Paterson joins forces with environmentalists to argue case for technology in … – FG Insight


FG Insight

Paterson joins forces with environmentalists to argue case for technology in
FG Insight
A direct retort to those who claim organic farming and agro-ecology are the route to a healthy global environment, eco-modernism advocates the use of GM technology, synthetic fertilisers and pesticides and increased mechanism in farming as the to

“Little Things Matter” in India, too

We’ve often talked about how low-dose exposure to pesticides are a serious cause for concern, and at the root of many health problems for children. Last fall, Dr. Bruce Lanphear — a physician and professor of pediatrics from Simon Fraser University in Canada — released a video entitled Little Things Matter, clearly illustrating the impact of chemicals on children's developing brains.

I’m very happy to report that Dr. Lanphear recently toured India to spread the word about the harms of low-dose exposures to pesticides and other common environmental toxins. Over the course of the five-city tour he met with medical students, fellow doctors, the media, concerned community groups and policymakers.

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Fewer pesticides, healthier kids

It's that time of year! Freshly scrubbed, nervous-looking kids don backpacks, pack lunches and head off to school.

This back-to-school season there's both excellent and not-so-great news when it comes to schoolkids and pesticides. On balance, it's fair to say there's exciting progress afoot for children's health — from pesticide-free school lunches to a nasty brain-harming chemical finally getting the boot.

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Time to turn around McDonald’s pesticide problem

It’s been a rough year for McDonald’s. Everyone — from the company’s top executives to mainstream press — agrees that the fast food giant is struggling. The company’s sales have fallen for the past six quarters, and other measures of company success — traffic, income, and net revenue —  are all down as well. Steve Easterbrook, McDonald’s new CEO, said it himself: “We are not on our game.”

I’m no financial analyst. But as I read the headlines day after day about McDonald’s slump, it’s clear to me that the company has a few straightforward opportunities to start reshaping its brand. In short: McDonald’s should spend less time marketing itself as a socially responsible corporate actor, and more time making real changes to do business more responsibly. And as we’ve been saying in the Toxic Taters campaign, real action to protect communities from pesticides used to grow McDonald’s potatoes is one important place to start.

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Guest Blog: Pollinators & the rigged neonic seed market

Farmers are no different from any buyer – they want to know what they’re buying, how much it costs and its expected performance. But in the brave new world of agricultural seeds, where multiple traits and technology are stacked like Microsoft’s operating system, it’s becoming more and more difficult for farmers to separate out what is really needed and discover how much each piece is costing them. In the case of neonicotinoid (neonic) seed coatings used as a pesticide, both the effectiveness and costs are somewhat of a mystery, according to a new paper published by IATP today.

As farm income is expected to drop more than 30 percent from last year, farmers are carefully examining all input costs to see where they can save. With their financial cost and actual effectiveness unclear, neonic seed coatings may be one of those places to cut costs. But the real cost of neonics likely goes well beyond the input price. A growing body of science directly implicates neonicotinoid (neonic) pesticides as a contributor to the significant decline of bees and other pollinators. Neonics are applied in multiple ways in agriculture and horticulture but are most prevalent as a seed coating material for commodity crops like corn and soybeans. Based on convincing and mounting evidence, beekeepers, scientists and other individuals concerned about pollinators are working together to spur regulatory action and shifts in the marketplace to reduce the use of neonics.

In May 2015, the White House issued an interagency National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and other Pollinators.  The strategy focuses on efforts to restore honey bee loss, increase monarch butterfly populations and restore pollinator habitats. But the White House plan virtually ignores the on-the-ground farm economics that directly contribute to rising neonic use in seed coatings – specifically the role of a few large companies that have a stranglehold on the seed market. This concentrated market power in the seed industry has allowed a few multi-billion dollar companies like Bayer, Syngenta and Monsanto to significantly limit U.S. farmers’ choices around seed coating.

In most cases the seed is coated with neonics whether wanted or not and our paper found that this lack of choice has made it difficult for farmers and their advisors to assess the actual value of these pesticides in crop production, or to understand their true financial and environmental costs. Most farmers understand the value of pollinators to plant growth and the food system and would not intentionally harm them.  However, without credible information on the risks or the freedom to choose their seed coating, farmers are left with little choice but to accept what their seed company delivers.   

The good news is that there are independent seed companies and dealers able today to provide farmers with information and choice around seed coatings. Representing a small segment of a highly consolidated industry, independent seed producers and dealers are able and willing to respond to market changes and farmer preferences associated with not only neonics, but also other areas of market interest, such as non-genetically modified organisms (GMOs), certified organic, cover and specialty crops. But a farmer’s ability to choose what kind of seed coatings they want as part of their crop management system should be the rule, not the exception, in the seed market. 

One of the most basic and necessary aspects of a free market is available and accurate information about products and their efficacy, cost and benefits. It should go without saying, then, that in a competitive marketplace, farmers should receive accurate, up-to-date information from researchers and other farmers at field days about the costs and benefits of neonics and other seed coatings related to both crop production and the environment, including pollinators. Yet, this isn’t happening with neonics or other seed coating ingredients today. We need credible, farmer-led field trials that compare different seed coatings and traits, and that information should be shared with other farmers. And those findings should be compared with the effectiveness and costs of other pest control approaches, such as integrated pest management (IPM), that have proven benefits and economic returns. Only with complete information and choice – about neonics and other crop management tools – can farmers make smart choices that allow them to produce crops and take care of pollinators and the environment.

You can read the full paper: Unknown Benefits, Hidden Costs: Neonicotinoid seed coatings, crop yields and pollinators.

