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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Environmental Justice' Category


07
May

Report Finds Numerous Schools Near Toxic Pesticide Fields

(Beyond Pesticides, May 7, 2014) A new report from the California Department of Public Health finds 36 percent of public schools in the state have pesticides of public health concern applied within a quarter mile of the school. Persistent and toxic pesticides like chlorpyrifos, methyl bromide, and malathion are among the pesticides found to be applied near schools. The report also finds that Latino children are also more likely to attend schools near areas with the highest use of pesticides of concern. The report, “Agricultural Pesticide Use near Public Schools In California,” released this month, looked at 2,511 schools in the 15 California counties with the highest overall use of farm pesticides in California for 2010, and finds that counties in the southern part of the Central Valley had the most schools near farms where pesticides were applied. Fresno County had the highest number of schools —131 — with pesticides applied nearby. Five percent of schools are within a quarter mile of where the highest volumes of pesticides are used: 2,635—28,979 pounds of active ingredient. Latino children are 46 percent more likely than white children to attend schools where pesticides of concern were applied nearby. The report’s findings are being […]

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08
Apr

See You at “Advancing Sustainable Communities,” National Pesticide Forum, April 11-12, Portland, OR!

(Beyond Pesticides, April 8, 2014) With less than a week until the 2014 National Pesticide Forum, please take a moment to consider three reasons why you should attend this exciting and important event: 1. Learn from Leading Scientists and Experts: Many of the conference speakers are top leading experts in their fields, and you just aren’t exposed to these kinds of people every day. While you’re at the Forum you’ll have the opportunity to listen to them speak and interact with them during panel sessions: Longtime leader and visionary in sustainable organic agriculture, Fred Kirschenmann. Center for Food Safety’s leading environmental attorney George Kimbrell on genetic engineering and pollinators; Pierre Mineau, PhD, world-renowned environmental toxicologist; Cutting edge scientist on transgenerational effects of pesticide exposure, Michael Skinner, PhD; Mace Vaughan, Pollinator Program Director for The Xerces Society; and so much more. These highlighted speakers do not diminish the importance of all the incredible speakers on the program, from lawyers, scientists, town officials, and activists, to the Beyond Pesticides’ board of directors. Check out the full program for more information. 2. Engage with Organic Land Management Practitioners: The Forum presents a unique opportunity to learn and discuss ways to tackle turf, landscape, […]

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03
Mar

Register Today! Advancing Sustainable Communities: People, pollinators and practices

(Beyond Pesticides, March 3, 2014) Advancing Sustainable Communities: People, pollinators and practices, the 32nd National Pesticide Forum, will be held April 11-12, 2014 at Portland State University, in Portland, OR. This years’ forum will focus on solutions to the decline of pollinators and other beneficials; strengthening the organic food production system; regulating and right-to-know genetically engineered food; improving farmworker protection and agricultural justice; and creating healthy buildings, schools and homes. Join top scientists, local and national activists and grassroots organizers to strategize on solutions that protect health and the environment. For more information and to register, go to www.beyondpesticides.org/forum. In addition to the program, people,  science, sharing and strategizing, you won’t want to miss the  food! Organic food and beverages will be served for breakfast, lunch and dinner Saturday, and we will have organic hors d’oeuvres, beer and wine for receptions on Friday and Saturday night. Speaker highlights include: Longtime leader in sustainable and organic agriculture, Fred Kirschenmann; “Maverick” Scientist Michael Skinner, Ph.D., author of the landmark study that links exposure to DDT with multi-generational effects, ultimately contributing to obesity three generations down the line; Goat herder Lani Malmberg, who uses her heard of over 2,000 goats to manage invasive […]

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05
Dec

House Farm Bill Provision Would Make Eating Fish More Dangerous

(Beyond Pesticides, December 4, 2013) It’s farm bill debate time””again. And as conferee members saddle up to the negotiation table to attempt yet another meeting of the minds before the winter recess, most of the public watching and waiting for word on a resolution are focused on issues like food stamps and milk. What most are not waiting for and has not been at the forefront of the media and public discussion concerning the pending farm bill negotiations are the small but dangerous provisions of the House bill concerning the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (expanded and overhauled  as the Clean Water Act (CWA) in 1972) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ability to regulate pesticides used near, over, and in water. It should be. Seeking to nullify the Sixth Circuit’s ruling in National Cotton Council v. EPA and the resulting general permit, sections 12323 and 100013 amend CWA to exclude pesticides from the law’s standards and its permitting requirements. Known as the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), CWA requires all point sources, which are discernible and discreet conveyances, to obtain either individual or general permits. Whether a point source must obtain an individual or general permit depends […]

