On Jan 12, 2014 DuPont Co., Syngenta AG and Dow Chemical Co. filed a lawsuit against the small Hawaiian island of Kaua'i in an attempt to block their Pesticide Disclosure Ordinance 960 (Bill 2491). The law requires large Agriculture and AgroChemical corporations (most of them experimenting with new pesticides) to disclose pesticide use, report genetically engineered crops, and create buffer zones between pesticide-sprayed fields and public areas like schools, hospitals and homes.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended both buffer zones and disclosure.
Children encounter pesticides daily and have unique susceptibilities to their potential toxicity. Acute poisoning risks are clear, and understanding of chronic health implications from both acute and chronic exposure are emerging. Epidemiologic evidence demonstrates associations between early life exposure to pesticides and pediatric cancers, decreased cognitive function, and behavioral problems. Related animal toxicology studies provide supportive biological plausibility for these findings.As Gary Hooser, one of Kauai's County Councilmembers says:
The Kafkaesque threat by Syngenta attorney Paul Alston to sue the people of Kauai County for the right to spray their toxic chemicals next to schools, hospitals and homes is disturbing at best. What kind of world do we live in where large chemical companies are allowed to bully and intimidate small communities attempting only to protect the health and environment of their neighborhoods?Fortunately EarthJustice has promised to defend Kaua'i saying;
"The chemical industry has been using bullying and misinformation all along to try to derail this law. They consider their impacts on the health of Kauai's residents as collateral damage. We look forward to defending Kauai's families and its environment, and are confident justice will prevail."All of Hawai'i has become ground zero for pesticide and gmo experimentation. Professor Hector Valenzuela of University of Hawaii Tropical Agriculture Department says:
"Apparently over 90 different pesticide formulations are applied by the GM seed industry on Kauai. Pesticides are applied on over 250 days out of the year, with perhaps 10-40 applications per day, on average. . Because seed crops are considered to be a non-food item, seed growers are allowed to use more pesticides, and to use them more extensively, than they would be allowed to use, for the production of edible crops. This may partly explain why the GM seed industry uses over 90% of the twenty-two "Restricted Use Pesticides" that are used on farms in Kauai."
Companies like Syngenta, Monsanto, Dow, and DuPont conduct their experimentation in new pesticides and gmo seed in Hawai'i because it offers a year round growing season. But Hawaii has a long history of aquifer poisoning with agrochemicals particularly from the pineapple and sugarcane plantations and additional contamination is a serious concern.
If you'd like to help defend Kaua'i against these multinational AgroChemical companies please consider making a donation to EarthJustice.
And if you'd like to help Maui pass a similar law sign their petition.
In our next diaries we'll take a look at the leaders fighting to protect Hawai'i from these corporations.