– See more at: http://www.iatp.org/blog/201508/pollinators-and-the-rigged-neonic-seed-market#sthash.C8AuHc1y.dpuf

Farmers are no different from any buyer – they want to know what they’re buying, how much it costs and its expected performance. But in the brave new world of agricultural seeds, where multiple traits and technology are stacked like Microsoft’s operating system, it’s becoming more and more difficult for farmers to separate out what is really needed and discover how much each piece is costing them.

In the case of neonicotinoid (neonic) seed coatings used as a pesticide, both the effectiveness and costs are somewhat of a mystery, according to a new paper published by IATP today.

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For the kids

Children around the globe are routinely exposed to pesticides — and sometimes the outcomes are drastic. It’s been over two years since school children in a village in Bihar, India fell severely ill from eating a pesticide-laden lunch, leading to the death of 22.

I’m writing to remember that tragic and avoidable incident, and to remind myself that children remain at risk — here in the U.S. and around the world — when our industrial agricultural system continues to depend on the use of highly hazardous pesticides.

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Win some, lose some for Minnesota bees

It’s been quite a roller coaster. After a series of gubernatorial vetoes and late-night negotiations, the Minnesota legislative session came to a close on June 13. This time around, our legislators passed a bundle of worrisome agricultural and environmental policy that had Minnesotans across the state voicing their concerns loud and clear.

Here at PAN, we focused on fighting for state policies to better protect honey bees and other pollinators from pesticides. How did things shake out on our issues? Well, there was some good, some hopeful and some ugly.

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Best present for Dad? Protecting our kids from pesticides

Gadgets and ties are great, but this Father's Day I'm celebrating the growing momentum to protect kids' health from pesticides in California and beyond.

Over the past two weeks, parents, teachers and health professionals filled hearing rooms across the state demanding better protections for their children. It's still not clear, though, if decisionmakers are listening.

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Here’s what better relations with the US mean for city farms in Cuba – The Conversation AU


The Conversation AU

Here's what better relations with the US mean for city farms in Cuba
The Conversation AU
The principles of organic, or agroecological, farming were used to overcome the lack of chemical fertilisers and pesticides. These included making compost from local resources: manure, worm farms and food waste. Here, organic and agroecological farming …

EPA, bees need more

Last month, on the heels of the rollout of the White House’s plan to protect honey bees and other pollinators, EPA announced its own piece of the plan: a new rule that would limit the use of some bee-harming pesticides when honey bee colonies are contracted for pollination.

EPA’s new rule has made headlines. After years of pressure from PAN and our partners for federal decisionmakers to take the bee crisis seriously, it’s good to see EPA acknowledge the pesticide problem. But EPA’s proposed new rule is remarkably short on meaningful action.

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Climate Change and Agriculture Conference in Costa Rica – The Costa Rica Star


The Tico Times

Climate Change and Agriculture Conference in Costa Rica
The Costa Rica Star
… the growing global push for so-called “Sustainable Intensification” based on GMOs and the increased use of toxic pesticides and fertilizers, and to promote the multifunctional benefits of regenerative forms of agriculture such as agro-ecology
Fix the Soil, Feed the Planet, Save the World: The Power of Regeneration eNews Park Forest



all 2 news articles »

Are You Paying Too Much For Organic Food? – Yahoo Food


Yahoo Food

Are You Paying Too Much For Organic Food?
Yahoo Food
While organic farms spend significantly more on labor, they often spend much less on pesticides and fertilizers than their conventional counterparts, explains John Reganold, study-co-author and WSU professor of soil science and agroecology. The

and more »

Former EPA Scientist: Biotech Companies Encouraging Pesticide Treadmill – Center for Research on Globalization


Center for Research on Globalization

Former EPA Scientist: Biotech Companies Encouraging Pesticide Treadmill
Center for Research on Globalization
Dr. Ramon Seidler (left), a retired senior scientist from the US Environmental Protection Agency, has become a leading spokesperson against genetically modified foods and the increasing use of pesticides with GM crops. He actively supported Oregon's

Guest Blog: The story McDonald’s didn’t get to hear

Last Friday, I was sitting at a coffee shop thinking about the previous 24 hours — and feeling uncertain about my next steps. I’d just gotten back from the McDonald’s annual shareholder meeting in Chicago, where I had planned to share my concerns about pesticides used to grow potatoes that become McDonald’s french fries.

Though I had mustered up the courage to speak before hundreds of people at the high-profile meeting, the corporation's security people turned us away.

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Swing & a miss on bee-harming pesticides

Once again, it looks like federal decisionmakers are sidestepping the issue of bee-harming pesticides. The Pollinator Health Task Force, launched almost a year ago by President Obama, released its strategy for addressing pollinator declines last week — without tackling the pesticide problem.

While the plan sets an ambitious goal for reining in honey bee losses, and calls for state plans to increase habitat for pollinators, it fails to directly address the impact of neonicotinoids and other insecticides, despite crystal clear science that these chemicals are impacting pollinators. 

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It’s time for the “spring flush”… of pesticides

What, you may ask, is the "spring flush?" In late spring and early summer,  large concentrations of herbicides are flushed from croplands. These chemicals — like the herbicide atrazine — then get transported far and wide through surface water systems.

Herbicides are water-soluble and thus have the potential to leach into groundwater supplies as well as streams, lakes and other surface waters. Atrazine is a frequently found contaminant in drinking water supplies throughout the Corn Belt, and every year the spring flush raises concerns over the potential of atrazine spikes in drinking water supplies.

