What a week! PAN and over 1,000 food movement activists from around the country have just wrapped up the Community Food Security Coalition’s 15th Annual National Conference, Food Justice: Honoring our Roots, Growing the Movement, which filled five days with stimulating field trips, workshops and discussion in Oakland and around the Bay area. As Jim Embry of Sustainable Communities Network in Kentucky observed, “More than 1,000 kindred folks from USA, 1st Peoples Nations, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Kenya and all in between attended. The conference held near Occupy Oakland was a blessing. The healing (between groups) was so needed and inspiring!”
Atrazine is in the news yet again, as a panel of independent scientists call into question EPA's conclusion that the widely used herbicide is "not likely to be a human carcinogen."
For several specific cancers — including ovarian, thyroid and non-Hodgkins lymphoma — there is clear "suggestive evidence" linking atrazine exposure to increased cancer risk, according to a recently released report. Citing these and other new findings, thousands of concerned citizens across the country are calling on EPA to follow the science, and discount misleading science sponsored by atrazine's maker, the Syngenta corporation.
Today, PAN and our partners at Earthjustice and Farmworker Justice filed a legal petition demanding that EPA act quickly to better protect farmworkers from hazardous pesticides. These much needed changes would be the first improvements in farmworker protection rules since 1995. The move is long overdue.
Despite the cooler weather, things are simmering in California’s strawberry country this week. Santa Cruz County passed a unanimous resolution against methyl iodide on Tuesday, and other local governments are also stepping up in the effort to ban the cancer-causing pesticide.
But pesticide manufacturers and fumigant applicators aren’t taking the news sitting down; they’re doing everything in their power to hold back the tide of safe strawberry farming.
Back in 2008, EPA declared that certain pesticide products designed to kill rats pose an “unreasonable risk” to children, pets and wildlife. Agency officials recommended these products be pulled from the market immediately. So they should have disappeared from store shelves long ago, right?
Wrong. Sadly, the national law governing pesticides (including rat poisons) is so old, weak and cumbersome that EPA chose to politely ask companies manufacturing these products to recall them, rather than set in motion an official ban. Some companies complied, but others did not. And today, children across the country are still at risk.
On Wednesday, PAN joined the ever-growing Occupy movement in Oakland and the supermajority of Americans frustrated with corporate control of finances, homes and yes — food.
PAN and partners — including Californians for Pesticide Reform and Food & Water Watch — carved out a space among the thousands of concerned people gathered in Downtown Oakland to discuss the challenges posed by our corporate-controlled food and farming system.
As of this week, it looks like our rivers, streams and lakes — and the critters who live in them — will be a little more protected from pesticides.
Unless, that is, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) and others representing agribusiness interests manage to undo EPA’s court-ordered efforts to better protect the nation’s waterways from pesticide pollution. Roberts and company are pursuing every legislative hat trick in the book. But so far, cleaner water and healthier fish are coming out ahead.
For over a year, PAN has been watching EPA’s long-overdue review of atrazine, a common herbicide and potent endocrine disruptor. From the outset we've called for reliance on science not funded by industry – and we've been disappointed. Of the roughly 25 health-related studies submitted for the review's final session, 10 were not available to the public and exempt from the rigors of peer review. These 10 ‘secret’ studies were also industry-funded.
Now the agency is accepting comments on a new petition to pull the use of atrazine, a petition that points to misleading industry-funded science as the basis for keeping this widely used herbicide on the market.
Things are moving fast, furiously and secretively in Washington, DC with the entirely undemocratic development of the 2012 Food and Farm Bill — an approximately $300 billion, tax dollar-funded set of programs covering everything from farm support programs and renewable energy research to food stamps and conservation initiatives.
It is expected that the 12-member congressional Super Committee will receive a Food and Farm Bill proposal this week from the chair and ranking member of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees, and then decide to accept or reject it within a week's time. That's four individuals — referred to as the Big 4 — making huge decisions that affect us all, and with virtually no public input!
What do an American businessman, Iowa State University and 162,000 refugees in Tanzania have in common?
Answer: they are all either directly involved in or soon-to-be impacted by a small group of U.S. investors’ plans to acquire 800,000 acres (1,250 square miles) of land in Tanzania and transform it into large-scale industrial crop, beef and agrofuel production. They plan to use genetically engineered (GE) seed and other inputs supplied by Monsanto, Syngenta and other global agribusinesses.