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Action of the Week Archive

Action of the Week is intended to provide you, our supporters and network, with one concrete action that you can take each week to have your voice heard on governmental actions that are harmful to the environment and public and worker health, increase overall pesticide use, or undermine the advancement of organic, sustainable, and regenerative practices and policies. As an example, topics may include toxic chemical use, pollinator protection, organic agriculture and land use, global climate change, and regulatory or enforcement violations.

01/24/2022 — Toxic Pesticides that Increase Vulnerability to COVID Must Be Eliminated

The advisory board of health experts who counseled President Biden during his transition have now called for an entirely new domestic pandemic strategy geared to the “new normal” of living with the virus indefinitely. While this new strategy addresses important issues like "reimagining public health" and disparities in vulnerability to COVID, it misses out on an important one—reducing vulnerability to disease by eliminating exposure to toxic chemicals, especially those that threaten the immune, nervous, and respiratory systems.

>>Tell the President, EPA, and Congress to address the ongoing threat of Covid-19 by eliminating toxic pesticide use that elevates overall, and disproportionately for people of color, the public's vulnerability to the virus.

The strategic initiative is organized by Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD, an oncologist, medical ethicist, and University of Pennsylvania professor who advised former President Barack Obama. The group published a collection of opinion articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). In those articles, the group advises President Biden to give up on an eradication goal, accept that COVID-19 is here to stay—that is, that it is becoming endemic—and adopt a goal of living with it. These articles explore what that means.

The introductory article by Dr. Emanuel et al. says, “As the US moves from crisis to control, this national strategy needs to be updated. Policy makers need to specify the goals and strategies for the 'new normal' of life with COVID-19 and communicate them clearly to the public.” There are many unknowns concerning a future with COV-19, the authors say, including “[t]he precise duration of immunity to SARS-CoV-2 from vaccination or prior infection; . . . whether SARS-CoV-2 will become a seasonal infection; whether antiviral therapies will prevent long COVID; or whether even more transmissible, immune-evading, or virulent variants will arise after Omicron.”

In spite of the uncertainties, the authors believe, “The goal for the 'new normal' with COVID-19 does not include eradication or elimination, e.g., the 'zero COVID' strategy. Neither COVID-19 vaccination nor infection appear to confer lifelong immunity. Current vaccines do not offer sterilizing immunity against SARS-CoV-2 infection. Infectious diseases cannot be eradicated when there is limited long-term immunity following infection or vaccination or nonhuman reservoirs of infection. The majority of SARS-CoV-2 infections are asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, and the SARS-CoV-2 incubation period is short, preventing the use of targeted strategies like 'ring vaccination.' Even 'fully' vaccinated individuals are at risk for breakthrough SARS-CoV-2 infection. Consequently, a 'new normal with COVID' in January 2022 is not living without COVID-19.”

The authors address the problems of developing a pandemic preparedness program encompassing a comprehensive approach to all respiratory viruses; a comprehensive, digital, real-time, integrated data infrastructure for public health; and advances in vaccines and therapeutics. It must also address “stark racial and ethnic disparities” and differences in vulnerability. 

However, these medical professionals need to look beyond the world of medicine to the world where disparities and differences in vulnerabilities are created. We know that exposure to toxic chemicals like pesticides creates greater vulnerability to disease. The manufacture, use, and disposal of pesticides disproportionately affects farmworker and fenceline communities, where those “stark racial and ethnic disparities” must be addressed. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “The COVID-19 pandemic has brought social and racial injustice and inequity to the forefront of public health. It has highlighted that health equity is still not a reality as COVID-19 has unequally affected many racial and ethnic minority groups, putting them more at risk of getting sick and dying from COVID-19.” The use of toxic pesticides is not necessary. Beyond health professionals, agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must be included in a pandemic preparedness program to eliminate exposure to toxic pesticides that increases vulnerability to disease.

>>Tell the President, EPA, and Congress to address the ongoing threat of Covid-19 by eliminating toxic pesticide use that elevates overall, and disproportionately for people of color, the public's vulnerability to the virus.