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Students present wide range of humanities research – Cornell Chronicle


Cornell Chronicle

Students present wide range of humanities research
Cornell Chronicle
Nadile suggested that agro-ecology, in which natural predators are used instead of pesticides and monocultures are avoided, also could help the island gain food sovereignty. Other students discussed the African queer community, how to redevelop a slum

#EarthDay: traditional farmers take a stand against GM crops – Equal Times

#EarthDay: traditional farmers take a stand against GM crops
Equal Times
It is against this background that Yadira de los Santos defends agroecology. “We have seen that harvests are better with organic products,” insists the specialist, whose organisation produces natural pesticides and fertilisers. This article has been

Instead of chemical pesticides, a traditional remedy is saving crops around … – Quartz


Quartz

Instead of chemical pesticides, a traditional remedy is saving crops around
Quartz
In Nairobi, Kenya, a few hours north of Arusha, the research organization World Agroforestry Centre, or ICRAF, has held workshops on pesticidal plants that have been driving interest among farmers in Kenya and surrounding countries. ICRAF research …

The volatile pesticides next door

Should parents, families and teachers be warned when hazardous and volatile pesticides are used next door? That was the question before a panel of experts in California last week. Their answer may provide the basis for critical new rules for use of pesticide fumigants, and any neighbor’s right to know.

Fumigant pesticides are a problem for the Golden State. They are highly volatile, likely to drift and linked to a wide range of health impacts, including cancer. Yet every year, over 40 million pounds of these soil-sterilizing chemicals are used on California fields.

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Pesticides in your food? Watch your sperm count.

In the first study of its kind, researchers have linked pesticide residues on food with poor semen quality. The new study adds to a growing body of evidence tying very low-level chemical exposures with reproductive and other health harms.

Scientists from Harvard University's School of Public Health found that men who ate fruits and vegetables with higher levels of pesticide residues had fewer normal sperm and a lower sperm count than men who ate produce with lower residue levels.

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Bayer regrets neonic harms to bees

Today, Bayer AG apologized for the damage to pollinators caused by years of aggressive marketing and sales of bee-harming neonicotinoid pesticides; now the most widely used class of insecticides in the world.

To help restore and revitalize the bee populations harmed by their products — and in a good faith gesture to beekeepers whose livelihoods have been threatened by declining honey bee populations — the German-based corporation formally announced the unveiling of the world’s first bee spa.

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Growers told to ‘start thinking as biologists’ – Horticulture Week


Horticulture Week

Growers told to 'start thinking as biologists'
Horticulture Week
'Agro-ecology' is complex. It's interesting, it's exciting." She explained that among new developments in the biopesticides market is the EU's PURE project, which is researching the use of sugars to stimulate defence mechanisms in plants. European …

Over four million speak up for bees

It's been a big week for honey bees! Yesterday, “bee kind Obama” and “save our bees” chants echoed at a rally on Pennsylvania Avenue, as our national coalition delivered more than four million (!!) signatures to White House. The petition calls on President Obama's pollinator task force to step up and take action on bee-harming pesticides. And soon.

The rally comes on the heels of Monday's delivery of a letter to the White House officials signed by more than 125 diverse groups calling for stronger protections for bees and other pollinators. Signers included conservation, beekeeping, food safety, religious and farming advocacy organizations.

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Will Hawai’i lawmakers stand up to Monsanto & Co?

Later today, the Hawai'i House Committee on Agriculture will take up an important bill that could create new protections from pesticides for children. But if prior votes are any indication, the committee — and the industrial agricultural interests driving it — will be a tough obstacle to overcome.

We've seen this same showdown on island after island, as each county has attempted to enact new protections on the use of pesticides or pesticide-promoting genetically engineered seeds and crops. And we've also seen the force with which, each time, Monsanto and the rest of the Big 6 pesticide corporations have tried to stop these laws in their tracks.

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More evidence linking pesticides & ADHD

I'm not trained as a public health scientist, but I've learned how to decipher epidemiology studies since I started working at PAN — and a good thing, too, because this stuff is interesting.

Case in point: A new study reports that when developing mice are exposed to a pyrethroid insecticide called deltamethrin, it results in impacts on brain chemistry and changes in behavior similar to what's observed in attention deficit hyperactivity (ADHD). Like I said, interesting stuff.

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Shaking up the White House hive

As I spoke to a packed room at the EcoFarm Conference late last month, it was clear that many of us eagerly await the unveiling of the White House's new plan to protect bees. But if recent events are any indication, officials aren’t getting the message that pesticides are a key part of the problem. Just one day before my talk, EPA approved another bee-harming pesticide.

With this recent decision, it’s time to shake up the White House hive. No, not the beehive near the Obamas’ kitchen garden, but the politics that are blocking progress for the nation’s pollinators. It's the White House Task Force on Pollinator Health that's releasing a new plan, and they really need to get it right.

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TTIP: Free trade for pesticides?

In this week's State of the Union address, President Obama clearly signaled his renewed commitment to push free trade agreements through Congress. But civil society organizations across the world are speaking out louder than ever in firm opposition to the secretive "Fast Track" negotiations of the two global trade agreements now on the table: the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The TTIP is one of the latest agreements in the queue, currently in negotiation between the U.S. and the European Union (EU). Along with the TPP, TTIP is threatening international policy change that puts the interests of multinational corporations ahead of everything else, and strips away a slew of protections that social movements across the world have won in recent years.

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EPA fails our kids, again

EPA just released its long overdue look at how the brain-harming insecticide chlorpyrifos is affecting human health. Once again, we're beyond disappointed with the agency's lack of leadership when it comes to protecting children from pesticides.

