GroundTruth Blog

Pesticide Action Network's blog

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As we prepare for Thanksgiving, a day to celebrate all that sustains us and brings us together, wouldn't it be nice to know whether the ingredients we're chopping, mixing and roasting have been genetically engineered?

Up to 80% of non-organic food on our shelves contains a GE ingredient. We don't know which of our foods are engineered though, because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t require labeling. Pushed onto the market by big agribusiness corporations like Monsanto, GE products are hidden in plain sight.

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The out-of-season tomato. It's beautiful to behold, tastes of cardboard and holds questionable nutritional value. And according to food writer Barry Estabrook, it embodies much of what's wrong with industrial agriculture. 

PAN sat down with Estabrook and spoke to him about how he got interested in the unsavory story of winter tomatoes from Florida, and what he learned. Estabrook's initial research on tomatoes for Gourmet Magazine evolved into the powerfully compelling story he tells in his recent book: Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit.

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Atrazine is in the news yet again, as a panel of independent scientists call into question EPA's conclusion that the widely used herbicide is "not likely to be a human carcinogen."

For several specific cancers — including ovarian, thyroid and non-Hodgkins lymphoma — there is clear "suggestive evidence" linking atrazine exposure to increased cancer risk, according to a recently released report. Citing these and other new findings, thousands of concerned citizens across the country are calling on EPA to follow the science, and discount misleading science sponsored by atrazine's maker, the Syngenta corporation.

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Despite the cooler weather, things are simmering in California’s strawberry country this week. Santa Cruz County passed a unanimous resolution against methyl iodide on Tuesday, and other local governments are also stepping up in the effort to ban the cancer-causing pesticide.

But pesticide manufacturers and fumigant applicators aren’t taking the news sitting down; they’re doing everything in their power to hold back the tide of safe strawberry farming.

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Back in 2008, EPA declared that certain pesticide products designed to kill rats pose an “unreasonable risk” to children, pets and wildlife. Agency officials recommended these products be pulled from the market immediately. So they should have disappeared from store shelves long ago, right?

Wrong. Sadly, the national law governing pesticides (including rat poisons) is so old, weak and cumbersome that EPA chose to politely ask companies manufacturing these products to recall them, rather than set in motion an official ban. Some companies complied, but others did not. And today, children across the country are still at risk.