PAN in the News Archive

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Wineries and vineyards dot the landscape of Livermore with brand new homes and schools popping up right next to them. It’s this picturesque atmosphere that drew Paola Reyes to the East Bay town. “We thought, ‘this is Livermore. This is wine country.’ Everybody wants to live next to a vineyard,” Reyes said. 

The beauty, however, soon became overshadowed...

Dec 15, 2014

More than three dozen area chefs are calling on city and county political leaders to approve ordinances encouraging urban agriculture in Sacramento.

Proposals sought recently by the Sacramento Urban Agriculture Coalition would update zoning and sales requirements for food grown in the city and county. Chefs are confident that passage of new ordinances would encourage small-scale urban...

Dec 8, 2014

Wineries and vineyards dot the landscape of Livermore with brand new homes and schools popping up right next to them. It’s this picturesque atmosphere that drew Paola Reyes to the East Bay town. “We thought, ‘this is Livermore. This is wine country.’ Everybody wants to live next to a vineyard,” Reyes said.

Dec 8, 2014

Paul Helliker had a job for Dow AgroSciences. 

As director of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, Helliker had allowed some growers to ignore the restrictions for a pesticide called 1,3-Dichloropropene, which the state believed caused cancer. 

The loophole was supposed to be temporary. Helliker gave Dow, the company that manufactures 1,3-D, and growers...

Nov 17, 2014

Minnesota regulators, for the first time, are considering banning or restricting a controversial class of insecticides that has been linked to honeybee deaths.

The possibility, disclosed this week by the state Department of Agriculture in a revised outline for a study of the chemicals, followed an outpouring of public concern over the dramatic decline...

Nov 3, 2014

A coalition of U.S. farmer and environmental groups filed a lawsuit on Wednesday seeking to overturn regulatory approval granted last week for an herbicide developed by Dow...

Oct 27, 2014

Use of all pesticides containing the active ingredient chlorpyrifos would be restricted under regulations being proposed by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation.

This would mean only trained, licensed professionals who have a permit from a local county agricultural commissioner would be able to use these products. The county could place further conditions on use through the...

Sep 29, 2014

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Wednesday gave final approval to new genetically modified corn and soybeans developed by Dow AgroSciences that, while heavily criticized by environmentalists and some farmers, are portrayed by Dow as an answer to weed resistance problems that limit crop production. 

Approval of the specialty corn and soybeans to be sold as part of a branded...

Sep 23, 2014

More than four years ago, environmental groups asked a federal court to order the Environmental Protection Agency to decide whether to ban a widely used pesticide that scientists have linked to illnesses in children. They settled the case in November 2011 after the EPA said it would make a decision within a year. When that didn’t happen, they sued again. More promises, the groups...

Sep 15, 2014

The cloud of insecticide that drifted from a neighbor's corn field onto the asparagus on Andrew and Melissa Dunham's central Iowa farm cast a shadow over their organic vegetable business. 

They say the costs from the incident and resulting loss of organic certification on their asparagus patch for three years will reach about $74,000, and they're now working with the...

Sep 8, 2014

A federal judge ruled against a new law in Hawaii curbing genetically modified crops, handing a victory to seed and chemical companies in a battle over modern agricultural techniques.

Units of DuPont Co., Syngenta AG, Dow Chemical Co. and BASF SE won a judgment in the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii, blocking an ordinance adopted this past November by the island of Kauai...

Sep 3, 2014

The pesticide chlorpyrifos was banned for household use over a dozen years ago, but it is still widely applied in agriculture. We’ll explore the health risks for children, especially in farmworking communities, in this report.


Aug 21, 2014

In the growing movement to better protect honeybees, Shorewood has become the first city in Minnesota — and, leaders say, the third city in the nation — to pass a policy encouraging planting bee-friendly flowers and restricting certain pesticides.

This week, the City Council unanimously...

Aug 4, 2014

California’s practice of approving new agricultural uses for neonicotinoid pesticides despite evidence that they are devastating honeybees, may be settled in court.

Environmental and food safety groups have filed a legal challenge in Alameda County Superior Court urging the California Department of Pesticide Regulation to stop approving neonicotinoid pesticides pending its...

Jul 14, 2014

On June 24th, 2014, the Toxic Taters Coalition brought its speaking tour to Bemidji, MN. Coalition members shared their stories and built support for their campaign to end harmful pesticide drift from potato fields. Indigenous Environmental Network and Sustainable Tuesdays hosted the Coalition at Bemidji's Rail River Folk School, and Lakeland TV covered the event.



Jun 26, 2014

An advocacy group concerned about bees says too many retailers are selling garden plants treated with harmful insecticides.

Friends of the Earth has released a study that says half of garden plants the group purchased at 18 different locations in the U.S. and Canada this spring contained neonicotinoids, a class of insecticides that can kill bees.

The plants came from Lowe's,...

Jun 26, 2014
Screen Shot 2014-05-13 at 1.33.15 PM.png

Seventeen DFL legislators rebuked the state Department of Agriculture late last week over its planned review of the controversial pesticides implicated in the decline in honeybees, arguing that the study...