Letter to President Biden

The advisory board of health experts who counseled you during your transition have now called for an entirely new domestic pandemic strategy geared to the “new normal” of living with the virus indefinitely. While this new strategy addresses important issues like “reimagining public health” and disparities in vulnerability to COVID, it misses out on an important one—reducing vulnerability to disease by eliminating exposure to toxic chemicals, especially those that threaten the immune, nervous, and respiratory systems. We must address the ongoing threat of Covid-19 by eliminating toxic pesticide use that elevates overall, and disproportionately for people of color, vulnerability to the virus.

The strategic initiative is organized by Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD, an oncologist, medical ethicist, and University of Pennsylvania professor who advised former President Barack Obama. In a collection of articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association, they advise you to give up on an eradication goal, accept that COVID-19 is here to stay—that is, that it is becoming endemic—and adopt a goal of living with it.

Dr. Emanuel et al. says, “As the US moves from crisis to control, this national strategy needs to be updated. Policy makers need to specify the goals and strategies for the ‘new normal’ of life with COVID-19 and communicate them clearly to the public.” There are many unknowns concerning a future with COV-19, but the authors believe, “The goal for the ‘new normal’ with COVID-19 does not include eradication or elimination, e.g., the ‘zero COVID’ strategy. Neither COVID-19 vaccination nor infection appear to confer lifelong immunity. Current vaccines do not offer sterilizing immunity against SARS-CoV-2 infection. Infectious diseases cannot be eradicated when there is limited long-term immunity following infection or vaccination or nonhuman reservoirs of infection. The majority of SARS-CoV-2 infections are asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, and the SARS-CoV-2 incubation period is short, preventing the use of targeted strategies like ‘ring vaccination.’ Even ‘fully’ vaccinated individuals are at risk for breakthrough SARS-CoV-2 infection. Consequently, a ‘new normal with COVID’ in January 2022 is not living without COVID-19.”

The authors address the problems of developing a pandemic preparedness program encompassing a comprehensive approach to all respiratory viruses; a comprehensive, digital, real-time, integrated data infrastructure for public health; and advances in vaccines and therapeutics. It must also address “stark racial and ethnic disparities” and differences in vulnerability.

However, there is more to disease prevention than medical advances. Exposure to toxic chemicals like pesticides creates greater vulnerability to disease. The manufacture, use, and disposal of pesticides disproportionately affects farmworker and fenceline communities, where those “stark racial and ethnic disparities” must be addressed. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “The COVID-19 pandemic has brought social and racial injustice and inequity to the forefront of public health. It has highlighted that health equity is still not a reality as COVID-19 has unequally affected many racial and ethnic minority groups, putting them more at risk of getting sick and dying from COVID-19.” The use of toxic pesticides is not necessary. Agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must be included in a pandemic preparedness program to eliminate exposure to toxic pesticides that increases vulnerability to disease.

Please instruct EPA to cancel unnecessary pesticide registrations as part of a plan to limit the ongoing threat of Covid-19 to people generally and to people of color who disproportionately have higher rates of the virus.

Letter to U.S. Senators and Representative:

The advisory board of health experts who counseled President Biden during his transition have now called for an entirely new domestic pandemic strategy geared to the “new normal” of living with the virus indefinitely. While this new strategy addresses important issues like "reimagining public health" and disparities in vulnerability to COVID, it misses out on an important one—reducing vulnerability to disease by eliminating exposure to toxic chemicals, especially those that threaten the immune, nervous, and respiratory systems. We must address the ongoing threat of Covid-19 by eliminating toxic pesticide use that elevates overall, and disproportionately for people of color, the public’s vulnerability to the virus.

The strategic initiative is organized by Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD, an oncologist, medical ethicist, and University of Pennsylvania professor who advised former President Barack Obama. In a collection of opinion articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), they advise giving up on an eradication goal, accepting that COVID-19 is here to stay—that is, that it is becoming endemic—and adopting a goal of living with it.

