Reclaiming the future of food and farming

Children's health

Pesticide Action Network's picture

Justice for Latino schoolchildren?

Twelve years passed. And without prior notice, federal and state pesticide regulators announced a surprise settlement last month, acknowledging that, compared to their white peers, Latino schoolchildren had been disproportionately impacted by use of pesticide fumigants. While the case marks a step towards recognizing environmental injustice, it fell short of providing compensation for children, many of whom have since graduated from high school, or of protecting future generations from pesticide drift.

Pesticide Actio...
Kristin Schafer's picture

Pesticide-free soap — finally!

At long last, the writing is on the wall for triclosan. FDA is still finalizing their review of the “anti-microbial” pesticide, but according to the New York Times, companies are already starting to pull it out of their hand soaps, face washes and baby toys.

It's so very nice to see common sense prevail! Of course it has taken, um, nearly 40 years.

Kristin Schafer
Kristin Schafer's picture

Atrazine review is a much needed 'do-over'

Seventy-six million. U.S. farms are doused with that many pounds of the herbicide atrazine every year. That's a lot of any chemical — and scientists link this one to birth defects, infertility and the "chemical castration" of frogs.

Next week, EPA's science advisors will wrap up a 2-year process of rethinking atrazine, based on the latest studies of its health and environmental harms. People across the country will be watching closely to see just what happens next. So, without a doubt, will the Syngenta corporation.

Kristin Schafer
Kristin Schafer's picture

Birth defects linked to pesticides, again

It's been more than a few years now, but I remember the roller coaster ride of pregnancy like it was yesterday. Nine months of bouncing from giddy excitement to mind-bending worry, pure joy to frantic nesting. Powerful emotions are amplified by equally powerful hormones, working overtime.

As scientists report yet again this week, those churning hormones also make exposure to pesticides during pregnancy especially dangerous. Birth defects, autism, lower IQ, reduced birth weight, infertility — the risk of these life-changing impacts is higher for infants conceived during spray season or carrying pesticides in their cordblood. Yikes.

Kristin Schafer
Margaret Reeves's picture

Dangers of farm work in the sunshine state

In last week’s Atlantic, Barry Estabrook shines a light on the horrific story of pesticides and farmworker families in Florida's Lake Apopka. Thousands in the small African American community suffer from myriad maladies including kidney failure and a rate of birth defects that is 4 times greater than in other Florida towns.

The response? Florida governor Rick Scott blatantly turns a blind eye, vetoing an allocation of $500,000 to investigate the birth defects. What was he thinking?

Margaret Reeves
Pesticide Action Network's picture

POPs put babies & polar bears at risk

A collection of recent studies shows that exposure to persistent organic pollutants (POPs) — including many longlasting pesticides — can slow growth rates of human embryos and shrink the genitals and weaken bones of polar bears.

The World Health Organization (WHO), meanwhile, is asking health professionals around the world to do more to protect children from the health effects of POPs.

Pesticide Actio...
Marcia Ishii-Eiteman's picture

Genetic Trespass! GE toxin reaches umbilical cordblood

My mom hackles are up. GE toxins are turning up in umbilical cordblood and the blood of pregnant women, according to a study by independent Canadian doctors. And what might be the effect of these toxins on developing fetuses? No one really knows. Let me tell you why this is big news.

All this time, Monsanto has based its assertion that crops engineered to contain the bacterial toxin, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), are harmless on an assumption that the toxin breaks down in the digestive system and so never enters the rest of the body. Regulators have been repeating this to us for over a generation. Now it turns out that the Bt toxin is not only surviving in our guts, but is making its way on into our bloodstreams — and if we’re pregnant, into the soon-to-be-babies in our bellies.

Marcia Ishii-Eiteman
Pesticide Action Network's picture

NY gets safer schoolgrounds

There's good news for school children in New York. The Child Safe Playing Fields Act, which took effect May 17, prohibits use of pesticides on playgrounds, athletic fields and all grassy areas in K-12 schools across the state.

This law represents major progress toward preventing children’s exposure to pesticides and the resulting health harms. Science clearly shows that during critical developmental windows, exposure to pesticides can cause long-term and irreversible damage for children’s health and cognitive development.

Pesticide Actio...
Kristin Schafer's picture

Kids' cancer rates still climbing

Last week a friend posted a slideshow of her niece on facebook. The girl's father had written a song to accompany the photos of his daughter's battle with leukemia. It made me cry.

The fact that a 5-year-old girl should have to summon such courage takes me quickly from tears to anger. Children should not be battling cancer, yet more and more are forced to do exactly that. A report released last week confirmed that childhood cancer rates are higher than ever before, and continue to climb. 

Kristin Schafer
Kristin Schafer's picture

Reaching the autism tipping point

Autism affects many, many more children than we thought, according to a study released this week that stunned experts around the world. Meanwhile, evidence keeps rolling in that exposure to pesticides and other chemicals is at least partly responsible for the epidemic.

We may have finally reached the tipping point, where policymakers can no longer wring their hands and call for more studies — and where wearing a blue ribbon in April to raise awareness is clearly just not enough.

Kristin Schafer

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