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04
Dec

Feds Moves to Dismiss Case Seeking to Protect Children from Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, December 4, 2013) The U.S. Department of Justice filed a motion in federal court asking a judge to dismiss a lawsuit alleging that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has failed to uphold environmental justice protections under civil rights law. EPA previously found that Latino schools in California disproportionately suffer from exposure to pesticides due to spraying near their schools, but has yet to adequately remedy these risks, prompting parents to file a civil rights complaint. The schools are near crop fields where toxic fumigants are routinely sprayed and drift off agricultural fields to the nearby community. More than a decade after Latino parents first filed a civil rights complaint with EPA detailing the dangerous levels of pesticides at Latino public schools throughout California, parents on Aug. 23, 2013 filed a lawsuit against EPA to force the agency to protect the civil rights of hundreds of Latino children. The parent say that  ongoing pesticide monitoring set up by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) has not protected children from excessive exposure to pesticides.  The case argues that the Latino community did not receive due process and that EPA’s agreement with CDPR does not prevent schools from pesticide […]

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17
Oct

Community Concerns Lead to Landmark Pesticide Protections in Kauai County

(Beyond Pesticides, October 17, 2013) Early yesterday morning, the Kauai County (Hawaii) Council ended a grueling 19-hour session by approving new protections from pesticides and genetically engineered (GE) crops in a 6 to 1 vote on Bill 2491. After enduring years of pesticide abuse from agrichemical giants Syngenta, Dow, DuPont Pioneer, and BASF, the residents of Kauai will finally receive simple protections they and future generations on the “Garden Isle” deserve. The legislation is a major victory for the local community, which engaged in numerous non-violent rallies and demonstrations urging the council to “Pass the Bill!” Local leaders crafted Bill 2491 in response to public outcry from residents, many of whom live, work, or have children that go to school near agricultural fields leased by chemical corporations. “The people in my community have asked for help,” said Kauai County Councilmember Gary Hooser. “People are concerned.” Many in the community assert that the passage of Bill 2491 is only the beginning of local efforts to reign in excesses and abuses of agrichemical companies operating on the island. While some of the more stringent measures in the bill were removed at a previous Committee meeting earlier this month, other aspects of the […]

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04
Sep

Parents Sue EPA for Continuing Failure to Protect Kids from Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, September 4, 2013) More than a decade after Latino parents filed a civil rights complaint with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) detailing the dangerous levels of pesticides at Latino public schools throughout California, the parents are suing the agency for its continuing failure to protect Latino  students. The schools are near crop fields where methyl bromide and other fumigants are sprayed. In August 2011, EPA found that California’s Latino school children suffer disproportionately from exposure to pesticides due to spraying near their schools, but EPA has yet to remedy these exposures. In attempts to finally force EPA to protect civil rights of hundreds of Latino children, Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment (CRPE), California Rural Legal Assistance Inc., Farmworker Justice, and The City Project filed a lawsuit on behalf of the original plaintiffs, the Garcia family, and multiple generations of Latino school children who still do not have substantive protection from the EPA. In 1999, the Garcia family alleged that their children and other Latino children were being exposed to dangerous levels of pesticides at their public schools, which are directly adjacent to several strawberry fields where methyl bromide and other fumigants are sprayed. The complaint […]

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29
May

Protesters March Worldwide Against Monsanto

(Beyond Pesticides, May 29, 2013) Last weekend across the world thousands of protesters rallied in dozens of cities against industry giant Monsanto and its genetically engineered (GE) products. “March Against Monsanto,” a coordinated day of action and protest, was held in 52 countries and 436 cities, including Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, even after Congress voted against allowing states to require labeling of GE foods. The organizers of the May 25 rally call for labeling of GE foods and further scientific research on the health effects of GE foods. Demonstrators hoped to raise awareness of the issue and waved signs that read “Real Food 4 Real People” and “Label GMOs, It’s Our Right to Know.” They also urge supporters to “vote with their dollar” by buying only organic products and boycotting Monsanto-owned companies. Protesters in the U.S. urged opposition to the so-called “Monsanto Protection Act” which takes away the authority of federal courts to halt the sale or production of GE crops, undermining the courts’ ability to protect farmers and the environment from potentially hazardous GE crops. “We’re marching to raise awareness,” said Dorothy Muehlmann, 30, of Corona, who organized the L.A. march with help from groups such as Occupy […]

