Medha Chandra's blog | Pesticide Action Network
Reclaiming the future of food and farming

Medha Chandra's blog

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Sweeping bans on pesticide use in France

The French parliament passed a new law earlier this month prohibiting the private or public use of pesticides in green areas, forests or public space, and severely restricting the number of pesticides that can be used in homes and gardens. This is huge!

After 2020 it will be illegal in France to use pesticides in parks and other public areas unless there is an emergency situation for controlling the spread of pests. And they appear to be serious about enforcement — anyone found using or in possession of banned pesticides could be imprisoned for up to six months with a fine of 30,000 Euros. 

Medha Chandra
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Hey DPR! Protect California’s kids

As another spring planting season nears in California, I'm beginning to worry. Not just about the rain, but about all the kids and communities who could be harmed by pesticides drifting from agricultural fields. These same chemicals — year after year — end up as pesticide residues on our food.

Chlorpyrifos is one of these worrisome pesticides. The California Department of Pesticide Regulations or DPR has taken barely any action on this brain-harming chemical. Today, a group of public health and environmental groups are sending a letter to DPR officials urging them to stop stalling, and act to protect California’s kids today. Please join us in urging DPR to move!

Medha Chandra
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Climate & chemicals create crisis in Alaska

Indigenous communities of Inuit Yup’ik living on the St. Lawrence Island of Alaska face a tough winter ahead. For over 20 years, the communities have suffered from unusually high burdens of cancers, miscarriages and other health complications due to their high exposure to persistent organic pollutants (POPs).

Medha Chandra
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Wins around the world!

September was a good month for wins against hazardous pesticides. China took steps to end the use of the persistent pesticide endosulfan — as did Mexico, which will ban it fully by January 2015. Costa Rica announced it will stop using the ozone-depleting pesticide methyl bromide. And El Salvador banned a host of pesticides in one fell swoop.

Many PAN partners and allies were involved in campaigns against these pesticides, and these health-protective actions from around the world are inspiring us in the U.S. to keep up the good fight.

Medha Chandra
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This brain-harming pesticide has got to go

It’s back to school time, and as a parent I am trying to make sure my kids have what they need to succeed in class. But there are things I can't protect them from, like pesticides kids across the U.S. are exposed to in their food, air and water — some of which may be impeding their ability to learn.

Brain-harming pesticides like chlorpyrifos continue to be used in agriculture even though well-regarded scientific studies show that this chemical can harm kids’ intelligence and lead to several neurodevelopmental delays. As a mom, and someone who follows the science on pesticides, the fact that chlorpyrifos is still commonly used makes me furious.

Medha Chandra
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Say "no thanks" to rodenticides

Earlier this year, EPA banned certain rodenticide products found to be particularly harmful to children, pets and non-target wildlife. As I reported in previous blogs, the company Reckitt-Benckiser — which manufactures d-Con rat control products — filed a legal challenge against EPA’s decision.

While the legal process drags on, the hazardous rodent control products remain on the market. But an exciting new resource highlights alternatives to hazards like d-Con. Launched this week by a California-based coalition, the new website lays out various options available for safe rodent control in homes and businesses.

Medha Chandra
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Safer ’taters for tots

Recently authorities in Vietnam discovered that tons of potatoes for sale in the open market in the town of Da Lat were contaminated with residues of a neurotoxic pesticide chlorpyrifos — at levels 16 times higher than the level permitted. Yes, 16 times higher than residues considered ‘safe’ by Vietnamese authorities.

Imagine a Vietnamese child eating potatoes from this lot. My skin crawls as I think about it. These potatoes were imported from China, so that makes me think that there are similarly contaminated potatoes circulating in Chinese markets too. Asian children are not alone in facing exposure to chlorpyrifos, as U.S. children continue to be exposed to chlorpyrifos through the food they eat and — for rural children — through the air they breathe.

Medha Chandra
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Global WIN! Agroecology to replace endosulfan.

I have wonderful news to share. Delegates to the Stockholm Convention meeting in Geneva just agreed that the best alternative to the hazardous pesticide endosulfan is agroecology. This is a huge step that PAN and our allies have long pushed for.

The Stockholm Convention listed endosulfan for global phase out back in 2011. The pesticides officially suggested as alternatives were mostly hazardous as well, according to a careful PAN analysis. In an effort led by PAN scientist Dr. Meriel Watts, the Convention reviewed possible non-chemical alternatives, and found that a strong case could be made for ecosystem-based solutions. Late last week, the delegates officially endorsed this approach.

Medha Chandra
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Company defends profitable poisons

Did you know it was Poison Prevention Week last week? It is ironic that as we marked this week, we also grappled with the news that for the first time in nearly 20 years, a company went to court to challenge a decision by EPA to cancel one of their products — a pesticide that causes thousands of accidental poisonings each year.

Earlier this month Reckitt Benckiser — manufacturer of d-Con rat control products — filed a challenge against EPA’s decision to cancel specific over-the-counter rodenticide products, which are hazardous for children, pets and wildlife. No hearing date has been set, but the appeal could potentially drag on for years. Meanwhile, the products remain on the market.

Medha Chandra
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Finally! EPA bans nasty rodenticides

I have some very good news: EPA is banning a group of rat poisons known to be especially dangerous for children, pets and wildlife. Finally.

Apparently, the agency got tired of waiting for the manufacturer of d-CON mouse- and rat-killing products to voluntarily follow their safety guidelines. Instead, UK-based Reckitt Benckiser was spending its energy pushing back with an army of lawyers and lobbyists. This time, their tactics backfired.

Medha Chandra

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