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Archive for the 'Events' Category


Jim Hightower to Address Social Justice and the Environment at National Pesticide Forum

(Beyond Pesticides, March 3, 2009) National radio commentator, writer and author Jim Hightower will be speaking at the 27th National Pesticide Forum, Bridge to an Organic Future: Opportunities for health and the environment, April 3-4, 2009 in Carrboro, NC. Twice elected Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Mr. Hightower believes that the true political spectrum is not right to left but top to bottom, and he has become a leading national voice for the 80 percent of the public who no longer find themselves within shouting distance of the Washington and Wall Street powers at the top. His talk at the Forum is called, “Putting ‘Progress’ Back In Progressive: The route to social justice, fair food and a sustainable environment.” In his latest book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow, America’s most irascible and hilarious curmudgeon turns a kind and benevolent eye toward brave, hardy, and hardworking souls around the country who have found ways to break free from corporate tentacles; redefine success in business, politics, and life in general; and blaze new pathways toward a richer and happier way of life, from the farmers’ cooperative that said “NO!” to Wal-Mart and thrived to the economists […]



Prominent University and Government Scientists to Speak at National Pesticide Forum

(Beyond Pesticides, February 24, 2009) NIEHS staff scientist Freya Kamel, Ph.D., Harvard School of Public Health professor Chensheng (Alex) Lu, Ph.D., and Wake Forest University’s Center for Worker Health director Thomas Arcury, Ph.D. will speak as Science and Health panelists at Bridge to an Organic Future: Opportunities for health and the environment, the 27th National Pesticide Forum, April 3-4 in Carrboro, NC. Freya Kamel, Ph.D. Freya Kamel’s research interests focus on environmental determinants of neurologic dysfunction and disease, in particular, neurodegenerative disease. Dr. Kamel and her colleagues at the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) examined the relationship of farm work-related exposures to subclinical neurobehavioral deficits in farmworkers. Deficits in neurobehavioral performance reflecting cognitive and psychomotor function related to the duration of work experience were seen in former as well as current farmworkers, and decreased performance was related to chronic exposure even in the absence of a history of pesticide poisoning. Thus, long-term experience of farm work is associated with measurable deficits in cognitive and psychomotor function. Dr. Kamel participated in work on the Agricultural Health Study (AHS), a large cohort study of licensed pesticide applicators and their spouses in Iowa and […]



Farm Labor Leader Baldemar Velásquez to Speak at National Pesticide Forum

(Beyond Pesticides, February 9, 2009) Baldemar Velásquez, president of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC), AFL-CIO, will be speaking at Bridge to an Organic Future, the 27th National Pesticide Forum, April 3-4, 2009 in Carrboro, NC. FLOC, founded by Mr. Velásquez in 1967, is both a social movement and a labor union focusing on migrant workers in the agricultural industry. The FLOC vision emphasizes human rights as the standard and self-determination as the process. The union struggles for full justice for those who have been marginalized and exploited for the benefit of others, and has sought to change the structures of society to enable these people a direct voice in their own conditions. FLOC President Baldemar Velásquez was raised as a migrant farmworker. Since his childhood, he has worked in the fields and orchards of many states from Texas to the Midwest. He suffered the oppression and discrimination of migrant workers, and watched his parents humiliated many times from the injustices they experienced trying to support their family. Finally, after one incident when his father was cheated out of promised wages in front of the family, Baldemar began organizing migrant workers to stand up for their rights. Following the model […]



Authors/Reporters Philip and Alice Shabecoff to Speak at National Pesticide Forum

(Beyond Pesticides, February 5, 2009) Former chief environmental correspondent for The New York Times Philip Shabecoff and freelance journalist Alice Shabecoff will be making a rare public talk at Bridge to an Organic Future, the 27th National Pesticide Forum, April 3-4, 2009 in Carrboro, NC. They will be speaking Friday evening at the conference and signing copies of their new book, Poisoned Profits: The toxic assault on our children, during a reception immediately following their presentation. See registration information below. Based on more than five years of investigative research and reporting, Poisoned Profits reveals the cumulative scientific evidence connecting the massive increase in environmental poisons to the epidemic of disability, disease, and dysfunction among our nation ´s children. The authors conclude that the poisoning of the environment is as grave a threat to the future as any problem confronting our nation. Yet even as individual parents and pediatricians struggle to fight illness, one child at a time, the public remains in the dark about the enormity of this crisis. Why? Because, according to the authors, corporations control the system, molding laws to their liking. The book shines a light on the motives and means of corporate-paid lawyers, “product defense” companies, […]



