Pesticides in the Air: Kids at Risk
Despite the cries of “EPA overreaching” so prevalent in the press, EPA regulators are failing children’s health—especially rural kids in communities of color and economically-disadvantaged populations—in some crucial ways. As a result, Earthjustice and Farmworker Justice are representing Physicians for Social Responsibility along with a number of other health, environmental, and farmworker groups on a petition to EPA to address a significant risk to rural children: pesticide spray drift—the drifting of pesticides away from the site of their application. (more…)
Archive for September, 2011
Pesticides in the Air: Kids at Risk
A newly published study by researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health links phthalate exposure while still in the womb to changes in the brain and increased behavioral problems in children by the age three.
Previous studies of school-age children have already pointed to a strong association between prenatal exposure to phthalates and developmental problems. However, the new study, just published in Environmental Health Perspectives , is the first to investigate phthalate exposure before birth and the prevalence of mental, motor and behavioral problems in children during their preschool years. (more…)
The President’s Cancer Panel asks the right questions. The answers it provides compel us all to become environmental detectives in our own communities.Why is the rate of brain cancer rising among children and older adults? And what will future generations of children say about us if we choose to ignore these trends? The President’s Cancer Panel report, Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk: What We Can Do Now, has much to offer us especially the results of professional research on pesticides and cancer. The President’s Cancer Panel Report goes on to assert that the prevailing regulatory approach to environmental contaminants is dysfunctional. It is fragmented, underfunded, and weakened by industry influence, and it possesses “a lack of will to identify and remove hazards.” Let’s look at what the report has to say on the topic of professional research on pesticides and cancer. (more…)
Benefit of the doubt goes to children, not to chemicals. Harmless aspect of the familiar was the phrase that leapt into my mind when I watched a scantily clad woman—the day was hot and sunny—lie down in a green sward of grass in front of the Women’s Center on the campus of DePauw University in Indiana. Next to her waved a small yellow flag that warned passers-by to keep off the grass as it had just been sprayed with pesticides.
I guess the word irony might also have applied. On the other side of the flag, a card table was piled high with copies of my book, Living Downstream, which, among other topics, discusses the dangers of lawn chemicals. The books were for sale. I was positioned up on the porch, encouraged by my faculty host to chat with students, drink punch, and sign books as part of an informal reception before my all-campus Earth Day lecture.Yes, I intervened. The reclining woman seemed bewildered by my concern for her, pointing out that the yellow flags are so ubiquitous that no one notices them. She reluctantly promised to shower and launder her clothes before attending the evening’s lecture. (more…)
One of the experts set to testify at Wednesday’s long-awaited meeting about the county’s policy for genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on open space says scientists are seeing new, alarming patterns in plants and animals due to increased use of the herbicide Roundup. Michael McNeill is an agronomist who owns Ag Advisory Ltd. in Algona, Iowa. He received his Ph.D. in quantitative genetics and plant pathology from Iowa State University in 1969 and has been a crop consultant since 1983.
The farmers’ increased use of Roundup is actually harming their crops, according to McNeill, because it is killing micronutrients in the soil that they need, a development that has been documented in several scientific papers by the nation’s leading experts in the field. McNeill says the situation is causing “sudden death syndrome” in soybeans, which means they are dying at increased rates when they go into their reproductive phase. He adds that corn is showing a higher incidence of Goss’s wilt, which has been a problem in Colorado since the early 1970s, and studies show that glyphosate causes a rise in both diseases. And the problems are not limited to plants, it’s extending to the animals that eat them, according to McNeill.
He says he and his colleagues are seeing a higher incidence of infertility and early-term abortion in cattle and hogs that are fed on GMO crops. He adds that poultry fed on the suspect crops have been exhibiting reduced fertility rates (more…)
The most important reason is GMO’s are unhealthy. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) urges doctors to prescribe non-GMO diets for all patients. They cite animal studies showing organ damage, gastrointestinal and immune system disorders, accelerated aging, and infertility. Human studies show how genetically modified (GM) food can leave material behind inside us, possibly causing long-term problems. Genes inserted into GM soy, for example, can transfer into the DNA of bacteria living inside us, and that the toxic insecticide produced by GM corn was found in the blood of pregnant women and their unborn fetuses. Numerous health problems increased after GMOs were introduced in 1996. The percentage of Americans with three or more chronic illnesses jumped from 7% to 13% in just 9 years; food allergies skyrocketed, and disorders such as autism, reproductive disorders, digestive problems, and others are on the rise. Although there is not sufficient research to confirm that GMOs are a contributing factor, doctors groups such as the AAEM tell us not to wait before we start protecting ourselves, and especially our children who are most at risk.
10 Reasons to Avoid GMOs : (1) GMOs are unhealthy. (2) GMOs contaminate―forever. (3) GMOs increase herbicide use. (4) Genetic engineering creates dangerous side effects. (5) Government oversight is dangerously lax. (6) The biotech industry uses “tobacco science” to claim product safety. (7) Independent research and reporting is attacked and suppressed. (8) GMOs harm the environment. (9) GMOs do not increase yields, and work against feeding a hungry world. (10) By avoiding GMOs, you contribute to the coming tipping point of consumer rejection, forcing them out of our food supply.
The Campaign for Healthier Eating in America is designed to achieve a tipping point against GMOs in the US. The number of non-GMO shoppers needed is probably just 5% of the population. The key is to educate consumers about the documented health dangers and provide a Non-GMO Shopping Guide to make avoiding GMOs much easier.
Please choose healthier non-GMO brands, tell others about GMOs so they can do the same, and join the Non-GMO Tipping Point Network. Together we can quickly reclaim a non-GMO food supply. (more…)
Profits Before Environment By MARK BITTMAN
I wasn’t surprised when the administration of George W. Bush sacrificed the environment for corporate profits. But when the same thing happens under a Democratic administration, it’s depressing. With little or no public input, policies that benefit corporations regardless of the consequences continue to be enacted.
No wonder an April 2010 poll from the Pew Research Center found that about only 20 percent of Americans have faith in the government (it’s one thing upon which the left and right and maybe even the center agree). But maybe this is nothing new: as Glenda Farrell, as Genevieve “Gen” Larkin, put it in “Gold Diggers of 1937,” “It’s so hard to be good under the capitalistic system.”
But is anyone in power even trying? Last winter, the Department of Agriculture deregulated Monsanto’s genetically modified alfalfa, despite concerns about cross-pollination of non-genetically modified crops. It then defied a court order banning the planting of genetically modified sugar beets pending completion of an environmental impact study. (more…)