Reclaiming the future of food and farming

Emily Marquez's blog

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It's time for the "spring flush"... of pesticides

What, you may ask, is the "spring flush?" In late spring and early summer, large concentrations of herbicides are flushed from croplands. These chemicals — like the herbicide atrazine — then get transported far and wide through surface water systems.

Herbicides are water-soluble and thus have the potential to leach into groundwater supplies as well as streams, lakes and other surface waters. Atrazine is a frequently found contaminant in drinking water supplies throughout the Corn Belt, and every year the spring flush raises concerns over the potential of atrazine spikes in drinking water supplies.

Emily Marquez
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Newest news on bee-harming neonics

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Guess what? Two more studies have confirmed that neonicotinoid insecticides (aka "neonics") are bad for bees. One study documented neonics' impacts on wild bees, which hasn't been looked at much to date. The second found that bees show a preference for neonic-laced food.

A third report from the European Academies Science Advisory Council underscores the importance of the ecosystem service provided by pollinators. The scientific case for taking action to protect bees and other pollinators from neonics just keeps getting stronger.

Emily Marquez
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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

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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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