GroundTruth Blog

Kristin Schafer's blog

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From edgy films about sustainable food to intimately personal stories about the dangers of chemicals in the womb, this year’s Heinz Award winners bring a powerful blend of poetry, science and humor to their work. 

Since 1994, this award has honored people doing extraordinary things in an area important to the late Senator John Heinz. This year’s winners are working to protect our environment, and they're doing it with creative flare.

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There's good news and bad news on the pesticide front this week. Let's take the good news first: A sting operation in New York City got 6,000+ packages of dangerous, illegal rat poison off shop shelves. Hats off to the public servants who got this done!

The bad news comes in two parts: First, the fact that products like this can slip through the cracks of our pesticide control system is downright frightening. And second, industry lawyers are busily weakening one of the few tools EPA officials have to quickly pull pesticide products from the market when they're found to be harmful. Really guys?

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As parents, we have plenty on our minds as we settle into a new school year — new teachers, carpools, sibling rivalry — the list goes on. We really shouldn't have to add this: apples and peaches we're packing in our kids' lunchbags may expose them to chlorpyrifos, a pesticide known to lower IQs and increase risk of ADHD. I'm sorry, what??

If you ask me, the following scenario makes much more sense: Fruits and veggies help make kids healthy and smart. Farming with chemicals like chlorpyrifos that harm children is unthinkable. And what we pack for lunch doesn't risk damage to our child's nervous system.

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At long last, the writing is on the wall for triclosan. FDA is still finalizing their review of the “anti-microbial” pesticide, but according to the New York Times, companies are already starting to pull it out of their hand soaps, face washes and baby toys.

It's so very nice to see common sense prevail! Of course it has taken, um, nearly 40 years.

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Seventy-six million. U.S. farms are doused with that many pounds of the herbicide atrazine every year. That's a lot of any chemical — and scientists link this one to birth defects, infertility and the "chemical castration" of frogs.

Next week, EPA's science advisors will wrap up a 2-year process of rethinking atrazine, based on the latest studies of its health and environmental harms. People across the country will be watching closely to see just what happens next. So, without a doubt, will the Syngenta corporation.