Emily Marquez's blog | Pesticide Action Network
Reclaiming the future of food and farming

Emily Marquez's blog

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New report: On cancer risk & strawberry fields

Last fall PAN partnered with Justin Matlow, a concerned parent and teacher in the heart of California's strawberry-growing country, to monitor for pesticide drift. Today — to mark Cesar Chavez day — we joined Justin, farmworker advocates and other community partners to release our findings.

Emily Marquez
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Pesticide drift: Still happening, still harmful

Last week, California's Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) released new data from its statewide Air Monitoring Network (AMN). As you've heard from us before, pesticide drift can seriously impact the health and well being of people living in rural communities.

And it is happening. Even with DPR's flawed sampling plan, this latest round of data confirms health-harming drift at monitoring sites across the state. Of the 32 pesticides and five breakdown products assessed, 24 were detected at least once. At one site, the neurotoxic insecticide chlorpyrifos was found in 75% of the air samples taken.

Emily Marquez
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"No health risk?" Not so fast.

New California data about pesticides in food have been getting a fair amount of attention recently. Earlier this month, the state's Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) released results from 2013 food sampling by their Pesticide Monitoring Program.

Unfortunately, DPR’s conclusion that the residues they found on these latest food samples “pose no health risk” is more than a bit misleading. In fact, the trends indicated by the data are that the percentage of food samples containing pesticides has gone up over the past five years — as has the percentage of illegal residues found.

Emily Marquez
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Inheriting disease, one pesticide at a time

Epigenetic transgenerational inheritance. Say that again? Those three "little" words refer to environmental exposures causing genetic changes that can be passed on to future generations.

These effects appear to be transferred via modification of DNA — modifications that can sometimes increase the risk of disease. As a study released last week shows, the increased disease risk can keep showing up through multiple generations.

Emily Marquez
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Neonics: More evidence of harm

Issues: 

PAN has done a lot to spread the word about neonicotinoid pesticides and their adverse impacts on bees. But there are other repercussions for widespread use of neonics too, as an increasing number of studies highlight. Adverse impacts on wild pollinators, birds and other wildlife from neonics have also been in the news lately.

Neonics are the most widely used insecticides in the world, finding their way into ecosystems through water, soil and insects other species rely on for food. These chemicals were released onto the U.S. market without regulators fully understanding their impacts, and scientists continue to uncover more unintended consequences — from harming honey bees to song birds.

Emily Marquez
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"RoundUp Ready" nears end of the line...

After about 20 years of RoundUp use and 15 years of widespread planting of Monsanto's RoundUp-Ready GE crops, the efficacy of this herbicide is declining. Farmers are facing "superweeds" that can no longer be tamed by glyphosate, RoundUp's active ingredient. So now what?

Unfortunately, a new generation of crops engineered to resist mixtures of herbicide are waiting in the wings. As you've heard from my colleague Dr. Marcia Ishii-Eiteman, these new GE crops are completely the wrong response to this self-inflicted crisis. Meanwhile, researchers are raising new questions about the health and environmental effects of glyphosate itself.

Emily Marquez
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The "other" kind of drift

"There's a perception that drift happens." That's what I heard an industry rep say when I listened in on a Kaua'i County Council meeting on pesticide issues last summer (before the landmark Bill 2491 passed). A perception of drift? Really?

If you've been following our work here at PAN you already know that pesticide drift is a problem. On-the-ground data from across the country leaves no question that drift happens — and that people in rural communities are being harmed. But did you know there's more than one kind? It's true. And right now, EPA is reviewing how to best assess the risks of the "other" kind of drift: volatilization.

Emily Marquez
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Conventional vs. organic? Missing the mark (again)

Earlier this week, the industrial agriculture-backed Alliance for Food and Farming launched a new effort to challenge organic farming. And a few days ago, an article was posted on Slate underscoring many of the same points — challenging the benefits of organic food and farming, and downplaying the harms of pesticides to children.

Emily Marquez

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