Reclaiming the future of food and farming

Persistent Poisons

Kristin Schafer's picture

Lawmakers tackle persistent chemicals - yay!

Today we are one step closer to protecting kids in this country — and around the globe — from persistent chemicals.

A group of senators proposed a new law this week to revamp our 35-year-old system of managing toxic chemicals. Our friends in Washington tell us this version of the bill is stronger than the attempt that stalled in Congress last year. How very refreshing to have good news coming out of DC!

Kristin Schafer
Kristin Schafer's picture

Lice comb trumps lindane on global stage

It's official: A specially designed comb works just as well to control headlice as shampoos laced with lindane. As an added bonus, there's no exposure to neurotoxins involved.

Later this month in Geneva, a simple, effective lice comb designed by the National Pediculosis Association (NPA) — a small U.S. nonprofit group — will finally get the thumbs up it deserves.

Kristin Schafer
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Kristin Schafer's picture

Why the POPs treaty matters: One mom's view

I couldn't bring 9-month-old Connor with me when I attended my first POPs treaty meeting in Bonn, so I brought my breastmilk pump instead. I vividly remember struggling with my rusty German to convince the women in the conference center kitchen to store my milk in the deep freeze.

As a nursing mother, participating in the POPs treaty meetings took on a very personal dimension. Here's why: persistent chemicals build up in food chains across the globe, and this is a key reason the treaty exists. Human milk — nature's perfect food for infants — is at the very top of the food chain. This is why POPs show up so often in breastmilk.

Kristin Schafer
Pesticide Action Network's picture

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.

Pesticide Actio...
Pesticide Action Network's picture

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. 

Pesticide Actio...
Karl Tupper's picture

DDT 'debate' losing steam

When DDT was introduced more than 60 years ago, it initially scored victory after victory in the fight against malaria — nearly eliminating the deadly disease in many areas. But these wins were mostly short-lived, as mosquitoes rapidly developed resistance to the chemical. Today, its effectiveness is a fraction of what it once was; meanwhile an arsenal of better and safer anti-malaria interventions has been developed, including effective chemical-free strategies.

And so, under the auspices of the Stockholm Convention, the nations of the world have committed to phasing out DDT, while allowing it to be used in the short-term in those few places where it's still effective and other methods of malaria control are unavailable. This is an approach PAN enthusiastically supports.

Karl Tupper
Pesticide Action Network's picture

Endosulfan harms children & bees in India

Endosulfan is in the news in India again, with new evidence of the insecticide's impact on children and bees.

On January 23, a report covered in The Hindu found that endosulfan is linked to declining honeybee populations in Idukki and Kasaragod districts in India. Scientists observed that the day following an endosulfan spray, local honeybees showed symptoms of poisoning and died. Corresponding declines in fruit yields were also reported where endosulfan had been sprayed, possibly reflecting the loss of the pollinators.

Pesticide Actio...
Kristin Schafer's picture

Chemicals in the womb: A bad idea

Last week, researchers found a host of toxic chemicals in the bodies of pregnant women throughout the U.S. Industry reps quickly trotted out their favorite messages in response: "Chemicals are a fact of modern life," "just because toxins are in your body doesn't mean they'll hurt you," and "the levels are too low to matter - researchers have new tools that can measure extremely low levels." 

The fact is, low levels of chemicals in the womb can matter a whole lot. And studies like last week's make the chemical industry very, very nervous.

Kristin Schafer
Kathryn Gilje's picture

Chemical industry wins on strawberry pesticide, for now

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.

Kathryn Gilje
Pesticide Action Network's picture

DDT promoters schooled by scientists (again)

"Stop raising doubt where there is consensus." "Take an online course in epidemiology!" These were but two of the admonitions scientists and malariologists directed at Africa Fighting Malaria's representative at a Geneva symposium on malaria last week.

Richard Tren, who spoke at the meeting for Africa Fighting Malaria (AFM), is an economist by training whose public career has included manufacturing doubt about climate change as well as spreading misinformation about the effectiveness of DDT in controlling malaria.

Pesticide Actio...

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