More and more public health experts are turning their attention to how we can prevent childhood diseases, rather than hunting for cures. This was my takeaway from an inspiring two-day meeting of scientists in Austin earlier this month.
Children: Food and Environment, sponsored by our partners at the Children's Environmental Health Network, brought together dozens of pediatric researchers from a wide range of disciplines. All seemed to share a recognition that environmental exposures are playing a key role in undermining our children's health, and that the resulting problems are both urgent — and preventable.
EPA just released its long overdue look at how the brain-harming insecticide chlorpyrifos is affecting human health. Once again, we're beyond disappointed with the agency's lack of leadership when it comes to protecting children from pesticides.
On the good news side, the report does recognize (finally!) that this particular chemical poses unacceptable risks to farmworkers, and something must be done. The bad news? The solutions they propose don't go nearly far enough, plus they manage to completely dodge the growing evidence that chlorpyrifos can derail the development of children's brains.
Before we move fully into the busy end-of-year season, it seems useful to take a moment to step back, take a breath and take stock of where we landed after the mid-term elections. Some surprisingly heartening lessons emerge.
We're all familiar with the high-level analysis by now — the very big impact of big money, ascension of climate-deniers to Senate leadership, polarization of politics, etc. But as you dig a bit deeper, a more optimistic picture comes into focus. From community pushback of corporate control to a rekindled conversation about national food policy, some very real, very hopeful shifts are in motion.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and the public conversation has been noticeably different this year. I've heard much more talk about chemicals that increase cancer risk — and what can and should be done to prevent breast cancer — than talk about raising awareness. It's about time.
Two weeks ago today, I was heading south for the inaugural "ShiftCon" gathering in Los Angeles. It was a fascinating event, attracting hundreds of women (and a handful of men) committed to "Shifting the Conversation" about health, wellness and the environment through social media activism.
My top two takeaways left me feeling optimistic. The first relates directly to our campaign work here at PAN: the pesticide problem is now front and center in the conversation about GE crops, and the link between the two is crystal clear. This is hugely encouraging. And the second? It may be obvious, but at ShiftCon it was palpable: the social media world is an astonishingly active and powerful place.
The start of the school year is filled with so many (exciting!) rituals. New pencils, notebooks and erasers — maybe even a cool new backpack. The grinning first-day-of-school photo op on the front porch. And...figuring out what to pack for lunch.
Well, it's about time. The invisible problem of pesticide drift is on the policy radar in ways it's never been before — with changes in the wings that could protect kids and communities in very real ways. But these changes won't happen unless we keep the pressure on.
Last week, I harvested the first cherries from our backyard tree. They were yummy, gorgeous and fresh — so satisfying! Having planted the little tree just last spring and tended it since, it was also satisfying to know the sweet fruit is completely free of any chemicals that could harm me or my family.
As we head into the warm summer months, I often hear this question from neighbors, friends and fellow moms: how can I best avoid pesticides?