On the good news side, the report does recognize (finally!) that this particular chemical poses unacceptable risks to farmworkers, and something must be done. The bad news? The solutions they propose don't go nearly far enough, plus they manage to completely dodge the growing evidence that chlorpyrifos can derail the development of children's brains.

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“Little Things Matter:” Shifting IQs down a notch

We know that certain environmental contaminants are linked to decreases in children's intelligence quotient (IQ). A recently released seven-minute video, titled "Little Things Matter," explains what scientists know about this association — and why it's important.

Three types of environmental contaminants were discussed in the video. All three have been linked to falling IQs, and all three have been found in the bodies of the U.S. population — both children and adults — by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). One of the three is a group of commonly used pesticides.

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Agroecological farming — better than ever

Organic farmers who use agroecological practices build healthy soil, conserve water, protect pollinators and keep the air and water clear of harmful pesticides. We owe them thanks for this. They also produce bountiful crops.

Yesterday, these hard-working farmers received an important boost of recognition from the scientific community with the release of findings from a major new study comparing the productivity of organic and conventional farming.

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In California, Saving Water Is All Over the Map – Wall Street Journal

In California, Saving Water Is All Over the Map
Wall Street Journal
Sepp is a leader in the Agroecology or Agroforestry movement. His yields exceed those conventional agriculture obtains. He uses no pesticides or herbicides. He might irrigate selectively in the beginning, but the goal he achieves is no irrigation.

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Even this organic advocate thinks African farmers need herbicide – Genetic Literacy Project

Even this organic advocate thinks African farmers need herbicide
Genetic Literacy Project
Why aren't agroecological techniques farming spreading faster among poor farmers? If you are a farmer in the rural part of an undeveloped country, where it's hard to get synthetic fertilizer, pesticides, and genetically modified seeds, it only makes

Thankful for bounty, motivated for change

At my Thanksgiving meal with family and friends, we’ll be talking about what we’re thankful for. I'm very thankful to live in the resource-rich state of California, the topmost producer of fruits and vegetables in the country. And I'm thankful for the hard, often dangerous work that thousands of farmworkers do across the state to help bring nature’s bounty to our table. 

I'm also thankful for the growing awareness that food choices matter. People in California — and across the country — are beginning to see that choosing food grown without chemical pesticides is not only healthier for their own families, but can help protect the health of farmers and farmworkers, families in rural communities and children everywhere. This is real and exciting progress.

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Even this organic advocate thinks African farmers need herbicide – Grist


Grist

Even this organic advocate thinks African farmers need herbicide
Grist
Why aren't agroecological techniques farming spreading faster among poor farmers? If you are a farmer in the rural part of an undeveloped country, where it's hard to get synthetic fertilizer, pesticides, and genetically modified seeds, it only makes

Toward non-toxic ‘taters

When you think of potatoes, you might think of McDonald's french fries. But what do we know about how those potatoes are grown? Are hazardous pesticides applied? And what might that mean to the health and wellbeing of communities in potato-growing regions?

The fact is, more than 1,750,000 pounds of pesticides were applied to U.S. potatoes in 2012. Topping the list of pesticides of concern, particularly in the potato-growing regions of Minnesota, is the highly hazardous fungicide chlorothalonil (a probable carcinogen). But this is just one of dozens of health-harming chemicals routinely applied in conventional potato production.

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For farmers, using pesticides is a lot like picking the wrong smartphone – Grist

For farmers, using pesticides is a lot like picking the wrong smartphone
Grist
First, they frame the whole issue as a contest between genetic engineering and agroecology — which is ridiculous. GE is a small part of a larger system, while agroecology is a system. That's like comparing the speed of a spark plug and a lion. Better

Neonics? Not much help to farmers.

Independent scientists have been saying it for a while now: neonicotinoid pesticides aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. And finally, scientists and economists at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are showing signs that they’re listening to the science.

Last Thursday, EPA released preliminary findings on neonic-coated soybeans — a small part of the agency’s broader review of neonicotinoids. EPA’s headline finding? Neonicotinoid seed treatments “provide negligible overall benefits to soybean production in most situations.”

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Even more bee-toxic pesticides?

Pesticide corporation Syngenta is pushing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to allow even more use of one of its bee-harming neonicotinoids, thiamethoxam. But with science clearly showing that neonics harm bees and other pollinators — contributing to dramatic die-offs in recent years — allowing increased use of this chemical would be a striking move in the wrong direction.

If EPA grants the request, more thiamethoxam will be applied to common crops — including corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa — that cover over 250 million acres of U.S. farmland, much of it in the Midwest. The proposed residue level increases vary by crop, but some would go up by as much as 400 times what is currently allowed.

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Pesticide drift: Still happening, still harmful

Last week, California's Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) released new data from its statewide Air Monitoring Network (AMN). As you've heard from us before, pesticide drift can seriously impact the health and well being of people living in rural communities.

And it is happening. Even with DPR's flawed sampling plan, this latest round of data confirms health-harming drift at monitoring sites across the state. Of the 32 pesticides and five breakdown products assessed, 24 were detected at least once. At one site, the neurotoxic insecticide chlorpyrifos was found in 75% of the air samples taken.

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Back to court for Kaua’i

PAN and our partners are back to court to stand up for the law passed by the County of Kaua'i last year. The groups are appealing a judge’s disappointing decision last month that struck down Kauai’s landmark law to ensure some of the world’s largest pesticide and biotech corporations are more transparent about their operations.

The law was intended to lift the veil on which pesticides are being used, and where, on the island. Many of these pesticides travel on wind and water to neighboring schools, neighborhoods and farm land. Despite corporate PR efforts, it’s clear that more information about agricultural practices is essential to building a fair, green and healthy food and farming system on Kaua'i.

