A Weekly News Update on Pesticides, Health and Alternatives
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Dec. 3rd “Day of No Pesticides”; EPA allows pesticides in waterways; lindane moves toward global phaseout; methyl bromide commodity fumigation; and what makes wine organic?
November 30, 2006
International Day of No Pesticides: On Dec. 3 1984, the worst industrial accident in the history of the world occurred in Bhopal, India. The explosion at Union Carbide’s pesticide plant killed tens of thousands of people at the time, and left a legacy of additional illness and death that continues to this day. The accident occurred due to negligence by Union Carbide (since acquired by Dow Chemical). To mark this tragic day, and the ongoing threat of manufacturing unnecessary highly hazardous pesticides, Pesticide Action Network groups around the globe ask you to take a moment this Sunday, Dec. 3rd to remember why we work together for alternatives to pesticides, and why winning justice in Bhopal remains a critical human rights goal. For more information see International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal. Also, please check out the stirring “Flames Not Flowers” video produced by Students for Bhopal.
New website tracks International Code of Conduct for Pesticides: PAN Germany is launching a new website on December 3rd to promote an International Code of Conduct for the Distribution and Use of Pesticides. Carina Weber, PAN Germany Program Director says, “Pesticides harm people and the environment and can have high economic costs. If everyone would keep to the Code of Conduct, pesticides would cause far less damage, especially in developing countries.” The website is a one-stop location for getting to know what the Code says about the responsibilities of governments, the pesticide industry, the food industry, farmers and public interest groups to prevent harm caused by pesticides. In addition you can easily identify what the Code says about important pesticide-related issues including pesticide use, pesticide advertising, pesticide labeling and distribution and also about alternatives to toxic pesticides. Support pages provide information on useful resources and suggestions for action.
EPA allows water poisoning: EPA announced a new rule under the Clean Water Act formalizing the decision not to require review or permits for pesticides applied in or near water. With this rule, EPA is trying to use its pesticide regulatory authority to exempt pesticide discharges to water from the protections of the Clean Water Act. According to Associated Press, “Under the rule, pesticides can be applied directly into water or sprayed nearby or onto foliage over water without a pollution permit if the application is needed to control aquatic weeds, mosquitoes or other pests.” As Beyond Pesticides director Jay Feldman observed, “More protection is needed from pesticides, not less.”
The most dangerous chemicals in the world: Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) were the subject of discussion at the second annual meeting to consider adding some of the most harmful and long lasting chemicals on earth chemicals to the Stockhom Convention’s (POPs treaty) list for phaseout and eliminaton. The meeting of the Convention’s POPs Review Committee took place at the beginning of November in Geneva, with scientists, public health advocates, industry representatives and government officials from all over the world. Lindane and lindane by-products moved forward toward addition to the treaty that now lists 12 chemicals, including DDT and dioxin. PANNA campaigner Chela Vaequez reports. Lindane was recently banned for agricultural use by the U.S., yet pharmaceutical use remains. Find out how you can help ban lindane used in lotions and shampoo.
PAN calls for phase-out of methyl bromide’s commodity fumigation uses: Methyl bromide is not just used for soil sterilization in growing strawberries or tomatos; it also is commonly used to fumigate stored commodities like grains, nuts, timber and produce shipped into or from the US and other countries. PAN North America submitted comments to US EPA on a draft Reregistration Eligibility Decision for methyl bromide calling for elimination of all methyl bromide commodity fumigations that vent the ozone-depleting chemical directly to the air and requiring fumigation facilities to convert to non-toxic methods that have been proven effective already. Slated for elimination under the Montreal Protocol (an international treaty to help reduce the hole in the ozone layer), methyl bromide is also linked to neurological disease and birth defects. Download the PANNA letter at the Fumigants Campaign web page to find out more.
Buying organic wine: Sales of wine grown organically and biodynamically are booming. E Magazine’s November/December cover story features organic winemaking and winemaker Robert Sinskey. Writer Paul Gleason reports: “What is, and what is not, an organic wine remains a confusing subject for consumers and a source of heated debate for industry experts. Winemakers who add sulfites believe that farming practices, such as removing herbicides and pesticides from the vineyard, should determine whether or not a wine is labeled organic. Others are wary of relaxing the USDA labeling standards, since added sulfites aren’t needed to make wine.” Read the whole story.
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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