Posts tagged: pesticides

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pesticides


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Everyone has The Right To Breathe clean air. Watch a video featuring Earthjustice Attorney Jim Pew and two Pennsylvanians—Marti Blake and Martin Garrigan—who know firsthand what it means to live in the shadow of a coal plant's smokestack, breathing in daily lungfuls of toxic air for more than two decades.

Coal Ash Contaminates Our Lives. Coal ash is the hazardous waste that remains after coal is burned. Dumped into unlined ponds or mines, the toxins readily leach into drinking water supplies. Watch the video above and take action to support federally enforceable safeguards for coal ash disposal.

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unEARTHED is a forum for the voices and stories of the people behind Earthjustice's work. The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders.

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View Andrea Delgado's blog posts
24 February 2014, 5:09 PM
When it comes to farmworker protection, EPA proposal is out of touch
Farmworkers picking strawberries in Wayne County, NY. (Photo courtesy of Alina Diaz / Alianza Nacional de Campesinas)

After more than two decades, the Environmental Protection Agency announced revisions to the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard, an outdated standard intended to protect farmworkers from pesticide exposure.

While advocates welcomed signs of life in the Obama administration’s progress to provide stronger protections from pesticides for approximately 2 million farmworkers, the proposal raises questions about the EPA’s understanding of the population the WPS is meant to serve.

View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
20 February 2014, 11:00 AM
EPA announces rulemaking for Worker Protection Standard
Letitia Vargas, Mario Vargas and Myra Vargas (from left) walk to a meeting in the Hart Senate Office Building in July of 2013. Myra Vargas is speaking to Alexis Guild, Farmworker Justice's Migrant Health Policy Analyst. (Photo by Matt Roth / Earthjustice)

When Mario Vargas showed up at the Washington, D.C., offices of representatives from his home state of Ohio in July, he shared stories from farmworkers who are getting sick from pesticides. Joined by his daughter and girlfriend, they made the rounds talking about how it feels to inhale pesticides while pregnant, how farmworkers don’t know what their basic rights are, and how many workers are afraid to tell the truth about what is really going on in the fields.

Today Vargas, 44, and other farmworker advocates cheered the news that the weak and outdated Worker Protection Standard, which sets agricultural worker safety standards for pesticide use, will finally be updated. The Environmental Protection Agency announced that the new proposal will enter the Federal Register in early March, which is when public comment officially begins.

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View Paul Achitoff's blog posts
16 January 2014, 6:41 AM
Consumers fight for protections and labeling
Clouds over a soy field. New GE corn and soy varieties have been engineered to resist the effects of 2,4-D, a component of Agent Orange. (Photo courtesy of Jerry Worster)

This month, Maine became the second state in the nation to require labels on food that contains genetically engineered (GE) ingredients. The state’s decision is part of a growing, nationwide effort to assert the right of consumers to know what they’re eating. Currently, more than 26 states are considering proposals to require labeling of altered foods, including Hawaiʻi, where Earthjustice is pushing for laws requiring labeling of GE products.

Despite support from 9 out of 10 Americans for labeling, the USDA recently made it even more likely that the next generation of GE corn and soy will soon be on the market—unlabeled and without any restriction or oversight whatsoever.

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View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
06 January 2014, 10:47 AM
Taking time away from college and work, Selena Zelaya returns to D.C.
Selena with her father Miguel. (Photo by Matt Roth)

Last week, I interviewed 18-year-old Selena Zelaya of Mount Dora, Florida. Selena was one of about a dozen farmworker advocates who traveled to D.C. in July to lobby for farmworker protections against harmful pesticides. Selena’s mother and father are farmworkers and from a young age she began advocating on behalf of them and others. She returns to D.C. this week with representatives of Florida and North Carolina to meet with congressional representatives.

In the interview, Selena shared why she is so committed to the fight for farmworker protections:

Q. Why do you come to D.C. to lobby on this issue of farmworker rights?
A: I think it’s an important issue. My parents suffer from pesticide exposure and I think it’s important that everyone is aware of this issue—and I think it’s important for young people to get involved because this issue affects their future.

View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
06 December 2013, 9:43 AM
Collapsed colonies spell disaster for our food system, and toxic pesticide is to blame
Honeybee visits a mountain mint blossom. (Photo courtesy of Penn State)

Want to know what else disappears if honeybee colonies continue their alarming rate of collapse? Our food.

According to Time Magazine, honeybees, which pollinate crops like apples, blueberries and cucumbers, are responsible for one-third of the food we eat.

