PANNA: Lindane activists sued, U.S. threatens India over Coke & Pepsi bans, Worm poop and more…



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Lindane activists sued, U.S. threatens India over Coke & Pepsi bans, Worm poop and more
August 17, 2006

Lindane Activists Sued: The Michigan Ecology Center has been sued by the pharmaceutical company Morton Grove for their work towards phasing out lindane for pharmaceutical use. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently banned lindane for agricultural use, announcing that the risk was too great for human health and the environment. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) still allows lindane for use on children as a treatment for lice and scabies. Scientific research shows a significant association between incidences of brain tumors in children with the use of lindane-containing lice shampoos. “The lawsuit is a clear case of harassment,” says Pesticide Action Network program coordinator Kristin Schafer. “The Ecology Center has taken those statements [about lindane] from scientific literature, direct quotes from government agencies and, in one case, from Morton Grove ‘s own Web site.” Read more about it in the Chicago Tribune. Find out how you can take action to help ban lindane for pharmaceutical use.

U.S. threatens India over Coke & Pepsi bans; NGOs respond: Frank Lavin, U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, has warned India that bans against pesticides in sodas enacted by several Indian states could “blight its hopes of attracting American investment.” India’s Centre for Science and Environment compiled a report that examined samples of Coca Cola and Pepsi; widespread pesticide contamination was found in the soft drinks in at least twelve states, three years after the contamination was first documented. Lindane, DDT, malathion and chlorpyrifos were among the pesticides found. Lavin issued the warning after six India states announced complete or partial bans of the soft drinks. He complained that foreign companies were not being “treated fairly,” the BBC reports. Meanwhile, the national Indian newspaper, The Hindu, says that some ministers in India’s national congress are demanding answers to questions surrounding the pesticide-contaminated Coke and Pepsi, and are contemplating a nationwide ban on the soft drinks.

PAN Asia and the Pacific, the German Coalition against Bayer Dangers, and the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture (CSA) in India issued a this week stating that “As Indian regulators, media and the public debate about a report on excessive levels of pesticide residues in Coke and Pepsi amongst other soft drinks, attention is not being paid to the real problem that is killing scores of Indians each year–that of deadly pesticides being used in agriculture on a variety of crops. Poverty stricken Indians are paying a heavy price for the use of pesticides in farming.” Kavitha Kuruganti of CSA observed: “Many of these extremely dangerous pesticides are products of multinational companies like Bayer, DuPont and Syngenta …produce and market these pesticides aggressively.” Read their full statement.

Ag-Mart violates safety rules for methyl bromide: U.S. agribusiness giant Ag-Mart, producer of “Santa Sweets” tomatoes, has been fined again for violations involving pesticides. Over the past year, Ag-Mart has been accused of allowing pesticide exposure to workers in Florida and North Carolina that may have resulted in birth defects. Although the company has already paid almost $200,000 in fines, it was fined again in July for failing to provide proper training and protective equipment to workers using the dangerous fumigant, methyl bromide. Carol Brooke, a lawyer with the North Carolina Justice Center, commented on the fines: “It’s not enough of a deterrent.” The Raleigh News-Observer reports.

Chemical industry unaccountable for risks to public health: The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) says that the chemical industry makes thousands of products with little requirement to provide information on their potential hazards, and that U.S. EPA needs to improve its regulatory policy. The GAO report says EPA has tested fewer than 200 of 62,000 chemicals used in commerce. According to United Press International, a hearing was convened by the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works to discuss the status of federal laws on the subject. Senator James Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, committee chair, is resisting tougher regulation, citing the chemical industry’s size: “The chemical industry is a crucial part of the U.S. economy. The United States is the number one chemical producer in the world, generating $550 billion a year…” Read the entire UPI story.

Wholesale nursery promotes “worm poop” as alternative to pesticides: Trent and Linda McNair left the high tech rat race to raise flowers and other ornamental plants without herbicides, insecticides or fumigants for wholesale in the Santa Cruz, California area. Like other growers who want to avoid toxins, they use worm castings to repel insects and beneficial nematodes to control insects in the soil. They harden young plants before distributing them to local nurseries or selling directly, and specialize in plants that are not toxic to people or pets. The result; the McNair’s have not only grown healthy flowers, herbs and edible flowers, but they’ve also grown a healthy business. Read their story in the Santa Cruz Sentinel and check out their Surf City Growers website for details on the eco-friendly methods they use.

Contact: PANNA

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