Grassroots Science

Independent science, from the ground up.

Our point of view is defined largely by two sets of commitments: to farmers, farmworkers and communities on the front lines, and to independent science on the ground. PAN’s “grassroots science” approach involves our scientists working in the fields together with affected communities — documenting how pesticides drift and persist in human bodies and the environment for decades, and learning about agroecological farming practices from indigenous peoples and farmers around the world.

Rooted in Transparency & Public Participation

As trained agronomists, chemists, ecologists and analysts, we also track and translate science, making it publically accessible — because pesticides are a public health problem, requiring public participation to solve.

Refusing the notion that environmental health and justice is a matter for experts to decide, we have — for over 20 years — reported news and science developments in our weekly PANUPS digest. Although we recently moved on to a more interactive reporting format with our GroundTruth blog, we have kept a searchable PANUPS archive that goes back to 1998. Other public information tools:

  • PAN's PesticideInfo database collates toxicological and regulatory information from multiple authoritative sources on hundreds of pesticides in a searchable format. Over the 10+ years that we've been maintaining it, PesticideInfo has become a "go to" resource for partners, journalists and government officials from around the world — including the EPA.
  • We built What'sOnMyFood? in 2009 to make USDA's pesticide food residue data accessible to concerned consumers for the first time. Going deeper than wallet cards, What'sOnMyFood? is a searchable database that tells consumers which pesticides are found on what foods, with what frequency and in what amount. It categorizes all that detail into the four primary health risks linked with pesticide exposure (cancer, neurotoxicity, endocrine disruption and reproductive and developmental system harms). We were able to do this by cross-referencing residue data on 90+ food products with PesticideInfo's toxicological data.

For nearly 30 years — from before there were FAX machines through to today's networked world — PAN has worked to make visible the on-the-ground human health costs of the pesticide industry. We've tried to do this in a way that values the complementary rigors of science and democracy: transparency and truth-telling, independence of mind, collaboration, free inquiry and a prickly refusal of top-down control.