May 13, 2014

A new report shows tens of thousands of students in California attend schools very close to farms where heavy amounts of pesticides are used. Pesticide reform groups have criticized the timing of the study, which was released late last week after a pesticide safety bill failed in a California Senate committee. Listen to audio...

Apr 30, 2014


When Tyrone Hayes first discovered that atrazine, one of the most widely used herbicides changed some of his frogs from male to female, he was shocked and worried about the effects that this chemical might have on people. What followed was a fifteen year corporate battle between the UC Berkeley biologist and Syngenta, the world’s...


Apr 7, 2014

El grupo busca que se elimine el uso de un pesticida alegando que esto afecta su salud.

View video on the Univision Sacramento website »


Mar 17, 2014
The Nation Logo

The pathbreaking CHAMACOS study has detected developmental problems in children born to mothers who toiled in California’s treated fields—but will anything change?

This story was produced by the Food & Environment Reporting Network, an independent nonprofit news organization.

Driving along Highway 101...

Mar 12, 2014

Beekeepers from around the state are asking the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and lawmakers to save their hives.

On Wednesday, beekeeper Steve Ellis delivered a petition to ban the use of a pesticide they say is killing their bees. Bees have been dying across the state at an alarming rate.

The petition signed by nearly 40 commercial beekeepers asks the state to stop the...

Mar 6, 2014
Garden Island

LIHUE — A coalition of Kauai residents and public interest groups, represented by the Center for Food Safety and Earthjustice, filed papers in federal district court Monday to intervene as defendants in the legal challenge of Ordinance 960, formerly Bill 2491.

Kauai County Councilman Gary Hooser, who co-introduced Bill...

Mar 3, 2014
Enterprise Logo

A new group of rural Minnesotans is urging consumers of fast food giant McDonald’s to question exactly what goes into getting their fries.

On Thursday, Feb. 20 an introductory press conference was held to discuss issues and potential action involving the new group, “Toxic Taters Coalition.”

To begin, two personal testimonies were given by members Carol Ashley...

Feb 24, 2014
Fresno Bee

Public health concerns have prompted the state Department of Pesticide Regulation to end an exemption that let growers apply more of the fumigant Telone than is allowed.

The move is not being well received by some growers, who say that, without the exemption, they will have to use less effective chemicals, resulting in lower yields and a shorter growing season.

"The state...

Feb 20, 2014
The New Yorker

After Tyrone Hayes said that a chemical was harmful, its maker pursued him.

In 2001, seven years after joining the biology faculty of the University of California, Berkeley, Tyrone Hayes stopped talking about his research with people he didn’t trust. He instructed the students in his lab, where he was raising three thousand frogs, to hang up the phone if they heard a...

Feb 3, 2014

The U.S. Agriculture Department said Friday it’s leaning toward allowing commercial sales of corn and soybean seeds that are genetically engineered to resist several herbicides including one known as 2,4-D, a move that drew sharp criticism from consumer groups concerned about health and environmental dangers.

“We’re moving further down the path, toward more toxic...

Jan 5, 2014

The governing body on the Hawaiian island of Kauai voted on Saturday to override their mayor's veto of a bill that seeks to rein in widespread pesticide use and the testing of new genetically modified crops.

The Kauai County Council's 5-2 vote means agricultural companies will be...

Nov 17, 2013
New York Times

WAIMEA, Hawaii — The balmy tropical isles here seem worlds apart from the expansive cornfields of the Midwest, but Hawaii has become the latest battleground in the fight over genetically modified crops.

The state has become a hub for the development of genetically engineered corn and other crops that are sold to farmers around the globe. Monsanto and other seed companies have...

Oct 9, 2013

Bay area environmentalists this afternoon filed suit against the Environmental Protection Agency charging that the federal agency has failed for years to protect children from pesticides. New at 5 KTVU Health & Science Editor John Fowler is live in Sebastopol with the story of families fighting big agriculture.


Jul 24, 2013

Honeybees have been dying at an alarming rate for years, but a new government survey shows nearly a third of the nation's honeybees died over the winter. Some beekeepers said the problem may have to do with what is being sprayed on the food we eat.

It may not seem like a big deal to most of us. But billions of dollars of commercially grown fruits and vegetables, a big chunk of our...

May 23, 2013

Genetically engineered crops that could sharply increase the use of two powerful herbicides are now unlikely to reach the market until at least 2015 because the Department of Agriculture has decided to subject the crops to more stringent environmental reviews than it had originally intended.


May 10, 2013

Environmentalists and beekeepers are calling on the government to ban some of the country's most widely used insect-killing chemicals.

The pesticides, called neonicotinoids, became popular among farmers during the 1990s. They're used to coat the seeds of many agricultural crops, including the biggest crop of all: corn. Neonics, as they're called, protect those crops from...

Mar 26, 2013

Un grupo de manifestantes señalaron que recaudarán cerca de 20 mil peticiones que serán turnadas a la EPA con el din de erradicr de los campos de cultivo el Bromuro de Metilo.

Ver Vídeo | 67...

Mar 25, 2013

The US government is being sued by a coalition of beekeepers, conservation and food campaigners over pesticides linked to serious harm in bees.