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Agroecology: A Different Approach to Agriculture – Huffington Post (blog)

Agroecology: A Different Approach to Agriculture
Huffington Post (blog)
Agroecology involves optimizing resources and natural mechanisms through agronomy to make farms more competitive and sustainable and less dependent on resources. Using less diesel oil in tractors, employing fewer pesticides and spending less time …

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Common Ground Fair speakers to cover event history, permaculture, pesticides – Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel

Common Ground Fair speakers to cover event history, permaculture, pesticides
Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel
The topic of permaculture has widespread appeal in Maine, and Falk's speech should be well attended, according to Boucher, who said one of Maine's permaculture groups, The Resilience Hub, which attracts people from around the Northeast to its course, …

“No health risk?” Not so fast.

New California data about pesticides in food have been getting a fair amount of attention recently. Earlier this month, the state Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) released results from 2013 food sampling by their Pesticide Monitoring Program.

Unfortunately, DPR’s conclusion that the residues they found on these latest food samples “pose no health risk” is more than a bit misleading. In fact, the trends indicated by the data are that the percentage of food samples containing pesticides has gone up over the past five years — as has the percentage of illegal residues found.

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Join us in a “week of action” against chlorpyrifos!

As summer comes to a close and kids head back to school in the next few weeks, we invite you to take action to protect their futures and help them achieve their full potential.

With our partners here in California, we are organizing a "week of action" pressuring state officials to better protect children's health by taking a stand against brain-harming pesticides. Please join us!

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Science academy falters in launch of new GE study

One morning a few weeks ago, I received an email from the National Academy of Sciences’ National Research Council (NRC), announcing the makeup of a provisional committee of experts that has been tasked with carrying out a comprehensive new study of GE crops. This study is supposed to assess the history of GE crops around the world, the diverse experiences of farmers in different countries and a wide range of “purported” negative and positive impacts of GE seeds and their associated technologies (for example, pesticides).

Done right, this could be an illuminating investigation, right? But as I looked over the bios provided on NRC’s webpage, I quickly realized that the Council appears to have a pretty poor idea of how to carry out such a challenging, complex and multi-faceted study. In fact, this week 67 scientists and researchers publicly rebuked the NRC for failing, right at the outset, to put together a slate of experts equipped for the task (full letter here).

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Bee-apocalypse is likely without change: Front Burner – Orlando Sentinel

Bee-apocalypse is likely without change: Front Burner
Orlando Sentinel
… make big changes — such as reducing toxic pesticides and creating more biodiverse habitats within our lawns and farms. Stephany Alvarez-Ventura is a researcher at Florida International University and coordinator of the university's agroecology

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Can ‘agroecology’ bring food security to Latin America? – The Guardian


The Guardian

Can 'agroecology' bring food security to Latin America?
The Guardian
She has travelled more than two days by bus to participate in the national agroecology meeting, in Juazeiro, Bahia. With a shining smile, she says that for the past six years they have grown more than 30 types of crops with no pesticides at Roseli

Pesticide residues: On the up & up

Last week, PAN UK released a report on pesticide residues in bread, analyzing government data over a 13-year time span. The report highlights extensive pesticide residues in some foods — including two-thirds of all bread products — and the ways in which food residue trends have shifted over time.

Pesticide residues have been in our food as long as we’ve been using pesticides. So it's not surprising (although still disturbing) that residues have significantly increased over the past decade. PAN UK’s analysis indicates that pesticide residues in bread alone have more than doubled from 28% in 2001 to 63% in 2013; and the number of samples testing positive for multiple residues have also more than doubled in the last seven years.

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Neonics: More evidence of harm

PAN has done a lot to spread the word about neonicotinoid pesticides and their adverse impacts on bees. But there are other repurcussions for widespread use of neonics too, as an increasing number of studies highlight. Adverse impacts on wild pollinators, birds and other wildlife from neonics have also been in the news lately.

Neonics are the most widely used insecticides in the world, finding their way into ecosystems through water, soil and insects other species rely on for food. These chemicals were released onto the U.S. market without regulators fully understanding their impacts, and scientists continue to uncover more unintended consequences — from harming honey bees to song birds.

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California stung by lawsuit to protect bees

They’re in our garden plants, sprayed on orchards throughout the state, and used as seed coatings on commodity crops in California and across the country. After five years of review, California officials have not only failed to complete an evaluation of neonicotinoid pesticides (neonics), they continue to bring more and more of these bee-harming chemicals to market.

Fed up with the years of hand-sitting, PAN and our partners brought the state and pesticide manufacturers to court today.

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Local gardens provide protection for threatened pollinators

With the arrival of summer comes the activity of pollinators — birds, bees, butterflies and more — which are threatened by habitat loss, pesticides, pollution and climate change. To help them, the Penn State Center for Pollinator Research, the Penn State Master Gardener Program and The Arboretum at Penn State are partnering to create a large network of public and private pollinator gardens throughout central Pennsylvania.

Review Of ‘The Systems View Of Life: A Unifying Vision’ By Capra And Luisi – Seeking Alpha

Review Of 'The Systems View Of Life: A Unifying Vision' By Capra And Luisi
Seeking Alpha
A chapter is devoted to the current paradigm battles between genetically-modified crops and industrial-scale monocultures using pesticides versus agro-ecology which is now practiced more widely in many countries as markets for natural, non-toxic, …

‘The Systems View Of Life: A Unifying Vision’ By Capra And Luisi – Seeking Alpha – Seeking Alpha

'The Systems View Of Life: A Unifying Vision' By Capra And Luisi – Seeking Alpha
Seeking Alpha
A chapter is devoted to the current paradigm battles between genetically-modified crops and industrial-scale monocultures using pesticides versus agro-ecology which is now practiced more widely in many countries as markets for natural, non-toxic, …

Your (not so) “bee-friendly” plants

Bee-harming pesticides in our lavender and daisies? In the same week that an international body of scientists released a comprehensive global assessment of the harms of pesticides to bees, a new report shows that these very same pesticides are found in many of our backyard plants — at levels of concern — that are meant to support pollinators.

