Protection from Pesticides needed....
130 Groups Unite to Demand Protection from PesticidesAre You In?
Groups argue that pesticides should be regulated under the Endangered Species Act for more robust protection from toxic chemicals.
By Leah Zerbe
Support organic and tell your legislator to vote no on HR 872.
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RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PAClearly, pesticide laws aren't working. Atrazine, a toxic herbicide banned in Europe, is found in U.S. drinking water supplies. Millions of pounds of Roundup are sprayed on farm fields and lawns every year, and now the chemical's found inside food and linked to birth defects and plummeting nutrient levels in food. More and more science is linking pesticides to leukemia and other cancers, ADHD, and to lower IQ scores in kids. Farmers are tricked into thinking they need pesticides to create higher yields and make more money, when in fact the chemicals are weakening their soil, creating superweeds, and forcing the farmers to buy and use more chemicals. Bat and bee pollinators save farmers billions of dollars a year, yet pesticides are implicated in the critters' dangerously plummeting population levels.
The facts are stacked against chemical companies, so in order to stay in business, chemical company execs are stepping up efforts to lobby lawmakers to support weak regulations that fail to protect families from carcinogenic, hormone-disrupting, and neurotoxic substances, according to a group of health, farmworker, and wildlife groups. Federal lawmakers are now considering passing a law that would exempt pesticides from Clean Water Act laws, putting the public at an even greater risk. "Pesticides pose a clear and preventable danger to our health and the environment; it's time for the EPA to ensure pesticides no longer jeopardize human health, wildlife, the water we drink, or the air we breathe," Jeff Miller, a conservation advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement.
THE DETAILS: Miller's group is one of more than 130 organizations that have banded together to demand that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) use all of its power to regulate pesticides. Currently, regulation of pesticide use falls under the Federal Insecticide Fungicide Rodenticide Act, known as FIFRA. Pesticide Action Network says FIFRA is wrought with industry interests and is failing to protect humans and wildlife from cancer and other ills; the coalition of 130 organizations is proposing that EPA regulate pesticides under the Endangered Species Act, which would better protect wildlife and humans from toxic pesticide exposure. (FIFRA is a 1940s law and is out of date, say critics.) "The pesticide industry has subverted the intended protections of U.S. pesticide law under FIFRA. That law is broken. If enforced, the Endangered Species Act offers strong protections for our most endangered wildlife, with human health benefits because it requires a
more rigorous scientific review process less susceptible to industry influence," says Heather Pilatic, codirector of Pesticide Action Network North America. "Current independent science indicates that the low-level mixtures of pesticides to which we are all exposed contribute to childrens rising rates of neurodevelopmental disease and certain cancers, and impact the biodiversity that keeps our planet resilient."
In January, the Center for Biological Diversity and Pesticide Action Network filed the most comprehensive legal action ever taken to protect endangered species from toxic pesticides. CropLife, the main chemical lobby group, has made defeating this lawsuit one of its top goals, according to the plaintiffs.
WHAT IT MEANS: We're living in a pesticide soup. Collectively, more than a billion pounds of 18,000 registered pesticides are sprayed every year; many cause dramatic health problems at extremely low levels of exposure.
"A number of scientific studies clearly implicate ever-increasing pesticide loads on our food, in our water, and in the air we breathe as direct links to increased health problems," explains Elaine R. Ingham, chief scientist of the Rodale Institute, an organic research farm in Pennsylvania. "We need to insist that the U.S. EPA look at not only individual-by- individual pesticide impacts, but on combinations of toxics on human health.
"When studies show children with measurable levels of multiple pesticides in their urine, to the degree that health issues are inevitable, not only the EPA, but health organizations, need to be increasing regulation of these toxics," she adds.
Despite the widespread contamination, Congress is considering making pesticides laws even more lax. As Pesticide Action Network and its coalition call on EPA to regulate pesticides in a more effective way, federal lawmakers are considering a bill that would exempt pesticides from Clean Water Act regulations. The Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act (HR 872) aims to strip the EPA of its power to regulate pesticide discharges into water under the Clean Water Act. Supporters of the bill say regulating pesticides under FIFRA alone is enough. However, FIFRA only regulates pesticide use, while the Clean Water Act is used to protect water quality.
Here's how you can fight for stronger pesticide laws:
Chat up your federal lawmakers. Tell your congressional reps to say no to HR 872, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act. Here's an easy way to send the message.
http://action. panna.org/ p/dia/action/ public/?action_ KEY=7083
Choose organic. Every choice you make can help keep toxic pesticides out of waterways. Of course, eating or growing organic food is one of them, but also consider buying organic towels and other textiles, and choose used clothing from thrift, buy-sell-trade, or consignment shops whenever you can. As the market grows for food and products produced without pesticides, more companies will turn away from tainting our water and soil with toxic chemicals.
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