GroundTruth Blog

is PAN's Program & Policy Director. Follow @KristinAtPAN

Kristin Schafer's blog

Kristin Schafer's blog
By Kristin Schafer,

Childhood. Cancer. These two words should have absolutely nothing to do with each other. Childhood is about exploration and discovery, joyful learning about the world around us. Cancer is about fear, roller coasters of painful treatment and hopeful remission, and all too often, death.

Yet the two words are indeed linked. Childhood cancers — including brain cancer and leukemia — have been on a steady rise in this country for the last 20 years. And increased exposure to cancer-causing chemicals is known to be one of the reasons behind this horrifying trend. It's time to turn the numbers around.

Kristin Schafer's blog
By Kristin Schafer,

Turns out a new generation of supposedly safer pesticides isn't so safe after all. In the latest entry of a growing body of evidence, scientists announced last week that pyrethroid pesticides — now in hundreds of pest control products sold for home use — can interfere with the healthy development of an infant's nervous system when moms are exposed during pregnancy. Here we go again.

History tells us that substituting one type of pesticide for another "safer" variety just doesn't work out very well.

Kristin Schafer's blog
By Kristin Schafer,

Last week, researchers found a host of toxic chemicals in the bodies of pregnant women throughout the U.S. Industry reps quickly trotted out their favorite messages in response: "Chemicals are a fact of modern life," "just because toxins are in your body doesn't mean they'll hurt you," and "the levels are too low to matter - researchers have new tools that can measure extremely low levels." 

The fact is, low levels of chemicals in the womb can matter a whole lot. And studies like last week's make the chemical industry very, very nervous.

Kristin Schafer's blog
By Kristin Schafer,

Doctors are rolling up their sleeves to search for the causes of autism. Dr. Philip Landrigan announced last week that he's rounding up a scientific posse to identify a "Most Wanted Chemicals" list based on the latest information linking environmental contaminants to Autism Spectrum Disorder. It's high time.

Kristin Schafer's blog
By Kristin Schafer,

A good friend who lives near Seattle recently shared with me what it's like to visit her mother, who suffers increasingly from dementia. Some days she knows my friend — her daughter of 48 years — but most days she doesn't. Often she can't recall what was said moments ago, and she rarely recognizes her beautiful granddaughters at all. How utterly wrenching to watch a parent — or friend or partner — lose their connections to the world.