Conference on Fair, Organic Food and Public Health, April 3-4 in North Carolina

Beyond Pesticides will hold its 27th National Pesticide Forum, Bridge to an Organic Future: Opportunities for health and the environment, April 3-4, 2009 in Carrboro, NC (next to Chapel Hill and the University of North Carolina). This national environmental conference will include sessions on Pesticides and public health; Organic agriculture; Domestic fair trade; Organic lawns and landscapes; Healthy schools and daycare; Water contamination; and much more. Register online or call 202-543-5450 to register by phone. This national environmental conference, co-convened by Toxic Free North Carolina, is an important opportunity for community people nationwide to get together, share the latest information, meet with scientists and policy makers, and discuss local, statewide and national strategies on pest issues, pesticides, public health and the environment. As the home of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and recently named “America’s Foodiest Small Town,” the location is just the right place for participants to discuss fair, organic food and the impact of pesticides on public health. Keynote speakers for the conference include: Just added! Baldemar Velásquez, president of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC), was raised as a migrant farmworker. Since his childhood, he has worked in the fields and orchards of many […]



Maryland Health and Elder Care Facilities Lead Way In Cutting Toxic Chemical Use

(Beyond Pesticides, October 24, 2008) A report to be released October 27 by public health groups and leading Maryland health and elder care facilities documents new practices and policies to eliminate toxic pesticide use. The changes reflect a heightened awareness of the need to protect particularly vulnerable populations from serious health risks associated with toxic chemical exposure. A growing body of scientific research links pesticides to Parkinson’s disease, asthma, cancer and other illnesses. “The Maryland health care institutions in the report are to be commended for showing national leadership in adopting non-toxic pest management techniques that protect the health of patients, visitors and staff,” said Jay Feldman, the report’s co-author and executive director of Beyond Pesticides. The report, “Taking Toxics out of Maryland’s Health Care Sector: Transition to Green Pest Management Practices to Protect Health and the Environment,” was co-written by the Maryland Pesticide Network, a statewide coalition advocating safe pest management practices, and Beyond Pesticides, a national environmental and public health group, under their joint “Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in Health Care Facilities Project,” and in collaboration with Maryland Hospitals for a Healthy Environment at the University of Maryland School of Nursing. IPM is an approach to pest management […]



Bayer Pesticide Plant Explosion Reveals Shaky Safety Record

(Beyond Pesticides, September 5, 2008) On the night of August 28, a pesticide waste tank exploded at Bayer’s Institute, West Virginia plant. One worker was killed, another injured, and the blast was heard in Mink Shoals, more than ten miles away. Despite individual accounts of the resulting air pollution, Bayer officials assured the public that no chemicals had escaped the plant. An investigation of Bayer’s safety history and the area’s emergency response reveals a shaky safety record.. The tank involved in the explosion contained waste products from the production of Bayer’s insecticide, thiodicarb, which is banned in the European Union. Included in those were methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK), hexane, methomyl, and dimethyl disulfide, all of which are acutely toxic to humans. According to chief of homeland security and emergency response for the state Department of Environmental Protection, Mike Dorsey, “The thing that blew up was the least dangerous of the stuff that’s there.” Jeannie Young, who lives near the plant, said that following the blast, “My daughter and I have headaches.” When taking her dogs outside half an hour following the explosion, “They acted really funny. They wanted to come right back in the house.” In spite of a noticeable […]



Happy Earth Day, Celebrate with an Earth Dinner

(Beyond Pesticides, April 22, 2008) Earth Day, traditionally celebrated by the United Nations on the spring equinox, became a U.S. national holiday proclaimed by Senators Gaylord Nelson and John McConnell on April 22, 1970. It is a time to celebrate our planet, and all the life giving natural resources and beauty that the Earth provides and which we too often take for granted. Most memorable holiday traditions involve family, friends, and of course, food. Building on this idea, the folks at the Organic Valley Family of Farms Cooperative joined with environmental and sustainable agriculture organizations to develop the Earth Dinner celebration. In developing the Earth Dinner idea, the organizers wondered, “Why doesn’t Earth Day have a tradition?” The Earth deserves a celebration too, and it made sense that an Earth Day tradition should revolve around local, sustainable and organic cuisine, and especially meaningful discussion about the impact farming has on the environment. Buying foods grown and distributed locally supports the local farmers, allowing them and their families to stay on the land. Buying foods that were grown using sustainable agricultural practices protects the soil and environment in countless ways. Going organic ensures that you are feeding your loved ones foods […]



