A Weekly News Update on Pesticides, Health and Alternatives
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Another fox in the EPA henhouse, Malaysia lifts paraquat ban, California enacts “healthy day care” bill, scientists and engineers join to defeat anti-science candidates, and more…
October 12, 2006
Arysta executive named to EPA post: The former president of the North American division of Arysta LifeScience, the company that recently lost its bid to register the carcinogenic methyl iodide as a replacement for the fumigant methyl bromide, has been named to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 10, based in Seattle. Elin Miller will now oversee environmental protection of Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Idaho, including peticide safety in those areas. Carol Dansereau, director of the Farm Worker Pesticide Project, a nonprofit that works on pesticides and farmworker rights in Washington told the Seattle Times, “It doesn’t bode particularly well for her taking a strong stance on improving protections.” Meanwhile, Arysta has received a permit from the state of Florida for experimental use of methyl iodide for agricultural production, and has stated its intentions to create a world market for the dangerous chemical.
Malaysian government lifts ban on paraquat: Community groups and public health experts inMalaysia are dismayed and outraged by the Malaysian government’s recent decision to lift a ban on the dangerous herbicide paraquat. The government said it lifted the ban to allow a study, “following appeals from farmers and manufacturers to look at the greater uses of the herbicide,” according to the Malaysian newspaper The Star. Sarojeni V. Rengam, Executive Director of Pesticide Action Network Asia and the Pacific (PANAP), said in a letter to the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Datuk Seri Abdyullah Ahmad Badawi: “We are deeply disappointed at this decision, as the lifting of the ban on one of the most dangerous poisons in the world has very serious implications on workers and farmers’ health and rights to a safe working environment.” Read the entire letter. Paraquat poisoning has caused many deaths, poisonings and chronic illnesses in Malaysia, which prompted its ban there in 2002. For more information about paraquat hazards, see the recent report: “Paraquat – unacceptable health risks for users.”
Chemical policy experts resign from EPA chemical advisory committee : Richard A. Denison, senior scientist for Environmental Defense, Joseph H. Guth, executive director of the California League for Environmental Enforcement Now, and Joel Tickner, assistant professor in the Department of Community Health & Sustainability at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, have resigned from the National Pollution Prevention and Toxics Advisory Committee. They charge excessive industry presence on the fifteen-member panel, which is intended to provide advice to EPA on its chemical policy. The scientists say that EPA and some committee members were unwilling to allow for an open discussion of what steps EPA could take to improve it implementation of the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA), and that the problems “prevent the Agency from adequately protecting human health and the environment from harm caused by chemicals” and “impede the development and marketing of safer chemicals.” Read their letter of resignation.
California enacts pesticide protections for children in daycare: State Senator Alberto Torrico’s (D-Fremont) “Healthy Day Care” bill was signed into law by the California governor, requiring new protections from pesticides for day care centers throughout the state. Private licensed day care centers now must notify parents about pesticide applications and post notices in areas treated with pesticides. All day care providers are now required to have access to information and trainings on least-toxic Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques. Read more from two of the organizations that helped get the bill passed, Environment California and Californians for Pesticide Reform.
Scientists target Bush, Republicans in upcoming elections: Frustrated with what they see as an attack on science in government, a group has formed Scientists and Engineers for America (SEA) to work towards electing public officials who will restore scientific integrity to U.S. government. The group is looking for candidates who support vigorous and evidence-based debate as essential to enacting good public policy. SEA is currently directing their efforts against the Bush administration and much of the Republican leadership. They have put together a “Bill of Rights” for scientists and engineers. Read more about it in the October issue of New Scientist Magazine.
World Food Day, October 16th, 2006. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is celebrating this year’s World Food Day with the theme, “Investing in agriculture for food security.” The day is meant to focus on the issues concerning many farmers in the world struggling to grow enough food to survive, while dealing the economics of chemical based industrial agricultural farming and marketing. The FAO reports an estimated 854 million people world-wide don’t have enough food. Events are taking place all over the world to highlight this situation.
PANUPS is a weekly email news service providing resource guides and reporting on pesticide issues that don’t always get coverage by the mainstream media. It’s produced by Pesticide Action Network North America, a non-profit and non-governmental organization working to advance sustainable alternatives to pesticides worldwide.
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