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19
Feb

Farmworker and Environmental Groups Urge EPA to Act on Farmworker Protection Standards

(Beyond Pesticides, February 19, 2013) On February 14, Beyond Pesticides joined with Earthjustice, Farmworker Justice, and a number of other environmental and farmworker organizations to submit a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson, urging for long overdue revisions to the Workers Protection Standard (WPS) of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). The letter states that, “EPA’s inaction is unacceptable given farmworkers’ persistent exposure to harmful pesticides and ineffectual enforcement of the current WPS.” This letter comes after a previous petition in 2011 stressed the need for the agency to implement stronger protections for farmworkers. This letter also comes after fears from environmental and farmworker organizations over a recent EPA handout distributed during a November 2012 Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee (PPDC) meeting that downplayed the details of a 2010 EPA document released on farmworker safety. EPA has not effectively updated WPS for almost 20 years, leaving farmworkers at risk. Farm work is demanding and dangerous physical labor. A 2008 study by a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) researcher finds that the incidence rate of pesticide poisoning is extremely high among U.S. agricultural workers. An average of 57.6 out of every 100,000 agricultural workers […]

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14
Feb

Grassroots Organizers, Cutting Edge Scientists, Organic Solutions – The 31st National Pesticide Forum

(Beyond Pesticides, February 14, 2013)   Beyond Pesticides’ 31st National Pesticide Forum brings together top national scientists with local and national activists and concerned citizens to share information on the issues local communities are facing, craft solutions and catalyze networks to advance positive health and environmental policy and change. Sustainable Families, Farms and Food: Resilient communities through organic practices will be held April 5-6, 2013 at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, NM. For more information and to register, go to www.beyondpesticides.org/forum. The 2013 conference will focus on building resilience in our food system and bringing ecosystems back to balance, incorporating regional issues such as water and food sovereignty in the Southwest. The conference is convened by Beyond Pesticides, University of New Mexico Sustainability Studies Program (UNM SSP) and La Montanita Food Co-op.Local co-sponsors include: Agri-cultura Network, Amigos Bravos, Cuatro Puerta, Farm to Table, Food and Water Watch NM, Holistic Management International, Mid-Region Council of Governments Agriculture Collaborative, New Mexico Department of Agriculture’s Organic Program, Our Endangered Aquifer Working Group, Skarsgard Farms, South Valley Economic Development Center (SVEDC). Registration is $15 for students, $35 for activists, $75 for non-members (includes a 1-year membership) and $175 for businesses. Registration covers […]

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13
Feb

Revisions to Human Testing Rules Finalized

(Beyond Pesticides, February 13, 2013) After years of scrutiny and criticism, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Administrator Lisa P. Jackson signed amendments strengthening existing standards for human research involving pesticides submitted by third parties for consideration in EPA decisionmaking. These amendments apply to studies involving the controlled exposure of participants to pesticides, with the hope that these “tougher” new standards will decrease the number of intentional human dosing studies conducted for pesticides. Even though EPA stated in 2001 that it will not consider or rely on human studies in its regulatory decisionmaking, subsequent industry pressure resulted in EPA invoking the Common Rule (40 CFR 26 – Protection of Human Subjects) for third-party intentional dosing studies. The agency promulgated new rules and made revisions to these rules, stemming from the lawsuit and settlement by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) et al., to broaden and refine rules relating to human research involving pesticides. In 2010, EPA published the proposed rule to amend EPA’s protocol for the testing of pesticides on humans. Now finalized, the rule strengthens EPA’s 2006 rule, Protections for Subjects in Human Research. Now prohibited is testing on nursing and pregnant women, children, as well as testing on […]