The report shows that 51% of garden plant samples purchased at top garden retailers (Home Depot, Lowe’s and Walmart) in 18 cities in the United States and Canada contain neonicotinoid (neonic) pesticides — a key driver of declining bee populations. Concerning levels of the pesticides were found in places like California’s San Francisco Bay Area and in Minnesota’s Twin Cities. In some cases, multiple neonics were found in the same plant, in the leaves, stalks or flowers.

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Pesticides, pregnancy & autism. Do we know enough?

On Monday, researchers from UC Davis released new data linking prenatal pesticide exposure to increased risk of autism. This latest study adds to an increasingly powerful case for reducing use of these harmful chemicals that are undermining the potential of the next generation.

Researchers found that mothers who live within a mile of fields where toxic pesticides are applied have a 60% higher chance of having kids with autism. The link is strongest for the insecticide chlorpyrifos — and as a mom, this has me worried. More than a million pounds of this chemical are used every year in California, and while both state officials and EPA taking another look at chlorpyrifos harms, the process is painfully slow. That's why we're now asking Congress to step up and help protect our kids.

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Informed food choices matter. A lot.

Last week, I harvested the first cherries from our backyard tree. They were yummy, gorgeous and fresh — so satisfying! Having planted the little tree just last spring and tended it since, it was also satisfying to know the sweet fruit is completely free of any chemicals that could harm me or my family.

If I'd picked up non-organic cherries from the store instead, they could be coated with any of the 42 pesticides USDA found in their most recent round of residue sampling. According to PAN's newly updated WhatsOnMyFood.org online tool, 20 of the chemicals found on cherries are suspected hormone disruptors, seven are harmful to the human nervous system and five have been linked to cancer. Yikes.

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Guest blog: Filipino scientist speaks up for children’s health

My grandson, David, stays at our house 2-3 times a week while his parents are at work, and I often have the chance to babysit when I am at home. I began to teach him about healthy diet, organic fruits and vegetables, and the dangers that pesticides bring to children's health when he was about three years old.

Today, we're launching a new international campaign to protect children from the harms of pesticides. Our collective aim is to press for policies that better protect our children from dangerous pesticides — and phase out those that we know are most harmful to children. I'm holding David and his future firmly in mind.

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Tips & tweets: How to avoid summer pesticides

As we head into the warm summer months, I often hear this question from neighbors, friends and fellow moms: how can I best avoid pesticides?

It's a season of outdoor romping, family travel, daycare, camps and play. In many parts of the country, it's also high season for pesticide spraying in agricultural fields, and in and near places where children are spending their days. So what to do?

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Progress in paradise

Whew, three islands in four days. I recently returned from a whirlwind speaking tour in Hawai'i with Dr. Tyrone Hayes covering issues of pesticides, corporate control in agriculture and genetically engineered (GE) seeds.

Addressing the topic in high school auditoriums and community health clinics, it’s increasingly clear that people across the state want to build a food system that feeds them, protects community health and fragile ecosystems, and offers fair employment — including pushing back against corporate takeover of the islands' farming land. And they're making real headway.

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Hair samples confirm children’s pesticide exposure

Last week the French group Generations Futures announced findings from a small biomonitoring study of children living and learning near agricultural fields. Eighty percent of the children tested had been exposed to agricultural pesticides in the previous three months.

Researchers took hair samples from 30 children living or attending school within a 1/10 of a mile of agricultural areas. Analysis of the samples found “traces of 53 pesticides believed to affect the hormone system of mammals, leading to cancerous tumors, birth defects, developmental disorders and learning disabilities in humans.”

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Guest blog: Standing up for Central Valley children

Pesticides are an everyday part life in our town. Sometimes we can see or smell the drifting chemicals, sometimes they are invisible. But we know they are there — especially in the fall when fields are fumigated, and this time of year when new plants are sprayed.

So I wasn't surprised when health officials released a report last week showing that children in our part of California — the Central Valley — are most likely to be in schools near pesticide-sprayed fields. We've been telling our stories for years, and unfortunately policymakers haven't heard us. As a mom, I'm very much hoping that maybe now we will see some change.

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California schoolkids in harm’s way

This is very powerful data. A new, first-of-its-kind report from California's Department of Health (DPH) shows that health-harming agricultural pesticides are being sprayed close to schools across the state.

Not just a few pesticides, either — or a few schools. More than 500,000 California children in hundreds of schools spend their days within 1/4 mile of pesticide applications. Of these, more than 100,000 (mostly Latino) children in 226 schools attend classrooms near fields with the heaviest use of dangerous chemicals. We have a problem.

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Bees in the spin cycle

It's no surprise: pesticide corporations go to great lengths to protect the public image of their products. We've been highlighting their PR hijinks for years, and their attempts to spin facts to suit their agenda have only gotten more blatant.

Bees and pesticides provide the latest example. Corporate attempts to reframe the conversation, and subvert independent science, have gone into hyperdrive. Bayer, Syngenta and Monsanto in particular are positioning themselves as "bee friendly" — no matter that several top selling pesticide products are directly linked to bee deaths.