Dr. Emanuel et al. says, “As the US moves from crisis to control, this national strategy needs to be updated. Policy makers need to specify the goals and strategies for the ‘new normal’ of life with COVID-19 and communicate them clearly to the public.” There are many unknowns concerning a future with COV-19, but authors believe, “The goal for the ‘new normal’ with COVID-19 does not include eradication or elimination, e.g., the ‘zero COVID’ strategy. Neither COVID-19 vaccination nor infection appear to confer lifelong immunity. Current vaccines do not offer sterilizing immunity against SARS-CoV-2 infection. Infectious diseases cannot be eradicated when there is limited long-term immunity following infection or vaccination or nonhuman reservoirs of infection. The majority of SARS-CoV-2 infections are asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, and the SARS-CoV-2 incubation period is short, preventing the use of targeted strategies like ‘ring vaccination.’ Even ‘fully’ vaccinated individuals are at risk for breakthrough SARS-CoV-2 infection. Consequently, a ‘new normal with COVID’ in January 2022 is not living without COVID-19.”

The authors address the problems of developing a pandemic preparedness program encompassing a comprehensive approach to all respiratory viruses; a comprehensive, digital, real-time, integrated data infrastructure for public health; and advances in vaccines and therapeutics. It must also address “stark racial and ethnic disparities” and differences in vulnerability.

However, there is more to disease prevention than medical advances. Exposure to toxic chemicals like pesticides creates greater vulnerability to disease. The manufacture, use, and disposal of pesticides disproportionately affects farmworker and fenceline communities, where those “stark racial and ethnic disparities” must be addressed. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “The COVID-19 pandemic has brought social and racial injustice and inequity to the forefront of public health. It has highlighted that health equity is still not a reality as COVID-19 has unequally affected many racial and ethnic minority groups, putting them more at risk of getting sick and dying from COVID-19.” The use of toxic pesticides is not necessary. Agencies like EPA must be included in a pandemic preparedness program to eliminate exposure to toxic pesticides that increases vulnerability to disease.

Your oversight is required to ensure that toxic pesticides do not intensify future pandemics.

Letter to EPA Administrator and Office of Pesticide Programs

The advisory board of health experts who counseled President Biden during his transition have now called for an entirely new domestic pandemic strategy geared to the “new normal” of living with the virus indefinitely. While this new strategy addresses important issues like "reimagining public health" and disparities in vulnerability to COVID, it misses out on an important one—reducing vulnerability to disease by eliminating exposure to toxic chemicals, especially those that threaten the immune, nervous, and respiratory systems. We must address the ongoing threat of Covid-19 by eliminating toxic pesticide use that elevates overall, and disproportionately for people of color, the public’s vulnerability to the virus.

The strategic initiative is organized by Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD, an oncologist, medical ethicist, and University of Pennsylvania professor who advised former President Barack Obama. In a collection of opinion articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), they advise giving up on an eradication goal, accepting that COVID-19 is here to stay—that is, that it is becoming endemic—and adopting a goal of living with it.

Dr. Emanuel et al. says, “As the US moves from crisis to control, this national strategy needs to be updated. Policy makers need to specify the goals and strategies for the ‘new normal’ of life with COVID-19 and communicate them clearly to the public.” There are many unknowns concerning a future with COV-19, but the authors believe, “The goal for the ‘new normal’ with COVID-19 does not include eradication or elimination, e.g., the ‘zero COVID’ strategy. Neither COVID-19 vaccination nor infection appear to confer lifelong immunity. Current vaccines do not offer sterilizing immunity against SARS-CoV-2 infection. Infectious diseases cannot be eradicated when there is limited long-term immunity following infection or vaccination or nonhuman reservoirs of infection. The majority of SARS-CoV-2 infections are asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, and the SARS-CoV-2 incubation period is short, preventing the use of targeted strategies like ‘ring vaccination.’ Even ‘fully’ vaccinated individuals are at risk for breakthrough SARS-CoV-2 infection. Consequently, a ‘new normal with COVID’ in January 2022 is not living without COVID-19.”

The authors address the problems of developing a pandemic preparedness program encompassing a comprehensive approach to all respiratory viruses; a comprehensive, digital, real-time, integrated data infrastructure for public health; and advances in vaccines and therapeutics. It must also address “stark racial and ethnic disparities” and differences in vulnerability.

However, there is more to disease prevention than medical advances. Exposure to toxic chemicals like pesticides creates greater vulnerability to disease. The manufacture, use, and disposal of pesticides disproportionately affects farmworker and fenceline communities, where those “stark racial and ethnic disparities” must be addressed. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “The COVID-19 pandemic has brought social and racial injustice and inequity to the forefront of public health. It has highlighted that health equity is still not a reality as COVID-19 has unequally affected many racial and ethnic minority groups, putting them more at risk of getting sick and dying from COVID-19.” The use of toxic pesticides is not necessary. Agencies like EPA must be included in a pandemic preparedness program to eliminate exposure to toxic pesticides that increases vulnerability to disease.