The lawsuit accuses the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of failing to protect the insects – which pollinate three-quarters of all food crops – from nerve agents that it says should be suspended from use. Neonicotinoids, the...

Mar 25, 2013

This week farmworker and labor groups plan to drop off some 15,000 petitions to the offices of the state's Environmental Protection Agency. At issue is strawberry farmers' continuing use of methyl bromide.

Listen » | KQED's...

Mar 25, 2013

Wish you could get clear answers to everyday health questions? Use these four free apps, when you want to know... Developed by the nonprofit Pesticide Action Network, this app identifies the pesticide residues likely to end up on more than 90 conventional and organic foods based on information from the USDA's Pesticide Data Program and other government agencies.

Mar 20, 2013

On today's Your Call, we’ll speak with Ken and Melanie Light. They spent five years documenting the Central Valley through photographs and essays for their book, "Valley of Shadows and Dreams." They met people struggling with foreclosures, environmental pollution, water scarcity, immigration, extreme weather, and an...

Feb 20, 2013

Love isn’t the only thing blooming around Valentine’s Day. So are California’s 800,000 acres of almond blossoms. But scientists warn there may simply not be enough honey bees available to pollinate this year’s crop, which prompts an ominous question: “Is 2013 the year colony collapse disorder (CCD) begins to impact our food supply?”


Feb 18, 2013

A controversial new biotech corn developed by Dow AgroSciences, a unit of Dow Chemical,, will be delayed at least another year as the company awaits regulatory approval amid opposition from farmers, consumers and public health officials.

Dow AgroSciences officials said Friday that they now expect the first sales of Enlist for planting in 2014. Previously officials had set the 2013...

Jan 22, 2013

It’s impossible to say with certainty that our modern reliance on pesticides indoors and outside is directly causing more of our children to get sick more often, but a large amount of new research points in that direction. An October report by Pesticide Action Network North America titled “A Generation in Jeopardy” examines dozens of recent studies and concludes that the...

Jan 10, 2013

Last week, I took Dr. Oz to task for painting organic foods as a luxury item that distracts working families from the important task of eating healthily and frugally. My riposte: It's the pesticides, stupid. The NYT's Mark Bittman has a column on the ongoing menace of pesticides, and...

Jan 2, 2013

A new report looking at a number of studies related to childhood health issues is pointing a big finger at pesticides.

The research backed by an anti-pesticide group tries to show new links between chemical use and issues like childhood cancer, ADD, and even obesity.

KCLU’s Lance Orozco reports from Santa Paula, where a coalition of community activists released the report...

Oct 10, 2012

Pesticides pervade the environment, from the air we breathe to the food we eat, and they are making children sicker than they were a generation ago, a new report warns.

More than 1 billion pounds of pesticides used annually nationwide have helped induce a sweeping array of health problems in youth, including autism, cancer, birth defects, early puberty, obesity, diabetes and asthma...

Oct 9, 2012

On page 16 of the Biotechnology Basics Activity Book, a "Kidz Quiz" asks the question, "Does biotechnology help people reduce their use of pesticides?"

According to the messages relayed in the book, the correct box to check is "True."

The members of the industry group Council For Biotechnology Information, the book's publisher, are the same...

Aug 20, 2012

Are local citizens slowly being poisoned by the air we breathe, the food we eat?

That’s what some area residents want others to at least think about as they launch their next round of efforts to study pesticide drift in the lakes region.

Officials with Pesticide Action Network, a Minnesota non-profit group that works to replace the use of chemicals in agriculture with...

Aug 6, 2012

In 1983, scientists created the first genetically modified plant. Fast forward a mere 29 years later and approximately 80% of all packaged food in the U.S. contains genetically engineered (GE) ingredients. But there’s no way for you to tell--producers aren’t required to use any labeling that indicates the use of GE crops.

That may soon change in California, where Proposition...

Aug 6, 2012

An advocacy group in northwestern Minnesota plans to expand citizen monitoring of pesticide drift. Next week, the White Earth Pesticide Action Network will train volunteers to use the monitoring equipment.

Robert Shimek says three years of monitoring in northwest Minnesota found it's common for pesticides drift off the fields where they are applied.


Jul 2, 2012

The president of the Mosquito and Vector Control Association of California recently said that the state is "facing one of the harshest mosquito seasons in years," and federal regulations are making the situation worse.  Starting January 1, mosquito control technicians are required to test...

Jul 2, 2012

People in some Minnesota communities are routinely exposed to pesticide drift from nearby farm fields, according to a new study released Thursday. The chemical in question, a commonly used fungicide called chlorothalonil, is under increasing scrutiny.

California-based Pesticide Action Network compiled the data for the Minnesota study. The organization's lead scientist Emily...

May 23, 2012

Don and Norma Smith couldn't understand why their sheep stopped producing lambs in the mid-1990s. When half the animals died mysteriously over one winter, they gave up on the profitable hobby that had won blue ribbons for their kids at the Minnesota State Fair.

It was only later that they figured the problem might be connected to chemicals used on the potato fields that had...

