How Dangerous Is Pesticide Drift?


iStock/Thinkstock

❝ If you live near a big farm or an otherwise frequently manicured landscape, “pesticide drift”—drifting spray and dust from pesticide applications — could be an issue for you and yours. Indeed, pesticide drift is an insidious threat to human health as well as to wildlife and ecosystems in and around agricultural and even residential areas where harsh chemicals are used to ward off pests. The biggest risk from pesticide drift is to those living, working or attending school near larger farms which employ elevated spraying equipment or crop duster planes to apply chemicals to crops and fields. Children are especially vulnerable to these airborne pesticides, given that their young bodies are still growing and developing…

❝ Thanks in large part to advocacy by Pesticide Action Network and other groups, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has made strides in protecting more of us against pesticide drift. In late 2009 the agency rolled out new guidelines directing pesticide manufacturers to include labeling on their products indicating how to minimize off-target spray and dust drift. Any spray pesticides manufactured or labeled as of January 2012 and for sale in the U.S. must display the warning on its label: “Do not apply this product in a manner that results in spray (or dust) drift that harms people or any other non-target organisms or sites.”…

Even though spray pesticides are now labeled and 28 states have drift spray regulations on their books, pesticide drift continues to be a problem wherever crops are grown. If pesticide drift is an issue where you live, work, study or play, contact PAN. The group can send out a “Drift Catcher”—a device that collects air samples which can then be analyzed for pesticides. “It enables farmworkers and community members to document and draw attention to otherwise invisible chemical exposures,” says PAN.

Please, please – live or work in an area where this is a problem – contact PAN.

The Democratic Party is willing to copout on reproductive rights


Click to enlargeAP Photo/Elaine Thompson

❝ Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) said Monday that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will not withhold funding from candidates who are anti-abortion rights, a move that is drawing the ire of reproductive justice and abortion activists.

“There is not a litmus test for Democratic candidates,” Luján, the DCCC chairman, said in an interview with The Hill. “As we look at candidates across the country, you need to make sure you have candidates that fit the district, that can win in these districts across America.”

Other high-profile Democrats have taken similar stances on abortion. In April, Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) campaigned for an anti-choice mayoral candidate in Nebraska and Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez met with anti-abortion Democrats in May.

The operative words defining the process are opportunism and sophistry. Neither of which nudges me towards loyalty to the Democratic Party or their candidates.

❝ Candice Russell, a WeTestify abortion storytelling fellow with the National Network of Abortion Funds, said she felt betrayed by Luján’s comments Monday — especially because she said she distinctly remembers the party sending fundraising emails after the Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt Supreme Court decision striking down abortion restrictions in Texas.

You don’t get to ask me for money and turn around and spit in my face,” Russell said. “To think that abortion access isn’t inextricably tied to every single thing the Democratic Party says it stands for is foolish.”…

❝ As the the party tries to regain populist ground lost to President Donald Trump, leaders like Luján, Sanders, and Perez have framed abortion and other social issues as separate from economic issues.

“The only way you can say that economic issues are separate from social issues is if you’re presuming the only people affected by economic issues are straight, white, able-bodied men,” Erin Matson, a reproductive rights activist in Virginia, said in an interview with ThinkProgress. “Give me a break.”

I second that emotion. I have to chuckle. Wryly. When Ben Ray Lujan first primaried for the seat he holds I voted for another candidate. I presumed that since he was an heirloom candidate, running for a seat previously held by his family, he couldn’t be trusted further than any other machine candidate.

I later apologized in a letter to him – for, at first, he took positions supporting progressive policies challenging the status quo in that party. Then, he moved on up the ladder to a station of “responsible leadership” – which apparently means progressive policies are the first to be jettisoned when Democrats are confronted by rightwing populist activism.

Ben Ray is safe, of course. It’s likely anyone could get elected here in northern New Mexico – named Lujan. The family has a history of coming down on the side of workingclass families on just about all economic issues. But, the day is past when that is sufficient, when we are challenged at the national level all the way down to local ballots by populist lies and ideology.

Selling out to convenience and opportunism ain’t the way folks win.

cc: Ben Ray Lujan

Milestone: – Companies abandoning Alberta oilsands exploration leases

❝ In another sign the bloom is off the boom for the oilsands, the industry has returned almost one million hectares of northern Alberta exploration leases to the province over the past two years — abandoning an area far bigger than P.E.I.

The total area covered by oilsands leases remained constant at about nine million hectares between 2011 and 2014. But it fell to 8.5 million hectares in 2015 and 8.1 million in 2016, following the crash in world oil prices from over US$100 to under $60 per barrel in 2014.

Most of the returned acreage either represents expired or surrendered leases, according to Alberta Energy, which provided the statistics at the request of The Canadian Press.

❝ Observers were surprised by the size of the lease returns which they attributed to industry cost-cutting and disinterest in spending to develop new prospects when there’s no money to build projects already on the books.

“It costs money to maintain these lands,” said Brad Hayes, president of Petrel Robertson Consulting in Calgary. “You can’t convince shareholders to continue to put that money out if there’s no prospect for success.”

Maybe he should follow the ExxonMobil model and go to work for the Canadian government as Foreign Minister.