New details: Healthy Future Conference, March 14-16 , UC Berkeley

Reclaiming Our Healthy Future: Political change to protect the next generation, the 26th National Pesticide Forum, will be held March 14-16 at the University of California, Berkeley. This exciting environmental health conference is just about a month away, sign-up now to pay the pre-registration rate.Speakers, panels and workshops Many scientists, authors, community leaders and activists have been added to the Forum line-up, which already includes Arturo Rodriguez, Devra Davis and Tyrone Hayes. View the updated speaker list and schedule of events, which now includes a list of workshop topics. Bus tour of CA agriculture community Join the bus tour on Friday, March 14 to learn about the amazing efforts of activists from the San Joaquin Valley ­ the source of much of the state’s food for California, US and foreign markets. Tour begins at noon (meet at UC Berkeley Clark Kerr Conference Center). RSVP required. Travel and lodging We’ve found that inexpensive airfare is still available, but should be booked soon. Kayak seems to find good rates (round trip from Seattle $170; Chicago $285; New York & Washington, DC $300). Lodging in Berkeley is very tight the weekend of March 14-16. We recommend that you book your hotel now. A […]



New Speakers, Schedule Announced for Healthy Future Conference

(Beyond Pesticides, January 28, 2008) Reclaiming Our Healthy Future: Political change to protect the next generation, the 26th National Pesticide Forum, will be held March 14-16 at the University of California, Berkeley. Register now to pay the pre-registration rate. Recent speaker additions include Marla Cone, author of Silent Snow and environmental journalist with the Los Angles Times; Paul Saoke, executive director of Physicians for Social Responsibility Kenya; and Ted Schettler MD, science director of the Science and Environmental Health Network. These speakers will be joining a line-up which already includes Arturo Rodriguez (UFW President), Devra Davis, Ph.D. (author and University of Pittsburgh professor of epidemiology) and Tyrone Hayes, Ph.D. (UC Berkeley professor of integrative biology). Also, actress Kaiulani Lee will perform A Sense of Wonder, her one-woman play based on the life and works of Rachel Carson. The conference themes are pesticides and health with a particular focus on  children and workers, a vision for a just and sustainable food system, and creating political change. A tentative schedule of events is now available on the Forum webpage. Marla Cone is one of the nation’s premier environmental journalists. She has 22 years of experience covering environmental issues, including 18 years at […]



Reclaiming Our Healthy Future – National Pesticide Forum Update

(Beyond Pesticides, January 8, 2008) Reclaiming Our Healthy Future: Political change to protect the next generation, the 26th National Pesticide Forum, will be held March 14-16 at the University of California, Berkeley. Register now to pay the pre-registration rate. James Roberts, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics at the Medical University of South Carolina and co-author of Recognition and Management of Pesticide Poisonings, and Jim Riddle, outreach coordinator for the University of Minnesota Organic Ecology program, have recently been added to the program. Previously announced speakers include Arturo Rodriguez (UFW President), Devra Davis, Ph.D. (author and University of Pittsburgh professor of epidemiology) and Tyrone Hayes, Ph.D. (UC Berkeley professor of integrative biology). Also, actress Kaiulani Lee will perform A Sense of Wonder, her one-woman play based on the life and works of Rachel Carson. Session topics include: Children’s health and public policy; Farmworker justice, organizing and consumer action; Building just and healthy food systems; Power of local activism to influence political change; Pesticides and the secret history of the war on cancer; Skills training sessions; DDT and malaria; Global warming and biofuels; Biomonitoring and pesticide drift; Lawns and landscapes; Managing indoor environments; Water quality and much more. Jim Riddle is outreach […]



Reclaiming Our Healthy Future: National Pesticide Forum Update

(Beyond Pesticides, December 11, 2007) Arturo Rodriguez (UFW President), Devra Davis, Ph.D. (author and University of Pittsburgh professor of epidemiology) and Tyrone Hayes, Ph.D. (UC Berkeley professor of integrative biology) will be speaking at the 2008 National Pesticide Forum. The conference, Reclaiming Our Healthy Future: Political change to protect the next generation, will be held March 14-16, 2008 at the University of California, Berkeley. A native of Texas, Arturo S. Rodriguez has worked tirelessly to continue the legacy of Cesar Chavez since taking over the helm of the United Farm Workers of America (UFW) upon the death of its legendary founder in 1993. Beyond winning fair contracts for its workers, the UFW continues to work to protect farmworkers from pesticides and other workplace hazards. Recent union victories are agreements with Gallo Vineyards Inc. and Coastal Berry Co., the largest winery and the largest strawberry employer in the U.S., as well as pacts protecting winery workers in Washington and mushroom workers in Florida. Devra Davis, Ph.D., a renowned environmental health expert, is professor of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. Dr. Davis was designated a National Book Award Finalist for her book, When Smoke Ran Like […]



