GroundTruth Blog

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

Kristin Schafer's blog

Kristin Schafer's blog
By Kristin Schafer,

If we set our minds to it, we can turn back the rising tide of autism. But it will take the courage to embrace the following common-sense goal, in both policy and practice: Expecting parents and young children should not take in chemical contaminants that are known to harm developing minds.

This week, scientists released a list of exactly which contaminants we're talking about. The top 10 chemicals contributing to autism and learning disabilities include commonly used pesticides, as well as chemicals found in many consumer products. The scientists tell us the list is likely to grow. But for now, it's time to act on what we know.

Kristin Schafer's blog
By Kristin Schafer,

Last week was a busy one for Sofía Gatica. On Monday, she won the global Goldman Environmental Prize for her efforts to protect her children and neighbors from pesticides. On Wednesday, she asked President Obama to investigate Monsanto’s “pesticide poisonings and livelihood harms” in her community and beyond.

It makes perfect sense. After all, both the genetically engineered soy beans that now surround her small Argentine community — and the herbicide those beans are designed to withstand — were produced and aggressively marketed  by a company based right here in the U.S. In St. Louis, Missouri, to be precise.

Kristin Schafer's blog
By Kristin Schafer,

Hats off to this mother of three who got fed up and took charge. Thirteen years ago, Sofía Gatica's newborn died of kidney failure after being exposed to pesticides in the womb. After the despair came anger, then a fierce determination to protect the children in her community and beyond.

Today, she's one of six grassroots leaders from around the world receiving the Goldman Environmental Prize, in recognition of her courageous — and successful — efforts.

Kristin Schafer's blog
By Kristin Schafer,

It's been the official mantra of pesticide companies for decades: "The dose makes the poison." While it makes intuitive sense — you'd think that the more of a chemical you're exposed to, the sicker you'll get — the science has, in fact, been saying otherwise for years.

A team of 12 scientists recently released a report calling on EPA to completely revamp the way they evaluate chemicals, to better reflect this now fully understood reality: Tiny amounts of certain chemicals can have devastating effects on human health.

Kristin Schafer's blog
By Kristin Schafer,

In the past year, there have been a slew of studies showing that when a child is exposed to certain pesticides — whether before birth or while eating conventionally-grown food — his or her IQ may drop. Sometimes by several points.

But what does this really mean? As a society, what might the impacts be? In short, should we be worried? The answer, according to one recent study, is an emphatic and sobering "yes".