Pesticide Expert with Deep Kaua’i Roots to Testify on Right-to-Know Proposal

PRESS ADVISORY
September 6, 2013

Pesticide Expert with Deep Kaua’i Roots to Testify on Right-to-Know Proposal

Kaua’i, Hawaii-On Monday, CEH Research Director Caroline Cox will testify in support of a proposed Kaua’i county rule (Bill 2491) that would give residents the right-to-know about pesticides that are used in large amounts, and help make pesticide use on the island less harmful to people and the environment by creating no-spray buffer zones around schools, houses, and streams. Cox is a former national advisor to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on pesticides policy and has deep family roots on Kaua’i, where her grandparents and father lived for many years.

On Monday, September 9, Cox will testify to the Kaua’i County Council Committee on Economic Development and Intergovernmental Affairs, at a public hearing on Bill 2491. “My grandfather spent much of his life as an engineer in Kaua’i and my Dad grew up here,” said Cox. “A small group of agri-chemical companies who test their GMO crops in Kaua’i use large amounts of pesticides. This bill provides important common-sense standards to protect Kaua’i residents from these harmful pesticides.”

Bill 2491 is receiving national attention, as it would regulate one of the key testing grounds for companies that make genetically modified (GMO) crops, including BASF, Dow, DuPont/Pioneer, and Syngenta. The companies favor sub-tropical regions like Kaua’i for testing because they can grow crops throughout three growing seasons each year. However, this ongoing planting also requires near continual spraying of harmful pesticides, resulting in pesticide use in even greater amounts than in the Midwest cornbelt. Pesticides used by agri-chemical companies in Kaua’i include:

·         2,4-D, an herbicide that has caused damage to the liver, kidney, and nervous system, as well as reduced fertility, birth defects, and reduced newborn growth in laboratory animals. 2,4-D exposure has also been linked to increased risks for heart attacks and diabetes.

·         Atrazine, an herbicide banned in Europe that has caused  genetic damage in human cells and leukemia, uterine cancer, reduced sperm production, miscarriages and birth defects in laboratory animals. Drinking atrazine-contaminated water is linked to increased risk for certain birth defects.

·         Chlorpyrifos, an organophosphate insecticide that has caused  genetic damage in human cells and miscarriages and birth defects in laboratory animals.  Chlorpyrifos exposure before birth is linked to decreased IQ scores in young children.

·         Dicamba, an herbicide that has caused  genetic damage in cells from laboratory animals. Dicamba exposure before birth is linked to an increased risk of birth defects in baby boys.

·        Paraquat, an herbicide banned in most European countries  that is linked to genetic damage in human cells and miscarriages, stillbirths, and birth defects in laboratory animals. Paraquat exposure is linked to an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease.

On Sunday, September 8, Cox will join Kaua’i residents in support of Bill 2491 in a march at 11:00 am, from Vidinha Stadium to the County Building on Rice Street, where there will be speakers and music until 6pm.

The Monday, September 9 public hearing on Bill 2491 begins at 9 am, at the Kauai Council Chamber (Historic Kauai County Building, 4396 Rice Street, Lihue, Kauai). A previous hearing on the proposal in August lasted 13 hours, as hundreds of Kaua’i residents spoke out about the bill.

For more information on Bill 2491 and the upcoming events, see http://www.stoppoisoningparadise.org/. Caroline Cox’s written testimony for the Monday hearing is available here. Testimony from earlier this summer to the Kauai County Commission from the Center for Food Safety here.

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