May 23, 2012

I'm doing something very odd this week: speaking at the annual conference of Croplife America, the main trade group for the US agrichemical industry. Croplife members include...

May 17, 2012

Honeybees may be victims of widely used insecticides coated on a variety of crop seeds. An environmental issue we have been covering here. It's as big and urgent as any other. Something has been causing honeybees to disappear since 2006. NBC’s Anne Thompson reports.

Watch Report | NBC...

May 14, 2012

Scientists believe a combination of factors contributes to Colony Collapse Disorder, including habitat loss, parasites and viruses. But recent studies point to a common group of pesticides called neonicotinoids as a significant factor.

Paul Towers is with the Pesticide Action Network North America. He says current science suggests even low levels of pesticides can cause serious...

May 8, 2012

With one fumigant on the way out and a potential replacement pulled from the market, the state's top pesticide regulator is looking to speed up research into alternatives to manage soil-borne disease and pests in strawberry fields.

Brian Leahy, director of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, announced Tuesday the...

Apr 30, 2012

Corn is by far the biggest US crop, and a network of corporations has sprouted up that profits handsomely from it. Companies like Monsanto and Syngenta sell the seeds and chemicals used to grow it, while Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland, Tyson, and their peers buy the finished crop and transform it into meat, ethanol, sweetener, and a range of food ingredients. Known in Washington as King...

Apr 30, 2012

Opponents of Dow AgroSciences LLC's application to move a 2,4-D-tolerant corn to market are making a last-minute push to convince USDA to reject the proposal for fear the product could lead to increased use of a chemical widely used by farmers.

The public comment period ends Friday for Dow's...

Apr 30, 2012

Pesticide drift from a commercial strawberry field in the Bend area has a group of residents actively concerned about how the chemicals used will affect their health.

When Sam Sleezer, 37, and his father-in-law Manuel Silveira, 65, installed new scientific devices to measure air quality on their...

Apr 9, 2012

When Arysta LifeScience abruptly pulled methyl iodide off the market this week, it cited the “economic viability” of the controversial fumigant, which is used to sterilize soil before crops are planted.

But at a hearing in an Oakland courtroom Wednesday, another factor emerged: Arysta was on the verge of losing a major lawsuit.

Pesticide activists say the...

Apr 5, 2012

A common class of pesticide is causing problems for honeybees and bumblebees, important species already in trouble, two studies suggest.

But the findings don't explain all the reasons behind a long-running bee decline, and other experts found one of the studies less than convincing.

"The simple fact is, we know enough to take decisive action on this class of pesticides...

Apr 5, 2012

The search for the killer of America's bees is a little bit like an Agatha Christie novel. Suspicion has turned toward one shady character and then another: declining habitat;...

Apr 5, 2012

A common class of pesticide is causing problems for honeybees and bumblebees, important species already in trouble, two studies suggest.

But the findings don’t explain all the reasons behind a long-running bee decline, and other experts found one of the studies less than convincing.

The new research suggests the chemicals used in the pesticide — designed to...

Apr 3, 2012

A controversial type of pesticide linked to declining global bee populations appears to scramble bees’ sense of direction, making it hard for them to find home. Starved of foragers and the pollen they carry, colonies produce fewer queens, and eventually collapse.

The phenomenon is described in two new studies published March 29 in Science. While they don’t...

Mar 29, 2012

The makers of methyl iodide, a controversial chemical that state pesticide regulators approved for use in California strawberry fields, now says it's suspending sales of the product in the U.S. The decision comes after a long battle over whether it's safe for farmworkers to be exposed to the substance.


Mar 26, 2012

Registration of the soil fumigant methyl iodide was canceled today by the state Department of Pesticide Regulation at the request of the manufacturer, which unexpectedly pulled the product off the U.S. market.

The action means the chemical, designed largely for use by strawberry growers, no longer can be used in California.

Tokyo-based Arysta LifeScience Corp...

Mar 26, 2012

Commercial beekeepers and environmental organizations are asking federal regulators to suspend use of a pesticide they say harms honeybees.

The groups filed a petition Wednesday urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to ban the insecticide clothianidin.

Beekeepers and some scientists say the chemical contributes to colony collapse disorder by weakening bees’...

Mar 22, 2012
headboard-NY Times

A manufacturer has pulled a controversial pesticide from the American market, surprising both growers and environmentalists who have warned that it poses serious hazards.

The soil fumigant, known as methyl iodide and sold under the label Midas, will be withdrawn immediately as a...

Mar 22, 2012

Commercial beekeepers and environmental organizations are asking federal regulators to suspend use of a pesticide they say harms honeybees.

The group filed a petition Wednesday, urging the...

Mar 22, 2012

We hear a lot about recalls these days. But last night it wasn’t ground turkey, cantaloupes, or peanut butter that was taken off the market. It was one of the most hotly contested pesticides in recent memory: methyl iodide. As reported by the San Jose Mercury News...

Mar 21, 2012

The manufacturer of methyl iodide is pulling the controversial pesticide from California.

Late Tuesday, representatives of Tokyo-based Arysta LifeScience confirmed the "immediate suspension of product sales for all formulations of the fumigant MIDAS in the United States." The company said its...