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18
Jan

Acclaimed Scientists and Activists to Convene at 31st National Pesticide Forum

(Beyond Pesticides, January 18, 2013) Joining the list  of speakers at Beyond Pesticides’ 31st National Pesticide Forum are Tyrone Hayes, Ph.D., the biologist best known for his research on the effects of atrazine on frogs, and Isaac N. Pessah, Ph.D., the  Chair of the Department of Molecular Biosciences at the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. The conference will focus on cutting edge public health science, building resilience in our food system and communities, and bringing ecosystems back to balance, and will incorporate regional issues such as water and food sovereignty in the Southwest. The National Forum provides an opportunity for grassroots advocates, scientists, and policy makers to interact and strategize on solutions that are protective of health and the environment. The 31st National Pesticide Forum, Sustainable Families, Farms and Food: Resilient communities through organic practices, will be held April 5-6, 2013 (Friday afternoon and all day Saturday) at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, NM. Registration information can be found in our online store. The conference is convened by Beyond Pesticides, La Montanita Coop, and the University of New Mexico Sustainability Studies Program, and co-sponsored by local, state and regional public health and environmental organizations, including […]

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16
Jan

Elevated Chlorpyrifos Residues Detected in Indigenous Children

(Beyond Pesticides, January 16, 2013) Children living near chemical-intensive or conventional plantations in Costa Rica are exposed to twice as much of the insecticide chlorpyrifos compared to children living near organic plantations, a study reports. More than half the children, mostly from indigenous tribes- Ngäbe and Bribri – have a  higher daily exposures than allowed under U.S. federal standards. Chlorpyrifos is linked to neurological effects, especially in children, and is still permitted for use on crops. The study,  Indigenous children living nearby plantations with chlorpyrifos-treated bags have elevated 3,5,6-trichloro-2-pyridinol (TCPy) urinary concentrations, was lead by Berna van Wendel de Joode, PhD  (Central American Institute for Studies on Toxic Substances (IRET), Universidad Nacional, Heredia, Costa Rica). It was conducted in Costa Rica’s banana and plantain plantations in the Talamanca region, and  targeted villages situated nearby to the plantations where blue bags treated with chlorpyrifos are routinely used to protect banana and plantain crops from pests. Two villages under study are near plantations that use chlorpyrifos-treated bags, while the organic village is near several plantations  that use little or no insecticide. For 140 children, aged 6 — 9, mostly indigenous Ngäbe and Bribri, parent-interviews and urine samples were obtained. Chlorpyrifos’ environmental levels […]

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13
Dec

Save the Date – 31st National Pesticide Forum in Albuquerque, NM

(Beyond Pesticides – December 13, 2012) The 31st National Pesticide Forum, Sustainable Families, Farms and Food: Resilient communities through organic practices, will be held April 5-6, 2013 (Friday afternoon and all day Saturday) at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, NM. The conference is convened by Beyond Pesticides, La Montanita Coop, and the Universtiy of New Mexico Sustainability Studies Program, and co-sponsored by local, state and regional public health and environmental organizations, including the New Mexico Department of Agriculture’s Organic Program, Amigos Bravos, Our Endangered Aquifer Working Group, Farm to Table, Holistic Management International. Contact us if your organization is interested in joining as a co-sponsor. Registration fees begin at $35. Online registration coming soon. The conference will focus on building resilience in our food system and bringing ecosystems back to balance, incorporating regional issues such as water and food sovereignty in the Southwest. The National Forum provides an opportunity for grassroots advocates, scientists, and policy makers to interact and strategize on solutions that are protective of health and the environment. Featured speakers Joel Forman, MD, is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Community and Preventive Medicine at Mt. Sinai Hospital, New York City. Dr. Forman is currently a […]

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15
Aug

U.S. to Clean Up Sites in Vietnam Contaminated with Agent Orange

(Beyond Pesticides, August 15, 2012) After decades of denying Vietnamese requests for assistance in a cleanup, the United States launched its first major effort to address environmental contamination brought on by its use of Agent Orange in the Vietnam War, this according to the New York Times. Agent Orange is a toxic herbicide which contains dioxin —a known carcinogen- used by the U.S. military to defoliate Vietnamese forests, which left a legacy of cancer, birth defects, and environmental contamination, with an estimated 3 million Vietnamese people exposed.