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Distributing seeds, fertilizer and pesticides to poor farmers is OUT … – Oxfam America

Distributing seeds, fertilizer and pesticides to poor farmers is OUT
Oxfam America
Agroecology enables us to grow food in ways that cut emissions, create more resilient landscapes, and ensure ample yields – all while reducing the use of non-renewable resources. Gina Castillo is the Agriculture Program Manager at Oxfam America.

5 Things You Need To Know About Climate Change and Our Food System – Care2.com

5 Things You Need To Know About Climate Change and Our Food System
Care2.com
Agroecology is the path toward community-controlled agriculture, rooted in farmers' and fishermen's traditional practices that do not require the harsh chemical-laden pesticides and fertilizers and replenish the earth rather than extract from it. To

Syngenta’s next target: Jackson County, Oregon

Last week, Swiss-based pesticide corporation Syngenta dumped tens of thousands of dollars into a county election in Southern Oregon. Sound familiar? It should. Still reeling from their recent defeat in Kaua'i, Syngenta and the rest of the "Big 6" don’t want to lose any more fights around pesticides and GMOs.

But Oregononians are holding their ground. Led by a group of farmers dubbed Our Family Farms Coalition, these residents put an initiative on the ballot that would restrict the planting of genetically engineered crops. The vote will be on May 20.

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EPA gets it wrong on kids & drift

On Cesar Chavez Day, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) delivered a slap in the face to that day’s namesake. Five years after PAN and partners challenged the agency’s lack of protections for children from drifting pesticides — and eight years after Congress passed a law requiring it — the agency yet again failed to take any substantive action.

Frustrated yet? I am. EPA is suggesting it's better to keep pesticides on the market without any new protections, even after acknowledging potentially serious impacts to children. In Monday’s response, EPA stated that “young children may have unique exposures that adults do not have.” And still, the agency has chosen to do next to nothing.

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Garden & Farm Fungicides, Herbicides & Pesticides Far More Toxic Than … – Permaculture Magazine

Garden & Farm Fungicides, Herbicides & Pesticides Far More Toxic Than
Permaculture Magazine
Permaculture viable option – pharmaceutical companies struggle to tackle chemical resistance · Farming for the Future – despite what the neighbours think. Enjoying our posts? Want to keep in touch with our most popular pages on this website? Sign up

Neonic seed treatments don’t add up

Farmers have been saying it for years: it's nearly impossible to find corn seed that isn't pre-treated with neonicotinoid pesticides. At a Congressional briefing in DC last week, Dr. Christian Krupke of Purdue University presented hard data to support what farmers are reporting: 94% to 98% of corn seed in the U.S. is pre-treated with neonics. This is particularly bad news for pollinators, since we know neonics pose a threat to bees even at low levels.

Dr. Krupke and other scientists have been looking at this issue more closely, and recent studies are showing that neonic seed treatments don't actually add much value to crops. They don't improve yields and don't markedly reduce damage from common pests. The equation doesn't add up. If they harm bees AND don't add much benefit, why are these seed treatments so prevalent?

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Celebrate & support farmworkers!

Happy Farmworker Awareness Week! Each year we celebrate this nationwide event by encouraging the PAN community to join us in a variety of actions, from lifting up stories from the field to supporting actions to protect the health of farmworkers and their families. Among the urgent challenge these workers face every day is exposure to harmful pesticides on the job.

Our food system depends on the labor of these more than two million workers, and they depend on our support! This year there’s a lot happening. Topping our list of action opportunities is the fact that EPA has finally proposed much-needed improvements in the national worker safety rules for farmworkers. It's about time!

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Healthy Farms Need Focus on Biodiversity over Fertilizers, Researchers Say – Nature World News


Nature World News

Healthy Farms Need Focus on Biodiversity over Fertilizers, Researchers Say
Nature World News
Scientists from the World Agroforestry Centre report that farmers in Africa must avoid over dependence on chemical fertilizers and pesticides to increase overall food production, a key step in ensuring Africans have enough to eat. Pictured is Rose

Building buzz for bees

Pressure on the Environmental Protection Agency to safeguard bees continues to grow stronger. Today in DC, PAN joined partners to hand deliver a message from more than half a million people to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy: Step up and prioritize protecting bees from harmful pesticides.

Even though independent studies clearly show that neonicotinoid pesticides (or "neonics") are hazardous to bees, EPA won't conclude its review of these chemicals until 2018. Meanwhile, neonics are the most widely used class of insecticides in the world. And bee populations continue to decrease at alarming rates.

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Bee love, coast to coast

Last Wednesday morning, thirty people braved the cold to swarm a Minneapolis Home Depot, asking the store to “show bees some love” on Valentine’s Day.

Babies in bee suits, beekeepers on bicycles, and a slew of other Minnesotans were eager to urge home garden stores to stop selling bee-harming neonicotinoid pesticides — and plants pre-treated with "neonics." Retailers like Home Depot have a unique opportunity to act as industry leaders by taking these products, known to endanger bees, off their shelves.

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Farmworkers, flowers & fairness

Each year we mark Valentine's Day by urging people to remember the workers who make those gorgeous bouquets of roses possible. I'm very pleased to report that this year, we're finally seeing some real progress toward safer conditions — and more protections from pesticides — for farmworkers across the country.

Just this week, 52 members of Congress sent a letter to EPA urging the agency to make sure that the long-awaited improvements in the federal Worker Protection Standard (WPS) are meaningful and promptly completed. So after you buy (or enjoy a gift of) cut flowers this week, keep an eye out here for upcoming opportunities to support better safety rules for the farmworkers who toiled to grow and harvest that bouquet.

