You may remember the tragic death of 17-year-old farmworker Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez back in 2008. Maria died of heat stroke when her body temperature rose to 108 degrees in the scorching heat of the San Joaquin County vineyard where she was working. She was pregnant at the time.
Maria’s family is finally getting its day in court, and our colleagues at United Farm Workers of America (UFW) tell us that her employer may walk away without being held accountable for her death.
Turns out a new generation of supposedly safer pesticides isn't so safe after all. In the latest entry of a growing body of evidence, scientists announced last week that pyrethroid pesticides — now in hundreds of pest control products sold for home use — can interfere with the healthy development of an infant's nervous system when moms are exposed during pregnancy. Here we go again.
History tells us that substituting one type of pesticide for another "safer" variety just doesn't work out very well.
A victory 7 years in the making! Yesterday EPA published its proposed rule on testing pesticides on humans, and it's a giant step forward. The new rule categorically bans testing on pregnant or nursing women and on children. It expands protections for all testing including tests conducted by other governments, private industry and organizations. And it sets stringent criteria to ensure that tests are scientifically credible.
We often look to scientific research on the hazards of agricultural chemicals to support our call to protect farmworkers and their families from pesticides—a call that all too frequently goes unheeded. But we don't give up, and I'm delighted to say, neither do the dedicated researchers upon whom we depend. Scientists at UC Berkeley recently released another round of solid data documenting the dramatic impacts pesticides can have on children's health.
Doctors are rolling up their sleeves to search for the causes of autism. Dr. Philip Landrigan announced last week that he's rounding up a scientific posse to identify a "Most Wanted Chemicals" list based on the latest information linking environmental contaminants to Autism Spectrum Disorder. It's high time.
A good friend who lives near Seattle recently shared with me what it's like to visit her mother, who suffers increasingly from dementia. Some days she knows my friend — her daughter of 48 years — but most days she doesn't. Often she can't recall what was said moments ago, and she rarely recognizes her beautiful granddaughters at all. How utterly wrenching to watch a parent — or friend or partner — lose their connections to the world.
Today, California approved a cancer-causing pesticide that scientists call "difficult, if not impossible to control," and "one of the most toxic chemicals on earth."
Why? Here's my bet: the intense lobbying effort waged by Arysta LifeScience, largest private pesticide company in the world, who hired a Kentucky-based PR firm to create a "CA grassroots campaign" in favor of the pesticide, and who engaged the likes of a former assistant to Karl Rove in their efforts. Bluntly put: chemical company interests trumped the science and the concerns of Californians. Now we've all got an incredibly potent, new carcinogen to deal with while Arysta heads home to its headquarters and makes money off its sales.
In my family Thanksgiving means cranberries, sweet potatoes, and green bean casserole. So I decided to check these foods out on WhatsOnMyFood.org. The results weren’t exactly appetizing. Here’s what the USDA found, after washing:
Green beans: 44 different pesticides with the most commonly detected being acephate, a highly neurotoxic organophosphate insecticide. One sample had 200 micrograms of it per 100 gram serving (slightly more than one cup). That may not sound like a lot, but it's twice the EPA's level of concern for children.
On Capitol Hill today, the chemical industry squashed a bi-partisan effort to ban the controversial chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) from baby bottles and children's drinking cups. Really guys?
Protecting kids from toxic chemicals should be a no-brainer, right? Especially when the science is so strong, the scientists themselves are calling for action.