GroundTruth Blog

Medha Chandra's blog

Medha Chandra's picture

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's picture

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's picture

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's picture

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's picture

A new study from neurologists at UCLA adds to the growing scientific evidence showing an ever stronger link between exposure to pesticides and development of Parkinson’s disease.

This latest study documents how the fungicide benomyl triggers a cascade of events at the cellular level that increase the likelihood of developing Parkinson’s. The researchers say the findings clarify the role of naturally occurring enzymes in the brain, and may help in efforts to slow progression of the disease — even among those not exposed to pesticides. The study also confirms that avoiding pesticide exposure can only help.