Reclaiming the future of food and farming


Kristin Schafer's picture

Protect kids from pesticide drift. Now.

Seven years. Scientists tell us that's the window in the first years of life when children are most vulnerable to pesticide harms. That's also exactly how long EPA has — so far — delayed putting rules in place to protect kids from pesticides that drift from agricultural fields.

Bottom line? While regulators think about what to do, an entire generation of rural kids has experienced increased risk of harms that can last a lifetime. Health risks from early life pesticide exposure are very real, and can be serious. Science points to falling IQs, ADHD, learning disabilities, birth defects and, in some cases, cancer. That's why this week, we're taking EPA to court for being too darn slow.

Kristin Schafer
Paul Towers's picture

Kaua'i community presses for pesticide protections

Yesterday, a new bill was introduced in Kaua'i to provide greater transparency and protections from hazardous pesticides being sprayed on the island's ubiquitous GE test fields. Concerned community members were present en masse at the Kaua'i County Council hearing, including a broad coalition of mothers, farmers and teachers who back the bill.

Global pesticidemakers also took yesterday’s hearing seriously, busing employees to testify against the bill. These corporations rely on Hawaii's agricultural land to test their new genetically engineered crops — and the pesticide products designed to be used with GE crops. As a result, local residents are routinely exposed to an array of hazardous pesticides, and the corporations won't disclose which chemicals they're using. People on Kaua'i are saying, "Enough!"

Paul Towers
Ana Duncan Pardo's picture

Young farmworkers are "Overworked & Under Spray"

In honor of National Farmworker Awareness Week, we are reposting this powerful story of young farmworkers in North Carolina. This guest blog was originally published in September, 2011.

Last week Toxic Free North Carolina released our latest Farm Worker Documentary Project film, Overworked & Under Spray. It’s a short piece featuring six high school-aged farmworkers’ stories about being sprayed with agricultural pesticides while tending crops in fields across the state.

Ana Duncan Pardo
Linda Wells's picture

Drift catching in the Midwest: Ready, set, go!

Whew! I just got off the road from a wintry, whirlwind tour of farms, churches and schools in Minnesota and Iowa. My colleague Emily Marquez and I completed our last of four Drift Catcher trainings, certifying 26 new citizen Drift Catchers.

The participants are passionate farmers and parents who are affected by pesticide drift each year and want to use PAN's monitoring technology to document that exposure. Together, we'll be working to highlight the very real problem of pesticide drift in the Midwest, and to work towards concrete ways to reduce the health and economic harms of pesticides.

Linda Wells
Linda Wells's picture

MN court backtracks on pesticide drift

The Supreme Court of Minnesota recently issued a disappointing ruling on the legal rights of organic farmers faced with pesticide drift from neighboring farms.

As we reported some months ago, Oluf and Debra Johnson went to the courts when they lost their organic certification (and their crops) due to pesticide drift. They were looking for compensation for these losses, as well as future protection from pesticides drifting onto their farm. An appeals court had ruled favorably on their case — so the Johnsons were hoping for good news from the Supreme Court. Instead, the ruling severely limits potential compensation, and threatens organic enforcement standards across the state.

Linda Wells
Linda Wells's picture

Minnesota mom rallies against pesticide drift

Bonnie Wirtz is a new mom living in Melrose, Minnesota. She and her husband moved there to start a farm and raise a family.

What they weren't planning on were the consequences of living in close proximity to frequent pesticide application. After one alarming incident of pesticide drift that put Bonnie in the hospital, this Minnesota mom took up the battle cry against pesticides and how they can harm children's health.  

Linda Wells
Pesticide Action Network's picture

The 411: Community watchdogs text for change

Afraid or unsure of who to call about illegal pesticide spraying? Polluters beware: one California county may have found a solution.

The Kern Environmental Enforcement Network (KEEN) is an innovative tool that employs texting and web technology to expands the enforcement capacity of government agencies with the help of alert community members. KEEN enables residents to provide anonymous eyewitness accounts of local problems quickly and accurately, 24 hours a day in both English and Spanish. And it works.

Pesticide Actio...
Pesticide Action Network's picture

Buffer zones: Just common sense

Living in a lush, forested area sounds pristine and serene, right? Yes, but you may have to grapple with pesticide drift from periodic aerial spraying of herbicides like 2,4-D and atrazine.

Residents of Lane County, Oregon are fed up. They recently organized a rally protesting this long-standing practice, and calling for buffer zones to protect their communities.

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

Drift happens

Imagine an invisible cloud of a cancer-causing weedkiller drifting slowly across your state. Well, one just blew 100 miles across California, from Merced County, nestled at the northern tip of the Central Valley, as far south as Kern County (one county stop before Los Angeles) according to farm press.

Marcia Ishii-Eiteman