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Reclaiming the future of food and farming
Pesticide Action Network's picture

Why we honor International Human Rights Day

Sixty-four years ago today, on a cold winter morning in Paris, delegates from around the world came together to adopt an historic document that was soon to become the foundation of international human rights law: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The UDHR has since become the most widely recognized and accepted human rights contract in history.

Adopted in 1948, the UDHR has been the foundation for an entire body of international human rights treaties, both binding and voluntary. For decades, it has inspired local and global efforts to hold human rights violators accountable — including PAN’s Permanent People’s Tribunal on violations perpetrated by the Big 6 pesticide corporations, held late last year.

Pesticide Actio...
Medha Chandra's picture

Pesticide harms are global — & often invisible

This week we mark the International Week of No Pesticide Use, which honors victims of pesticide poisonings across the world. A week which I wish did not need to exist.

Unfortunately, the problem is very real. According to the World Health Organization, 25 million farmworkers experience episodes of pesticide poisoning in the Global South every year. A new report by PAN Germany highlights this and other sobering facts, illustrating how pesticides continue to harm millions across the globe — and making a compelling case that it's time for real change.

Medha Chandra
Kristin Schafer's picture

Bad for adult brains, too.

On the heels of last week's strong report from pediatricians highlighting the harms pesticides can cause children's developing minds, a new study finds that pesticides are clearly harming adult brains, too.

In the "meta-analysis" published in Critical Reviews in Toxicology, scientists reviewed 14 separate studies of neurobehavioral changes linked to low-level organophosphate (OP) pesticide exposure. They found that workers exposed to OPs — particularly over long periods of time — had reduced working memory and were slower to process information.

Kristin Schafer
Kristin Schafer's picture

Illegal on pets & seeds, but in kids' shampoo? No problem.

It makes no sense. FDA's decision this week to allow continued use of the neurotoxic pesticide lindane in children's lice shampoos has me completely stumped.

The pesticide's use in pet products were withdrawn long ago. Then agricultural uses were pulled, back in 2006. Yet FDA just re-blessed the lindane products that put children most directly at risk, shampoos applied to their heads and lotions to their bodies. These products have been banned for years in dozens of countries — including by our neighbors in Mexico — and in California since 2001. What is FDA thinking??

Kristin Schafer
Kathryn Gilje's picture

Turns out, women come home from work with breast cancer

A critical and devastating new study confirms a link between certain work — farming and vegetable canning included — and an elevated risk of breast cancer. The research was conducted in southern Ontario, and for me, this news hits close to home.

I was raised in Minnesota, and lived on a small farm just fifteen miles from a vegetable canning factory. When reading this study, I immediately thought of Lily, a young woman diagnosed with breast cancer in her late twenties. She and her mother Lidia spent over a decade working in the vegetable canning factory after coming to Minnesota as migrant farmworkers. I vividly remember the desperation and grief in Lidia's voice when she told me the news of Lily's cancer.

Pesticide Action Network's picture

Pediatricians agree, pesticides are harming kids

In a new report and policy statement released yesterday, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) highlighted the harmful effects of pesticides on children, and urged government action.

AAP points to the growing body of scientific evidence linking pesticide exposure to children's health harms, focusing in on harms to the developing nervous system and increased risk of some childhood cancers. The pediatrician group’s findings and recommendations are similar to those highlighted by PAN's A Generation in Jeopardy report released last month.

Pesticide Actio...
Marcia Ishii-Eiteman's picture

Syngenta's shopping spree not limited to Black Friday

Over last week’s Thanksgiving holiday, many Americans will have paused to savor the blessings of health, family and community. Some of us will have binged on too much turkey and consumption-crazed Black Friday sales. But for the world’s biggest pesticide and seed biotech companies, the entire year has been one long feeding frenzy. This frenzy culminated in recent months in a multi-billion dollar spending spree in which, reports Bloomberg, three of the "Big 6" pesticide companies (Syngenta, Bayer and BASF) together shelled out over two billion dollars to acquire biopesticide and other “green product” companies.  

Concerns over corporate "greenwashing" notwithstanding, the larger issue here is a new frontier of market-making and corporate consolidation from the people who brought us "DDT is good for me" commercials. 

Marcia Ishii-Eiteman
Margaret Reeves's picture

EPA talks pesticides & children's health

EPA recently reviewed the links between mothers’ exposure to pesticides during pregnancy and children's health outcomes, highlighting recent findings in its online newsletter Science Matters. The article, entitled "Mothers Matter: Looking for a Healthy Start," presents the latest science linking prenatal exposure with reduced birth weight and disrupted brain and nervous system development, among other health harms.

It’s very good that EPA is explicitly communicating science, with the implicit intent to change policy. What’s still missing is pesticide use policies that are adequately protective of children’s health. We're hopeful this could be changing.

Margaret Reeves
Kristin Schafer's picture

Pass the (pesticide-free) green beans, please!

Like others across the country, this Thursday I'll be joining extended family and friends to celebrate each other and the earth's bounty. I look forward to meeting up with cousins coming to town from distant cities, and enjoying the yummy dishes we'll all contribute to the feast.

I'm also hoping we keep the acephate, methamidophos and chlorothalonil off the menu. (Easy for me to say, right?) Sadly, according to government testing, these hard-to-pronounce pesticides are among those commonly found on green beans. And they're not good for you.

Kristin Schafer

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