A group of 17 residents of Gold Beach, Oregon, who say their properties were doused with pesticides by helicopter are challenging the constitutionality of the law that prevents them from successfully suing the pesticide applicator and timberland owners.
Given its fragile and unusually rich ecology, the Hawaiian island of Kaua'i seems ill-suited as a site for agricultural experiments that use heavy amounts of toxic chemicals. But four transnational corporations -- Syngenta, BASF Plant Science, DuPont Pioneer, and Dow AgroSciences -- have been doing just those kinds of experiments here for about two decades, extensively spraying pesticides on their GMO test fields. As a result, the landscape on the southwest corner of the island has become one of the most toxic chemical environments in all of American agriculture.
- by Lex Horan, Pesticide Action Network of North America
The last of the late spring snowstorms are winding down here in the Midwest, and it won't be long before corn goes into the ground. With corn-planting, of course, comes atrazine applications. And though atrazine doesn't get much use in the colder months, this winter hasn't been a quiet one for the notorious herbicide and its manufacturer, the Syngenta Corporation.
For Immediate Release:
May 11, 2012
Contact: Paul Towers, Pesticide Action Network, 916-216-1082
Syngenta Hired Guns Attack New Documentary
PR firm and paid spokespeople mount aggressive response to new film "Last Call at the Oasis"
San Francisco, CA -- As a new film highlights water contamination throughout the U.S. Midwest from Syngenta's flagship herbicide atrazine, the world's largest pesticide company has mounted a PR counter-attack downplaying the human and environmental health risks of a chemical linked to birth defects, low birth weight and certain cancers. Atrazine was banned in the EU in 2003, leaving the U.S. market as one of Syngenta's most profitable and vigorously guarded markets.
Herbicide manufacturer Syngenta had an interesting way of celebrating Earth Day this year, touting the joys of pesticides.
The herbicide atrazine, one of the most heavily used herbicides in the United States has been found in almost 94 percent of U.S. groundwater and can harm human health in multiple ways. ALEC has promoted "model" legislation friendly to Syngenta, atrazine's primary manufacturer, across the country. At least once, this legislation was introduced to ALEC by a lobbyist paid by Syngenta.
Documents obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy, recently unsealed as part of a major lawsuit against Syngenta, reveal that the global chemical company's PR team had a multi-million dollar budget to pay surrogates and others who helped advance its messages about the weed-killer "atrazine." This story is part two of a series about Syngenta's PR campaign to influence the media, potential jurors, potential plaintiffs, farmers, politicians, scientists, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the midst of reviews of the weed-killer's potential to act as an endocrine disruptor.
These documents reveal a string of money going from Syngenta to pundits, economists, scientists, and others. Below is a sample of some of the "third party" surrogates who have been financially supported by Syngenta.
ACSH's Elizabeth Whelan: "A Great Weapon"
Elizabeth Whelan is founder and President of the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH). ACSH is a network of scientists whose stated mission to "ensure that the coverage of health issues is based on scientific facts – not hyperbole, emotion and ideology." Whelan has used hyperbole to advance her agenda, for example, calling the New York Times reporting on atrazine "All the news that's fit to scare."
Some of ACSH's published materials have a disclaimer saying it accepts corporate donations but it "does not accept support from individual corporations for specific research projects." Documents obtained by CMD show (PDF) that Syngenta has been a long-term financial supporter of ACSH and that in the midst of reports about spikes in atrazine levels reported by the New York Times, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Huffington Post Investigative Fund, ACSH sought an additional $100,000 to produce more materials about atrazine in addition to seeking increased funding in general by Syngenta.
Atrazine is an herbicide primarily manufactured by the multinational conglomerate Syngenta and commonly used on commodity crops, forests, and golf courses. Its potential harmful effects on human health have been documented since the 1990s.
Documents obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy, recently unsealed as part of a major lawsuit against Syngenta, reveal how the global chemical company's PR team investigated the press and spent millions to spin news coverage and public perceptions in the face of growing concerns about potential health risks from the widely used weed-killer "atrazine."