Reclaiming the future of food and farming

Kids Health Campaign

Kristin Schafer's picture

Protecting kids from pesticides: It's time.

Today's children are less healthy than they were a generation ago, and science shows that pesticides are contributing to the trend. This is the core finding of PAN's new report, released today with partners in California, Minnesota and Iowa.

As a mom who, like all parents, cares deeply about the health of my kids, I find the report both profoundly disturbing and deeply motivating. As one of the report co-authors, I'm hoping A Generation in Jeopardy will be used to jumpstart a long overdue national conversation about how pesticides are undermining our children's health and intelligence — and how we can do better.

Kristin Schafer
Heather Pilatic's picture

Organic food study "missed the point"

This week’s controversy surrounding a Stanford study claiming to have established that organic food is no more nutritious than non-organic illustrates the pitfalls of talking about food issues in a consumer frame. And people all around the country are saying so.

Food issues are never solely or even mainly about individual consumer choice — our food and farming system connects us with each other and is by most measures our most impactful daily interaction with the environment.

Heather Pilatic
Kristin Schafer's picture

Baby teeth to provide autism clues

Teeth swiped from tooth fairies could provide important information about the link between chemicals and autism. Researchers are excited.

We already know that timing is a critical piece of the autism/chemical connection. Scientists now say that by grinding up baby teeth, they can accurately measure not only what toxicants children have been exposed to, but precisely when.

Kristin Schafer
Kristin Schafer's picture

A big step towards stronger chemical policy

Three cheers for sanity on Capitol Hill! For the first time in 36 years, lawmakers voted Wednesday to strengthen the national law governing toxic chemicals. If it keeps moving and becomes law, the bill will tighten the rules governing those 84,000+ substances that make their way into our homes in everything from baby bottles to seat cushions.

True, it was the first of many steps: a committee vote in the Senate. But it's a huge, important move in the right direction — made in the face of strong pushback from the chemical industry. And it's long overdue.

Kristin Schafer
Linda Wells's picture

Minnesota mom rallies against pesticide drift

Bonnie Wirtz is a new mom living in Melrose, Minnesota. She and her husband moved there to start a farm and raise a family.

What they weren't planning on were the consequences of living in close proximity to frequent pesticide application. After one alarming incident of pesticide drift that put Bonnie in the hospital, this Minnesota mom took up the battle cry against pesticides and how they can harm children's health.  

Linda Wells
Pesticide Action Network's picture

Tighter rules for brain toxicant

Earlier today, EPA announced new restrictions on the insecticide chlorpyrifos, a known brain toxicant linked to learning disabilities in children and commonly sprayed on corn, oranges, grapes and almonds, among other crops.

These new protections are a step in the right direction, and will significantly reduce the amount of chlorpyrifos applied to fields and orchards. But more protection is needed to safeguard the health of farm communities and children who live, learn and play near pesticide application sites.

Pesticide Actio...
Pesticide Action Network's picture

Poisoned fruit

Last month, 14 children between the ages of two and six lost their lives to pesticide poisoning in Bangladesh after eating contaminated litchi (or lychee) fruit.

As reported by the Bangladesh daily New Age, the specific pesticides responsible have not yet been identified. But samples of the poisonous fruit are currently being tested by the Center for Disease Control & Prevention in Atlanta.

Pesticide Actio...
Pesticide Action Network's picture

Rep. Markey to FDA: Why are lindane shampoos still allowed?

Lice shampoos containing lindane continue to be allowed in the U.S., despite being slated for a global ban due to the organochlorine pesticide's persistence and toxicity. Last week, Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA) urged the Obama Administration to pull these products from the U.S. market once and for all.

In 2009, more than 160 nations agreed to ban the agricultural uses of lindane, and to phase out pharmaceutical uses around the world by 2014. Lindane shampoos and lotions have been banned in California since 2002, and several other states have moved to severely restrict the use of these products.

Pesticide Actio...
Kristin Schafer's picture

Rethinking risk

There's an interesting debate emerging in the public health world. It has to do with whether we need to rejigger our thinking about the risks pesticides and other chemicals pose to children's health.

Traditionally, we've had a "disease-oriented" approach, assessing risk based on the severity of a health outcome (think birth defects or cancer). But earlier this month a provocative Environmental Health Perspectives article argued that a "population approach" might be wiser — meaning that even when a health effect is not severe, if it's affecting a huge number of our children (think dropping IQs), we should be paying attention.

Kristin Schafer