Which is why a lawsuit brought by Earthjustice is so important. We're representing the Pollinator Stewardship Council, American Honey Producers Association, National Honey Bee Advisory Board, the American Beekeeping Federation, and beekeepers Bret Adee, Jeff Anderson and Thomas R. Smith. In the opening brief just filed, groups argue that the EPA failed to measure exactly what risk a toxic pesticide, sulfoxaflor, poses to bees.

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View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
25 November 2013, 1:38 PM
Farmworkers are continually exposed to dangerous pesticides
Farmworkers in Wayne County, NY. (Courtesy of Alina Diaz / Alianza Nacional De Campesinas)

Today, a coalition of farmworker supporters launched a new website, protectfarmworkers.org, to generate awareness of the biggest hazards farmworkers face on the job—toxic pesticides.

As we sit down to Thanksgiving dinner this week, those of us advocating for farmworkers will say thanks for the hardworking people who harvest and handle our food. When we all tuck into that turkey, let’s reflect on those who work hard in the fields, facing many dangers and often not earning enough to put food on the table themselves. That’s why Thanksgiving week is also designated as International Food Workers Week.

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View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
18 November 2013, 2:38 PM
Regulation law helps to protect Kaua'i citizens’ health and environment
Large crowds had gathered at the County Building in September, in support of the ordinance. (Photo courtesy of Pesticides on Kauai)

We were disappointed earlier this month when Kauaʻi Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr. voted in line with corporate interests and vetoed a crucial pesticides regulation bill. But Kaua'i residents can rest assured that someone has their interests in mind; on Saturday, the Kauaʻi County Council voted 5–2 to override Mayor Carvalho’s veto of the bill. This is a huge victory for Kauaʻi, and breaks new ground in Hawaiʻi by curtailing the use of toxic chemicals to protect the health and well-being of the people.

The law will take effect in August. It will require users of large amounts of restricted-use pesticides—on Kauaʻi most of those users are the big producers of genetically engineered crops like BASF, Syngenta and DuPont Pioneer, which spray their fields far more frequently than do conventional farmers—to disclose the chemicals they spray. The measure also puts in place pesticide buffer zones around sensitive areas like waterways, nursing homes, residences and parks, and requires disclosure of where genetically modified crops are being grown.

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View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
01 November 2013, 2:55 PM
Ordinance would provide safeguards against pesticide exposure
Large crowds had gathered at the County Building, in support of the ordinance. (Photo courtesy of Pesticides on Kauai)

Well, this is just a crying shame. After thousands of Kauaʻi residents came to show support for a popular and much-needed ordinance the County Council passed that would regulate pesticide spraying, including on the GMO crops so prevalent on Kauaʻi, you would think Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr. would vote in line with his constituents. Not so. In a blow to Kauaʻi citizens concerned about exposure to dangerous pesticides and dust, yesterday Mayor Carvalho vetoed the crucial ordinance.

In a letter he states: "I do not make this decision lightly, and I know that it will be controversial. However, I believe it is the right thing to do given the circumstances before me.”

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View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
21 October 2013, 5:44 PM
Joins in encouraging mayor to allow ordinance to become law
Earthjustice and the Center for Food Safety are prepared to defend the bill if any companies challenge it in court.  (Toa55 / Shutterstock)

It took the Kauaʻi County Council 19 hours to decide to pass, by a vote of 6–1, a controversial ordinance that would restrict the use of pesticides near sensitive areas by companies developing GMO crops, and require them to disclose the chemicals they use and the engineered crops they are growing.

And while Kauaʻi Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr. must approve the ordinance for it to become law, Earthjustice Attorney Paul Achitoff and George Kimbrell, senior attorney with the Center for Food Safety, sent a letter to the mayor urging him to approve the legislation. The letter states that both lawyers are prepared to intervene on behalf of community groups to defend the bill if any companies challenge the bill in court.

View Kristen Boyles's blog posts
01 October 2013, 7:13 AM
More than 10 years of court fights rids fields of deadly pesticide
Blueberries were among the crops that saw the last remaining uses of the pesticide AZM. (Braker / Flickr)

Finally. Yesterday—Sept. 30—was the last day that the highly toxic pesticide AZM could be used in the United States. This pesticide, originally developed as a nerve gas, has been poisoning people, particularly farmworkers, and insects for decades.

AZM disrupts the nervous system and causes a range of temporarily debilitating responses—splitting headache, nausea, vomiting, uncontrollable sweats, blurry vision, dizziness, unconsciousness—and even such grave long-term effects as paralysis, and death.

It took more than 10 years of farmworker activism and legal proceedings to rid our country of this neurotoxic insecticide. AZM was last legally used on apples, cherries, pears, blueberries and parsley, with the highest uses occurring in Washington, Oregon, California, Michigan, and New York.

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