American Sustainable Business Network Endorses The Protect America’s Children From Toxic Pesticides Act

November 22, 2021

Earlier today, Senator Booker (D-NJ) introduced the Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act to amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

To fully protect the safety of children, workers, and the environment and to remove dangerous pesticides from use in the U.S. The American Sustainable Business Network (ASBN) endorses this breakthrough act and for many years has been a leader in creating a healthier future for children through its Safer Chemicals initiatives, including the Childhood Cancer Prevention Institute.

FIFRA contains many loopholes that put the interests of the pesticide industry above the health and safety of people and our environment. Each year the United States uses over a billion pounds of pesticides — nearly a fifth of worldwide use.

Once they’re approved pesticides often remain on the market for decades, even when scientific evidence overwhelmingly shows a pesticide is causing harm to people or the environment. Approximately one-third of annual U.S. pesticide use — over 300 million pounds from 85 different pesticides — comes from pesticides that are banned in the European Union.

“We wholeheartedly endorse this critically-needed act to help defeat childhood cancer and improve worker safety, which requires the end of the production and use of toxic chemicals,” said David Levine, President of the American Sustainable Business Network. “Businesses can be part of the solution to pediatric cancer by voicing their support of this act and transitioning to safer chemicals and products free of toxic chemicals.” ASBN member businesses and investors are calling for all companies to commit to producing and using safer materials and products that don’t make children sick or cause cancer and to support public policies to regulate toxic chemicals and incentivize safer chemicals.

“EarthKind was founded on the principle that our natural ecosystems need protection, pests included. We created naturally smarter® solutions for an industry — the pest control industry — that sorely needed innovation, across all constituencies. There’s no need to use toxic chemicals when there are safer solutions to commercialize. As business owners, we need to take the lead, and policy makers need to step up. It’s high time we bring FIFRA policy up to date to not only protect the health of our children and the planet, but to facilitate the inclusion of innovation that builds a more sustainable economy,” said Kari Warberg Block, Founder & CEO EarthKind, an ASBN member.

“Children are our most precious gift, and we want to do everything we can to protect them. The science is irrefutable – toxic chemicals, including many common pesticides, are responsible for an increase in childhood cancers. This legislation will make a tremendous difference in the lives of children and their families, and we urge Congress to pass it quickly. Whether it’s pesticides, solvents, or cleaning products, we need to create restrictions and incentives to ensure that manufacturers create safer products for the places where children live, play, and go to school,” said Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks, President & CEO, ECOS, an ASBN member.

“Our mission is to change the way industries operate. There are safer, healthier alternatives out there, and we want everyone to know it. We should never resort to using questionable, hazardous chemicals and materials in mattresses and everyday products. Even today, when manufacturers are aware of the harmful effects of insidious chemicals, they still use them and babies and children are suffering needlessly because of it. Amending FIFRA is a step in the right direction in the battle to eliminate toxic chemicals and pesticides, but we must also ensure that there are no ‘regrettable substitutions’ as one banned substance is replaced with another,” said Barry A. Cik, Board Certified Environmental Engineer, Founder and Technical Director of Naturepedic, an ASBN member.

“The link between pesticides and childhood diseases such as cancer and neurological damage is well established. There can be no justification, economic or otherwise, for continued use of those pesticides known to cause harm to our most innocent and most vulnerable citizens, our children. Indeed, the costs to injured children, their families, and our communities far outweigh the economic benefits to any corporation and its shareholders. Passing the Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act (PACTPA) is both a moral imperative and an economic imperative. Congress should not delay passing this law,” said Martin Wolf, Director, Sustainability & Authenticity for Seventh Generation, an ASBN member.

The Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act of would provide desperately needed improvement to better protect people and the environment from the harms caused by dangerous pesticides, including:

Bans some of the most damaging pesticides scientifically known to cause significant harm to people and the environment:

  • Organophosphate insecticides, which are designed to target the neurological system and have been linked to neurodevelopmental damage in children;
  • Neonicotinoid insecticides, which have contributed to pollinator collapse around the world and have recently been shown to cause developmental defects, heart deformations, and muscle tremors in unborn children;
  • Paraquat, which is one of the most acutely toxic herbicides in the world, which is already banned in 32 countries, including the European Union.

Restores balance to protect ordinary citizens by removing dangerous pesticides from the market by:

  • Creating a petition process to enable individual citizens to petition the EPA to identify dangerous pesticides so that the EPA would no longer be able to indefinitely allow dangerous pesticides to remain on the market;
  • Closing dangerous loopholes that have allowed the EPA to issue emergency exemptions and conditional registrations to use pesticides before they have gone through full health and safety review by the agency;
  • Enabling local communities to enact protective legislation and other policies without being vetoed or preempted by state law;
  • Suspending the use of pesticides deemed unsafe by the E.U. or Canada until they are thoroughly reviewed by the EPA.

Provides protection for frontline communities that bear the burden of pesticide exposure by:

  • Requiring employers of farmworkers to report all pesticide-caused injuries to the EPA, with strong penalties for failure to report injuries or retaliating against workers;
  • Directing the EPA to review pesticide injury reports and work with the pesticide manufacturers to develop better labeling to prevent future injury;
  • Requiring that all pesticide label instructions be written in Spanish.

The Childhood Cancer Prevention Initiative 

The Childhood Cancer Prevention Initiative is a collaborative effort to improve children’s health by engaging scientists and health professionals to review and interpret research; helping manufacturers and retailers drive a shift in business practices; and encourage elected officials to implement responsible state and federal policies. We learn from the experiences of parents, workers, businesses and communities, and provide them with information and tools to avoid exposure to potentially dangerous substances and exercise their power to shift the marketplace.

The American Sustainable Business Network (ASBN) is a partner to businesses and the investor community to bring collective wisdom and public policy solutions to the systemic issues negatively impacting our society and planet. Founded through the merger of the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) and Social Venture Circle (SVC), ASBN rejects short-term thinking narrowly focused on just shareholder value in favor of capitalism based on creating long-term value and being accountable to all stakeholders: owners, workers, families, community, environment, state, nation, and world. As a multi-issue, membership organization advocating on behalf of every business sector, size, and geography, ASBN and its association members collectively represent over 250,000 businesses across our networks.

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