Reclaiming the future of food and farming

Children's health

Kristin Schafer's picture

Let's make our schools healthy & safe

Like any parent, when I drop off my kids at school, I want to trust they'll be safe. Safe from violence, safe from bullying, safe from diseases and pests — and safe from pesticides that can cause them harm.

As evidence continues to pile up that pesticides can harm children's health and development, many schools are finding ways to control pests on school grounds without spraying dangerous chemicals. A new report from our coalition partners, Californians for Pesticide Reform (CPR), outlines the scope of the problem, the most innovative solutions, and ways parents and policymakers alike can help get pesticides out of school buildings and playgrounds.

Kristin Schafer
Pesticide Action Network's picture

Three new, separate studies confirm: Common pesticides harm kids' cognition

Editor's note: This week, Environmental Health Perspectives selected this trio of studies for its 2012 "Paper of the year" award. EHP notes that the importance of the research to understanding the "alterations of cognitive function following developmental exposure to environmental chemicals." Congratulations to the study authors from all of us at PAN. We are reposting our original coverage of these studies below.

School-age children have lower IQs when their mother's are exposed to pesticides during pregnancy. This is the conclusion of 3 independent studies released today in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

Pesticide Actio...
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
Pesticide Action Network's picture

Pesticides harm kids’ ability to learn

Kids and pesticides just don't mix, according to scientists. The body of evidence showing children's health harms from pesticide exposure continues to grow. Case in point: current research by Dr. Warren Porter, covered by the Bay View Compass reveals how pesticide exposure in the womb harms the ability to learn. According to the Compass article, girls may be especially vulnerable.

Pesticide Actio...
Kristin Schafer's picture

Is our food system toxic? Doctors & scientists weigh in

How does our food production system drive our exposure to toxic chemicals? Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) posed this question to members of its Environmental Health Policy Institute. A cohort of very smart and engaged health professionals and scientists responded.

The resulting collection of essays is thought-provoking and compelling — absolutely worth your time to explore. I encourage you to clear your desk and your mind, get yourself a fresh cup of (maybe organic?) coffee or tea, and dive in.

Kristin Schafer
Kristin Schafer's picture

Time for a cancer prevention plan, Mr. President

Childhood. Cancer. These two words should have absolutely nothing to do with each other. Childhood is about exploration and discovery, joyful learning about the world around us. Cancer is about fear, roller coasters of painful treatment and hopeful remission, and all too often, death.

Yet the two words are indeed linked. Childhood cancers — including brain cancer and leukemia — have been on a steady rise in this country for the last 20 years. And increased exposure to cancer-causing chemicals is known to be one of the reasons behind this horrifying trend. It's time to turn the numbers around.

Kristin Schafer
Pesticide Action Network's picture

Coalition tells new Congress to stop playing politics with health

The public interest community came together this week to demand that lawmakers in Washington, DC, stop playing politics with public health and welfare. PAN joined a coalition of labor, environmental, consumer advocacy, health care, and other public interest organizations - 72 groups in all - in calling on the new Congress to oppose a fast-moving bill that aims to halt new protections designed to safeguard the American people.

Pesticide Actio...
Kristin Schafer's picture

Yet again, 'safer' pesticides prove harmful

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.

Kristin Schafer
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

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