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Daily News Blog

06
Feb

Taking a Holistic, Community-Based Approach to Toxic Pesticide Use to Achieve Environmental Justice

(Beyond Pesticides, February 6, 2023) During Black History Month, it is of note that on January 10, the Biden-Harris Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced funding of approximately $100 million for “projects that advance environmental justice in underserved and overburdened communities across the country” through its Environmental Justice Government-to-Government (EJG2G) program. While viewed as assistance for those communities “disproportionately impacted by pollution and climate change,” it is important to recognize that the same communities are also disproportionately impacted by activities that produce pollution and climate change.

Tell EPA, Governors (Mayor in DC), and Congress to support environmental justice by eliminating activities leading to pollution and climate change.

EPA must reverse its historical bias against preventive action to ensure the protection of those disproportionately poisoned by toxic chemicals. While critically important to clean up contaminated communities, EPA must stop the flow of toxic pesticides at the front end because of the disproportionate poisoning effects of use, handling, transportation, and disposal. We live in an age of practices and products that make toxic pesticides unnecessary and their use unconscionable. Yet, EPA insists on the acceptability of harm (which it calls risk), despite its failure to (i) recognize comorbidities and preexisting health conditions, (ii) consider a combination of multiple chemical exposure interactions, and (iii) cite extensive missing health outcomes information (e.g., on endocrine disruption) and a resulting high level of uncertainty.

On the community level addressed by this funding project, EPA could assist communities to transition to organic land management. The EJG2G program must assist communities to manage local parks, playing fields, and greenways without unnecessary toxic pesticides.

 But EPA’s assistance must go beyond funding. EPA’s pesticide registration decisions promote contamination of communities where pesticides are manufactured, stored, used, and disposed of. By ignoring impacts of pesticides on soil health, EPA’s pesticide registration decisions promote the climate crisis. EPA’s pesticide program must incorporate in all of its registration decisions an analysis of impact on the climate crisis, with particular attention to the protection of soil health.

A recent report, Exposed and At Risk: Opportunities to Strengthen Enforcement of Pesticide Regulations for Farmworker Safety, by the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems at Vermont Law and Graduate School, in partnership with the nonprofit advocacy group, Farmworker Justice, again highlights the systemic racism of our country’s pesticide policies. Our nation depends on farmworkers, declared “essential workers” during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure sustenance for the nation and world. Yet, the occupational exposure to toxic pesticides by farmworkers is discounted by EPA, while study after study documents the disproportionate level of illness among farmworkers. EPA must eliminate systemic racism in its pesticide program.

Tell EPA, Governors (Mayor in DC), and Congress to support environmental justice by eliminating activities leading to pollution and climate change.

Letter to EPA:

During Black History Month, it is of note that 0n January 10, the Biden-Harris Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced funding of approximately $100 million for “projects that advance environmental justice in underserved and overburdened communities across the country” through its Environmental Justice Government-to-Government (EJG2G) program. While viewed as assistance for those communities “disproportionately impacted by pollution and climate change,” it is important to recognize that the same communities are also disproportionately impacted by activities that produce pollution and contribute significantly to the climate crisis.

EPA must reverse its historical bias against preventive action to ensure the protection of those disproportionately poisoned by toxic chemicals. While critically important to clean up contaminated communities, EPA must stop the flow of toxic pesticides at the front end because of the disproportionate poisoning effects of use, handling, transportation, and disposal. We live in an age of practices and products that make toxic pesticides unnecessary and their use unconscionable. Yet, EPA insists on the acceptability of harm (which it calls risk), despite its failure to (i) recognize comorbidities and preexisting health conditions, (ii) consider a combination of multiple chemical exposure interactions, and (iii) cite extensive missing health outcomes information (e.g., on endocrine disruption) and a resulting high level of uncertainty.

On the community level addressed by this funding project, EPA could assist communities to transition to organic land care. The EJG2G program must assist communities to manage local parks, playing fields, and greenways without unnecessary toxic pesticides.

 But EPA’s assistance must go beyond funding. EPA’s pesticide registration decisions promote contamination of communities where pesticides are manufactured, stored, used, and disposed of. By ignoring impacts of pesticides on soil health, EPA’s pesticide registration decisions promote climate change. EPA’s pesticide program must incorporate in all its registration decisions an analysis of impact on the climate crisis, with particular attention to the protection of soil health.

A recent report, Exposed and At Risk: Opportunities to Strengthen Enforcement of Pesticide Regulations for Farmworker Safety, by the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems at Vermont Law and Graduate School, in partnership with the nonprofit advocacy group, Farmworker Justice, again highlights the systemic racism of our country’s pesticide policies. Our nation depends on farmworkers, declared “essential workers” during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure sustenance for the nation and world. Yet, the occupational exposure to toxic pesticides by farmworkers is discounted by EPA, while study after study documents the disproportionate level of illness among farmworkers. EPA must eliminate systemic racism in its pesticide program.

Please show that EPA is serious about environmental justice by refocusing the pesticide program on eliminating serious consequences of pesticide policy and registration decisions.