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05
Mar

HHS Secretary Announces Environmental Justice Strategy

(Beyond Pesticides, March 5, 2012) Last week, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, along with other federal agencies, released the Department’s 2012 Environmental Justice Strategy and Implementation Plan, outlining steps that will be taken to protect communities facing greater health and environmental risks. The report recognizes that poor air quality, disproportionate exposure to hazards in the workplace, unhealthy housing conditions (including mold, dampness and pest infestation), and prenatal and childhood exposures to environmental toxicants such as pesticides have been linked to chronic conditions, such as asthma and other respiratory diseases, cardiovascular disease, developmental disabilities and more. The 2012 HHS EJ Strategy was developed as part of the Department’s reaffirmation of its commitment to environmental justice. HHS defines environmental justice (EJ) as “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.” In August 2011, HHS joined 16 other Federal agencies in signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Environmental Justice and Executive Order 12898 which calls for each agency to develop an environmental justice strategy and prepare annual implementation progress reports. HHS published a draft EJ Strategy […]

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26
Jan

EPA Awards Grant to Help Farm Workers Reduce Pesticide Risks

(Beyond Pesticides, January 26, 2012) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Monday that it is providing a $25,000 grant to the Comite de Apoyo a los Trabajadores Agrícolas (CATA) to reduce exposure to pesticides for farm workers in southern New Jersey. CATA, a Latino-led nonprofit organization, will educate migrant farm workers throughout the counties of Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem, New Jersey about the risks of pesticide exposure and how to protect their health during field work. Farm work is demanding and dangerous physical labor. A 2008 study by a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) researcher finds that the incidence rate of pesticide poisoning is extremely high among U.S. agricultural workers. An average of 57.6 out of every 100,000 agricultural workers experience acute pesticide poisoning, illness or injury each year, the same order of magnitude as the annual incidence rate of breast cancer in the United States. As a result of cumulative long-term exposures, they and their children are at risk of developing serious chronic health problems such as cancer, neurological impairments and Parkinson’s disease. Southern New Jersey has a large population of migrant farm workers. For the past 20 years, CATA has managed […]

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05
Dec

Six Largest Pesticide Manufacturers Stand Trial at International People’s Court

(Beyond Pesticides, December 5, 2011) On December 3, the 27th anniversary of the Bhopal pesticide plant disaster in Bhopal, India, a trial began in an international people’s court in India involving the world’s six largest pesticide companies: Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer, BASF, Dow and Dupont. These companies, collectively known as the “Big 6,” are cited by prosecutors for their human rights violations, including internationally recognized rights to life, livelihood and health. Beyond Pesticides joined Pesticide Action Network (PAN) and others in signing a joint statement demanding that these companies be held accountable for their human rights violations, which was presented at the trial. The trial, hosted by PAN International, is facilitated by the Permanent People’s Tribunal (PTT), an international opinion tribunal independent from State authorities. The prosecution’s 230-page indictment outlines the global threats to human rights. It begins: The victims and survivors of [pesticide industry] aggression are the poor peasants, small-scale farmers, agricultural workers, rural women, children, and indigenous and agricultural communities around the world. They are at the mercy of the expanding power of the agrochemical [corporations] and are losing their control over their seeds and knowledge, and suffering debilitating physical and chronic effects due to pesticide poisoning, including coping […]

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29
Aug

EPA Concludes California Discriminated Against Latino Children in Agreement

(Beyond Pesticides, August 29, 2011) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced last Thursday that it has entered into an agreement with the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) to resolve a civil rights complaint from 1999 which alleged that the department’s renewal of the toxic fumigant methyl bromide in 1999 discriminated against Latino school children whose schools are located near agriculture fields. Per the agreement, CDPR has agreed to expand on-going monitoring of methyl bromide air concentrations by adding a monitor at or near one of the Watsonville, CA area schools named in the original complaint. The purpose of the additional monitor is to confirm that there will be no recurrence of earlier conditions. CDPR will share the monitoring results with EPA and the public and will also increase its community outreach and education efforts to schools that are in high methyl bromide usage areas.EPA says that this is a part of a “backlog” of more than 30 unresolved complaints. The complaint was filed in 1999 under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 , which prohibits intentional discrimination and discriminatory effects on the basis of race, color, and national origin by recipients of federal financial assistance. […]