Please eliminate the use of toxic pesticides as part of a plan to limit the ongoing threat of Covid-19 to people generally and to people of color who disproportionately have higher rates of the virus.

 

 

01/14/2022 — Tell the Senate to Pass Voting Rights Legislation Now!

As environmental and public health advocates, the democratic process is key to the urgent progress needed to address key health threats, biodiversity collapse, and the climate crisis. The democratic process is key to advancing solutions that Beyond Pesticides works on by growing organic solutions and standards that provide for a livable and sustainable future. 

We will not meet the existential environmental and health challenges of our time without a strong democratic process, where all people can protect their families and communities through the electoral process.

Our democracy and the right to vote has been under attack for quite some time but escalated with the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol one year ago. In fact, 19 states have already passed laws that are clearly designed to suppress votes, especially those of Americans of color who are forced to stand in long lines and often miss work, instead of being provided easy access to the ballot. 

>>Tell your Senators to fix procedural roadblocks in the Senate and pass legislation to ensure that everyone can easily exercise their right to vote.

Why are we talking about voting rights? Voter suppression targets the same marginalized communities impacted by environmental racism. Environmental justice issues arise at every stage of the cradle-to-grave life cycle of toxic chemicals, from production, transportation, handling, and use, to disposal... 

  • Petroleum refineries are likely to be sited near poor communities composed of people of color. 
  • Mines contaminate tribal lands and poor rural communities. 
  • Manufacturing facilities are also located near low-income neighborhoods, employing their inhabitants in hazardous jobs. 
  • Pesticides are applied by farmworkers whose housing is surrounded by poisoned fields.
  • Landscapers who handle dangerous pesticides are disproportionately people of color in many communities. 
  • Lower-income individuals living in older, larger multi-dwellings suffer adverse health from pesticides that are heavily used in those buildings.
  • Toxic pesticides are applied more often in parks, playgrounds, and public spaces in lower-income neighborhoods. 
  • And, coming full circle, hazardous waste “disposal” sites are surrounded by low-income communities.

Our future is on the line. The voices of those from marginalized communities and environmentalists must be heard and their right to vote protected. For people and the planet to survive, we must adopt the changes necessary to reverse public health threats, biodiversity collapse, and the climate crisis. That's exactly why we must pass voting rights legislation, including the Freedom to Vote Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. 

>>Tell your Senators to fix procedural roadblocks in the Senate and pass legislation to ensure that everyone can easily exercise their right to vote.

Letter to Senate

As environmental and public health advocates, the democratic process is key to the urgent progress needed to address key health threats, biodiversity collapse, and the climate crisis. The democratic process is key to advancing solutions that Beyond Pesticides works on by growing organic solutions and standards that provide for a livable and sustainable future.

We will not meet the existential environmental and health challenges of our time without a strong democratic process, where all people can protect their families and communities through the electoral process.

Our democracy and the right to vote has been under attack for quite some time but escalated with the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol one year ago. In fact, 19 states have already passed laws that are clearly designed to suppress votes, especially those of Americans of color who are forced to stand in long lines and often miss work, instead of being provided easy access to the ballot.

Why are we talking about voting rights? Voter suppression targets the same marginalized communities impacted by environmental racism.

Environmental justice issues arise at every stage of the cradle-to-grave life cycle of toxic chemicals, from production, transportation, handling, and use, to disposal...
• Petroleum refineries are likely to be sited near poor communities composed of people of color.
• Mines contaminate tribal lands and poor rural communities.
• Manufacturing facilities are also located near low-income neighborhoods, employing their inhabitants in hazardous jobs.
• Pesticides are applied by farmworkers whose housing is surrounded by poisoned fields.
• Landscapers who handle dangerous pesticides are disproportionately people of color in many communities.
• Lower-income individuals living in older, larger multi-dwellings suffer adverse health from pesticides that are heavily used in those buildings.
• Toxic pesticides are applied more often in parks, playgrounds, and public spaces in lower-income neighborhoods.
• And, coming full circle, hazardous waste “disposal” sites are surrounded by low-income communities.

