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Are chemicals making us fat?

The rate of obesity in very young children — even infants — continues to climb. Evidence is building that obesity-promoting chemicals called obesogens are contributing to this alarming trend.

Some of these obesogens are pesticides that — as the ongoing study of endocrine disruption clarifies — can act at very low doses to interfere with all kinds of physiological processes. This includes, it turns out, triggering increased fat cell production.

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Prop 37 defeated, but the movement is strong

What a ride! While many of us found good news in presidential, federal and local races — including things like funding for California schools — the loss of Prop 37 was especially disappointing. No doubt the next few days will be filled with reflection about what we have done and where we are headed.

Here are a few thoughts to put in the mix:

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Voting: It matters!

While it may seem that corporate influence has captured our democracy, the simple fact is that who is in office really does matter. Our collective actions over the next week will have profound effects on what kind of changemaking is possible in the coming years.

Analysts point to races across the country — including the tight presidential contest — that hinge on voter turnout. Those who want to see a safer, more sustainable future need to show up at the polls and make our voices heard.

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The difficulty of assessing loss & risk

A recent peer-reviewed study takes an ambitious approach to modeling losses from pesticide exposures — in both economic and human health terms.

Although the study examines pesticide use in the European Union, the authors run into the same issues that we at PAN encounter: 1) pesticide use reporting as it currently stands is not good enough; and 2) industry abuses "confidential business information" protections to keep scientists in the dark. 

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Farmers speak out for GE labeling

Speaking at farmers' markets Wednesday in honor of international Food Week, California farmers — conventional and organic alike — declared their support for labeling genetically engineered food.

Challenging a series of misleading advertisements that claim otherwise, this new coalition, Farmers for Truth in Labeling, is making it explicity clear that they support Proposition 37 and the honest conversations with consumers it will create.

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At EPA’s front door: “Protect bees from pesticides”

Issues: 

Standing outside EPA headquarters in Washington DC yesterday, beekeepers — flanked by Center for Food Safety, PAN and Beyond Pesticides — called for immediate action to protect bees from hazardous pesticides.

It’s not the first time EPA has been asked to take action. Far from it. For the past two years beekeepers, PAN and allies — including more than a million people across the country — have submitted numerous public and legal petitions urging the Agency to move more quickly in its evaluation of bee-harming pesticides, and fix the flawed process for allowing them on the market in the first place.

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Talking POPs in Geneva

PAN and our partners have been on the ground in Geneva this week, participating in the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC8)

Here at this annual gathering of scientists and policymakers from around the world, chemicals are considered for addition to the Stockholm Convention. This international treaty bans or restricts use of chemicals deemed to be "persistent organic pollutants" (POPs) due to their harmful impacts on health and their long-lasting presence in the environment.

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Biggest opponents of labeling GE food? Pesticide corporations.

According to filings released by the California Secretary of State last week, the world’s six largest pesticide corporations are now the six largest funders of opposition to Proposition 37.

Collectively the "Big 6"  have contributed more than $20 million to oppose the measure that would label genetically engineered food, including an intensive advertising campaign over the past two weeks.

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State of the science on children & pesticides

The Collaborative on Health and the Environment, an international partnership of more than 4,000 health professionals and organizations engaged with environmental health issues, is sponsoring an open-access teleconference to explore the latest research on how pesticides are affecting children's health.

50 Years After Silent Spring: Pesticides, Children's Health and the State of the Science will feature PAN staff scientist Dr. Emily Marquez, co-author of PAN's new report A Generation in Jeopardy, along with Dr. Bruce Lanphear, MD, MPH, senior scientist at the Child and Family Research Institute at Children's Hospital in Vancouver, BC.

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Washington state takes on GE labeling

In news out earlier this week, food and farming leaders from the Evergreen State are taking up the issue of labeling genetically engineered foods on the state’s ballot. Despite the fact that federal and state governments have largely either ignored or assiduously avoided the issue, Washington joins California in taking the matter directly to the voters.

This should be no surprise, as ballot initiatives have proven the last resort when other policy arenas fail to take up or take action on public issues.

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