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 Liz Judge's blog posts
09 August 2013, 4:42 PM
Spoiler: It's not a world anyone wants to live in

TIME Magazine's cover this week depicts a single bee, its wings flapping in frenzied motion on a stark black background. It forebodingly reads, "A WORLD WITHOUT BEES: THE PRICE WE'LL PAY IF WE DON'T FIGURE OUT WHAT'S KILLING THE HONEYBEE".

The article by Bryan Walsh addresses a disastrous phenomenon that could tumble the basis of our food system: the widespread collapse of honeybee colonies nationwide known as "colony collapse disorder." Honeybees across the nation have been dying at rates unseen in history. To say that the bees are dropping like flies, well, it's an affront to the necessity of bees in our food systems and economy. It's hard to talk about colony collapse disorder and not sound Doomsday-ish. And that's because, as Walsh reveals, one-third of the food on our tables is there because of honeybees, which polinate a wide array of the foods we love and need, and their survival is required to fuel our both our bodies and our economy. Forget about berries, fruits, many vegetables if we fail to address this honeybee crisis.

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View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
15 July 2013, 5:40 AM
Daughter worries about parents' health because of pesticides in farmfields
Miguel Zelaya, Reina Lemus de Zelaya and their daughter Selena Zelaya. Miguel and Reina are farmworkers in Florida. (Alex Saunders / Farmworker Association of Florida)

This is the second in a two part series on protections for farmworkers from pesticides.

Read part one, Pesticides Taking Toll on Farmworkers, and the accompanying special feature, Pesticides: The Workplace Hazard The EPA Is Ignoring.

 

Nobody told Reina Lemus de Zelaya that her job as a farmworker was hazardous not only to her health, but to her unborn child.

So when Lemus de Zelaya was pregnant with one of her daughters, she continued working in the agricultural fields in Florida. Not only was she continually exposed to pesticides while pregnant, when her daughter was born she even brought her baby to the fields in a stroller. No one warned her to do otherwise.

“When I was pregnant with my first child, there was a strong pesticide used in the fields but I had no idea it was going to affect my baby,” said Lemus de Zelaya.

Her daughter was born with asthma, and struggled with it in school. She was diagnosed with learning disabilities. Lemus de Zelaya’s other children didn’t have any of these problems. The family doctor said these problems were caused by pesticide exposure, but he suggested she change jobs rather than speak out.

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View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
15 July 2013, 5:31 AM
Farmworkers from across the nation come to D.C. to secure safeguards from toxic pesticides
A cropduster sprays chemicals over agricultural fields. (Brian Brown Images)

This is the first in a two part series on protections for farmworkers from pesticides.

Read part two, Farmworker Mother To EPA: We Deserve Protections, and the accompanying special feature, Pesticides: The Workplace Hazard The EPA Is Ignoring.

 

If the apples in your local store are bug-free because of pesticides, then you might ask who the pesticides hurt before the apples left the farm. That’s because many pesticides are toxic enough to seriously harm the humans who work in the orchards.

A growing number of Americans recognize the hazards of toxic chemicals and as a result have reduced their consumption of produce grown with pesticides to protect their family’s health. But while U.S. consumers are finding ways to protect themselves, far too little is being done to protect farmworkers, who are on the frontlines of exposure to high levels of toxic pesticides.

To address this urgent need, this week farmworkers from across the nation are meeting in Washington, D.C. with their members of Congress to call for stronger protections from hazardous pesticides. These farmworkers and their allies seek to strengthen the Worker Protection Standard under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, a set of outdated safeguards the Environmental Protection Agency has failed to revise for more than 20 years despite overwhelming evidence of their inadequacy.

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View David Guest's blog posts
12 April 2013, 3:47 PM
Toxic algae, caused by runoff, found in mammals' stomachs
The manatees in the Indian River seem to be eating algae because a huge 2011 algae outbreak killed most of the sea grasses. (Shutterstock)

Florida tourism promoters are always looking to get stories in the newspaper to lure northern tourists—and their vacation cash—down here. But a recent story in the New York Times wasn’t what they had in mind.

“Florida Algae Bloom Leads to Record Manatee Deaths,” read the national headline on April 6, in the middle of prime winter tourist season.

Endangered manatees have been dying by the hundreds on both the east and west coasts. The tally is at 340 and rising. No one has pinpointed the precise cause, but the likeliest is toxic algae, the kind that’s fueled by sewage, manure and fertilizer pollution.

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View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
10 April 2013, 12:13 PM
Senator's eighth attempt to replace outdated TSCA law
Sen. Lautenberg: "It’s time to break away from the chemical industry lobbyists and listen to concerned parents, pediatricians, and nurses who are demanding change."

Americans need a law that will keep them safe from toxic chemicals—before they are allowed to enter the market.

And that’s why we should be thanking Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ).

Today, Sen. Lautenberg and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), joined by 27 other senators, introduced the “Safe Chemicals Act of 2013,” a landmark bill that seeks to protect families in America from exposure to harmful chemicals.

Sen. Lautenberg has been dogged in his determination to overhaul the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976, an outdated chemical policy. He has sponsored this legislation numerous times during his Congressional career. His proposal would strengthen the authority of the EPA to learn more about the safety of chemicals and limit their use if they pose a threat to public health and the environment.

View Andrea Delgado's blog posts
29 March 2013, 2:26 PM
Injustices plague farmworkers while administration turns a blind eye
Cesar E. Chavez warned about the perils of pesticides. (Joel Levine)

The agriculture industry relies heavily on the use of pesticides, which are highly toxic chemicals that farmworkers and surrounding communities are frequently exposed to through simply doing their jobs or living near agricultural sites. Pesticides enter the body through inhalation and penetration of the skin. The latest statistics indicate that in 2007, 1.1 billion pounds of pesticides were used in the United States, and 80 percent were destined for agriculture. Among these, 33 million pounds were organophosphates, a particularly pernicious class of pesticides that are the most frequent culprits of acute poisonings of farmworkers.

