With pesticide drift sweeping across the South and Midwest this summer, and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s recent decision to keep the brain-harming pesticide chlorpyrifos on the market, children’s and community health is at the front of our minds here at PAN.
Like a wildfire burning out of control, the epidemic of dicamba drift blowing across 20 states this summer has already damaged over three million acres of soybean cropland. Adding to the list of some 2,200 reported herbicide injuries are likely many more damaged acres of fruit and vegetable farms, vineyards, trees, home gardens, hedgerows and plant habitats critical to pollinators and other wildlife.
Ah, back to school. It's a transitional time for parents and kids alike. But for those living in California's agricultural communities, this season also brings renewed worry and frustration that the state still hasn't taken steps to curtail use of brain-harming and cancer-causing pesticides near schools.
Sam Clovis is not a scientist. Trump's absurd nomination for the top scientist post at U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is a former radio talk show host with a history of racist and homophobic commentary — and zero scientific or agricultural background or credentials. Zero.
Pesticide drift is a severely underreported problem in rural, agricultural communities. And now we're in the middle of an epic summer of drift thanks to Monsanto’s new dicamba-resistant seed line, Xtend. Expanded planting of Xtend soy and cotton is leading to more spraying of the herbicide. As a result, farmers in Southern and Midwestern states are reporting extensive and debilitating crop damage from dicamba traveling from where it's applied to nearby fields.
Pesticide drift regularly occurs in California agricultural communities, and too often it flies under the radar. But in the past several months there have been four major drift incidents that bring the problem into sharper focus.
In late July, the California State Water Resources Control Board approved a stringent "maximum contamination level" (MCL) for a cancer-causing chemical in drinking water. This was a hard-fought and important victory for public health.
For 25 years, 1,2,3-trichloropropane (TCP) has been designated as a carcinogen in the state, and the new mandate to keep it out of drinking water — or at least below detectable amounts — is an important step forward.