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Indonesia Earthquake, EPA phasing out AZM, Pesticide Industry Pressure and more...
Indonesia: Pesticide Action Network Asia and the Pacific (PANAP) is appealing for emergency financial help for grassroots groups who are assisting Indonesian earthquake survivors. The death toll, number of people injured, displaced and still missing continues to rise. PANAP is in touch with our partners in Indonesia, and we have been informed that many members of these groups, especially in rural communities, have been heavily affected by this disaster. Partners such as the Field Alliance Indonesia, Gita Pertiwi, and the Indonesian Coalition for Food Sovereignty are working together to organize support and relief to ensure that needs are quickly but carefully assessed and help gets to where it is most needed. Assistance at this moment is crucial.. Click here to help. Thank you!
Washington, DC: The Environmental Protection Agency proposes phasing out azinphos-methyl (AZM), a pesticide used on apples, pears and other crops since the late 1950s, after years of efforts by environmental, farmworker and other groups. If the EPA plan is enacted, use of AZM (trade name Guthion) will no longer be allowed on some crops starting in 2007, and all uses would end in 2010. The draft is up for public comment for two months; stay tuned for a PAN call to action to ensure it moves forward. The EPA proposal would also eliminate aerial spraying of AZM, require 100-foot buffers around water bodies and require medical monitoring of workers entering AZM-treated fields. AZM is widely used- most heavily in Washington, Oregon, California, Michigan, Georgia, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Farmworker and environmental groups sued the EPA in 2004, arguing that the agency must not allow the use of a pesticide that causes dizziness, vomiting, seizures, paralysis, loss of mental function and death. That lawsuit was settled when the EPA agreed to reconsider the use of the AZM and another similar pesticide, phosmet. AZM and phosment are both organophosphate pesticides, derived from nerve agents developed during World War II to attack the human nervous system. Read more in the Oregonian Newspaper.
North Carolina: In early May, unions representing thousands of EPA and other government scientists made a formal complaint charging pesticide industry interference with the making of rules regarding pesticides. The Associated Press reports that state officials may have been pressured by a major regional grower in North Carolina.
Paraguay: Environmental groups denounce violence triggered by soybean expansion. Environmental groups denounce violence triggered by soybean expansion. Sobrevivencia (Friends of the Earth-Paraguay) and the Global Forest Coalition condemned escalating violence and environmental degradation linked with large-scale soy cultivation and pesticide use in Paraguay. On June 2, during the session of the National Natural Resources Defence Commission (Conaderna), Sobrevivencia presented an open letter to the Conaderna President, Minister of the Environment, and State Public Prosecutor, denouncing routine pesticide poisonings and even death, failure to comply with or enforce relevant law, and lack of sanctions against actions that harm human health, human rights, and the environment. The case of Silvino Talavera, a nine-year old boy who died from pesticide poisoning in 2003 focused public attention and established an important precedent in punishing the large soybean producers who act outside the law. His case also exposed the risks shared by communities being sprayed with pesticides. The Talavera family reported receiving numerous threats, and local landowners feel pressure to sell their lands to avoid being poisoned. On April 28th, Silvino's uncle, Serapio Villasboa Cabrera, disappeared and his corpse was found in a forest about 400 meters from his home on May 8th. The autopsy concluded that he was brutally murdered. His family, supported by the Paraguayan Peasants Movement, has denounced the local authorities' failure to vigorously investigate the murder. Read the news advisory from Sobrevivencia.
Los Angeles: Hundreds of police officers in riot gear shut down a fourteen-acre urban farm in South Central Los Angeles. More than 40 protesters, including actor Darryl Hannah, were arrested as they staged an encampment to resist removal from what is considered the largest urban farm in the United States. Listen to the story on Pacifica Radio's "Democracy Now!"
Find out how you can help the South Central Farmers.
Canada: Charlottetown, capital of Prince Edward Island, has called on the province to ban cosmetic use of pesticides. Four thousand local residents signed a petition circulated by local environmental groups and join the P.E.I. chapter of the Canadian Cancer Society in supporting the ban, which in turn caused a complete turn-around on the issue by the city council. The council has now officially proposed a ban on lawn and landscape pesticides in the entire province. The Guardian reports.