PANNA: Congress Considering Preemption of State Environmental Safeguards, Another Study Links Pesticides to Parkinson’s, H
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July 13, 2006
U.S. Congress Attacks States' Rights: "Some of California's landmark consumer and environmental safeguards are in jeopardy as the federal government moves aggressively to override state laws in favor of more business-friendly national policies," reports Michael Gardner from the Copley News Service. Calling it an "industry-mapped campaign to impose Washington's will," Gardner describes "federal supremacy" as a "driving philosophy in Congress." Gardner writes that "federal pre-emption has either overturned, stalled or weakened California's initiatives to clean the air, block unwanted faxes, control e-mail spam, protect personal financial data from being sold and warn consumers of mercury in tuna. Congress' next target is Proposition 65, California's voter-approved law that requires a warning if consumers could be exposed to toxic chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects." Read Gardners entire article.
This week advocates for environmental health protection have their eyes on the Gillmor (R-OH) bill, HR 4591, as it goes into mark up session. Gillmor's bill is aimed to amend federal law so that the U.S. can ratify the Stockholm Convention, the historic international treaty to phase out the entire class of persistent organic pollutants (POPs), including such infamous pesticides as DDT. However, Gillmor's bill would take away states' authority over public health protections from toxics and would place the EPA political appointees (already accused by EPA scientists and other staff of collusion with the pesticide industry) in a position to undercut the POPs treaty. Read more about it in PAN's news advisory on the mark up of HR 4591.
EPA Cuts a Deal to Permit Continued Use of Dangerous Poison: Pesticide Action Network joined dozens of other environmental groups signing a letter to EPA chief Stephen Johnson protesting the approval of renewed commercial use of hexavalent chromium -- the active ingredient in a product known as Acid Copper Chromate (ACC) -- for wood treatment. This pesticide, which had gone off the market when its manufacturer canceled its use, is the same substance that was the cause of cancers and other illnesses for Hinkley, CA residents, made famous by the movie Erin Brockovich. Beyond Pesticides reports that a deal was struck behind closed doors between EPA officials and the wood treatment industry to allow reintroduction of ACC, despite availability of safer alternative wood treatments. Hexavalent chromium is a known carcinogen and linked to respiratory illness, kidney and liver damage, and serious allergic reactions. ACC has been shown to contaminate drinking water, soil, and air, and is definitively linked to worker illnesses.
More Evidence of Parkinson's Link to Pesticides: Right on the heels of a Harvard School of Public Health study published in June that revealed a probable link between pesticide exposure and Parkinson's Disease, Emory University has released another new study that shows a link between exposure to dieldrin in lab research and Parkinson's. Dieldrin, is a pesticide targeted by PAN's "Dirty Dozen" Campaign since 1985, banned in the United States in 1987 and designated for worldwide phaseout as one of the initial persistent organic pollutants (POPs) listed under the Stockholm Convention. Like other POPs, dieldrin breaks down very slowly, and it remains dangerous in soil long after application. Read more about the United States and the Stockholm Convention.
Farmworkers Unjustly Fired: All 36 vineyard workers at the Charles Krug-Mondavi winery in Napa Valley were fired last week after the state Agricultural Labor Relations Board announced it was filing a formal complaint against the winery. The complaint alleges that Krug-Mondavi does not have cause to refuse to bargain with its vineyard workers over renewing their United Farm Workers (UFW) contract. According to the UFW, Krug-Mondavi is not concerned about violating the law. Support the vineyard workers' boycott of all Krug-Mondavi products. UFW is asking supporters to e-mail the company to express solidarity with the fired workers and hold the family owned business responsible for their flagrant violation of law. Ask your local restaurants, grocery stores, and friends to boycott Charles Krug wines.
Canada Acts to Protect Public Health from Pesticides: The federal Pest Control Products Act was enacted last week, reports The Tillsonburg News from Ontario. The intent of the law is "protect farm workers, gardeners and other Canadians across the country from hazardous pesticides," reports well-known environmentalist David Suzuki. "According to the new act, the federal Minister of Health is now obliged to initiate a special review of pesticides that contain active ingredients which have been banned by other member nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) due to health or environmental concerns," writes Suzuki. When a review has been initiated, pesticide manufacturers must now prove that their products are not harmful.