Mar 21, 2012

An industry effort to find ways to grow strawberries without the use of chemical fumigants - or even dirt - is getting $500,000 in state assistance.

The grant, announced Wednesday by officials from the state Department of Pesticide Regulation and the California Strawberry Commission in a research...

Mar 8, 2012

Con el respaldo de más de 60,000 firmas, hoy le entregaron al nuevo director del Departamento de Regulación de Pesticidas en California, Brian Leahy, una solicitud para que no permita el uso del pesticida yoduro de metilo, debido a que es considerado un agente causante de cáncer.

"El director Leahy tiene que mostrar...

Feb 28, 2012

Bees, which play a key role in California's food production, have been dying off at alarming rates. Some beekeepers think they've homed in on the cause: a new class of human-friendly pesticides. Reporter Sasha Khokha interviews PAN's Organizing & Media Director, Paul Towers....

Feb 21, 2012

During the late December media lull, the USDA didn't satisfy itself with green-lighting Monsanto's useless, PR-centric "drought-tolerant" corn. It also prepped the way for approving a product from Monsanto's rival Dow Agrosciences—one that industrial-scale corn farmers will likely find all too useful.

Read More:...

Feb 6, 2012

Environmental groups are applauding the naming of a former conservation official as California's new chief pesticide regulator.

Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Brian Leahy on Thursday to head the Department of Pesticide Regulation. Leahy is the former assistant director at the California Department of Conservation, as well as a former organic farmer.


Feb 6, 2012

When researchers want to intentionally create cancerous cells in laboratories, they often use methyl iodide, a chemical that is also a neurotoxin and causes late-term miscarriages. And it kills soil-dwelling organisms -- which is why farmers (particularly strawberry and tomato growers) fumigate fields with it prior to planting.

Calling it one of the most toxic chemicals used in...

Jan 19, 2012

The American Beekeeping Federation Conference is in town, and the beekeepers are abuzz about the latest issues: colony collapse disorder, pesticides, and competition from overseas honey producers. We talk with a 50-year beekeeping veteran about his trade, and an anti-pesticide group about the partnership between beekeepers and environmental groups to battle pesticides.


Jan 18, 2012

For the German chemical giant Bayer, neonicotinoid pesticides—synthetic derivatives of nicotine that attack insects' nervous systems—are big business. In 2010, the company reeled in 789 million euros (more than $1 billion) in revenue from its flagship neonic products imidacloprid and clothianidin. The company's latest quarterly report shows that its "seed treatment...

Jan 17, 2012

Anyone who’s been stung by a bee knows they can inflict an outsized pain for such tiny insects. It makes a strange kind of sense, then, that their demise would create an outsized problem for the food system by placing the more than 70 crops they pollinate — from almonds to apples to blueberries — in peril.

Although news about Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has died...

Jan 17, 2012

Lawyers for a coalition of pesticide reform groups attacked a decision by the state to approve a toxic fumigant on California crops during a hearing Thursday in Alameda County Superior Court.

The pesticide reform groups told Judge Frank Roesch that the decision by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation to approve the use of methyl iodide on the state's strawberry...

Jan 17, 2012

Pesticide use rose nearly 11 percent in San Joaquin County in 2010, a reflection of the end of California's drought, state pesticide and local farm officials said.

Much of the increase was due to additional applications of sulfur dust, a material applied during wet weather to discourage powdery mildew and other fungal diseases.

Jan 17, 2012

Jeannie Economos of the Farmworker Association of Florida recalls a woman who walked into her office recently.

"Her face was swollen and her eyes were almost shut," says Economos, who is based in the Central Florida farm town of Apopka. "She works in a nursery and she'd been affected by pesticides."

Economos said the woman - a Mexican immigrant who...

Dec 6, 2011

On Dec. 3, the 27th anniversary of the Bhopal disaster, anti-pesticide advocates are bringing the six largest pesticide companies to trial. Or rather, to something called The Permanent People's Tribunal, an international body that "officially facilitates the trial, lacking any set of binding national laws." According to a recent press release from the North American branch of...

Dec 1, 2011

When Environmental Protection Agency officials consider re-registering the neurotoxic chemical chlorpyrifos, Luís Medellín hopes they take into account the health of his parents and three younger sisters, who are regularly impacted by the pesticide as it drifts off orange groves across the street from their home.

The pesticide -- which was banned from use in homes...

Oct 24, 2011

Organic-produce buyers who think they are striking a blow against a chemical-heavy industrial food system may be surprised when it comes to one of California’s signature fruits: those “organic” strawberries that overflow from baskets at local farmers’ markets are not nearly as organic as they may think.

In a letter sent to the United...

Oct 18, 2011

Pesticides usually do their bug killing away from public view. But one such poison, a fumigant called methyl iodide, has been making headlines.

According to Pesticide Action Network, exposure to the stuff "causes late term miscarriages, contaminates...

Sep 6, 2011

"Arysta, stop making methyl iodide. It's a cancer-causing pest-i-cide!"

A small crowd of activists chanted this verse on Monday outside the recently vacated San Francisco headquarters of the pesticide company Arysta Lifescience, maker of methyl iodide.

