Reclaiming the future of food and farming

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Rice means life

For the past 3 months, communities across Asia have been campaigning for Safe Rice for Life and Livelihood! — the rallying cry of this year's Collective Rice Action, organized by PAN Asia-Pacific's ongoing Save Our Rice Campaign.

This year's grassroots effort focused on raising awareness about the costs of chemically intensive rice farming across the region. Thousands of people concerned about protecting the health of farmers and their land flocked to a range of campaign events in 15 countries.

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If you haven't yet said 'no' to pesticides in soap...

Back in January, we let you know about an opportunity to add your voice to the growing public and scientific momentum to ban triclosan – a toxic, persistent chemical found in 75% of Americans – from everyday products. The EPA has extended the deadline to receive public comment on its upcoming decision until April 8.

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'Bhopali' film screenings across U.S.

Today, March 30, in Baltimore, and continuing through April 7 to Berkeley, the documentary Bhopali is touring to raise awareness and support. Max Carlson's award-winning film explores the ongoing legacy of the Bhopal disaster and features Indian and international activists, including Noam Chomsky. You may view the dramatic trailer and get tour details from Students for Bhopal.

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Methyl bromide's sweet substitute

Scientists have found that hot molasses could be key to controlling soil pests, allowing farmers to grow peppers and tomatoes in Florida without using the dangerous fumigant pesticide, methyl bromide. Ending reliance on methyl bromide has been particularly tricky in the sunshine state, where mild winters offer safe harbor for pests and sandy soils can make organic options a challenge. Nonetheless, innovative scientists and farmers are creating ways to grow food without pesticides. The March 2011 edition of Agricultural Research, published by USDA, has the story.

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Bayer caves - won't restart MIC production

Institute, WV - This morning, March 18, in a “hastily called” court hearing, “Bayer CropScience lawyer Al Emch informed Chief U.S. District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin that the company has decided not to resume production of the deadly chemical methyl isocyanate [MIC] at its Institute plant,” reports the Charleston Gazette. It was an MIC explosion that caused the 1984 Bhopal pesticide plant disaster.

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Pesticides harm kids’ ability to learn

Kids and pesticides just don't mix, according to scientists. The body of evidence showing children's health harms from pesticide exposure continues to grow. Case in point: current research by Dr. Warren Porter, covered by the Bay View Compass reveals how pesticide exposure in the womb harms the ability to learn. According to the Compass article, girls may be especially vulnerable.

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Brazilian women farmers protest industrial ag

March 8 was the 100th anniversay of international Women's Day. To mark the occasion, more than 7,000 women farmers in Brazil demonstrated against industrial agriculture. Most farmers around the world are women, and women (and children) bear disproportionately high costs of this system of farming — particularly pesticide health impacts.

Protesters were members of the international peasant movement La Via Campesina. Their primary demands were more equitable distribution of land, a shift to sustainable ecological agriculture, and a re-direction of government support toward small-scale and peasant farmers, and away from large agribusiness subsidies.

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Stop the endosulfan lobby

Pesticide companies in India are pulling out all the stops to keep endosulfan on the market. As nations of the world prepare to gather next month to decide on a global ban of this neurotoxic pesticide, endosulfan's makers have launched an aggressive campaign to protect their product.

Our PAN partners in India are fed up, and have asked for our help in countering corporate influence on India's official stance on endosulfan. Please add your voice to the global effort to press the Indian government to put public health before industry profits.

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Climate change worsens POPs impacts

Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) are bad news. These chemicals are highly toxic, travel long distances on wind and water currents, and accumulate in the environment, up the food chain and in the bodies of animals and people. More bad news — climate change is making the impact of POPs worse. A recently released U.N. report, “Climate Change and POPs: Predicting the Impacts,” says that releases of POPs trapped in soil, water and ice will increase due to rising global temperatures. One example: glaciers melting faster means more of the POPs trapped in those glaciers are being re-released more quickly. 

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