As Iowa is one of the states in which PAN does on-the-ground campaign work, we send out regular updates on PAN’s and partners’ work in Iowa and beyond — from pesticide-related science to opportunities to take action. If you’d like to receive these updates via email, sign up here.
Legislative Priorities: The 2020 legislative session is in full swing! Right now, we’re tracking several priorities with partners. Priorities include a bill that would mandate the development of an Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) online reporting system for pesticide spray drift for the 2020 growing season, and a bill that would create a full time state farm-to-school coordinator position, employed by IDALS:
- Online pesticide spray drift reporting: A bill that would develop an online reporting system for pesticide spray drift has been proposed in both the Iowa House and Senate; bill numbers for each are forthcoming. Currently, farmers must call the Pesticide Bureau during business hours to provide testimony over the phone (which can take over an hour!). Professors at Iowa State University estimate that 70% of drift incidents are underreported. An online reporting system would make drift reporting more accessible, ensuring IDALs has more accurate data on what and how often products are drifting. Ultimately, we’ll know more about what actions could be taken to prevent and protect farmers from drift.
- Statewide farm-to-school coordination: A bill that would allocate funding for the development of a full time farm-to-school coordinator with IDALS is currently under development. At present, Iowa’s state farm-to-school activities are coordinated as a part of a separate position. A full time farm-to-school coordinator could help address issues farmers currently face in sourcing to schools, including overcoming processing barriers, developing incentives for both schools and farmers, and managing logistics of scaling up statewide production and distribution.
We’ll be sure to keep you posted as the above priorities develop. Keep an eye on your inbox for opportunities to take action!
Toxic Hangover: A report released last week by our friends at the Center for Biological Diversity has some sobering findings. In 2017 and 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved more than 100 pesticide products containing ingredients widely considered to be the most dangerous still in use, including some that have been banned in multiple countries or targeted for phaseout in the U.S.
Included in the approvals are 17 new products containing the endocrine disruptor atrazine, a chemical already detected in Iowa’s ground and surface waters. Read more here.
Exposure to pyrethroids associated with risk of death: Pyrethroids are the second most popular class of insecticides used in the world, with people mainly exposed through their food (such as fruits and vegetables) and through dust in homes when these pesticides are used indoors.
A new University of Iowa study in the U.S. found that people with the highest exposure to pyrethroids were 56% more likely to die from any cause within the study’s follow-up period, and three times as likely to die from cardiovascular disease than those in the lowest group of pyrethroid exposure — indicating that a link is likely. Researchers measured exposure to two common pyrethroids via breakdown products in human urine samples collected between 1999 and 2002 by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Read more here.
Iowa Young Farmers Coalition Lobby Day
Join the Iowa chapter of the National Young Farmers Coalition for their lobby day on Wednesday, February 12th from 10AM to 3PM. All young farmers and allies are invited! The day will begin with a short training and overview of policy priorities, followed by conversations with legislators. Please RSVP here.
Iowa Farmers Union Lobby Day
Mark your calendars to join Iowa Farmers Union for their annual lobby day on Wednesday, February 19th at the Iowa State Capitol. More details are coming soon to Iowa Farmers Union’s website.
In March 2017, EPA scrapped plans to ban almost all uses of the insecticide chlorpyrifos, a brain-harming pesticide, nationwide — at the behest of Dow Chemical (now Corteva) and against the advice of agency scientists.
Since this EPA refuses to protect our children from pesticides, it’s time for Congress to act. Urge your Representative to co-sponsor HR230, the “Ban Toxic Pesticides Act” today!