and health professionals filled hearing rooms across the state demanding better protections for their children. It's still not clear, though, if decisionmakers are listening.

Lex Horan's blog
By Lex Horan,

Last month, on the heels of the rollout of the White House’s plan to protect honey bees and other pollinators, EPA announced its own piece of the plan: a new rule that would limit the use of some bee-harming pesticides when honey bee colonies are contracted for pollination.

EPA’s new rule has made headlines. After years of pressure from PAN and our partners for federal decisionmakers to take the bee crisis seriously, it’s good to see EPA acknowledge the pesticide problem. But EPA’s proposed new rule is remarkably short on meaningful action.

Linda Wells's blog
By Linda Wells,

Criticisms of genetically engineered (GE) food have gone mainstream lately — from Chipotle going GMO free to GE labeling bills moving forward in states across the country. But very little public attention has been given to the important crossroads we are facing right now around how GE crops get onto the market to begin with.

After the controversial approval of Dow Chemical's latest GE corn and soybeans, Enlist Duo, USDA announced it will finally be revising the agency's outdated, ineffective, hands-off approach to regulating GE crops. We have until June 22nd to weigh in on how GE products should be evaluated before they enter our fields, and how the USDA should regulate them once they are planted. So what needs to change?

Judy Hatcher's blog
By Judy Hatcher,

To mark World Environment Day on June 5, the United Nations challenged the whole world to take action: “Seven billion dreams. One planet. Consume with care.”

A beautiful sentiment, to be sure. But I’d add, between the dreams and the planet, “Thousands of networks.” Because we’ll need to link our dreams — and our actions — across communities, borders and oceans if we want to see the sweeping changes that many of us envision.

Kathy Connell's blog
By Kathy Connell,

Last Friday, I was sitting at a coffee shop thinking about the previous 24 hours — and feeling uncertain about my next steps. I’d just gotten back from the McDonald’s annual shareholder meeting in Chicago, where I had planned to share my concerns about pesticides used to grow potatoes that become McDonald’s french fries.

Though I had mustered up the courage to speak before hundreds of people at the high-profile meeting, the corporation's security people turned us away.

Pesticide Action Network's blog
By Pesticide Action Network,

Once again, it looks like federal decisionmakers are sidestepping the issue of bee-harming pesticides. The Pollinator Health Task Force, launched almost a year ago by President Obama, released its strategy for addressing pollinator declines last week — without tackling the pesticide problem.

While the plan sets an ambitious goal for reining in honey bee losses, and calls for state plans to increase habitat for pollinators, it fails to directly address the impact of neonicotinoids and other insecticides, despite crystal clear science that these chemicals are impacting pollinators. 

Medha Chandra's blog
By Medha Chandra,

An important victory and a disappointing setback came out of the global policy meetings I wrote about recently. The victory is a huge one: civil society leaders helped to secure a worldwide ban of the pesticide pentachlorophenol (PCP) under the Stockholm Convention. 

In a dramatic twist, participating countries took the historic step of 'voting to vote' instead of trying to achieve consensus, as is the norm. The step was taken in response to a few countries' aggressive efforts to thwart progress.