Catch the Buzz – National Pollinator Week, June 24–30

(Beyond Pesticides, June 22, 2007) The U.S. Senate (S.Res. 580) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated June 24-30, 2007 as National Pollinator Week. This week has been designated to recognize the important work of pollinators and their role in ecosystem health. The Pollinator Partnership, sponsored by the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC) and their partners, has put together numerous resources and events all across the country to raise awareness and support for pollinators and pollinator-friendly practices. Pollinators include approximately 200,000 species of beneficial insects such as bees, flies, wasps, butterflies, to name a few, along with vertebrates such as bats, birds and small mammals. Pollination is the process of pollen transfer between flowering plants that leads to fertilization. Without pollination, most plants would be unable to produce fruits or seeds and many of the foods consumed would no longer be available. Pollinators are responsible for pollinating about 75 percent of all crop plants worldwide. This translates to approximately 20 billion dollars worth of food and medicinal products. Other animals and plants also rely on pollinators for food and shelter. Recent studies indicate that these important species are disappearing. Loss of habitat, diseases and the widespread use of […]



National Pesticide Forum To Be Held June 1-3 in Chicago

(Beyond Pesticides, May 29, 2007) National, state and Chicago-based environmental groups are teaming up for Changing Course in a Changing Climate: Solutions for health and the environment, the 25th National Pesticide Forum, at Loyola University (Water Tower campus) in Chicago, IL, June 1-3, 2007. The Forum will have sessions focusing on the consequences of global warming on toxic pesticide use, and organic agriculture as part of the solution; impacts of pesticides on disadvantaged communities of color; cutting-edge science; Great Lakes water issues; and, steps for creating healthier communities. A complete agenda and list of speakers is available at www.beyondpesticides.org/forum. The conference will begin with a green roof tour at 1:00pm on Friday, June 1, meeting in the lobby of the Loyola University classroom building at 25 E. Pearson Street in Chicago’s Magnificent Mile neighborhood. Farmworker Justice is sponsoring an evening session and reception, Friday, June 1, 7:00-11:00pm, that will address changes to the 2007 Farm Bill needed to protect farmworkers. The conference will end at 12:30pm on Sunday. The Forum is convened by Beyond Pesticides; co-convened by Safer Pest Control Project; and, co-sponsored by Nutrition for Optimal Health Association, Beyond Today, Environment Illinois, Loyola Campus Greens, and People for Community […]



Happy Birthday Rachel Carson!

(Beyond Pesticides, May 25, 2007) Rachel Carson, a timely and key voice responsible for warning the public about the dangers of chemical pesticides, would be turning 100 this weekend. Despite succumbing to breast cancer in 1964, her legacy lives on – Rachel Carson’s fight continues today, as her work is more relevant than ever. Rachel Carson authored the seminal book of the modern environmental movement, Silent Spring, published in 1962. The book detailed detrimental effects of pesticides on the environment, focusing on bird decline and DDT use. Her message had and continues to have a profound effect, calling on people to think beyond wilderness conservation efforts when protecting the environment – to think about what is happening in every ecosystem, including our own backyards. Silent Spring was instrumental in setting off a chain of events, including Earth Day and the formation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which subsequently banned almost all DDT use in 1972. Despite all of the honors, awards and praise that have been given in the memory of Rachel Carson, her cause continues to be controversial, especially regarding the dangers of DDT. The latest row has surfaced over claims that the decline in DDT use internationally […]



Take Action: Protest Dow Chemical at Midland, MI Headquarters

(Beyond Pesticides, May 7, 2007) Beyond Pesticides is encouraging its members, activists and others in the Midwest to join Students for Bhopal and Amnesty International in a protest at the Dow Chemical Company Annual General Meeting (shareholder meeting) on Thursday, May 10, 2007, in Midland, Michigan. The purpose of the protest is to send a message to Dow that corporate irresponsibility will not be tolerated. The protesters will demand that Dow: 1) Clean up toxic wastes and contaminated groundwater left by the 1984 Bhopal disaster; 2) Face trial and ensure that Union Carbide (now owned by Dow) and CEO Warren Anderson present themselves in the Indian Courts; 3) Cooperate with authorities assessing the long-term health consequences of the explosion; and, 4) Make public information about the toxicity of reaction products released during the leak. See details on the Bhopal disaster below. Beyond Pesticides is part of an international campaign working to expose and hold Dow Chemical accountable for its wrong doings. Aside from its liabilities in Bhopal, Vietnam and around the world, Dow AgroSciences, a division of Dow Chemical, produces many of the most hazardous pesticides on the market, which contaminate our bodies and the environment through a variety of […]



