Currently Browsing: Pesticides

Calamity cowboys: On Iowa, obesity, and earthquakes

Living directly on top of the Hayward Fault, which seismologists claim is overdue for a major earthquake, I'm pretty familiar with the idea that there are losers (of which I may be one) and winners in moments of human tragedy. Here, the winner category is largely comprised of developers, who must feel a...

Everything looks better when your head’s in the sand: The USDA stops tracking pesticide use

When I was four, I ate my mother's houseplant. (I claimed to have thought it was salad.) As any responsible mother would, she freaked out and called poison control. The friendly folks at the 800 number — who must get these kinds of calls all the time, poor guys — immediately asked her the two most important...

Saving the songbirds (and ourselves)

Today's New York Times featured an op-ed by Bridget Stutchbury, a biology professor at the University of Toronto and author of Silence of the Songbirds. Her book follows in the footsteps of Silent Spring and documents the rapid disappearance of migratory songbirds -- by her account, a 50% decline in the...

Coming home to industrial ag: A tour of the Central Valley

There’s an image that’s stuck with me from the cross-country drive that my dad and I took last summer. It was one of many late-night stints at the wheel, perhaps 11 p.m., and we were hurtling along through the Utah desert. A sign at the last gas station had warned us of a nearly 100-mile...

Pesticides, like the huddled masses, yearn to be free

The Farm Bill is back. (Admit it -- you'd been missing it.) House and Senate ag staffers have taken to lurking in each other's offices and furrowing their brows over what could be a protracted conflict between members of the conference committee, that group of reps and senators assigned to turn the meat...

Spray it forward: Pesticide residues in U.S. food

The USDA's Agriculture Marketing Service has released its annual summary (PDF) for its Pesticide Data Program. And it scares me.  In 2006, the PDP says it tested 13,658 samples of food and bottled/drinking water from participating states California, Colorado, Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota,...

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