New Database Links Pesticides on Food with Toxicology Science

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Heather Pilatic, Communications Director
Pesticide Action Network North America
heather@panna.org
, cell: 415.694.8596

New Database Links Pesticides on Food with Toxicology Science

New online tool links government food test results to pesticide toxicology science

SAN FRANCISCO - Ever wonder about pesticides on your food? Or in your drinking water?
In particular, which of those pesticides are most hazardous? A new tool
from the nonprofit group Pesticide Action Network sheds new
science-driven light on the invisible problem of pesticide residues.

Today's launch of the What'sOnMyFood? database makes the
results of government tests for pesticide residues in food available
online in a searchable, easy-to-use format. The database shows what
pesticides are found on each food, in what amount, and - for the first
time - links those residues to the health effects associated with
exposure to each of the chemicals.

"This kind of public visibility around pesticides is particularly
needed in the U.S.,  since regulators base their decisions on
toxicology studies that are almost all done by industry," explains Dr.
Brian Hill, Senior Scientist with Pesticide Action Network and the
primary developer of the What'sOnMyFood?
database. "Nearly 900 million pounds of pesticides are used in the U.S.
every year, yet regulations depend on studies that are not
peer-reviewed and are kept hidden behind the veil of ‘confidential
business information.'" Hill notes that the 900 million figure is long
overdue for updating, as the most recent pesticide use figures from the
Environmental Protection Agency are for 2001.

In addition to highlighting the potential direct health effects of pesticide residues, the What'sOnMyFood?
database points to the many problems associated with pesticide use
before food reaches the kitchen table. Widespread use of agricultural
chemicals threatens the health of workers and those in nearby
communities and schools, as well as harming wildlife and contaminating
ecosystems, according to the site.

"It's time to shift away from reliance on these dangerous chemicals,"
says Kathryn Gilje, Pesticide Action Network's Executive Director. "In
Europe governments have recognized that a healthy population and clean
environment are worth more than short-term industry profits. They are
moving toward safer and healthier ways to produce food, and we need to
do the same."

In the Take Action section of the site, Pesticide Action Network calls
on consumers not only to vote with their dollars by choosing organic
foods whenever possible, but also to become involved as "food citizens"
demanding a clean, green and fair food production system.

Launch of the new database coincides with the release of Food, Inc., a
film by the producers of An Inconvenient Truth that documents the
dangerous health and environmental impacts of industrialized food
production. Food reporter Michael Pollan calls Food, Inc. "the most important and powerful film about our food system in a generation."

Resources:

What’sOnMyFood? Database: www.whatsonmyfood.org

U.S. Department of Agriculture site re: food residue testing.

Food, Inc. “Hungry for Change” interactive cafeteria featuring What’s On My Food Database.

Available for Interviews:

Brian Hill, Senior Scientist, Pesticide Action Network, bhill@panna.org, 415.981.1771

Kathryn Gilje, Executive Director, Pesticide Action Network, Kathryn@panna.org, 415.981.1771

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PANNA (Pesticide Action Network North America) works to replace pesticide use with ecologically sound and socially just alternatives. As one of five autonomous PAN Regional Centers worldwide, we link local and international consumer, labor, health, environment and agriculture groups into an international citizens' action network. This network challenges the global proliferation of pesticides, defends basic rights to health and environmental quality, and works to ensure the transition to a just and viable society.

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