Pesticide Action Network
Toxic Taters? How a Determined Group Got a Potato Supplier to Change its Ways
Pesticide Action Network (PAN) is part of a global network working to protect public health and the environment from the harms of pesticides, and to promote ecologically sound and socially just food and farming.
PAN challenges the global proliferation of pesticides, defends basic rights to health and environmental quality, and works to ensure the transition to just and viable systems of food and farming. In Iowa, PAN is raising the public profile of the issue of pesticide drift through their Drift Catcher program, which trains farmers and others to monitor pesticides in the air with a simple device. At a time when farmers are increasingly concerned about the introduction of new drift-prone herbicides associated with Dow and Monsanto’s latest genetically engineered crops, there are now 25 active Drift Catchers in Iowa. This has set the stage to work closely with coalition partners in crafting a state policy platform to protect farmers and rural communities from pesticide drift.
potatoes are one of the most pesticide-intensive crops in the Midwest. As
documented in PAN’s 2012 report Pesticide Drift from Minnesota
Potato Fields, drift-prone fungicides like
chlorothalonil — which has been linked to cancer — are commonly found near
homes in rural communities in northern Minnesota. In 2014, PAN’s Midwest
Organizers Linda Wells and Lex Horan helped the Toxic Taters Coalition
officially kick off its campaign of calling on McDonald’s to source potatoes
from producers who don’t expose rural communities to fungicide drift.