Our future is on the line. The voices of those from marginalized communities and environmentalists must be heard and their right to vote protected. For people and the planet to survive, we must adopt the changes necessary to reverse public health threats, biodiversity collapse, and the climate crisis. That’s exactly why we must pass voting rights legislation, including the Freedom to Vote Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

Please fix the procedural roadblocks in the Senate and pass legislation to ensure that everyone can easily exercise their right to vote.

Thank you.

01/10/2022 — Ask Congress to Push for Oversight of USDA’s Dishonest Disclosure of GE Food Ingredients

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is now undermining full public disclosure of genetically engineered ingredients in our food, both through misrepresentation in labeling and through a definition that allows a large percentage of ingredients to go undisclosed. The National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Act, dubbed the Deny Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act by food safety advocates, establishes a national GMO (genetically modified organisms or genetically engineered GE) food labeling requirement that has led to deceptive messaging, preempts states from adopting stronger label language and standards, and excludes a large portion of the population without special cell phone technology (because information is accessed the QR codes on products). However, USDA regulations go further—creating loopholes and barriers to transparency that prohibit the use of the widely-known terms "GMO" and "GE" and prohibit retailers from providing more information to consumers.

>>Tell USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to require USDA agencies to honestly disclose genetically engineered ingredients and carry out the goals of the Executive Memorandum, Modernizing Regulatory Review. Urge your U.S. Senators and Representative to ask Agriculture Committees to hold oversight hearings to ensure that USDA holds to those goals. 

USDA is huge—encompassing 29 agencies and offices, with almost 100,000 employees—with duties ranging from research to marketing to distributing money to regulation. These agencies have a variety of missions, sometimes conflicting. The conflict was evident in the creation of regulations to implement the Dark Act. USDA has also been described as a captured agency that largely serves the interests of chemical-intensive agriculture and agribusiness. This was recognized when President Nixon shifted pesticide regulation out of USDA to the newly created Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1970. It was also recognized when Congress passed the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) and created an independent panel of stakeholders, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), to provide oversight and direct USDA in implementing the law.

USDA encourages the use of genetically engineered crops, which, in turn, increases pesticide use and pesticide dependency. This conflict between promoting GE and chemical-intensive agriculture and protecting the public through the use of transparent labeling is one way that USDA's practices are in conflict with the direction of President Biden's inauguration day action, the Executive Memorandum and directive Modernizing Regulatory Review. This presidential action instructs the heads of all executive departments and agencies to produce recommendations for improving and modernizing regulatory review, with a goal of promoting public health and safety, economic growth, social welfare, racial justice, environmental stewardship, human dignity, equity, and the interests of future generations. Oversight is necessary to hold federal agencies—especially captured agencies like USDA— accountable to full transparency and public safety.  

>>Tell USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to require USDA agencies to honestly disclose genetically engineered ingredients in food and carry out the goals of the Executive Memorandum, Modernizing Regulatory Review. Urge your U.S. Senators and Representative to ask Agriculture Committees to hold oversight hearings to ensure that USDA holds to those goals.

Letter to Congress

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is huge—encompassing 29 agencies and offices, with almost 100,000 employees—with duties ranging from research to marketing to distributing money to regulation. Many have referred to USDA as a captured agency that largely serves the interests of chemical-intensive agriculture and agribusiness. This was recognized when President Nixon shifted pesticide regulation out of USDA to the newly created Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1970. It was also recognized when Congress passed the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) and created an independent panel of stakeholders, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), to provide oversight and direct USDA in implementing the law.

USDA’s agencies have a variety of missions, sometimes conflicting. The conflict was evident in the creation of regulations to implement the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Act. The statute itself, dubbed the Deny Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act by food safety advocates, establishes a national GMO (genetically modified organisms or genetically engineered GE) food labeling requirement that has led to deceptive messaging, preempts states from adopting stronger label language and standards, and excludes a large portion of the population without special cell phone technology (because information is accessed the OR codes on products). However, USDA regulations go further—creating loopholes and barriers to transparency that prohibit the use of the widely-known terms "GMO" and "GE" and prohibit retailers from providing more information to consumers.

