PANNA: Human Testing, Fumigants in Florida, Sustainable Ag in Africa, and more…



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Human Testing, Fumigants in Florida, Sustainable Ag in Africa, and more…
June 8, 2006

United States: The respected journal Environmental Health Perspectives published a substantial article about the controversial human testing rule issued by the EPA. Just two weeks after the rule came into force, a coalition of labor and environmental interest groups filed suit against the EPA, charging that the rule fails to adequately protect human subjects, especially vulnerable subgroups such as pregnant women and children, and actually ultimately encourages, rather than deters, human testing. One case is now before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, which must determine if the rule safeguards people against unethical pesticide experimentation. “EPA’s rule allows pesticide companies to use intentional tests on humans to justify weaker restrictions on pesticides,” said Margaret Reeves, a senior scientist and program coordinator with Pesticide Action Network North America. Read more about Pesticide Action Network joining with EarthJustice to file suit against EPA over the human testing rule.

Washington, DC: Congressman Henry Waxman, who co-authored a 2005 report on the breach in ethics from the pesticide industry in experiments involving intentional dosing of pesticides with human testing, issued a new report on how the Bush administration and Republican controlled congress have over ridden states’ rights on many issues, including state laws on environment and consumer protections. The report states: “The House and the Senate have voted 15 times to override state health, safety, and environmental laws. …The House has passed legislation that would preempt state food safety laws and block states from requiring health insurers to offer basic services such as mammography screening and maternity care. In these areas, the traditional approach of enacting a federal “floor,” which establishes minimum federal standards but allows states to adopt more stringent requirements, has been reversed in favor of the creation of a federal ‘ceiling.’ ” Read More.

Florida: A new Conservancy of Southwest Florida study reveals that the land around Immokalee may pose a great risk of pesticide pollution to local rivers and estuaries. The Naples News reports that ” Eastern Collier County is Southwest Florida’s vegetable basket, but it also the region’s pesticide tank.” The environmental group that commissioned the study wants to help persuade city and county authorities that a regional pesticides sampling regimen is long overdue, said Jennifer Hecker, natural resources policy manager at the Conservancy. The chemical that has the greatest hazard index — that is, the one that’s applied heavily, is the highly toxic methyl bromide, (slated for a world wide phase out) a fumigant used to treat soil before planting crops.

South Carolina/Africa: Clemson University scientists have teamed up with Africa University in Zimbabwe to help develop methods for sustainable agriculture in the region. The primary goal of the research is to find alternatives to harsh chemical pesticides many African farmers are currently using, said Gloria McCutcheon, principal investigator for the project. Dr. McCutcheon visited Zimbabwe in 2003 and 2004 and is familiar with the trials that face farmers there. The pesticides and other chemicals that African farmers are using can be harmful to both people and the environment, she said: “Really, what we are doing is promoting public health through agriculture.” The Anderson Independent-Mail has the story.

Tanzania: Malaria is a devastating health problem in Africa that is finally getting the international attention it deserves. Unfortunately, some want to bring back widespread use of DDT for malaria control — a “silver bullet” approach that saved lives in the 1950s and ’60s but stopped working as mosquitoes became resistant to the pesticide. Tanzanian Jamidu Katima, Co-chair of the International Persistent Organic Pollutants Elimination Network, writes “Those promoting DDT are putting current and future generations of Africans at risk,” in his letter to the Los Angeles Times.

Canada: Pesticides may affect penis size as reported in the Free Press. A renowned U.S. scientist supports a ban on the chemicals for cosmetic purposes. Zoologist Louis Guillette was drawn into London, Ontario’s pesticide-ban debate during a lecture stop at the University of Western Ontario. Guilette has documented fertility and sex changes — including decreasing penis size — due to environmental contamination. He says he wouldn’t apply pesticides on his own lawn.

PBS: THE REAL DIRT ON FARMER JOHN is the award-winning true story of third-generation American farmer John Peterson’s hero’s journey of success, tribulation, failure and rebirth, through his childhood in the ‘50s, the tumultuous ‘60s, the hippie-influenced ‘70s, and the farm-crisis ‘80s, culminating in his transformation-based creation of a biodynamic, organic CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm serving 1500 families in the Chicago area with weekly fresh produce. It airs on PBS’ Independent Lens series June 13th, 10:00 pm.


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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