Food & Water, Inc., a national grassroots food-safety organization, is expanding their agenda with a Consumer Campaign to Stop Pesticides. The campaign is designed to educate consumers about pesticides, and to send a strong message to the food industry about consumers’ concerns regarding pesticides in food.
“The food grown and consumed in this country should give us the nutrition needed to prevent cancer, not the pesticide residues that cause it,” says Roz Renfrew, campaign coordinator. “This campaign will tap into the outrage people feel toward the food industry for selling food containing harmful synthetic chemicals.”
Agricultural pesticide use continues to rise (up 170% in the last 18 years), contaminating ground water in 46% of all U.S. counties. Parallel to the increased use of pesticides is the increase in the cancer rate, which now stands at one in three Americans contracting the disease in their lifetime. Research has shown a correlation between exposure to some pesticides and the likelihood of getting cancer.
Food & Water intends to organize consumers to pressure the food industry to refrain from dangerous pesticide use and to provide more organic products. Renfrew sees such “marketplace organizing” strategies as providing a balance to the ongoing legislative efforts of other consumer and environmental organizations that work on pesticide issues. “We’re harnessing people’s concerns and focusing them on the marketplace, where consumers have power.”
The Clinton administration responded to the pesticide problem in September by issuing a “pesticide reform proposal.” This plan would eliminate a 1958 law called the “Delaney Clause,” which bans all carcinogenic pesticides in processed foods. They would like to replace that law with a “negligible risk” to human health. By the Administration’s definition, the risk to humans is “negligible” – and therefore “acceptable” – when no more than one in every million people contract cancer from each pesticide on each type of food.
Food & Water is responding with its “Declaration of Opposition to Negligible Risk,” which begins: “I oppose the government’s ‘negligible risk’ policy, which allows the death of an acceptable number of American children by condoning the presence of pesticide residues in our nation’s food supply.”
Food & Water has set an initial goal to collect 500,000 signatures in support of the declaration. This organization will also be working with the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), which will urge companies to adopt shareholder resolutions to eliminate harmful and environmentally destructive pesticides from their products.
To order free copies of the Declaration of Opposition to Negligible Risk, or to learn more about the campaign, call 1-800-EAT-SAFE.
Vol 14 Issue 4 page 1