USDA encourages the use of genetically engineered crops, which, in turn, increases pesticide use and pesticide dependency. This conflict between promoting GE and chemical-intensive agriculture and protecting the public through the use of transparent labeling is one way that USDA’s practices are in conflict with the direction of President Biden’s inauguration day action, the Executive Memorandum and directive Modernizing Regulatory Review, requiring the heads of all executive departments and agencies to produce recommendations for improving and modernizing regulatory review, with a goal of promoting public health and safety, economic growth, social welfare, racial justice, environmental stewardship, human dignity, equity, and the interests of future generations.

Oversight is necessary to hold USDA accountable to the goals of this administration as expressed in the Executive Memorandum.

Please ask the Agriculture Committee to hold oversight hearings to ensure that USDA honestly discloses genetically engineered ingredients in food and carries out the goals of the Executive Memorandum, Modernizing Regulatory Review.

Thank you.

Letter to USDA

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is huge—encompassing 29 agencies and offices, with almost 100,000 employees—with duties ranging from research to marketing to distributing money to regulation. Its agencies also have a variety of missions, sometimes conflicting. The conflict of programs supporting chemical-intensive agriculture with those promoting the interests of health, environment, and organic farmers was recognized when President Nixon shifted pesticide regulation from USDA to the newly created Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1970. It was also recognized when Congress passed the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) and created an independent panel of stakeholders, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), to provide oversight and direct USDA in implementing the law.

The conflict was also evident in the creation of regulations to implement the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Act. The statute itself, dubbed the Deny Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act by food safety advocates, establishes a national GMO (genetically modified organisms or genetically engineered GE) food labeling requirement that has led to deceptive messaging, preempts states from adopting stronger label language and standards, and excludes a large portion of the population without special cell phone technology (because information is accessed the QR codes on products). However, USDA regulations go further—creating loopholes and barriers to transparency that prohibit the use of the widely-known terms "GMO" and "GE" and prohibit retailers from providing more information to consumers.

USDA generally encourages the use of genetically engineered crops, which, in turn, increases pesticide use and pesticide dependency. This conflict between promoting GE and chemical-intensive agriculture and protecting the public through the use of transparent labeling is one way that USDA’s practices are in conflict with the direction of President Biden’s inauguration day action, the Executive Memorandum and directive Modernizing Regulatory Review, requiring the heads of all executive departments and agencies to produce recommendations for improving and modernizing regulatory review, with a goal of promoting public health and safety, economic growth, social welfare, racial justice, environmental stewardship, human dignity, equity, and the interests of future generations.

I urge you to hold USDA agencies accountable to the goals of this administration as expressed in the Executive Memorandum.

Thank you.

01/03/2022 — Tell the Senate: The Pesticide Law Needs Real Reform

Environmentalists and public health advocates are calling for an aggressive program of policy change in 2022—change they say is critical to addressing existential crises of public health threats, biodiversity collapse, and severe climate disruption that is not being taken seriously by policy makers.

On November 23, 2021, Senator Cory Booker introduced legislation to eliminate many of the current problems with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), which regulates the registration and use of pesticides in the U.S. It corrects some of the worst mistakes in registering pesticides and removes some of the worst loopholes in the law. However, in order to prevent future pesticide problems, we need reform that goes deeper. 

>>Urge your Senators to co-sponsor PACTPA and reforms to the toxic core of FIFRA.  

Specifically, the bill, the Protect America's Children from Toxic Pesticides Act of 2021 (PACTPA), would provide some desperately needed improvements to FIFRA to better protect people and the environment, including:

1. Bans some of the most damaging pesticides scientifically known to cause significant harm to people and the environment:

  • Organophosphate insecticides, which are designed to target the neurological system and have been linked to neurodevelopmental damage in children;
  • Neonicotinoid insecticides, which have contributed to pollinator collapse around the world (the European Union and Canada have significantly restricted or banned their use to protect pollinators and other wildlife) and have recently been shown to cause developmental defects, heart deformations, and muscle tremors in unborn children;
  • Paraquat, which is one of the most acutely toxic herbicides in the world—according to the EPA, just “one sip can kill.” Science has shown that chronic exposure to paraquat increases the risk of developing Parkinson's disease by 200% to 600%. It is already banned in 32 countries, including the European Union.

