Reclaiming the future of food and farming

undue influence

Heather Pilatic's picture

What would Rachel write: The top 4 untold pesticide stories

Silent Spring turns 50 next week, giving occasion for all manner of reflection on Rachel Carson's legacy as the author who catalyzed the U.S. environmental movement. The small, but vocal rightwing fringe continues in its campaign to paint Carson as the devil "responsible for more deaths than Hitler." But most mainstream reflections thus far have sought to contemporize Carson by drawing links between the issues she outlined in Silent Spring and the concerns we still face today. 

Claiming no special insight other than working daily in Carson's wake, I speculate that she'd be reporting in her way on one of these still-untold and/or under-reported pesticide stories: 

Heather Pilatic
Pesticide Action Network's picture

Docs say corporate power threatens public health

For those who relegate the issue of corporate control to the sidelines of public debate, a new article published in the international, peer-reviewed British Medical Journal last month issued a surprising invitation to think again.

Professor Gerard Hastings at the University of Stirling points out the devastating impact on public health of the deceptive and virtually unregulated marketing campaigns of multinational corporations, connecting the dots between corporate takeover of the public mic and public health crises such as cancer, obesity and heart disease.

Pesticide Actio...
Pesticide Action Network's picture

Movement mounts against corporate personhood

Two years ago, on January 21, 2010, a Supreme Court panel that included ex-Monsanto lawyer Clarence Thomas made a decision that has since changed the face of election campaigning. The landmark ruling in Citizens United v. FEC declared corporations to be people and, under the guise of the First Amendment, permitted the pumping of unlimited amounts of corporate money into politics, opening the floodgates for a corporate buyout of democracy. The decision, which undid over a century of campaign finance reform, passed 5-4. Monsanto’s Clarence Thomas provided the critical vote.

Pesticide Actio...
Pesticide Action Network's picture

No more secret atrazine science

For over a year, PAN has been watching EPA’s long-overdue review of atrazine, a common herbicide and potent endocrine disruptor. From the outset we've called for reliance on science not funded by industry – and we've been disappointed. Of the roughly 25 health-related studies submitted for the review's final session, 10 were not available to the public and exempt from the rigors of peer review. These 10 ‘secret’ studies were also industry-funded.

Now the agency is accepting comments on a new petition to pull the use of atrazine, a petition that points to misleading industry-funded science as the basis for keeping this widely used herbicide on the market.

Pesticide Actio...
Pesticide Action Network's picture

Cookies with chemical lobbyists

Ever had lunch with a high-powered lobbyist for the chemical industry? As the Monterey County Weekly reported last week, a small-town high school teacher and a university graduate student were invited to share cookies at the offices of a well-known Sacramento lobbying firm concerned about the growing public opposition to the cancer-causing strawberry pesticide methyl iodide.

Goal of lunch: Diffuse and disorient the local movement against methyl iodide.

Target: visible community leaders.

Didn't work. The problem with the lobbyist's approach is that it's hard to dissect a movement, especially when so many people have the facts. As PAN's Kathryn Gilje previously reported, the movement is made up of high school students, chemists, farmers, farmworkers, moms and many others working in different ways to protect health and the environment. Just last May, over 200,000 people across the country called on EPA to ban methyl iodide.

Pesticide Actio...
Margaret Reeves's picture

Farm Bureau nixes safety net for green farmers

Farmers know that taking care of soil and water is essential to keep farmland productive, both now and for future generations. We, as taxpayers, should be doing all we can to support those farmers who steward the land best — especially when they face unavoidable losses.

That’s precisely why Iowa Farm Bureau leaders had agreed to press for renewing the link between crop insurance and conservation in the new Farm Bill. Sadly, it seems this position supporting sustainable farmers was overturned by last-minute, behind-the-scenes caucusing. It makes one wonder, just who is the Farm Bureau supporting?

Margaret Reeves
Pesticide Action Network's picture

"Mix & Match" — The mysterious math behind CA's methyl iodide decision comes to light

"Puzzled by some of the numbers...not scientifically credible...apparent 'mix and match' approach." These are some of the phrases found in a pair of memos authored by California officials looking into the state's controversial decision to approve methyl iodide.

The documents were unearthed by attorneys at Earthjustice earlier this week, working on behalf of PAN and the United Farm Workers, among others. They substantiate what independent scientists had been saying all along: state officials caved to pressure from pesticide manufacturer Arysta LifeScience and approved the use of cancer-causing methyl iodide in California.

Pesticide Actio...
Pesticide Action Network's picture

Syngenta, keep your paws off the atrazine science

As the federal scientific review of the safety of atrazine wraps up, PAN continues to push for common-sense process: keep it transparent, and don't let industry influence undermine the fair use of science in government decisions. Are we worried? Unfortunately, yes. A recent look at the docket reveals a controversial, Syngenta-funded study.

Pesticide Actio...
Pesticide Action Network's picture

U.S. Pesticide law is broken - and industry knows it

Right now, behind closed doors in DC, pesticide industry lobbyists are maneuvering to strip critical pesticide protections from federal law. This week it's the Clean Water Act, next week it may very well be the Endangered Species Act. And they think nobody’s watching.

Pesticide Actio...
Kathryn Gilje's picture

Progress on methyl iodide - on 3 fronts

Last week offered hope for science and strawberries, both. Three newsworthy events marked progress toward the slow crumbling of chemical industry influence on government. Each crack, however small, offers an opportunity toward food democracy, and the use of science in powerful service of the public good.

Kathryn Gilje