Representatives from Pesticide Action Network (PAN) were on hand, including Paul Towers, a spokesperson for...

Aug 30, 2011

Late last year, just before Governor Schwarzenegger left office, his administration approved a controversial strawberry pesticide called methyl iodide. Environmental groups quickly sued to have the decision overturned. A key question posed by the plaintiffs was this: Why was the state's Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) allowing farmworkers to be exposed to methyl iodide at levels...

Aug 29, 2011

The state Department of Pesticide Regulation has released internal documents showing its own scientists did not support the decision to approve methyl iodide for use on strawberry fields. The documents were released by court order, in a lawsuit filed by environmental groups against the state. The suit argued that methyl iodide may cause cancer and miscarriages in farmworkers.

Aug 29, 2011

As I reported a while back, sales of atrazine—a potent herbicide popular among large-scale corn farmers—are booming. That’s good news for atrazine-maker Syngenta, the globe's largest pesticide company; and bad news for all ecosytems (including...

Aug 11, 2011

Monsanto, the world's largest seed company, is known for developing engineered crops (i.e. corn and soybeans) that end up in many of the food products found on grocery store aisles, as well as in fibers and animal feed. Up until now, the company's GM crops have only been available in processed foods--in other words, in little bits and pieces. But now Monsanto is making a move into...

Aug 8, 2011

California environmentalists are using the online social networks to ask Gov. Jerry Brown to ban the use of methyl iodide pesticide on strawberry farms due to its neurotoxic and cancer-causing effects in humans.

“Methyl iodide is a very dangerous pesticide for workers and residents who live near the fields where they ... use it,” Kathryn Gilje, the executive co-director...

Aug 3, 2011

Nearly 23,000 people have joined an online petition campaign over the last two days, urging Governor Jerry Brown to ban a chemical called methyl iodide that's used on strawberries. KQED reports on the push to ban methyl iodide and interviews PAN co-director Kathryn Gilje.

Listen Now » KQED...

Jul 20, 2011

If you bite into a tomato between the months of October and June, chances are that tomato came from Florida. The Sunshine State accounts for one-third of all fresh tomatoes produced in the United States — and virtually all of the tomatoes raised during the fall and winter seasons.

"For the last 50 or more years, tomato breeders have concentrated essentially on one thing...

Jun 29, 2011

Recently, Environmental Working Group released its annual "Dirty Dozen" and "Clean Fifteen" lists of produce with the most and least pesticide residues. My reaction was: Well done, but what about farm workers? The EWG lists provide an invaluable tool to help consumers reduce pesticide exposure, but tell us nothing about the folks who grow and harvest the great bulk of...

Jun 28, 2011

A coalition of community and environmental groups protested outside the Fresno County Agriculture Commissioner's office Thursday over the recent use of the controversial fumigant methyl iodide.

More than 20 protesters urged county officials to prohibit the chemical from being used again in Fresno County.

"Methyl iodide does not belong in California. It does not...

Jun 13, 2011

When Annette Danzer and her husband moved into a house surrounded by brush and strawberry fields on California’s Central Coast, they were drawn by the rural feel and closeness to nature.  Three years later, the couple fears the fields near Salinas could become a health threat due to potential use of the pesticide methyl iodide.

California regulators approved use of methyl...

May 16, 2011

Methyl iodide will face renewed scrutiny from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The agency is asking for public comment on a nearly year-old petition filed by farmworker and environmental advocacy groups that calls on the government to rescind its approval of the controversial fumigant.

News of the move came just a day after state Department of Pesticide Regulation Director...

Mar 24, 2011

The controversial fumigant methyl iodide may soon be applied to local fields, despite dire warnings from some of the best scientific minds in the country.

If politics make for great live theater, then a Feb. 22 hearing held in Sacramento about the controversial strawberry fumigant methyl iodide might have been scripted by Franz Kafka. And much like a Kafka tale, there are stories...

Mar 10, 2011

The pesticide industry is applying extra doses of lobbying in an effort to eradicate federal requirements it considers harmful.

CropLife America -- the trade group for Dow Chemical Co., DuPont, Monsanto Co. and other pesticide makers -- aims to influence dozens of measures, from safe food and drinking water rules to toxic chemical regulations and antiterrorism laws.


Mar 2, 2011

Two months after a California regulators approved a cancer-causing pesticide for use in strawberry fields and in other crops -- and weeks after environmentalists and farm workers filed suit over the decision -- the state Assembly waded into the debate over methyl iodide Tuesday with a hearing on the toxic chemical, which is used as a soil fumigant.

The strongest testimony this week...

Feb 23, 2011

Scientists insist that the toxicity of methyl iodide is so powerful it can change DNA structure. That wasn’t enough to stop the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) from registering the controversial soil fumigant for use Dec. 20.

But Ventura County is being cautious.

Since the controversial decision by the DPR, a number of environmental groups have filed...

Jan 20, 2011

The state that supplies 90 percent of U.S. strawberries has approved a fumigant pesticide that chemists are hesitant to handle in the lab. One more reason to buy organic. While it is unlikely that methyl iodide injected into strawberry fields pre-planting will wind up on or in the nonorganic strawberries you buy at the store, rest assured those conventionally grown berries could be teeming...