2. Restores balance to protect ordinary citizens by removing dangerous pesticides from the market by:

  • Creating a petition process to enable individual citizens to petition the EPA to identify dangerous pesticides so that the EPA would no longer be able to indefinitely allow dangerous pesticides to remain on the market;
  • Closing dangerous loopholes that have allowed the EPA to issue emergency exemptions and conditional registrations to use pesticides before they have gone through full health and safety review by the agency;
  • Enabling local communities to enact protective legislation and other policies without being vetoed or preempted by state law;
  • Suspending the use of pesticides deemed unsafe by the E.U. or Canada until they are thoroughly reviewed by the EPA.

3. Provides protections for frontline communities that bear the burden of pesticide exposure by:

  • Requiring employers of farmworkers to report all pesticide-caused injuries to the EPA, with strong penalties for failure to report injuries or retaliating against workers;
  • Directing the EPA to review pesticide injury reports and work with the pesticide manufacturers to develop better labeling to prevent future injury;
  • Requiring that all pesticide label instructions be written in Spanish and in any language spoken by more than 500 pesticide applicators.

Despite this impressive list of corrections, PACTPA does not touch the toxic core of FIFRA, which permits the unnecessary dispersal of toxic chemicals in the environment. To eliminate this toxic core, Congress must:

1. Prohibit the registration and use of pesticides that do not meet these criteria:

  • Necessary to prevent harm to humans and the environment based on an analysis of all alternatives;
  • Cause no harm to humans and the environment; and
  • Protect against the existential crises of biodiversity collapse, runaway climate change, and chronic and acute health threats.

2. Require all supporting data to be submitted and examined by the public before registration (including the elimination of conditional registration).

3. Deny and cancel all pesticide registrations not supported by studies demonstrating a lack of endocrine-disrupting effects.

4. Deny and cancel registrations of all pesticides posing a threat to life in the soil—and hence threatening the climate.

5. Deny and cancel registrations of all pesticides posing a threat to any endangered species.

>>Urge your Senators to co-sponsor PACTPA and reforms to the toxic core of FIFRA.  

Letter to Sponsors: Senators Booker, Gillibrand, Padilla, Sanders and Warren

Thank you for your sponsorship of the Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act of 2021 (PACTPA). PACTPA would provide some improvements to the pesticide law (FIFRA) to better protect people and the environment, including:

1. Bans some of the most damaging pesticides scientifically known to cause significant harm to people and the environment:

- Organophosphate insecticides, which are designed to target the neurological system and have been linked to neurodevelopmental damage in children;
- Neonicotinoid insecticides, which have contributed to pollinator collapse around the world (the European Union and Canada have significantly restricted or banned their use to protect pollinators and other wildlife) and have recently been shown to cause developmental defects, heart deformations, and muscle tremors in unborn children;
- Paraquat, which is one of the most acutely toxic herbicides in the world —according to the EPA, just “one sip can kill.” Science has shown that chronic exposure to paraquat increases the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease by 200% to 600%. It is already banned in 32 countries, including the European Union.

2. Removes dangerous pesticides from the market by:
- Creating a petition process to enable individual citizens to petition the EPA to identify dangerous pesticides so that the EPA would no longer be able to indefinitely allow dangerous pesticides to remain on the market;
- Closing dangerous loopholes that have allowed the EPA to issue emergency exemptions and conditional registrations to use pesticides before they have gone through full health and safety review by the agency;
- Enabling local communities to enact protective legislation and other policies without being vetoed or preempted by state law;
- Suspending the use of pesticides deemed unsafe by the E.U. or Canada until they are thoroughly reviewed by the EPA.

3. Provides protections for frontline communities that bear the burden of pesticide exposure by:
- Requiring employers of farmworkers to report all pesticide-caused injuries to the EPA, with strong penalties for failure to report injuries or retaliating against workers;
- Directing the EPA to review pesticide injury reports and work with the pesticide manufacturers to develop better labeling to prevent future injury;
- Requiring that all pesticide label instructions be written in Spanish and in any language spoken by more than 500 pesticide applicators.