Our nation’s farmworkers live and work at ground zero for pesticide exposure.  In a 1989 speech before Pacific Lutheran University, Cesar E. Chavez, a beloved labor and civil rights leader and an indefatigable voice for farmworkers, warned about the perils of pesticides and called on the nation to recognize the challenges that plague farmworkers, such as fighting for higher wages and improved working conditions. We’d be ignoring a greater evil if we failed to protect them from “systematic poisoning through the reckless use of agricultural toxics.”  In raising the urgency to protect farmworkers, their families and surrounding rural communities from pesticides, he shared stories of workers collapsing and dying after entering recently sprayed fields, children with birth defects and neurological problems and cancer. Meanwhile, workers were repeatedly told that the pesticides they were frequently exposed to were merely plant “medicine” they need not fear.  

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View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
25 March 2013, 12:09 PM
Plus: Buzzing over bee deaths and clean energy power up
Photo courtesy of @cdharrison (Flickr)

Bloggers think chemicals in macaroni are cheesy
Two food bloggers are campaigning against the use of chemical additives in the popular Kraft macaroni and cheese packaged meals due to concerns that the chemicals could pose health risks, reports the UK Guardian. Though found in foods sold in the U.S., the two additives, Yellow#5 and Yellow#6, are banned elsewhere in places like the UK, Norway and Austria amid claims that they can cause cancer or hyperactivity in children. The bloggers claim that since Kraft was able to replace the additives with alternatives in other countries (without a noticeable difference in taste), it should do the same in the U.S. So far, the bloggers’ petition, which highlights the larger issue of how ingredients banned elsewhere in the world can be found in items sold in U.S. stores, has gathered more than 200,000 signatures.

Environmental groups abuzz over insecticides linked to bee deaths
Several bee keepers and environmental groups have sued the U.S. EPA for failing to protect honey bees from toxic insecticides, reports Reuters. Bee colony populations have been taking a nosedive for some time now, and the collapse has many people worried about the nation’s food supply since bees pollinate everything from almonds and cranberries to avocados and pears. Studies have linked the collapse to the use of a class of super-toxic insecticides known as neonicotinoids, which plants absorb through their tissue, making them potentially toxic to insects. Though Europe has banned neonicotinoids, the toxic insecticides are used on more than 100 million acres of corn, soy and other food crops and even some home gardening products in the U.S. Currently, Earthjustice is working to stop or limit the use of the nation's most toxic pesticides, which often contaminate nearby waterways and negatively impact people's health.

View John McManus's blog posts
18 December 2012, 1:56 PM
Pediatrics group urges heath professionals to take the lead

The American Academy of Pediatrics is calling on the government, schools, parents and medical professionals to take concerted action to protect children from pesticides.

The 60,000-member physicians organization is worried about the growing body of scientific evidence that links these toxic chemicals not only to obvious poisoning but also to subtle health problems kids can be particularly vulnerable to.

View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
07 December 2012, 5:11 PM
Your dog’s favorite chew toy may be loaded with more than just slobber
Credit: TheGiantVermin (flickr)

Your favorite four-legged companion may get a dose of toxic chemicals the next time you throw him/her a chew toy.

That’s the conclusion of an as-yet unpublished study, which found that dogs that chew on plastic toys may be exposed to hormone-altering chemicals like bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates. The new study, conducted at Texas Tech University, is one of the first to examine dog products as carriers of toxic chemicals. It’s not the first study, however, to look at the health effects of BPA and phthalates, which are widespread in the U.S. population and have been linked to everything from reproductive toxicity to obesity.

View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
04 October 2012, 3:41 PM
Plus: Cleaning up greenwashing, pesticide overdosing, toxic tuna
(flickr, tribp)

Climate change leaves CA wine lovers with fewer options
California’s popular wine varieties may soon be hard to find thanks to drier and hotter temperatures caused by climate change, reports the Center for Investigative Reporting. Though by now farmers are used to Mother Nature’s unpredictability, a slightly wetter or drier season is nothing compared to the extreme weather that the world has been experiencing over the past few years, which is wreaking havoc on California’s vineyards (and those who insure them). And, the situation is only expected to get worse. Recent research from Stanford University found that as little as two degrees of warming, predicted to happen by 2040, could reduce California’s prime wine-growing land by up to 50 percent. The situation is so dire, in fact, that wine breeders are recommending that vineyards switch to grapes that are well-adapted to higher temperatures, and soon, since vineyards have a shelf life of about 30 years. So far, wine growers are hesitant to make the switch given the public’s attachment to well-known wine varieties like pinot noir. But if our carbon-based economy continues as business-as-usual, consumers may have no choice but to drink outside of the wine box.
 
Federal consumer watchdog cleans up greenwashing
Ecofriendly. Biodegradable. All Natural. As green goes mainstream, consumers are finding it hard to determine which eco-friendly terms are legit, but the Federal Trade Commission’s revised guidelines for green marketing should help shed some light on all the fuzzy claims, reports the Christian Science Monitor. And it's about time. The revisions are long overdue (they were written in 1998), and since that time consumers have seen a dramatic increase in the number of products that tout supposedly green characteristics. Though the guides are not considered rules or regulations, the FTC has fined companies for using deceptive claims. Speaking of deceptive marketing, Earthjustice has been working to make green shopping easier by advocating for better verification testing for Energy Star, which points consumers to energy efficient appliances, but doesn’t do a great job in strengthening its testing requirements or updating labels. 
 

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