Jan 10, 2011

Environmentalists and farmworkers challenged approval of a toxic fumigant and carcinogen for use on California crops Monday and urged Gov. Jerry Brown to reverse the decision.

This 11th-hour decision flies in the face of unprecedented scientific consensus and community opposition," said Kathryn Gilje, executive director of Pesticide Action Network North America, which, along...

Jan 4, 2011

A coalition of environmental and farmworker groups said in a lawsuit announced Monday that state pesticide regulators improperly cut off public comment on a controversial agricultural fumigant in order to secure its passage before Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's term ended.

The suit, filed by the lawyers with Earthjustice and California Rural Legal Assistance Inc., accuses the...

Jan 3, 2011

It's not just the State and Defense departments that are reeling this month from leaked documents. The Environmental Protection Agency now has some explaining to do, too. In place of dodgy dealings with foreign leaders, this case involves the German agrichemical giant Bayer; a pesticide with an unpronounceable name, clothianidin; and an insect species crucial to food production (as well...

Dec 13, 2010

Over the concerns of its own scientists, the Environmental Protection Agency continues to approve a controversial pesticide introduced to U.S. markets shortly before the honeybee collapse, according to documents leaked to a Colorado beekeeper.

The memo, obtained by Colorado beekeeper Tom Theobald and publicized by the Pesticide Action Network, was written in...

Dec 13, 2010

The world honey bee population has plunged in recent years, worrying beekeepers and farmers who know how critical bee pollination is for many crops. A number of theories have popped up as to why the North American honey bee population has declined--electromagnetic radiation, malnutrition, and climate change have all been pinpointed. Now a leaked EPA document reveals that the agency allowed...

Dec 13, 2010

Strawberry production on the Central Coast is part of a $2 billion industry.

Of all the strawberries grown in the United States, 88 percent of the crop is grown in California, with roughly 50 percent coming from the Watsonville, Salinas and Santa Cruz areas alone.

Critics cite the potential health effects of the new pesticide as the reason it should not be registered. Methyl...

Dec 8, 2010

California regulators approved a pesticide Wednesday for use by fruit and vegetable growers despite heavy opposition from environmental and farmworker groups that cited its links to cancer. PAN Director Kathryn Gilje is interviewed.

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Dec 7, 2010

A toxic pesticide linked to cancer could soon be headed to fruit farms and flower fields in San Diego County.

State regulators just approved the controversial chemical methyl iodide, and Kathryn Gilje of the Pesticide Action Network said, "It's a significant gamble for California to accept the use of methyl iodide."

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Dec 7, 2010

On the eve of the final Department of Justice/USDA public workshop examining the effects of corporate concentration in food and agriculture, a coalition of farm and food activists submitted almost a quarter of a million (nearly 240,000) petitions calling on both the Justice Department and USDA to take swift action to curb the abusive market power that a...

Dec 6, 2010

Over objections from its own scientific advisers, the Schwarzenegger administration yesterday issued its final approval of a highly toxic pesticide that conventional strawberry growers say is critical to their $2 billion industry. 

Speaking in a conference call to reporters, Mary-Ann Warmerdam, whom Schwarzenegger appointed in 2004 to direct the state's Department of...

Dec 6, 2010

Why replace one toxic, ozone-depleting pesticide with another chemical that while not as damaging to ozone is even more toxic?

By approving methyl iodide to replace the soil fumigant methyl bromide, that's what Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's Department of Pesticide Regulation has done. The Legislature and Gov.-elect Jerry Brown need to review and rescind this dangerous action...

Dec 6, 2010

California regulators approved a pesticide Wednesday for use by fruit and vegetable growers despite heavy opposition from environmental and farmworker groups that cited its links to cancer.

The state Department of Pesticide Regulation will register methyl iodide as a substitute for the pesticide methyl bromide, which is being phased out by international treaty because it depletes...

Dec 6, 2010

A coalition of environmental and farmworker groups urged Gov.-elect Jerry Brown to stop California from approving a controversial agricultural pesticide after he takes office, citing links to cancer made by the state.

Californians for Pesticide Reform asked Brown to direct officials not to approve methyl iodide as part of a broader set of agricultural recommendations the group plans...

Nov 30, 2010

Environmental Protection Agency scientists recently met in Washington, D.C., to review the latest studies linking the herbicide atrazine to human health harms.

They won’t meet again until early next year and, in the meanwhile, we will all be subject to a rather predictable PR push from the makers and defenders of atrazine. In particular, we will be asked to believe that this...

Oct 12, 2010

This fall, California regulators are considering whether to approve the controversial pesticide methyl iodide. Strawberry growers say they need it for their $2 billion annual crop. But scientists warn that methyl iodide can cause miscarriages and brain damage in farmworkers.

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Sep 15, 2010

Tests found dangerous levels of the compound iodide in groundwater near where an agricultural pesticide had been applied that is pending approval in California, according to a report completed in Florida, where the pesticide is already in use. High levels of iodide, a component of broken down methyl iodide, can cause thyroid disease and could contribute to miscarriages, fetal death and...

