It’s that time of year again. Twice a year the global community — and the media — focus in on the perpetually devastating disease of malaria. World Malaria Day, marked in April, is one such time, and the other is this month, on Malaria Day in the Americas. Unfortunately, these events also provide an opportunity for the pro-DDT lobby to re-circulate disingenuous talking points about DDT, environmentalists and malaria. This handful of advocates work tirelessly to create a debate where there is none.
For the past month, pink ribbons have been everywhere — along with bracelets, shoes, t-shirts, even pink KFC buckets.
Yet for all this colorful breast cancer awareness, somehow we're still not talking about one of the key things we can do to prevent the disease: stop eating, drinking and breathing cancer-causing chemicals.
Farm families in India are working right now to save their land from a corporate push to replace their farms with coal-fired power plants. Last night, a petition in support of this Sompeta community came across my desk, and I was reminded again of the importance of the global PAN network. PAN International supports healthy farms and food sovereignty in the face of corporate control of agriculture. All around the world.
Wonk Warning: What follows is a long and detailed post wrapping up last week's POPRC6 meeting. Read at your own risk!
I recently spent a week in Switzerland attending the sixth meeting of the Stockholm Convention's Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee. As I reported on Friday, the Committee voted late in the day to recommend a global phaseout of endosulfan, an antiquated organochlorine insecticide.
Otter populations in the UK have made a remarkable comeback from the brink of extinction. According to the Guardian, their recovery is largely due to less polluted rivers resulting from UK bans on organochlorine pesticides (OCs) in the 1970s. Not only is the water safer for the otters, who are high up in the aquatic food chain, but also for their prey: fish populations have likewise recovered.
It's been a real nail-biter, but at about 5 pm today, the committee decided to recommend a global ban on endosulfan! As predicted, India would not agree, so the committee was forced to a vote. In the end, there were 24 votes for a ban, 5 abstentions, and no votes against.
It's Friday morning Geneva; the last day of POPRC6. For the last four days, scientific experts, government delegates, and representatives from industry and NGOs like PAN have been discussing some of the most dangerous chemicals in the world: those which are not only highly toxic but also extremely persistent. Long after they fulfill their intended purposes, these "chemical zombies" continue wander the Earth inflicting indiscriminate damage, refusing to die.
Plenty of calcium, fruits, vegetables & exercise. No drinking, no smoking, cut down on caffeine. Oh, and avoid DDT breakdown products — they may put your soon-to-be-born baby on the road to obesity.
Researchers in Spain say they were surprised to find this link between DDT and overweight infants. Turns out when women of normal weight have higher levels of DDE (DDT’s breakdown product) in their blood during pregnancy, their babies are twice as likely to grow quickly during the first 6 months of life, and 4 times as likely to be overweight when they reach the 14-month mark.
Industry's dirty defense of endosulfan
The POPRC meeting in Geneva continues, but there's not much news to report on endosulfan today. So I thought that today it would be interesting to give a run down of who is here to defend the insecticide.
It's Tuesday morning in Geneva, and there's lots of good news to report from the first full day of negotiations of the expert committee of the Stockholm Convention. As the parties consider whether to recommend a worldwide ban on the antiquated insecticide endosulfan, yesterday saw two more countries announce domestic bans. Prof. Masaru Kitano of Meiji University told the committee that the Japanese registration for endosulfan expired on September 29 and was not renewed, and then Ms. Kyunghee Choi of South Korea announced that all uses would be phased out in that country by December 2011.