National Healthy Schools Day: Support Pesticide-Free Schools

(Beyond Pesticides, April 30, 2007) Today, school officials, teachers, parents and community activists around the country are celebrating National Healthy Schools Day. The Healthy Schools Network, which organizes the event, and event supporters, including Beyond Pesticides, believe that every child in every community should have an environmentally safe and healthy school that is clean and in good repair. Schools in poor condition on the outside often have indoor environmental problems that affect children’s health and learning. Children face unique hazards from pesticide and other toxic chemical exposure. They take in more pesticides relative to their body weight than adults in the food they eat and air they breathe. Their developing organ systems often make them more sensitive to toxic exposure. The U.S. EPA, National Academy of Sciences, and American Public Health Association, among others, have voiced concerns about the danger that pesticides pose to children. The body of evidence in scientific literature shows that pesticide exposure can adversely affect a child’s neurological, respiratory, immune, and endocrine system, even at low levels. Several pesticides, such as pyrethrins and pyrethroids, organophosphates and carbamates, are also known to cause or exacerbate asthma symptoms. Buildings in disrepair typically face higher rates of pest infestation […]



Earth Day 2007: Pesticide Ponderings on Past, Present and Future

(Beyond Pesticides, April 20, 2007) As we celebrate Earth Day this weekend, Beyond Pesticides would like to take this moment to reflect on exactly where pesticides fit into the current environmental picture, including victories of the past and victories needed for a healthy future. Over the last year, the organic movement has seen many successes, with school pesticide reduction victories in North Carolina, Utah, Virginia, and California; new organic parks in New Jersey; increasing numbers of sustainable vegetable and cotton growers; and even hospitals and schools purchasing organic food. As we celebrate these victories, we look ahead to ways we can continue this trend toward organics, and opportunities for connecting with other environmental causes. Global climate change is the major focus of Earth Day this year, as well as a major focus of the environmental movement as a whole. But rather than being a separate issue from pesticides, the two are actually very much related. In fact, the Rodale Institute has figured organic farming requires 63% less energy (fossil fuels) than “conventional” methods. Top this off with the fact that industrial agricultural methods also reduce the amount of carbon that can be sequestered in soil, and the organic connection becomes […]



Educate Your Local Officials on Organic Land Care

(Beyond Pesticides, February 23, 2007) The National Coalition for Pesticide-Free Lawns is pleased to announce our Organic Land Care Basic Training for Municipal Officials and Transitioning Landscapers. This three-part teleconference starts Wednesday, February 28, and there are only four days left to register! The training will explain the Simple Steps to start an organic turf program and will cover the basic concepts, methods, and materials you need to get started. It is geared toward school, and park and recreation officials. However, landscapers interested in transitioning are welcome to attend. The market demand for organic land care and availability of organic land care products is following the path of organic food into the mainstream. However, there is still a lack of understanding about what organic land care is, and there are many myths about cost and feasibility. As you will see from the local success stories featured in our Grassroots Action Supplement, organic land care is both a socially responsible and fiscally responsible approach to land management. To continue the strong trend towards pesticide-free land care, we need municipal officials and landscape professionals who are knowledgeable. Organic land care training opportunities are increasing in pockets of the country, but in general […]



Details Announced for National Pesticide Forum, June 1-3, Chicago

(Beyond Pesticides, February 16, 2007) Changing Course in a Changing Climate: Solutions for health and the environment, the 25th National Pesticide Forum, will be held June 1-3 at Loyola University (Water Tower campus) in Chicago’s Magnificent Mile neighborhood. This exciting environmental health conference is convened by Beyond Pesticides and co-sponsored by Safer Pest Control Project, Nutrition for Optimal Health Association and others. The Forum begins Friday afternoon with a Chicago City Hall green roof tour and ends Sunday at noon. A Pesticide Working Group meeting will follow. See details below. Register online or call 202-543-5450 to register by phone. Forum topics include Global warming: Consequences and the organic connection; Environmental justice; Elevated risks of pesticide mixtures; The hazards and fate of common antibacterials; The truth about nanotechnology; Asthma and the pesticide link; New legislative opportunities; Passing local policies; Great Lakes/water contamination; Sustainable agriculture, nutrition and urban gardens; Scientific integrity; Safer pest management strategies; and more. Featured Speakers (see updated list with bios): Samuel S. Epstein, M.D. (2007 Dragonfly Award recipient), author of The Politics of Cancer, professor emeritus at the University of Illinois School of Public Health and chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition; Rolf Halden, Ph.D., P.E., professor at […]