A Weekly News Update on Pesticides, Health and Alternatives
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New reports on chlorpyrifos, Paraguayan child’s death brings jail sentences, Philippine children sickened by pesticides fumes, Activist named to Boxer’s staff, and more…
December 07, 2006
New evidence of chlorpyrifos danger: Two studies issued this week add to the documentation of health risks in urban and agricultural areas from the highly toxic organophosphate pesticide chlorpyrifos.
Poisons on the Wind, a study based on air monitoring conducted by farm worker community members using Drift Catchers in their yards in the Yakima Valley, was released by the Farm Worker Pesticide Project (Seattle and Yakima, WA) and Pesticide Action Network on Dec. 6. Air samples collected in April 2006 showed dangerous levels of chlorpyrifos (Dow’s “Lorsban”), a neurotoxicant insecticide widely used on fruit crops. PAN’s Dr. Susan Kegley declared, “Because chlorpyrifos is especially toxic to the fetus, infants and children, EPA banned its use in homes. Yet we know that the one unborn child and six children living at homes where we sampled were exposed to several times the dose EPA considers problematic, and neither the state of Washington nor EPA is doing a thing about it.” Community groups are calling for regulatory oversight to protect them from the chemical.
“Impact of Prenatal Chlorpyrifos Exposure on Neurodevelopment in the First 3 Years” appeared in the Dec. issue of Pediatrics. EPA banned chlorpyrifos in 2000 for residential use. Since then a series of studies of children in New York City have documented harm from exposure prior to the ban: children exposed in utero to high chlorpyrifos doses exhibited five times higher developmental delay problems than those not exposed. The report is based on long-term research by a group from the Center for Children’s Environmental Health at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Read more.
Paraguayan court sets precedent in fatal pesticide poisoning: Nov. 29, after three years of legal and community struggle—and related bloodshed—two growers responsible for the death of 11 year-old Silvino Talavera are finally going to jail. The case was decided days before its expiration in the Paraguayan Supreme Court. Silvino was poisoned by Alfredo Lautenshlager and Herman Schlender as they applied a toxic mixture of pesticides on RoundUp Ready soybeans in Pirapey, Paraguay—crops genetically modified by Monsanto to withstand heavy use of the corporation’s herbicide RoundUp. Led by Silvino’s mother, Petrona Villasboa, the community of Pirapey attracted support from the National Coordination of Organizations of Indigenous and Rural Workers’ Women (CONAMURI), Pesticide Action Network and other environmental, human rights and women’s groups. Read more. Para leer informacion sobre este topico en espanol visite www.silvinotalavera.phy.ca
Scores of Philippine children sickened by pesticide: Almost eighty children and adults became ill at the Tanglaw Elementary School in Dujali town, Davao del Norte, Philippines, when Mocap fumes from a nearby banana plantation sent 41 students and 4 adults to the hospital. Mocap is manufactured by Bayer CropScience with active ingredient ethotrop—a known carcinogen and cholinesterase inhibitor that severely affects the nervous system. Read more in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Pesticide poisoning is all too common in the Philippines as elsewhere; see feature story in the fall issue of PAN North America magazine.
NRDC attorney appointed to Senator Boxer’s staff: Erik Olson, an attorney familiar to public health and environmental advocates through his impressive work with the Natural Resource Defense Council, and a frequent collaborator with PAN on federal pesticide issues, has been named Deputy Staff Director for Senator Barbara Boxer and General Council for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee that Boxer will chair beginning in January. Olson most recently has been supporting scrutiny of U.S. EPA and the proposed human testing rule that EPA staff scientists say was the result of pesticide industry collusion with Agency political appointees.
PAN salutes Bishan Singh: The global social and environmental justice movement and PAN international lost a cherished leader and beloved friend when Bishan Singh died on November 29th. “Bishan’s integrity, principled and spiritual leadership was a great influence and inspiration to us all,” says PAN Asia and the Pacific’s leadership. Singh worked ardently to promote sustainable agriculture and food sovereignty, was honored as an “Amazing Malaysian,” the first recipient of the Malaysian National Consumer Advocate award among many honors over his long career of public service. He had been a member of PAN AP’S Steering Council and Management Committee. PAN North America joins our colleagues around the world in mourning the passing of this gentle and inspiring leader. Read more.
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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