A Weekly News Update on Pesticides, Health and Alternatives
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Children at risk, Big win against GMOs, How to get rid of bugs safely
August 24, 2006
U.S. Government fails to protect children’s health: A recent report published by The Organic Center,“Successes and Lost Opportunities to Reduce Children’s Exposure to Pesticides Since the Mid-1990s,” claims slow progress from the U.S. government toward meeting the demands of the 1996 Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA). For example, the report describes a “worrisome, sharply upward trend in pesticide residues and risks in imported foods.” The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was required by Congress to meet FQPA deadlines by August 2006 and has failed to do so, according to the report. Dr. Chuck Benbrook, chief scientist at The Organic Center and co-author says, “It is difficult to understand EPA assertions that it is 99% done with the task of reviewing tolerances under the FQPA, given that the agency has still not reduced dietary exposures to a half-dozen of the riskiest insecticides on the market since 1996, including azinphos-methyl, dimethoate, and methamidophos. Congress directed the EPA to deal with these high risk pesticides within three years (by 1999) and should be outraged by the lack of progress after 10 years.” The FQPA was intended to protect the public, and children in particular, from dangerous pesticides and chemicals in foods. Read more about FQPA in the PAN North America Magazine.
USDA violates law with GMO field tests: According to federal judge J. Michael Seabright, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) violated the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act when they failed to conduct even preliminary impact studies before issuing permits to ProdiGene, Monsanto, Garst Seed and the Hawaii Agriculture Research Center that allowed them to grow genetically modified drug-producing corn and sugarcane in Hawaii. The plaintiffs in the case- Center for Food Safety, Pesticide Action Network North America, Friends of the Earth, and the Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance KAHEA-sued USDA in November 2003, represented by Earthjustice and Center for Food Safety. Plaintiffs also challenged USDA’s practice of concealing the locations of trials from the public, and in most cases not disclosing the substances being grown in the plants. This ruling is the first federal court decision involving “bio-pharm” crops, and an important step toward prohibiting hazards and irresponsible field testing of these crops. The New Standard has the story; read the court decision here.
U.S. EPA cuts public access to information: Even before Congressional review, EPA political appointees are shutting down important research libraries in anticipation of budget cuts from the Bush administration. Shutting down EPA’s libraries will remove a valuable environmental resource from the public realm and reduce the transparency of EPA decision-making. Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), representing three unions of 10,000 EPA staff scientists and other staff, is protesting the September 30th deadline to shut down regional libraries in Chicago, Dallas and Kansas City. PEER announced this week that “public access to EPA libraries and collections will end as soon as possible,” and 80,000 original documents that are not electronically available will be boxed up and shipped for eventual ‘digitizing,’ though there are no funds directed for this purpose. “What is going on inside EPA is positively Orwellian,” says Jeff Ruch, executive director of PEER.
“Bad Actor” chemical sprayed in Santa Barbara; residents are fighting back: Naled, an organophosphate linked to endocrine and developmental health problems, was sprayed in Santa Barbara, California, after the discovery of three Oriental fruit flies. DDVP, a breakdown product of naled, is a known carcinogen and listed in California’s Proposition 65 law requiring notice of chemical hazards. Residents reported feeling sick after the spraying and are planning actions to ensure the use of safer alternatives. Read more on the Santa Barbara Independent website.
How to control household pests without using toxic chemicals:Beer, beef sticks, peanut butter and jelly, and duct tape are all useful ingredients for non-toxic home pest management, as explained in a new DVD by entomologist and syndicated newspaper columnist Richard “Ask the Bug Man” Fagerlund. He shows what he knows about getting rid of pests in his new DVD “Do-It-Yourself – Pest Management for Home/Business.” Fagerlund details home-made remedies, commercial products, and, most importantly, the knowledge about common pests that enable us to vanquish them without using harmful pesticides. Rid yourself of pantry moths, bed bugs, ants, fleas, and even mice without threatening your family’s health and environment with Fagerlund’s common sense approach to pest control.
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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