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Reclaiming the future of food and farming
Paul Towers's picture

Midwest asks for clarity with GE labels

Legislators in Minnesota introduced a bill last week to label genetically engineered (GE) food, joining similar efforts across the Midwest. States are taking matters into their own hands as the federal government has failed to provide people with information about what’s in their food and how it’s grown.

GE labeling bills in Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois represent the groundswell of Midwesterners frustrated with the lack of information and oversight of genetically engineered seeds, crops and food. 

Paul Towers
Pesticide Action Network's picture

Minnesota says 'no thanks' to triclosan

Good news for public health and water quality from Minnesota this week. By June of this year, state agencies and institutions will no longer be buying soaps and cleaning products containing the pesticide triclosan.

Governor Mark Dayton made the shift with an executive order signed Monday. The new policy — the first of its kind in the country — comes in response to a combination of strong science and public concern about the chemical's prevalence and harms.

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First bees, now birds

Prairie bird populations are falling in many Midwestern states, from ring-necked pheasants to horned larks to sparrows. Scientists now say insecticides are a primary culprit.

Minnesota birds are hardest hit with 12 species in decline, followed by Wisconsin with 11, and Illinois, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska and New York with nine affected species each.

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Hormone disrupting chemicals a 'global threat'

A new technical report from the World Health Organization (WHO) and UN Environment Program (UNEP) made a remarkable splash earlier this month, raising worries that hormone-disrupting chemicals currently on the market pose a "global threat" to human and ecosystem health.

In the paper, State of the Science of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs), scientists flagged serious concern about the level of endocrine-related diseases and disorders on the rise, including: low semen quality and non-descended testes in young males; breast, endometrial and ovarian cancers; early onset of breast development in women; and developmental effects on the nervous system in children.

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Kristin Schafer's picture

Kids are at risk. What's the hold up?

Something's rotten in Denmark. Well, in DC actually. That's where the decision's been made — again and again and again — to keep a nasty insecticide called chlorpyrifos on the market. The result? A generation of kids is sicker and less smart.

I'm truly not being melodramatic, though I admit the story of chlorpyrifos does make me hopping mad. I'm particularly riled at the moment because EPA is taking another look at this pesticide, and is once again overlooking known dangers to children's health and developing minds. What's up with that?

Kristin Schafer
Pesticide Action Network's picture

Soap pesticide found in MN lakes

Minnesota lakes contains triclosan, say researchers. An anti-bacterial pesticide found in soap, toothpaste and many other products, triclosan is currently being (slowly) evaluated by both EPA and FDA. Meanwhile, many companies have already pulled it from their list of ingredients in response to concerns about the chemical's health and environmental harms.

University of Minnesota scientists analyzed sediment from eight lakes to understand trends in contaminant levels over time. They found that levels of triclosan and its byproducts have gone up steadily since the chemical entered the market in the 1970s.

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Paul Towers's picture

Big 6 undermine Hawaii's 'right to know'

This month, the pesticide industry has been showing its muscle in Hawaii. The “Big 6”  seed and pesticide corporations — and their front groups — have undermined two public efforts to provide better information about pesticides and genetically engineered (GE) seeds and foods.

Industry successfully undermined two GE-related bills in the state legislature. One requires labeling of genetically engineered foods. The other requires pesticide applicators to keep track of and report use of hazardous pesticides, providing valuable data on how much GE crops are driving up the use of pesticides. But both are now much weaker than they started out.

Paul Towers
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Supreme Court battle: Farmer v. Monsanto

Today, 75-year-old Indiana soybean farmer Hugh Vernon Bowman will face off with Monsanto in front of the Supreme Court. Five years ago, Monsanto sued Bowman for seed patent infringement and won. Now the high court will hear the farmer's appeal.

Monsanto's aggressive pursuit of patent infringement lawsuits like Bowman v. Monsanto is well documented in a recent report by the Center for Food Safety and Save Our Seeds. As of January 2013, the corporation had filed 144 suits against 410 farmers in 27 states. Corn and soybean growers across the country will be watching the outcome of today's case very closely.

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Linda Wells's picture

Superweeds spreading at warp speed

The near-exponential spread of herbicide-resistant "superweeds" across U.S. farmland is reminding us all that no matter how much the Big 6 pesticide corporations invest in research and development, they can't outsmart Mother Nature.

In just the past two years, the number of fields with glyphosate-resistant weeds has doubled. Farmers reported these particular superweeds on 61.2 million acres in 2012, up from 32.6 million acres in 2010. This, according to a new report by the agrichemical industry consultancy firm, Stratus.  

Linda Wells
Medha Chandra's picture

Finally! EPA bans nasty rodenticides

I have some very good news: EPA is banning a group of rat poisons known to be especially dangerous for children, pets and wildlife. Finally.

Apparently, the agency got tired of waiting for the manufacturer of d-CON mouse- and rat-killing products to voluntarily follow their safety guidelines. Instead, UK-based Reckitt Benckiser was spending its energy pushing back with an army of lawyers and lobbyists. This time, their tactics backfired.

Medha Chandra

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