Weaving the scientific with the compelling and often humorous, Dr. Sandra Steingraber wowed us at her talk in Portland, Oregon earlier this month. As in her writings, the personal narratives she shared painted a vivid picture of how pesticides and other toxic chemicals put us in harm's way.
She began with the story of her son's recent biking accident, an event that prevented her from visiting us last October as originally planned. She explained that the accident would certainly have been much worse if he had not been wearing a helmet, underscoring the point that the government makes laws - bike helmet laws, for instance - that are designed to protect us. She then asked the question, why are there not stronger laws to protect us from dangers such as toxic threats? As study after study reveals links between toxic exposures and cancer, when will the evidence finally be enough to prove harm? Should that really be the point, to prove harm? Why not adopt a precautionary approach?
To draw another correlation, Sandra shared a crawly anecdote about how a brown bat once made its way into her children's bedroom. After a rabies test indicated that the bat was infected, public health officials granted her family access to an entire precautionary system designed to help prevent the spread of rabies - including subsidized vaccinations for anyone who may have been exposed. This serious approach to rabies prevention raises the question of why our health and regulatory systems take such a less precautionary approach with exposure to pesticides and other toxics. Why are public health agencies willing to allow such evident risk in one area, but not in another? How many lives could be saved if we took chemical exposure as seriously as rabies?
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report that rabies deaths in the United States fell from 100 annually in the early 1900s to, at most, two per year in the 1990's. By contrast, leukemia, the most common type of cancer afflicting children, will lead to an estimated 447 deaths this year - accounting for a third of all child cancer deaths expected to occur in 2012. We know from research that there is a much greater incidence of leukemia in children who have been exposed to pesticides. It's a question worth finding the answer to.
Dr. Steingraber finished her talk with a call to action, and one that was keenly felt throughout a room packed with so many fellow advocates, activists, and dedicated citizens working to make our world a less toxic one. We'd like to thank all who were able to join us for such an inspiring evening. To learn more about Sandra Steingraber check for a longer article coming soon to the NCAP blog
, and visit her website at http://steingraber.com/
As you read on, keep in mind the words Sandra wrote in my copy of Living Downstream –
Never give up!
Kim Leval, Executive Director
Visit our website at www.pesticide.org for information and the latest news!
Farming for the Future
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition recently published it's 2012 Farm Bill Platform which outlines a plan for:
- Creating jobs and economic growth through food and farms
- Investing in the next generation of farmers and ranchers
- Making healthy food widely available to all Americans
- Protecting our natural resources and help farmers care for their land
- Driving innovation for tomorrow’s farmers and food entrepreneurs
- Reforming outdated subsidies and restoring fiscal responsibility in farm policy
Additionally, the platform underscores the importance of maintaing organic and conservation incentives among the cache of federal agriculture programs. This is crucial as such programs are typically the first to receive cuts in tough economic times.
As a member of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, NCAP has signed on in support of this platform. We urge you, as individuals, to sign on and show your support as well!
Take action now by signing on in support of a new Farm Bill
Tell EPA: Do Your Job!
Federal wildlife scientists at the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) recently published a draft report showing that three common pesticides (oryzalin, pendimethalin, and trifluralin) are likely to be hurting salmon populations. The report contradicts previous determinations of safety by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and highlights multiple weaknesses in EPA's evaluation process. The report also calls for new use restrictions on the three pesticides.
You can help protect water quality and endangered salmon by speaking out in support of NMFS' findings and urging the federal government to impliment the new restrictions on these pesticides. It's time the EPA did its job!
Comments are being accepted until April 30th through regulations.gov (docket item EPA-HQ-OPP-2008-0654). Click here for sample talking points.
A Summary of the NMFS Report
The Full NMFS Report (PDF, 22MB)
Free Land Care Workshops for Riparian Residents
The Eugene Water & Electric Board (EWEB), together with the OSU Extension Service, the McKenzie Watershed Council, and NCAP, is hosting an educational series on sustainable land care and home maintenance.
Three informational classes will be held in Leaburg during May and June on the following topics: creating healthy riparian areas, healthy lawns and weed and pest management, and home maintenance, septic systems and hazardous waste disposal.
Get the Details
Save the Date: Healthy Harvest is October 6th
Our fourth annual Evening with NCAP has been set for Saturday, October 6th in Eugene, OR. The theme this year is Healthy Harvest. Please plan to join us for dinner and music celebrating NCAP's 35 years of pesticide reform work, and a fundraiser auction supporting our current programs.
We'll be posting more information about this event on our website in the coming months, so stay tuned!
Supporter Spotlight: Beth Rasgorshek
Although she’d be too modest to tell you so herself, NCAP member Beth Rasgorshek was a pioneer in the urban organic farming movement. In the mid-90s, she was trained in Portland’s Master Gardener Program, and her Urban Bounty Farm was certified organic by Oregon Tilth.
Urban Bounty Farm also offered one of the first Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs in Portland.
In 1995, Beth discovered traces of the chemical insecticide dieldren in her soil. That’s when she first became involved with NCAP.
Strength in Numbers
To commemorate NCAP's 35th Anniversary, we are launching the Strength in Numbers Campaign and inviting you to be a part of the 35th Anniversary Leadership Giving Circle.
The 35th Anniversary Leadership Giving Circle consists of donors giving above and beyond their memberships in order to help NCAP build a matching fund. Members will receive a limited edition recycled Chico shopping bag with NCAP’s 35th Anniversary logo for gifts of $100 or more.
To learn more call Kim at (541) 344-5044 ext. 15
Join the leadership giving circle and be the foundation for another 35 years of pesticide reform!
You can also renew your membership online via the button below. NCAP relies on support from members like you!
Get a 'Pesticide-Free Area' Sign
When you join the Ladybug Lovely monthly giving program, you receive a new Pesticide-Free Area sign from NCAP and Mountain Rose Herbs. The sign is made from recycled aluminum, so it's a responsible and durable way to state your values!
Call 541-344-5044 ext.15 to learn more about the Ladybug Lovely and how to get your sign.