GroundTruth Blog

Pesticide Action Network's blog

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This week, the Equitable Food Initiative (EFI) unveiled the "trustmark" or logo that will be included on all produce certified to be "responsibly grown, farmworker assured."

Likely to hit grocery store shelves later this year, EFI-certified produce is grown according to rigorous standards for fair working conditions, pest management and food safety. And all along the way, in the development of both the standards and the trustmark, diverse groups — representing farmworkers, farmers, retailers and consumers — have been present at the table. PAN is proud to be among them.

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Last week, PAN UK released a report on pesticide residues in bread, analyzing government data over a 13-year time span. The report highlights extensive pesticide residues in some foods — including two-thirds of all bread products — and the ways in which food residue trends have shifted over time.

Pesticide residues have been in our food as long as we’ve been using pesticides. So it's not surprising (although still disturbing) that residues have significantly increased over the past decade. PAN UK’s analysis indicates that pesticide residues in bread alone have more than doubled from 28% in 2001 to 63% in 2013; and the number of samples testing positive for multiple residues have also more than doubled in the last seven years.

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The pipeline of new genetically engineered (GE) crop technologies is full to bursting. Many of the GE seeds queued up for approval are engineered for use with hazardous herbicide mixes intended to overcome the "superweed" crisis — a direct result of widespread adoption of Monsanto's RoundUp Ready crops.

On June 30th, EPA will close the public comment period on the "new use" of the herbicide 2,4-D being proposed by Dow AgroSciences to accompany their latest GE seeds. The new products — going by the name "Enlist" — would combine 2,4-D and glyphosate, and would be used with corn and soy seeds that have been engineered to tolerate to this chemical cocktail. Please join us in urging EPA to say no.

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Minnesota became the first state in the country to ban the “anti-microbial” pesticide triclosan from antibacterial soaps, toothpastes, deodorants, cosmetics, fabrics and other consumer products.

Announced this month and taking effect in 2017, this ban is great news since triclosan can cause hormone disruption in people — including interfering with thyroid gland function, sperm production in males and immune system health. And its use is unnecessary since using plain soap and water is no less effective in preventing disease. 

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Last week the French group Generations Futures announced findings from a small biomonitoring study of children living and learning near agricultural fields. Eighty percent of the children tested had been exposed to agricultural pesticides in the previous three months.

Researchers took hair samples from 30 children living or attending school within a 1/10 of a mile of agricultural areas. Analysis of the samples found “traces of 53 pesticides believed to affect the hormone system of mammals, leading to cancerous tumors, birth defects, developmental disorders and learning disabilities in humans.”