Reclaiming the future of food and farming

Children's health

Margaret Reeves's picture

2,4-D corn? Bad idea, and here's why.

There are many, many reasons that Dow's new strain of corn that's genetically engineered to withstand high doses of the herbicide 2,4-D is a terrible idea.

Since 2,4-D has been around for so long, there's plenty of evidence about how it can harm human health. Children, as usual, are most at risk, and USDA needs to know that ramping up use of 2,4-D in fields across the country is simply not acceptable.

Margaret Reeves
Kristin Schafer's picture

Kids & bees at risk from synthetic 'flower power'

When I worked in Kenya many years ago, I visited a small farm where they processed chrysanthemums for use as a natural pest killer. I vividly remember the powerful, not unpleasant smell rising from the mesh shelves where the flowers were drying in the sun.

You'd think a pesticide based on flowers would be harmless, right? The promoters of synthetic pyrethroids — which mimic the natural pyrethrum extracted from chrysanthemums — certainly want us to think so. But once again, the latest batch of "safer" pesticides are not as harmless as we thought, and pose particular risks to children. Unfortunately, EPA seems to be turning a blind eye to emerging evidence, and is poised to open the floodgates to more pyrethroid products and uses.

Kristin Schafer
Medha Chandra's picture

Obesity & pesticides: The untold story

Get your kids to exercise, eat right, and control their portions — these steps can help combat childhood obesity, we're told. But new research on persistent chemicals points to the fact that as parents, we're not getting the whole story.

Researchers in Spain found that whether a child, especially a girl, will be obese is not just dependent on lifestyle choices, but also on the child’s exposure to persistent organic pollutants (POPs) before birth. As a mother of a 4-year-old daughter, this worries me tremendously.

Medha Chandra
Kristin Schafer's picture

Kids' health researchers talk turkey

At an all-day seminar last week, I listened to university researchers discuss this startling question: Are we poisoning our children?

Quite a provocative topic — some might even say alarmist. Yet scientist after scientist got up to the podium and presented hard data linking pesticides and other chemicals to learning disabilities, asthma, early puberty, childhood cancer and more.

Kristin Schafer
Pesticide Action Network's picture

Dangerous rat poison still on shelves

Back in 2008, EPA declared that certain pesticide products designed to kill rats pose an “unreasonable risk” to children, pets and wildlife. Agency officials recommended these products be pulled from the market immediately. So they should have disappeared from store shelves long ago, right?

Wrong. Sadly, the national law governing pesticides (including rat poisons) is so old, weak and cumbersome that EPA chose to politely ask companies manufacturing these products to recall them, rather than set in motion an official ban. Some companies complied, but others did not. And today, children across the country are still at risk.

Pesticide Actio...
Pesticide Action Network's picture

Doctors' Rx: Say 'no' to brain toxicant

Health professionals are adding their voices to the demand that EPA protect children from the brain toxicant chlorpyrifos. 

Citing a growing body of scientific evidence linking exposure to this widely used pesticide with harms to children's health, more than two dozen health care professionals from across the country submitted a letter to EPA yesterday, calling on the agency to follow their prescription and take the pesticide completely off the market.

Pesticide Actio...
Kristin Schafer's picture

Heinz Awards honor humor, poetry & science

From edgy films about sustainable food to intimately personal stories about the dangers of chemicals in the womb, this year’s Heinz Award winners bring a powerful blend of poetry, science and humor to their work. 

Since 1994, this award has honored people doing extraordinary things in an area important to the late Senator John Heinz. This year’s winners are working to protect our environment, and they're doing it with creative flare.

Kristin Schafer
Medha Chandra's picture

Lice shampoo company STILL pushing lindane

Most kids are back to school now, and one of the unfortunate realities parents have to deal with this time of year is lice infestations. It always amazes me that lice shampoos made with harmful pesticides such as lindane and malathion are still readily available.

As the mother of an active 4-year-old pre-schooler, it makes me crazy. How can this be?

Kristin Schafer's picture

Let's get this brain toxin off the menu

As parents, we have plenty on our minds as we settle into a new school year — new teachers, carpools, sibling rivalry — the list goes on. We really shouldn't have to add this: apples and peaches we're packing in our kids' lunchbags may expose them to chlorpyrifos, a pesticide known to lower IQs and increase risk of ADHD. I'm sorry, what??

If you ask me, the following scenario makes much more sense: Fruits and veggies help make kids healthy and smart. Farming with chemicals like chlorpyrifos that harm children is unthinkable. And what we pack for lunch doesn't risk damage to our child's nervous system.

Kristin Schafer