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Conventional vs. organic? Missing the mark (again)

Earlier this week, the industrial agriculture-backed Alliance for Food and Farming launched a new effort to challenge organic farming. And yesterday an article was posted on Slate underscoring many of the same points — challenging the benefits of organic food and farming, and downplaying the harms of pesticides to children.

We wholeheartedly agree with the Slate article author that eating fruits and veggies is important to children's health. But as I noted in a media statement yesterday, the fruits and vegetables children eat should provide nutrition to their bodies without exposing them to health harms that can last a lifetime. 

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Bad news for baby bees

Neonicotinoid pesticides (or neonics) continue to gain notoriety as a driving factor in declining bee populations. But a mounting body of evidence also shows that neonics aren’t the only class of pesticides harming these critical pollinators.

A report released this week — by researchers from Penn State and University of Florida — helps build a case that several pesticides commonly found in hives kill bee larvae.

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Hey DPR! Protect California’s kids

As another spring planting season nears in California, I'm beginning to worry. Not just about the rain, but about all the kids and communities who could be harmed by pesticides drifting from agricultural fields. These same chemicals — year after year — end up as pesticide residues on our food.

Chlorpyrifos is one of these worrisome pesticides. The California Department of Pesticide Regulations or DPR has taken barely any action on this brain-harming chemical. Today, a group of public health and environmental groups are sending a letter to DPR officials urging them to stop stalling, and act to protect California’s kids today. Please join us in urging DPR to move!

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Powerful voices from the fields

Earlier this month, a group of farmworkers traveled from Florida and North Carolina to bring their very real-world concerns about pesticides to decisionmakers in DC. On the heels of their visits, we now hear that a long-awaited update of the rules designed to protect workers in the field is actually, finally moving forward.

The Worker Protection Standard — or WPS — is the one rule intended to protect farmworkers from pesticide exposure on the job. It first went into effect back in 1995 and has never been strengthened or updated, despite clear evidence that workers across the country are suffering health harms from exposure to hazardous chemicals on the job. Now it looks like improvements are finally in the works. And it's about time.

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Farmers call out Monsanto’s risky business

With recent news that USDA intends to greenlight new pesticide-promoting crops, farmers across the country are calling on Monsanto’s shareholders — owners of the world’s largest producer of genetically engineered (GE) seeds — to change business as usual.

Facing risks to their health and livelihood from herbicide-resistant crops coming down the pike, farmers will speak directly to shareholders at Monsanto's annual gathering of investors in St. Louis next Tuesday. The request to shareholders? Pass a resolution requiring the corporation to accurately report the risk associated with increased exposure to their pesticides.

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Pesticides — in our daily bread

It's not exactly a shocker, but a recently released report from the United Kingdom (UK) Health and Safety Executive indicates that yes, there are low levels of pesticides in food commonly found in supermarkets. Seventy-seven percent of the starchy foods tested — including various kinds of bread — contained measurable residues.

Among the pesticides found was the controversial chemical glyphosate, with 23% of cereal bars containing residues of Monsanto's flagship herbicide.

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Bad for bees, bad for kids

Like many, I was lucky enough to spend the holidays surrounded by family and food. So I was especially unnerved by new evidence, released just before the holidays, that bee-harming pesticides have been linked to impaired brain development and function in children.

The science showing that neonicotinoid pesticides (or neonics) harm bees is clear. New evidence highlighting impacts on children's health is also disturbing, especially as a father. And while other countries are stepping up to protect bees and kids from neonics, policymakers here in the U.S. are still seemingly stuck. My New Year’s resolution: This year we keep high heat on EPA and insist regulators take meaningful action on pesticides that harm bees and kids.

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Guelph U to get bee researcher – Niagarathisweek.com – Niagarathisweek.com

Guelph U to get bee researcher – Niagarathisweek.com
Niagarathisweek.com
In the U.K., Raine has been an adviser and expert witness for the All Party Parliamentary Group on Agroecology; the Advisory Committee on Pesticides; the Environment Audit Committee (a select committee of the U.K. Parliament); the National Action Plan

Bayer fined for endangering farmworkers

EPA recently fined Bayer CropSciences $53,000 for endangering the lives of farmworkers with pesticide exposure in their Puerto Rican research and nursery operations. While this is a tiny drop in Bayer's multi-million dollar budget, we do take it as an encouraging sign.

The good news: When rules are enforced — in this case, the federal Worker Protection Standards (WPS) — employers are held accountable for protecting workers from exposure to hazardous pesticides. The less good news: Enforcement actions like this one are all too rare, and the WPS itself is old, inadequate and in serious need of an upgrade.

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Honoring International Human Rights Day

This week marks the culmination of special commemorations and actions for PAN’s global community. And in 2013, No Pesticides Use Day (December 3) and International Human Rights Day (December 10) have an added level of poignancy as we join the world in reflecting on the remarkable life of the great Nelson Mandela.

Coming of age in the seventies and eighties, I was an anti-apartheid activist. What I learned about social change and international solidarity in those times still inspires me today. And PAN’s work around the world — to both protect communities from harm imposed by pesticide corporations and support ecological, sustaining food production — is a natural outgrowth of the grassroots-powered solidarity movements of past decades in at least three different ways.

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Protecting kids around the world

Today, our PAN partners in Asia are releasing an in-depth, global study on children and pesticides. As a mom, I'm both deeply thankful for this report and profoundly frustrated that it needs to be written at all.

Dr. Meriel Watts reviewed hundreds of scientific studies from around the world, and found that children across the globe face serious — and growing — health harms from exposure to pesticides. Her report then outlines clear, doable steps to making real change.

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