Tag Archives: Pesticides

Keely Brosnan “We Need to Move Away from Pesticide Heavy Agriculture” – Exclusive Interview

Sustainable Food - June 18, 2019

Poisoning Paradise: Journey to the seemingly idyllic world of Native Hawaiians, where communities are surrounded by experimental test sites and pesticides sprayed upwind of their neighborhoods. Poisoning Paradise details the ongoing struggle to advance bold new legislation governing the fate of their island home.

Firstly, Sustainable Pulse and our readers would like to thank you for taking on the task of recording the events in what is known as pesticide ‘ground zero’ – Hawai‘i.

Can you tell us what inspired you to make Poisoning Paradise and why the ongoing efforts to control the use of pesticides in Hawai‘i are so important to you?

I live part time in Hawai‘i and was raised there as a child, so in essence, this film is my love letter to Hawai‘i – a place I love, with people I love. My neighbor and producing partner, Teresa Tico, wanted to make a film about Bill 2491 called “Pass The Bill.” I agreed to fund the project and it then grew exponentially into the film Poisoning Paradise, which has a much broader reach and message than the original concept. The documentary is a time capsule of a grassroots movement that sought to ask for disclosure of what was being sprayed, when, and where: to initiate buffer zones around schools, homes, and environmentally sensitive shorelines; and to ask for an environmental impact study, which would provide scientific data as to how these chemicals affect our land, our water, our air, our food, our health, our oceans, our wildlife, and other natural resources in the Hawaiian islands.

Are there any lessons from Hawai‘i that people can learn globally, regarding how to stand up to the large pesticide corporations and thus to protect their rights?

The day of plausible deniability is over—lawmakers can’t say that they didn’t know that these chemicals were dangerous—they can’t say that they didn’t know what chemicals are being used. Support lawmakers to help them make necessary changes.  The business model of large chemical companies is to maintain a food and agricultural system that is reliant on their toxic pesticides.

Everyone should be pushing for counties to be able to regulate from within when it comes to pesticides.  It’s clear that federal regulatory agencies are not doing enough to protect people and the environment from toxic pesticides. Hawai‘i, California, and New York have passed legislation banning Chlorpyrifos because of the damage it causes children’s brains. Almost 10 million visited Hawai‘i last year. Over 1.3 million people went to Kaua‘i. The visitor industry has a responsibility to inform visitors who are going to be in the areas where these chemicals are used.

Poisoning Paradise is a landmark documentary and has reach far beyond Hawai‘i – what do you hope is the result of your work both locally in Hawai‘i and Globally?

We hope to reach a broad audience with our film. The recent rulings against Monsanto make this discussion relevant and real. We want to reach anyone that is interested in the food movement, sustainable agriculture, and anyone who is interested in protecting their land, their air, and their water. We need to move away from Pesticide Heavy Agriculture, and put resources into recreating Regenerative Diversified Agriculture systems. We must remove toxic pesticides and fertilizers from the equation, protecting our communities, our environment and the farm workers themselves; drastically reduce or eliminate agriculture’s reliance on fossil fuels (including petroleum-based pesticides and fertilizers), build soil that sequesters carbon, slowing down climate change, and build soil that captures and holds water, eliminating destructive sediment runoff while also making farms more drought tolerant.

We must educate ourselves and take action, and we must be relentless in our pursuit of protecting the environment, our health, and the health of our children.

How has Poisoning Paradise been received by international audiences so far?

Poisoning Paradise has been warmly received at film festivals abroad, including the Bologna Film Festival in Italy, the Festival Internacional De Cine Medioambiental de Canarias and the Valladolid International Film Festival in Spain, the Be Epic! London International Film Festival, the Manchester Film Festival in the United Kingdom, the Festival Internacional de Cine en Guadalajara in Mexico, the Galway Film Fleadh in Ireland, and the International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland. We’re pleased to have received over a dozen awards for our film, both domestically and abroad, including many for Best Documentary.

How can our readers around the world watch Poisoning Paradise – when will it be fully released?

Poisoning Paradise is now available in the United States on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube, and more. We are currently working with Cinema Libre to bring it to the international market.

Are you thinking of making any follow-up documentaries on the same subject, as this issue seems to be getting more and more international attention with the rise in interest about the risks of glyphosate herbicides?

There is lots of interest in and potential for a follow-up documentary film.


Jonathan Latham on pesticides and the EU— 51 min, Resistance Radio


Host and author, Derrick Jensen interviews Jonathan R Latham, PhD about pesticides and the EU on Resistance Radio.

