Kristin is Program and Policy Director with Pesticide Action Network, based in Oakland. She has worked on pesticide, toxics and sustainable agriculture issues for the past 20 years, including 2 years in Kenya. She loves to garden, play at the beach, and ride her road bike. She lives in San Jose with her husband and two teenage children.
Kristin is Program & Policy Director with Pesticide Action Network, based in Oakland. She has worked on pesticide, toxics and sustainable agriculture issues for the past 20 years, including 2 years in Kenya. She loves to garden, play at the beach
Blog Post List
July 29, 2014
Well, it's about time. The invisible problem of pesticide drift is on the policy radar in ways it's never been before — with changes in the wings that could protect kids and communities in very real ways. From California to the Midwest to our nation's capital, drift is now a focus of public concern and policy conversation. And as the science linking pesticide exposure to children's health harms continues to stack up, pressure to protect kids from pesticide drift is growing stronger as well. Here's the deal: In response to legal action by Pesticide Action Network and our partners — based in...
April 30, 2014
This is very powerful data. A new, first-of-its-kind report from California's Department of Health (DPH) shows that health-harming agricultural pesticides are being sprayed close to schools across the state. Not just a few pesticides, either — or a few schools. More than 500,000 California children in hundreds of schools spend their days within 1/4 mile of pesticide applications. Of these, more than 100,000 (mostly Latino) children in 226 schools attend classrooms near fields with the heaviest use of dangerous chemicals. We have a problem.
March 7, 2014
We hear a lot about how pesticides can undermine children's health. From derailing developing brains to bumping up the risk of childhood cancer, even low levels of exposure can wreak some serious havoc. It turns out dads should be concerned about how pesticides are affecting them too. Science shows that exposure to these chemicals can pose a serious threat to dad-hood itself. Sperm counts are down The news for would-be dads is not good. Worldwide, sperm counts are down and infertility rates are up. The Association of Reproductive Health Professionals points to concerning trends in male...
February 22, 2014
Scientists issued yet another wake up call last week, adding more chemicals to the list of those known to harm our children's brains. These neurotoxicants — including the common pesticide chlorpyrifos — are linked to falling IQs, increased risk of ADHD and other developmental disorders. Now here's the really extraordinary part of the story: the researchers conclude that it's time to "accelerate the translation of science into prevention." In other words, we need to do something about this problem. Now. The article, published in The Lancet , reviews the latest studies on neurodevelopmental...
January 9, 2014
Scan the ingredient list of many "antibacterial" soaps and body washes, and you'll find triclosan. This pesticide — yes, I said pesticide — is so widely used that it's now found in most of our bodies. And after decades of thinking about it, FDA is finally saying "enough." It turns out some significant risks are linked to triclosan, including altering how hormones work in our bodies, undermining our immune systems and making bacteria resistant to antibiotics. Oh, and according to FDA experts, it doesn't seem to get hands or bodies any cleaner than good old soap and water. Two things bubble up...
December 4, 2013
Earlier this week our partners in Asia released an in-depth, global study on children and pesticides. As a mom, I'm both deeply thankful for this report and profoundly frustrated that it needs to be written at all. Dr. Meriel Watts reviewed hundreds of scientific studies from around the world, and found that children across the globe face serious — and growing — health harms from exposure to pesticides. Her report then outlines clear, doable steps to making real change. Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Asia-Pacific's Executive Director Sarojeni Rengam makes the urgency of the problem very clear...
November 10, 2013
In the spring of 2012, we profiled a courageous mother from Argentina who took on Monsanto to protect her children and her community from pesticide harms. Sofia Gatica received the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize for her inspiring organizing efforts. Now the story continues. The Associated Press recently published an in-depth story on the spiraling use of pesticides in Argentina, and the resulting health harms. With careful and compelling reporting, the piece highlights how GE crops dramatically drive up pesticide use, and puts a human face — including Sofia's family and many others...
September 30, 2013
EPA is doing a better job protecting children's health, according to a new government report . This is very welcome news indeed — kudos to the agency for recognizing that when it comes to environmental harms, kids cannot be treated like little adults. The bad news? The report flagged one arena where kids' health protection is lagging: pesticide decisionmaking. Yikes. As we know from our recent A Generation in Jeopardy report, pesticide exposure is a biggy when it comes to childhood health harms. The GAO — or Government Accountability Office, for those of us outside the beltway universe —...
July 29, 2013
Seven years. Scientists tell us that's the window in the first years of life when children are most vulnerable to pesticide harms. That's also exactly how long EPA has — so far — delayed putting rules in place to protect kids from pesticides that drift from agricultural fields. Bottom line? While regulators think about what to do, an entire generation of rural kids has experienced increased risk of harms that can last a lifetime. Health risks from early life pesticide exposure are very real, and can be serious. Science points to falling IQs, ADHD, learning disabilities, birth defects and, in...
July 5, 2013
Ed Brown's new movie Unacceptable Levels tells the story of chemicals in our bodies: how they get there, what it means to our health, how in the world it can be legal, and what we can do about it. All this from the perspective of a young dad contemplating the food his family eats, the water they drink and that cute little rubber duck his kids chew on. Brown's personal journey, as he pulls back the veil on our chemically-saturated world, is well worth watching. I'll be at the film's July 11 screening in San Francisco along with other staff from PAN — if you're in the Bay Area, please join us!...