Thank you.

Letter to Governor (Mayor of DC):

During Black History Month, it is of note that on January 10, the Biden-Harris Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced funding of approximately $100 million for “projects that advance environmental justice in underserved and overburdened communities across the country” through its Environmental Justice Government-to-Government (EJG2G) program. While viewed as assistance for those communities “disproportionately impacted by pollution and climate change,” it is important to recognize that the same communities are also disproportionately impacted by activities that produce pollution and contribute significantly to the climate crisis.

It is important to reverse the historical bias against preventive action to ensure the protection of those disproportionately poisoned by toxic chemicals. While critically important to clean up contaminated communities, EPA must stop the flow of toxic pesticides at the front end because of the disproportionate poisoning effects of use, handling, transportation, and disposal. We live in an age of practices and products that make toxic pesticides unnecessary and their use unconscionable. Yet, EPA insists on the acceptability of harm (which it calls risk), despite its failure to (i) recognize comorbidities and preexisting health conditions, (ii) consider a combination of multiple chemical exposure interactions, and (iii) cite extensive missing health outcomes information (e.g., on endocrine disruption) and a resulting high level of uncertainty.

On the community level addressed by this funding project, EPA could assist communities to transition to organic land care. The EJG2G program must assist communities to manage local parks, playing fields, and greenways without unnecessary toxic pesticides. I encourage you to request funding for transitioning to organic land care.

 But EPA’s assistance must go beyond funding. EPA’s pesticide registration decisions promote contamination of communities where pesticides are manufactured, stored, used, and disposed of. By ignoring impacts of pesticides on soil health, EPA’s pesticide registration decisions promote climate change. EPA’s pesticide program should incorporate in all its registration decisions an analysis of impact on the climate crisis, with particular attention to the protection of soil health.

A recent report, Exposed and At Risk: Opportunities to Strengthen Enforcement of Pesticide Regulations for Farmworker Safety, by the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems at Vermont Law and Graduate School, in partnership with the nonprofit advocacy group, Farmworker Justice, again highlights the systemic racism of our country’s pesticide policies. Our nation depends on farmworkers, declared “essential workers” during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure sustenance for the nation and world. Yet, the occupational exposure to toxic pesticides by farmworkers is discounted by EPA, while study after study documents the disproportionate level of illness among farmworkers. EPA must eliminate systemic racism in its pesticide program.

Please promote environmental justice in your communities by encouraging the transition to organic land management and purchasing organic food in all public institutions in the state.

Thank you.

 

Letter to U.S. Senators and Representative:

During Black History Month, it is of note that on January 10, the Biden-Harris Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced funding of approximately $100 million for “projects that advance environmental justice in underserved and overburdened communities across the country” through its Environmental Justice Government-to-Government (EJG2G) program. While viewed as assistance for those communities “disproportionately impacted by pollution and climate change,” it is important to recognize that the same communities are also disproportionately impacted by activities that produce pollution and contribute significantly to the climate crisis.

 

EPA must reverse its historical bias against preventive action to ensure the protection of those disproportionately poisoned by toxic chemicals. While critically important to clean up contaminated communities, EPA must stop the flow of toxic pesticides at the front end because of the disproportionate poisoning effects of use, handling, transportation, and disposal. We live in an age of practices and products that make toxic pesticides unnecessary and their use unconscionable. Yet, EPA insists on the acceptability of harm (which it calls risk), despite its failure to (i) recognize comorbidities and preexisting health conditions, (ii) consider a combination of multiple chemical exposure interactions, and (iii) cite extensive missing health outcomes information (e.g., on endocrine disruption) and a resulting high level of uncertainty.

 

On the community level addressed by this funding project, EPA could assist communities to transition to organic land care. The EJG2G program could assist communities to manage local parks, playing fields, and greenways without unnecessary toxic pesticides.

 

But EPA’s assistance must go beyond funding. EPA’s pesticide registration decisions promote contamination of communities where pesticides are manufactured, stored, used, and disposed of. By ignoring impacts of pesticides on soil health, EPA’s pesticide registration decisions promote climate change. EPA’s pesticide program must incorporate in all its registration decisions an analysis of impact on the climate crisis, with particular attention to the protection of soil health.

 

A recent report, Exposed and At Risk: Opportunities to Strengthen Enforcement of Pesticide Regulations for Farmworker Safety, by the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems at Vermont Law and Graduate School, in partnership with the nonprofit advocacy group, Farmworker Justice, again highlights the systemic racism of our country’s pesticide policies. Our nation depends on farmworkers, declared “essential workers” during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure sustenance for the nation and world. Yet, the occupational exposure to toxic pesticides by farmworkers is discounted by EPA, while study after study documents the disproportionate level of illness among farmworkers. EPA must eliminate systemic racism in its pesticide program.

 

Please ensure that EPA is serious about environmental justice by refocusing the pesticide program on eliminating serious consequences of pesticide policy and registration decisions.

 

Thank you.

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