It's often unnerving to face multinational corporate capture of chemical policy and science. I certainly felt like I'd been kicked in the gut last December, when, after a diligent, multi-year review that actually kept science and the health of Californians as core commitments, chemical company influence won out as California legalized "one of the most toxic chemicals on earth" — despite the analysis and recommendations of their own scientists and overwhelming public opposition.
I can't tell you how many times I've been asked for figures on pesticide use — it must happen at least once a week. "How many pounds of pesticides are used in the U.S. each year?" "Is pesticide use going up or down?" "What's the most commonly used insecticide in the U.S.?" and so on. The best I could do was point to 10-year old numbers.
If you've been following the budget battle that's currently being waged in Congress, then you probably already know that House Republicans are attempting to use the process to score big wins for corporate polluters. For example, they're proposing to gut the EPA and prevent it from doing anything about climate change and to cut federal conservation programs. It should come as no surprise then that the EPA's atrazine review is also targeted.
On Tuesday, February 22, the California Assembly's Health and Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials committees will hold a joint oversight hearing examining the rushed circumstances under which methyl iodide was registered for use as a fumigant in California's strawberry fields.
You may remember the tragic death of 17-year-old farmworker Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez back in 2008. Maria died of heat stroke when her body temperature rose to 108 degrees in the scorching heat of the San Joaquin County vineyard where she was working. She was pregnant at the time.
Maria’s family is finally getting its day in court, and our colleagues at United Farm Workers of America (UFW) tell us that her employer may walk away without being held accountable for her death.
Turns out a new generation of supposedly safer pesticides isn't so safe after all. In the latest entry of a growing body of evidence, scientists announced last week that pyrethroid pesticides — now in hundreds of pest control products sold for home use — can interfere with the healthy development of an infant's nervous system when moms are exposed during pregnancy. Here we go again.
History tells us that substituting one type of pesticide for another "safer" variety just doesn't work out very well.
"Spray drift" is the name given to droplets of pesticides that land anywhere they are not supposed to — like on people's heads, in lakes and streams, or on crops in neighboring fields. It can cause illness, damage crops, and harm ecosystems. And so in 2007 the EPA began trying to figure out how to do better job of keeping it from happening.
This week in Dakar, Senegal, 75,00 people from 132 countries have converged for the 11thWorld Social Forum—an inspiring and energizing week of workshops, seminars, panels and celebratory cultural events. The forum is being held at Cheikh Anta Diop University, where PAN Africa's Dr. Abou Thiam teaches. This year, the theme of the World Social Forum, “Another World is Possible,” has been given new meaning to Africans, with the electrifying developments in Egypt and Tunisia uppermost in many participants' minds.
In a new report, the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) stressed the need to transform agriculture and adopt “climate-smart” practices. No news there. The real surprise is what "climate-smart" ag does not mean for FAO.
When DDT was introduced more than 60 years ago, it initially scored victory after victory in the fight against malaria — nearly eliminating the deadly disease in many areas. But these wins were mostly short-lived, as mosquitoes rapidly developed resistance to the chemical. Today, its effectiveness is a fraction of what it once was; meanwhile an arsenal of better and safer anti-malaria interventions has been developed, including effective chemical-free strategies.
And so, under the auspices of the Stockholm Convention, the nations of the world have committed to phasing out DDT, while allowing it to be used in the short-term in those few places where it's still effective and other methods of malaria control are unavailable. This is an approach PAN enthusiastically supports.