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

Medha Chandra's blog

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Pesticide harms are global — & often invisible

This week we mark the International Week of No Pesticide Use, which honors victims of pesticide poisonings across the world. A week which I wish did not need to exist.

Unfortunately, the problem is very real. According to the World Health Organization, 25 million farmworkers experience episodes of pesticide poisoning in the Global South every year. A new report by PAN Germany highlights this and other sobering facts, illustrating how pesticides continue to harm millions across the globe — and making a compelling case that it's time for real change.

Medha Chandra
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School lunches: A tool for better health?

Do school lunches bring back memories of massive ladels of gravy piled onto heaps of mashed potatoes, processed chicken nuggets and canned fruit?

Well, luckily this picture’s starting to change. President Obama has declared this week National School Lunch Week to shine a light on the school lunch program that began under president Harry Truman — and how it's being moved in a healthier direction. As the mom of a daughter who recently started kindergarten, I'd say it's high time.

Medha Chandra
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IQs at risk: Boys beware!

I keep reading about how boys have a harder time at all levels of school than girls. It turns out there may be more going on than the commonly held argument that teaching styles are more conducive to girls' success. Boys may also be at a biological disadvantage — new research shows that their brains may be more vulnerable to harm from pesticides.

As a mom of an infant boy, this has me seriously worried.

Medha Chandra
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Unwelcome travelers: Pesticides in the Arctic

Endosulfan. Chlorpyrifos. Chlorothalonil. Not words one would associate with the crisp, cold air and water of the Arctic region. But new research shows that these pesticides, among others, are traveling to the Arctic from as far as South East Asia, India and the United States. 

Medha Chandra
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Obesity & pesticides: The untold story

Get your kids to exercise, eat right, and control their portions — these steps can help combat childhood obesity, we're told. But new research on persistent chemicals points to the fact that as parents, we're not getting the whole story.

Researchers in Spain found that whether a child, especially a girl, will be obese is not just dependent on lifestyle choices, but also on the child’s exposure to persistent organic pollutants (POPs) before birth. As a mother of a 4-year-old daughter, this worries me tremendously.

Medha Chandra
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Women power on the farm

Women grow more than half of the world’s food. It's the unknown fact of global agriculture.

I have vivid memories of women working the fields across my travels in Asia, and find it amazing that when people talk about farmers, it's almost always about men. In the U.S., for instance, 30.2% of the 3.3 million farm operators counted in the 2007 census were women. In the Global South, women remain guardians of sophisticated and extensive knowledge about traditional agricultural practices that have sustained communities over centuries. The fact is that women are the ‘hidden resource’ supporting much of agriculture across the globe.

Medha Chandra
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Bayer agrees to pull worst pesticides — finally!

I want to share some good news that brightened my day. One of the largest pesticide manufacturers in the world — Bayer CropScience — announced on September 15 that it will withdraw its most hazardous pesticides from the global market. 

This is huge victory for the PAN International network and other NGOs from Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa who have campaigned for years for Bayer to take this step. While I'm happy that Bayer finally did the right thing, it saddens me that the company waited 16 years to act after it first promised to withdraw these pesticides back in 1995. Who knows how many pesticide poisonings worldwide could have been avoided?

Medha Chandra
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Lice shampoo company STILL pushing lindane

Most kids are back to school now, and one of the unfortunate realities parents have to deal with this time of year is lice infestations. It always amazes me that lice shampoos made with harmful pesticides such as lindane and malathion are still readily available.

As the mother of an active 4-year-old pre-schooler, it makes me crazy. How can this be?

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