Holiday cheer shouldn't include toxic pesticides

Click here to take actionI remember the ritual in our house every November — setting up the nice dining table for the grown-ups, and dusting off the rickety folding table where us kids would crowd in to share our holiday meal (though the sharing was not always done that graciously!). This Thanksgiving, as I look toward the little faces gathered around the kid’s table and give thanks for the bounty of food, I also know that some of that food has a dark side.

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Some ingredients that go into our favorite Thanksgiving dishes are grown using toxic pesticides. 

I blogged previously about the threats that the pesticide chlorpyrifos poses to children—it’s a neurotoxic pesticide widely used in California to grow all kinds of crops that may make it to your Thanksgiving (or dinner) table, such as oranges, broccoli, almonds, grapes, and walnuts. Pesticide residues left on food is one way that chlorpyrifos gets into people. A 2008 study found evidence of chlorpyrifos in the bodies of 91% of kids tested, and the study also found the major source to be the food kids ate. Kids and expectant moms that live in rural and agricultural communities face even greater risks from pesticides drifting off fields near where they live, work, learn, and play.

In the 10 years since the state first began its review of chlorpyrifos, the data on harm to children’s brains and bodies continues to pile up. In September, the California Environmental Protection Agency issued a weak and inadequate proposal that falls far short of providing the health protections families need.

We think it’s time for Governor Brown to step in and take the lead to protect children’s health. Please join us in asking the Governor to make California’s bounty safer for all kids.

About the Authors

Veena Singla

Staff Scientist, Health & Environment program

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