Reclaiming the future of food and farming

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California strawberry fields face their first dose of methyl iodide

On Monday, Oct. 24, California strawberry fields may get their first dose of methyl iodide, exposing neighboring residents to the cancer-causing pesticide. 

County officials granted the permit last week, the same day PAN and the United Farm Workers filed a lawsuit against the state and pesticide manufacturer Arysta LifeScience.

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Farm tour offers lawmakers reality check

Last Monday, Oct. 10, California lawmakers were treated to a whirlwhind tour of farms and farmworker communities along the state's central coast. The Sustainable Food & Farming Tour brought legislators to see firsthand the critical issues facing agricultural families in the state.

The tour, co-organized by PAN, Californians for Pesticide Reform and Pesticide Watch, set out from San Francisco to visit farms, schools and homes. The packed day on the road put a real-world face to many of the urgent problems raised by pesticide use, and highlighted ground-proven solutions of sustainable agriculture.

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This World Food Day, we say celebrate & berate

This Sunday is World Food Day. It is a day to renew our commitment to ending the root causes of hunger.

It is also an opportunity to highlight the true costs of pesticide-dependent agriculture, and the corporate-controlled food system that goes with it. At PAN we're doing two things: celebrating bees and berating the Big 6. Join us!

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Cookies with chemical lobbyists

Ever had lunch with a high-powered lobbyist for the chemical industry? As the Monterey County Weekly reported last week, a small-town high school teacher and a university graduate student were invited to share cookies at the offices of a well-known Sacramento lobbying firm concerned about the growing public opposition to the cancer-causing strawberry pesticide methyl iodide.

Goal of lunch: Diffuse and disorient the local movement against methyl iodide.

Target: visible community leaders.

Didn't work. The problem with the lobbyist's approach is that it's hard to dissect a movement, especially when so many people have the facts. As PAN's Kathryn Gilje previously reported, the movement is made up of high school students, chemists, farmers, farmworkers, moms and many others working in different ways to protect health and the environment. Just last May, over 200,000 people across the country called on EPA to ban methyl iodide.

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Doctors' Rx: Say 'no' to brain toxicant

Health professionals are adding their voices to the demand that EPA protect children from the brain toxicant chlorpyrifos. 

Citing a growing body of scientific evidence linking exposure to this widely used pesticide with harms to children's health, more than two dozen health care professionals from across the country submitted a letter to EPA yesterday, calling on the agency to follow their prescription and take the pesticide completely off the market.

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Just label it!

A staggering majority of Americans, 93% in fact, want to know when we're eating genetically engineered food. With up to 80% of the non-organic products on our shelves containing GE ingredients, and little-to-no long-term studies on their effects, we are concerned. 

Meanwhile much of the rest of the world — including Japan, Australia, the European Union and China — already requires genetically engineered foods to be clearly labeled, but in the U.S., biotech companies like Monsanto enjoy unfettered and unlabeled access to the market. The only sure way to know that a food product contains no GE components is to look for the organic seal.

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Dan Rather on pesticides & bees

Help start a national conversation on pesticides and bees by spreading the word about this hard-hitting, in-depth investigative report.

Dan Rather's investigative reporting team has produced a follow-up to their 2006 inquiry into Colony Collapse Disorder. Five years later, the situation remains substantively unaddressed by EPA.

Honey bees are still dying off at an average rate of 34% year, and the millions of dollars Congress set aside to investigate the issue has yielded no actionable findings for the federal agencies charged with stemming the tide of honey bee decline. 

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Justice for Latino schoolchildren?

Twelve years passed. And without prior notice, federal and state pesticide regulators announced a surprise settlement last month, acknowledging that, compared to their white peers, Latino schoolchildren had been disproportionately impacted by use of pesticide fumigants. While the case marks a step towards recognizing environmental injustice, it fell short of providing compensation for children, many of whom have since graduated from high school, or of protecting future generations from pesticide drift.

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Drifting pesticides linked to prostate cancer

Men who live in neighborhoods that experience pesticide drift are 1.5 times more likely to develop prostate cancer.

This is what scientists found in a one-of-a-kind study that compares rates of the cancer among men who lived near agricultural fields where methyl bromide, captan or organochlorine insecticides were applied with those who lived farther from drifting pesticides.

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PAN joins UFW on 200 mile march for fairness

Yesterday, PAN joined United Farm Workers (UFW) for part of their 13-day, 200-mile pilgrimage to Sacramento, demanding fair policies for farmworkers.

About 20 people affliliated with PAN, including Co-Director Kathryn Gilje, joined the march for workers' rights yesterday morning on a stretch of highway between Lodi and Galt. "Peak fumigation season in California's strawberry fields is just a few weeks away," she said. "Governor Brown should follow the science, ensure fair treatment for farmworkers and take immediate steps to pull methyl iodide off the shelves."

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