Jonathan R Latham, PhD. is co-founder and Executive Director of the Bioscience Resource Project and the Editor of Independent Science News. Dr Latham is also the Director of the Poison Papers project which publicizes documents of the chemical industry and its regulators. Dr. Latham holds a Masters degree in Crop Genetics and a PhD in Virology. He was subsequently a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Genetics, University of Wisconsin, Madison. He has published scientific papers in disciplines as diverse as plant ecology, plant virology, genetics and genetic engineering. Dr Latham talks frequently at international events and scientific and regulatory conferences on the research conducted by the Project. He has written for Truthout, MIT Technology Review, the Guardian, Resilience, and many other magazines and websites. Today we talk about pesticides and the EU. Browse all of my Resistance Radio interviews at https://deepgreenresistance.blogspot….


Pesticide residues found in 70% of produce sold in US even after washing

The Guardian - Emily Holden - Mar 20, 2019

  • Strawberries, spinach and kale among most pesticide-heavy
  • Conventionally farmed kale could contain up to 18 pesticides
Alexis Temkin of the Environmental Working Group said: ‘The Shopper’s Guide to Produce is building on a body of evidence that shows mixtures of pesticides can have adverse effects.’ Photograph: Dave Martin/AP

About 70% of fresh produce sold in the US has pesticide residues on it even after it is washed, according to a health advocacy group.

According to the Environmental Working Group’s annual analysis of US Department of Agriculture data, strawberries, spinach and kale are among the most pesticide-heavy produce, while avocados, sweetcorn and pineapples had the lowest level of residues.

More than 92% of kale tested contained two or more pesticide residues, according to the analysis, and a single sample of conventionally farmed kale could contain up to 18 different pesticides.

Dacthal – the most common pesticide found, which was detected in nearly 60% of kale samples, is banned in Europe and classified as a possible human carcinogen in the US.

“We definitely acknowledge and support that everybody should be eating healthy fruits and vegetables as part of their diet regardless of if they’re conventional or organic,” said Alexis Temkin, a toxicologist working with the EWG.

“But what we try to highlight with the Shopper’s Guide to Produce is building on a body of evidence that shows mixtures of pesticides can have adverse effects.”

Other foods on the group’s “dirty dozen” list include grapes, cherries, apples, tomatoes and potatoes. In contrast, its “clean 15” list includes avocados, onions and cauliflower.

Leonardo Trasande, an environmental medicine specialist at the New York University medical school, called the EWG report “widely respected” and said it can inform shoppers who want to buy some organic fruits and vegetables, but would like to know which ones they could prioritize.

Despite a growing body of research, scientists say it is difficult to pinpoint how many pesticides people are exposed to in their daily lives, and in what quantity. And it is also hard to say how those chemicals in combination affect the body.

One recent French study found that people eating organic foods were at a significantly lower risk of developing cancer, although it suggested that if those findings were confirmed, the underlying factors would require more research. Nutritional experts at Harvard University cautioned that that study did not analyze residue levels in participants’ bodies to confirm exposure levels.

While 90% of Americans have detectable pesticide levels in their urine and blood, “the health consequences of consuming pesticide residues from conventionally grown foods are unknown, as are the effects of choosing organic foods or conventionally grown foods known to have fewer pesticide residues,” they said.

A separate Harvard study found that for women undergoing fertility treatment, those who ate more high-pesticide fruits and vegetables were less likely to have a live birth.

The CDC explains that “a wide range of health effects, acute and chronic, are associated with exposures to some pesticides,” including nervous system impacts, skin and eye irritation, cancer and endocrine disorders.

“The health risks from pesticide exposure depend on the toxicity of the pesticides, the amount a person is exposed to, and the duration and the route of exposure,” the CDC says, noting evidence suggests children are at higher risk.

The Environmental Protection Agency sets rules for how pesticides are used, but those rules do not necessarily prevent cumulative exposure in a person’s diet.

The agency is fighting a court order to ban chlorpyrifos, a pesticide that is associated with development disabilities in children.

EPA has also scaled back what types of exposure it will consider when evaluating human health risks. And President Trump has appointed a former executive from the industry lobbying group the American Chemistry Council, Nancy Beck, as the head of its toxic chemical unit.


What the pesticides in our urine tell us about organic food

The Guardian - Kendra Klein and Anna Lappé  - Feb 15, 2019

A study helps answer a question many of us ask when deciding whether to buy organic food: does it really make a difference?

A study shows that eating organic can dramatically decrease the pesticides you’re exposed to. Photograph: Dave Martin/AP

When Andreina Febres, a mother of two living in Oakland, California, signed up for a study evaluating whether an organic diet could make a difference in the amount of pesticides found in her body, she didn’t know what researchers would find. But her family, and the three others across the country that participated, would discover that they all had detectable levels of the pesticides being tracked. They would also discover that after only six days on an organic diet, every single person would see significant drops in those pesticides, including several linked to increased risk of autism, cancer, Parkinson’s, infertility, and other significant impacts on health.

“It’s good to see that just after a week there was a dramatic drop,” Febres said after seeing the results. “I would love to get those pesticides out of my body and my family’s bodies.”