Sep 13, 2010

It sounds like fodder for a PR flap that might benefit the leading producer of the controversial herbicide atrazine: reams of explicit, taunting e-mails sent to company employees by a professor whose research on the health risks of their product had won nationwide notice.

"This is straight out of big tobacco's PR handbook," said Pesticide Action Network North America...

Aug 26, 2010

A farm chemical with an infamous history – causing the worst known outbreak of pesticide poisoning in North America – is being phased out under an agreement announced Tuesday by the Environmental Protection Agency. “After thousands of poisonings, it is mind-boggling that aldicarb is still in use,” said Steve Scholl-Buckwald, managing director of the environmental...

Aug 18, 2010

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein has asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider its approval of a cancer-causing chemical used by farmers in other states to kill soil-bound pests. Feinstein said in a letter last month to the EPA that scientific evidence presented during methyl iodide's California registration shows federal regulators may have allowed the compound to be...

Aug 9, 2010

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it will take another look at safety issues surrounding methyl iodide, a pesticide California regulators are in the process of approving. Strawberry growers consider the chemical crucial for their success, but scientists retained by the state say it's only safe at extremely low exposure levels. Host Erika Kelly talks to KQED's Amy Standen...

Aug 6, 2010

Two environmental groups filed suit against U.S. EPA yesterday in an attempt to force the agency into action on their 2007 petition seeking a ban on the insecticide chlorpyrifos. The court challenge by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) alleges that EPA has "unreasonably delayed" work on the anti-chlorpyrifos petition...

Jul 23, 2010

California strawberry farmers may soon have a new pesticide to use on their fields. The state's Department of Pesticide Regulation is recommending approving use of the soil fumigant methyl iodide. However, scientists say that methyl iodide is very toxic and can cause cancer, brain damage and miscarriages. The Pesticide Action Network has not objected to the registration of any new...

Jul 16, 2010

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation has proposed registering methyl iodide as a pesticide in California to the dismay of scientists and environmental groups, who say it is so toxic that even chemists are reluctant to handle it. Susan Kegley, a consulting scientist for Pesticide Action Network, a nonprofit public interest group in San Francisco, said approving methyl iodide...

Jul 16, 2010

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation has proposed replacing a popular fumigant with methyl iodide despite concerns by its own scientific advisory panel that it could poison the air and water. Fumigants such as methyl iodide, which has caused miscarriages in laboratory rats and rabbits and is a known carcinogen, are among the most dangerous class of pesticide, since their gaseous...

Jul 16, 2010

The State of California is one step closer to using a known carcinogen on strawberry fields. PAN's Susan Kegley, interviewed on CBS 5, states,"The real hazard is for the people who live and work next to the fields that are fumigated. Here's a chemical we know causes cancer. It's on the Proposition 65 list of carcinogens. And we're introducing it on purpose, with very few...

Jul 16, 2010

PAN senior scientist Dr. Marcia Ishii-Eiteman joined Dr. Hans Herren in an OpEd contesting the science behind the controversial 'Global Food Security Act.'
A closer look reveals that its otherwise commendable focus may be seriously undermined by a new clause lobbied for by one of America’s largest seed and chemical companies. This bill includes a mandate that we spend...

Jul 16, 2010

Confident after his success with health insurance reform, President Obama exerted his executive power on Saturday by making fifteen appointments during the Senate's recess. Among the appointments was Islam Siddiqui, who will now be serving as the Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. The Pesticide Action Network North America was one of the groups...

Jul 16, 2010

The EPA is currently re-assessing atrazine, which has been found in the drinking water of 33 million Americans. A recent report by the Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) and the Land Stewardship Project entitled The Syngenta Corporation and Atrazine The Cost to the Land, People and Democracy includes the stories of five farmers who've decided to stop using atrazine for...

Jul 16, 2010

An important new report on atrazine was published yesterday and it’s about time. Pesticide Action Network and Land Stewardship Project have brought together the science and farming communities to make a strong statement about the need for a new review of the herbicide atrazine and to outline the alternatives for its use. This group is also critical of Syngenta’s past success...

Jul 16, 2010

Last week we reported on a controversial pesticide the Schwarzenegger administration plans to approve called methyl iodide. The chemical is used to sterilize soil before planting. Strawberry growers say it's key to sustaining their industry. But scientists who advised the state worry that it's too toxic to be used safely. Experts gathered at a hearing this week warned that the...

Jun 18, 2010

State officials are poised to approve a new chemical for use on strawberry fields. It's called methyl iodide, and it has caused a rift in the state agency that makes such decisions. Scientists who consulted for the agency say the chemical is highly toxic and will affect the health of farmworkers. They say their warnings have been ignored.

Jun 11, 2010

Commercially grown strawberries and tomatoes in California could start getting an unhealthy dose of the highly toxic fumigant methyl iodide, a known carcinogen, neurotoxin, and thyroid disruptor. According to  (PANNA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) first registered methyl iodide as a pesticide in 2007, despite a letter of protest sent by prominent scientists and Nobel...

May 26, 2010