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19
Aug

Chemical Levels Found to Be Higher in Children from Low Income Families

(Beyond Pesticides, August 19, 2011) Children from disadvantaged backgrounds are exposed to higher levels of a slew of environmental chemicals — some currently used and some long banned — than U.S. children from other socioeconomic backgrounds, finds a study of elementary school children from urban Minneapolis, Minn. The 7- to 12-year-olds had elevated concentrations of metals, industrial chemicals and markers for pesticides and tobacco smoke in their blood and urine. The results are published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health. These findings agree with other studies reporting higher concentrations of environmental chemicals in children. What is important about this study is that these children were from low-income households where they face additional hardships from poverty. Children from disadvantaged backgrounds are more vulnerable to health issues, such as asthma and behavioral problems. Exposure to these chemicals may increase this risk even more. Compared to adults, children eat more food, breathe more air, and drink more fluid than adults per unit of body mass. This increases their intake of potentially harmful chemicals and possibly raises the risk of adverse health effects related to these compounds. In addition, children’s bodies are not fully capable of detoxifying many of these chemicals so […]

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12
May

Groups Submit Policy Recommendations to Strengthen Environmental Right to Know

(Beyond Pesticides, May 12, 2011) Beyond Pesticides joined 112 organizations in endorsing a 102-page set of environmental right-to-know recommendations, which OMB Watch presented on Tuesday, May 10 to the Obama administration. The recommendations, collaboratively drafted by advocates from across the country, aim to expand access to environmental information, equip citizens with data about their environmental health, and empower Americans to protect themselves, their families, and their communities from toxic pollution. The recommendations are contained within a report titled An Agenda to Strengthen Our Right to Know: Empowering Citizens with Environmental, Health, and Safety Information, drafted as part of the Environmental Information Initiative project. OMB Watch compiled the report following a year of work that culminated in a conference of almost 100 environmental, health, and safety advocates held in November 2010. Sean Moulton, OMB Watch’s Director of Federal Information Policy, said, “Many of the recommendations laid out in the report are ambitious, but they are also needed. Environmental and right-to-know advocates believe that much more information, presented in more searchable and usable formats, is necessary in order to adequately protect Americans’ environmental health.” Three key priorities are woven throughout the recommendations: 1. Environmental justice must always be considered — Minority and […]

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18
Apr

Farm Workers File Lawsuit Over Labor Violations, Pesticide Exposure

(Beyond Pesticides, April 18, 2011) Citing civil rights and labor law violations, along with pesticide misuse, a group of 15 Mexican guest workers employed through the H-2A guest worker visa program are suing Newport, TN-based tomato grower Fish Farms. They are charging the company with a series of abuses including spraying pesticides near their trailers, subjecting them to inhumane working conditions, threatening them with firearms, and other violations of civil rights and labor laws. On behalf of the workers, Southern Migrant Legal Services filed the lawsuit last week in Greeneville. Southern Migrant Legal Services, a Project of Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid, provides free employment-related legal services to eligible migrant and seasonal agricultural workers in Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. The law firm Hughes, Socol, Piers, Resnick & Dym Ltd is representing the farmworkers, where they are seeking compensation for lost wages, emotional distress and other punitive damages as deemed appropriate by the court. The lawsuit claims Fish Farms failed to meet minimum employment standards for the guestworker program. “Instead, believing they had a captive labor force that was Hispanic and Mexican and could not or would not complain or enforce the law, defendants flagrantly violated federal H-2A […]

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07
Mar

Thousands of Women Farmers in Brazil Protest the Use of Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, March 07, 2011) To mark International Women’s Day on March 8, members of the international peasant movement Via Campesina demonstrated last week in six Brazilian states. Using the slogan “Women Against the Violence of Agribusiness and Agrotoxins For Land Reform and Food Sovereignty,” they marched together with other organizations working for the rights of women and the rural population. It is important to note that several diseases that are found predominantly in women are highly linked to exposure of pesticides such as female reproductive tract abnormalities, breast cancer and thyroid disease. According to the Brazilian Crop Protection Association (AENDA), which represents producers of farm chemicals, Brazil uses more than one billion liters of agricultural chemicals a year, making it the top consumer country since 2009 of weed killers and insecticides that have toxic effects to humans and wildlife. Amanda Matheus of the Landless Rural Workers Movement told Inter Press Service (IPS) that the use of agrochemicals harmful to the environment is based on an agricultural production model biased towards agribusiness or large-scale export-oriented agricultural production. The model “is driven by an alliance between large landowners and transnational corporations that gain control of the land and invest in monoculture […]

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