PANNA: OP’s in Children, Failed Court Order on Pesticides, Community Monitoring of Pesticides and more



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OP’s in Children, Failed Court Order on Pesticides, Community Monitoring of Pesticides and more
July 20, 2006

Children at Risk: The level of organophosphate pesticide contamination in young farmworker children in North Carolina and Virginia was found to be higher than in other similar studies. The authors of the study published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine call for compliance with EPA-mandated training for farmworkers as well as training for their spouses in order to reduce the exposure. “While science continues to grapple with the question of ‘how much is too much,'” said Dr. Thomas Arcury, lead researcher, “measures need to be taken to minimize exposure.” High levels of exposure to organophosphate pesticides can cause coma and death. Long-term exposure at lower levels has been associated with neurological problems, birth defects and cancer. “Although research has demonstrated a link between pesticide exposure and health effects, the question of how much exposure over what period of time has not yet been answered,” said Arcury. “Because we don’t know how much is safe, we must, as a precaution, assume that no level is safe.” Read the Wake Forest Announcement.

Hazardous Language Barrier: Over two thousand farmworkers in Hawaii cannot read warning labels on harmful pesticides, according to a study conducted by the National Agriculture Statistics Service field office. Over 40% of them speak Ilocano from their native Phillipines, not English. Other workers speak only Tagalog, Chinese, or Spanish. Since the labels are printed only in English, the workers can’t follow safety precautions when using dangerous pesticide chemicals–a common situation around the world. Pacific Business News reported the story.

Irresponsible Businesses: Although a federal judge in Seattle ruled over two years ago that Washington retailers must post warnings to their customers regarding the risks to salmon and other aquatic life posed by pesticides, the retail business community has not been complying with the order, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency claims it has no authority to enforce the rule. Due to pressure from the Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides, Washington Toxics Coalition and other concerned groups, EPA is now handing out signs to some home and garden stores that sell pesticides so they can post warnings. All pesticides with the ingredients malathion, carbaryl, 2,4-D, diazinon, diuron, triclopyr, or trifluralin must carry the warning. Read more in the Seattle Post Intelligencer.

Poisonous pyrethroids: A UC Berkeley study reveals that an entire class of pesticides — pyrethroids — has contaminated Northern California streams and waterways, wiping out “crustaceans and insects vital to ecosystems,” according to the Los Angeles Times. The state Department of Pesticide Regulations will be notifying pyrethroid manufacturers that their products will be re-evaluated, and that some bans may be imposed. “This is a shot across the bow to the manufacturers that we found a reason for concern and you need to provide us with data to either eliminate the concern, reformulate your products or consider taking them off the market,” said Mary-Ann Warmerdam, Department Director.

Community Empowered: Residents of Lindsey, California, presented evidence of dangerous pesticide drift in the air around their homes in a press conference on July 17. Lindsey is one of several rural San Joaquin Valley communities that have suffered multiple pesticide exposure incidents in recent years. Californians for Pesticide Reform (CPR), a statewide coalition that coordinates the Safe Air For Everyone campaign, helped organize a poll on pesticide exposure with Valley groups. The Lindsey study is part of a collaboration between community group El Quinto Sol, Commonweal, CPR and Pesticide Action Network. Residents collected data using the “Drift Catcher,” an air monitoring device developed by PAN senior scientist Dr. Susan Kegley. Read the results of the Lindsey Drift Catcher report. Fresno TV station KFSN has the story.

Contact: PANNA

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