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Concern regarding the spread of hazardous pesticides throughout Earth's air, soil, water and food chain was a primary factor in the emergence of the environmental movement. Yet as we enter the twenty-first century, the pesticide question is far from resolved. Since 1990, the Foundation has published reports documenting this trade—the only source of this information that is available in the public record. Over the years, partnerships and information exchanges have developed with a wide range of non-governmental groups, journalists, government agencies, researchers and concerned citizens throughout the world.  

No government on earth conducts independent evaluations of the toxicity or environmental impact of pesticides before allowing them on the market. At most, government officials review data submitted by pesticide manufacturers. 


Safety standards that do exist end at the borders of exporting countries. Pesticides that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has judged too dangerous for domestic use, pesticides which are unsafe unless used under strict supervision, and pesticides never evaluated by EPA are routinely shipped from US ports.

Many of these chemicals are bound for destinations in the developing world, where it has long been established that prevailing conditions-a lack of protective equipment, unsafe application and storage practices, inadequate training of pesticide applicators-increase their hazards.

Since 1990, the Foundation has published reports documenting this trade--the only source of this information that is available in the public record. Over the years, partnerships and information exchanges have developed with a wide range of non-governmental groups, journalists, government agencies, researchers and concerned citizens throughout the world.

Project staff have presented their findings in hearings in both houses of the US. Congress. They have participated as non-governmental observers in intergovernmental negotiations for two treaties aimed at reducing or eliminating trade in hazardous pesticides--the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) treaty, also known as the Rotterdam Conventions and the Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) treaty, also known as the Stockholm Convention.

Exporting Risk: Pesticide Exports from US Ports 1992-1994
Click here for a map showing primary destinations.

Exporting Risk: Pesticide Exports from US Ports 1995-1996
Click here for a map showing primary destinations.

Pesticide Exports from US Ports, 1997-2000 (published in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health).

Pesticide Exports from US Ports, 2000-2003 (published in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health).

Hard copies of some of these reports may be available. For details, write to the project director at carl.smith@fasenet.org.

The Precautionary Principle
In practice, environmental "protection" often means acting after the fact--in some cases after a toxic substance has permeated air, water, soil and the food chain.

A growing number of environmental scientists are calling for governments to take preventive steps to prevent environmental damage, even in the absence of complete scientific evidence. This concept is referred to as the "precautionary principle."

The Foundation's senior editor acted as editor for a special series of papers on the precautionary principle, published in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health. Contributors to "The Precautionary Principle and Environmental Policy: Science, Uncertainty and Sustainability" include scientists, physicians and policy experts from the US, Europe and Asia.

Copies of this volume are available at no cost to government officials, researchers, public interest groups and others working in the field of environmental policy.

Write to carl.smith@fasenet.org for details. (Note: If you are making a request, please include your complete address.)

To view a pdf of this issue, click here.

Environment and Human Rights
A second series of papers in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health, also compiled by the Foundation’s senior editor, examines the ways in which environmental contamination can interfere with basic human rights to food, health and survival.

“Human Rights, Environment, and Individual Action” includes papers examining issues ranging from pesticides and public participation in developing countries to the conditions faced by farmworkers in the US, South Africa and South America.
To view a pdf of this issue, click here.

 

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