Despite this impressive list of corrections, PACTPA does not touch the toxic core of FIFRA, which permits the unnecessary dispersal of toxic chemicals in the environment. To eliminate this toxic core, please introduce legislation to:

1. Prohibit the registration and use of pesticides that do not meet these criteria:
- Necessary to prevent harm to humans and the environment based on an analysis of all alternatives;
- Cause no harm to humans and the environment; and
- Protect against the existential crises of biodiversity collapse, runaway climate change, and chronic and acute health threats.

2. Require all supporting data to be submitted and examined by the public before registration (including the elimination of conditional registration).

3. Deny and cancel all pesticide registrations not supported by studies demonstrating a lack of endocrine-disrupting effects.

4. Deny and cancel registrations of all pesticides posing a threat to life in the soil—and hence threatening the climate.

5. Deny and cancel registrations of all pesticides posing a threat to any endangered species.

We look forward to working with you to advance legislation that is truly protective of health and the environment as fossil fuel-based pesticides and fertilizers are contributing public health threats, biodiversity collapse, and the climate crisis. We do not need toxic pesticides to maintain agricultural productivity or quality of life and look forward to the adoption of legislation that reflects this.

Thank you for your leadership.

Letter to Other Senators

I am writing to urge you to cosponsor the Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act of 2021 (PACTPA). PACTPA would provide some desperately-needed improvements to the pesticide law (FIFRA) to better protect people and the environment, including:

1. Bans some of the most damaging pesticides scientifically known to cause significant harm to people and the environment:
- Organophosphate insecticides, which are designed to target the neurological system and have been linked to neurodevelopmental damage in children;
- Neonicotinoid insecticides, which have contributed to pollinator collapse around the world (the European Union and Canada have significantly restricted or banned their use to protect pollinators and other wildlife) and have recently been shown to cause developmental defects, heart deformations, and muscle tremors in unborn children;
- Paraquat, which is one of the most acutely toxic herbicides in the world —according to the EPA, just “one sip can kill.” Science has shown that chronic exposure to paraquat increases the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease by 200% to 600%. It is already banned in 32 countries, including the European Union.

2. Removes dangerous pesticides from the market by:
- Creating a petition process to enable individual citizens to petition the EPA to identify dangerous pesticides so that the EPA would no longer be able to indefinitely allow dangerous pesticides to remain on the market;
- Closing dangerous loopholes that have allowed the EPA to issue emergency exemptions and conditional registrations to use pesticides before they have gone through full health and safety review by the agency;
- Enabling local communities to enact protective legislation and other policies without being vetoed or preempted by state law;
- Suspending the use of pesticides deemed unsafe by the E.U. or Canada until they are thoroughly reviewed by the EPA.

3. Provides protections for frontline communities that bear the burden of pesticide exposure by:
- Requiring employers of farmworkers to report all pesticide-caused injuries to the EPA, with strong penalties for failure to report injuries or retaliating against workers;
- Directing the EPA to review pesticide injury reports and work with the pesticide manufacturers to develop better labeling to prevent future injury;
- Requiring that all pesticide label instructions be written in Spanish and in any language spoken by more than 500 pesticide applicators.

Despite this impressive list of corrections, PACTPA does not touch the toxic core of FIFRA, which permits the unnecessary dispersal of toxic chemicals in the environment. To eliminate this toxic core, please support legislation to:

1. Prohibit the registration and use of pesticides that do not meet these criteria:
- Necessary to prevent harm to humans and the environment based on an analysis of all alternatives;
- Cause no harm to humans and the environment; and
- Protect against the existential crises of biodiversity collapse, runaway climate change, and chronic and acute health threats.

2. Require all supporting data to be submitted and examined by the public before registration (including the elimination of conditional registration).

3. Deny and cancel all pesticide registrations not supported by studies demonstrating a lack of endocrine-disrupting effects.

4. Deny and cancel registrations of all pesticides posing a threat to life in the soil—and hence threatening the climate.

5. Deny and cancel registrations of all pesticides posing a threat to any endangered species.

We look forward to working with you to advance legislation that is truly protective of health and the environment as fossil fuel-based pesticides and fertilizers are contributing public health threats, biodiversity collapse, and the climate crisis. We do not need toxic pesticides to maintain agricultural productivity or quality of life and look forward to the adoption of legislation that reflects this.

Thank you.