This just-published peer-reviewed study helps answer a question many of us ask when deciding whether to reach for the conventional or organic option at the store: does organic really make a difference? The results say yes, a big difference. Choosing organic can protect you from exposure to toxic pesticides.

This study, led by researchers at University of California, Berkeley and Friends of the Earth, and co-authored by one of us, tracked pesticide levels in four families from across the country for two weeks. The first week, the families ate their typical diets of non-organic food; the following week, they ate completely organic. Urine samples taken over the course of the study were tested for pesticides and the chemicals pesticides break down into, called metabolites.

The results? Of the 14 chemicals tested, every single member of every family had detectable levels. After switching to an organic diet, these levels dropped dramatically. Levels across all pesticides dropped by more than half on average. Detectable levels for the pesticide malathion, a probable human carcinogen according to the World Health Organization, decreased a dramatic 95% .


New Analysis: Curbing Pesticides Key to Reversing Insect Apocalypse

Global Research Feb 1, 2019 - By Center For Biological Diversity 

More Than 40 Percent of World’s Insect Species on Fast-track to Extinction

Authors of a major new scientific review of the catastrophic decline of insects say a “serious reduction in pesticide usage” is key to preventing the extinction of up to 41 percent of the world’s insects within the “next few” decades.

The review, published online this week in Biological Conservation, highlights that reversing the insect declines will require an “urgent” push to replace the ever-escalating use of harmful synthetic pesticides and fertilizers with more ecologically based, sustainable farming practices.

“This analysis is an alarming wake-up call that we need to dramatically reduce pesticide use,” said Tara Cornelisse, an entomologist and senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Dumping more and more insecticides on our food crops is like fixing a noise under the hood by yanking out the car’s engine. Insects are the foundation of every healthy ecosystem, so we need to quit poisoning landscapes with millions of pounds of toxic pesticides every year.”

Among the authors’ most sweeping conclusions is that

“A rethinking of current agricultural practices, in particular a serious reduction in pesticide usage and its substitution with more sustainable, ecologically-based practices, is urgently needed to slow or reverse current trends, allow the recovery of declining insect populations and safeguard the vital ecosystem services they provide.”

The meta-analysis of 73 studies assessing insect declines over a period of at least 10 years found that industrial farming practices driving habitat loss and extensive use of pesticides and fertilizers is associated with 47 percent of reported declines.

The authors found clear evidence for decline in all insect groups reviewed, but especially for butterflies and moths, native bees, beetles, and aquatic insects like dragonflies. It is estimated that half of butterflies, moths and beetles are declining at about 2 percent per year, and one in six bee species has disappeared in many regions.

A growing body of research indicates that insects are declining about twice as fast as vertebrates.

Earlier studies of insect loss showed declines of insect specialists — those that need specific habitat for nesting, or pollinate only one type of flower. But more and more studies are now documenting large-scale insect loss that includes generalist species, like the endangered rusty patched bumble bee, that were once common throughout their range.

The decline of widely ranging generalist insect species shows that habitat loss, alone, is not enough to explain insect declines. Mounting evidence now demonstrates that a significant driver is the widespread use of pesticides and fertilizers.

“We know neonicotinoid pesticides are a major cause of bee decline and are working to ban them, but this review highlights the urgent need for sweeping pesticide reform,” Cornelisse said. “That reform must start with the EPA replacing its long, troubling embrace of pesticide makers with a truly independent review process for assessing these dangerous poisons.”


12 Dangerous And Hidden Food Ingredients In Seemingly Healthy Foods

Posted Jan 16, 2019 - Save Institute by  

Would you eat your favorite breakfast cereal if you knew that it contained Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT), a product also used in jet fuel and embalming fluid? Can you imagine grilling your low fat veggie burger if you found out that its main ingredient is Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)?

Watch out, because foods that are considered “healthy” and labeled as “natural” contain many harmful chemicals used as food preservatives and flavor enhancers – and these chemicals are often disguised under unrecognizable names.

Today, I’ll expose the hidden dangerous food additives that are lurking in so-called “healthy” foods, how you can easily spot them and the simple and delicious alternatives that won’t sabotage your bone and overall health.

Unhealthy processed foods greatly outnumber unadulterated healthy foods

In the last 100 years the food industry has advanced by leaps and bounds. Today, more than three quarters of supermarket shelves are stocked with packaged and processed foods. These boxed, canned, and frozen concoctions in most cases only require boiling or microwaving to become edible.

In total, there are more than 3,000 food chemicals purposely added to our food supply, yet avoiding them is a lot easier and more economical than you might think.

You probably already know this, but the rule of thumb is that the best foods to conquer osteoporosis and to stay healthy are unprocessed natural foods. That’s because man-made chemicals acidify your body pH which in turn accelerates bone loss.

Read on…