GroundTruth Blog

is PAN's Program & Policy Director. With training in international policy and social change strategies, Kristin oversees PAN’s program work. She has been lead author on several PAN reports, with a particular emphasis on children’s health. She serves on the Policy Committee of the Children’s Environmental Health Network. Follow @KristinAtPAN

Kristin Schafer's blog

Kristin Schafer's blog
By Kristin Schafer,

Last month's groundbreaking DDT study — linking exposure in the womb to increased risk of breast cancer — represents more than an interesting footnote in the story of this legacy pesticide.

Not only is DDT still in our environment more than 40 years after it was banned in the U.S., it also continues to be sprayed inside homes in many African countries as part of malaria control programs — a practice that could be quadrupling the risk, it turns out, of breast cancer among daughters of women exposed to the chemical during pregnancy.

Kristin Schafer's blog
By Kristin Schafer,

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.

Kristin Schafer's blog
By Kristin Schafer,

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.

Kristin Schafer's blog
By Kristin Schafer,

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.

Kristin Schafer's blog
By Kristin Schafer,

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.

I've also seen a new eyes-wide-open awareness of how absurd it is for companies that produce or sell cancer-causing products to wrap themselves in pink for the month. (I think it was the pink fracking drill bit "for the cure" that finally broke through the noise.) Think Before You Pink has been a core campaign message of our friends at Breast Cancer Action for many years, and it's a message we stand firmly behind. It's high time to move beyond pinkwashing.