June 19, 2013
Happy Pollinator Week! We're celebrating here at PAN by calling attention to the plight of honey bees, and what can be done about it. What plight is that, you ask? Bees are actually in serious trouble, and our food and farming systems rely heavily on these vital pollinators. One in three bites of the food we eat — including summer favorites like raspberries, strawberries and watermelon — are pollinated by these amazing little creatures. Since about 2006, bees have been dying off in droves, and scientists say pesticides are part of the reason why. The worst losses yet Our beekeeper partners...
June 17, 2013
There's a new toxics bill in town. A few weeks ago, a draft law emerged in the Senate to overhaul the dramatically outdated national rules that govern "industrial chemicals" — aka the thousands of impossible-to-pronounce ingredients in everyday products, from household cleaners to couches, water bottles to children's toys. Major reform of these rules is long overdue, but unfortunately the new bill is problematic . Unless significantly strengthened, it won't do enough to protect the most vulnerable among us — particularly our children — from the harms of toxic chemicals. We can, and must, do...
May 11, 2013
I'm looking forward to Sunday morning. Breakfast in bed, flowers and chocolate — plus sweet, handmade cards from kids who often don't take the time to say thanks. What's not to like? But I also like the fact that Mother's Day was actually founded to celebrate moms taking action to protect their children and communities. And it's in that spirit that I'd like to honor all the moms working to keep kids safe from harmful pesticides — from my colleagues here in the PAN office to the thousands of supporters and partners taking action in the U.S. and around the world. You are amazing. Years ago, I...
May 8, 2013
We hear the Senate may consider confirming EPA's new leader this week. As we wait on the final vote, I've been thinking about what I'd say to Administrator-to-be Gina McCarthy if I had a chance to take her out for coffee and a chat, as she gets ready to step into her new role. Three things come to mind. First, I'd urge her to have the agency do a much, much better job following the science. Second, when that science points to human health or environmental harms, she needs to move fast — no dawdling allowed. And third, I'd remind her just exactly who she'll be working for. Because even though...
April 17, 2013
Experts at CDC recently released another round of data on how many kids in the U.S. are affected by autism and ADHD . The numbers are, once again, dramatically up. One in five boys are now diagnosed with ADHD by the time they reach high school. And one in 50 kids are on the autism spectrum, up from 1 in 88 just last spring. Interestingly, some of the news stories on these latest trends are — finally — noting the science linking pesticides and other chemicals with derailed brain development. This is exactly where the conversation needs to go. While there's still some simmering debate about...
February 22, 2013
Something's rotten in Denmark. Well, in DC actually. That's where the decision's been made — again and again and again — to keep a nasty insecticide called chlorpyrifos on the market. The result? A generation of kids is sicker and less smart. I'm truly not being melodramatic, though I admit the story of chlorpyrifos does make me hopping mad. I'm particularly riled at the moment because EPA is taking another look at this pesticide, and is once again overlooking known dangers to children's health and developing minds. What's up with that? More than a decade ago, products containing chlorpyrifos...
January 18, 2013
President Obama faces a profound decision as he considers who will step into Lisa Jackson's shoes. Over the past decade, EPA has become a lightening rod for the heated partisan debate about the size and role of government. The agency has also come to serve as a rhetorical punching bag for those determined to pit environmental protection against economic growth. The next EPA leader's stance on these big picture issues will inform decisions with very "small picture" impacts, decisions that will directly affect the health and well being of families across the country. From tackling pesticides in...
November 30, 2012
It makes no sense. FDA's decision this week to allow continued use of the neurotoxic pesticide lindane in children's lice shampoos has me completely stumped. The pesticide's use in pet products were withdrawn long ago. Then agricultural uses wer e pulled, back in 2006. Yet FDA just re-blessed the lindane products that put children most directly at risk, shampoos applied to their heads and lotions to their bodies. These products have been banned for years in dozens of countries — including by our neighbors in Mexico — and in California since 2001. What is FDA thinking?? It's not that there's...
November 29, 2012
When a child's health is on the line, moms will often stand up in truly courageous ways. Like the mothers in the small, rural community of Lindsay, California who were concerned about how pesticides were affecting their children. These central valley moms enrolled in a project back in 2006 to monitor how much chlorpyrifos — a commonly used insecticide — was drifting into their homes from nearby fields and orchards, using a simple " Drift Catcher " tool. They also signed up for biomonitoring, a way to find out how much of that pesticide was then making it into their bodies, and likely also...
November 20, 2012
Like others across the country, this Thursday I'll be joining extended family and friends to celebrate each other and the earth's bounty. I look forward to meeting up with cousins coming to town from distant cities, and enjoying the yummy dishes we'll all contribute to the feast. I'm also hoping we keep the acephate, methamidophos and chlorothalonil off the menu. (Easy for me to say, right?) Sadly, according to government testing , these hard-to-pronounce pesticides are among those commonly found on green beans. And they're not good for you. Green beans are among the pesticide-laden fruits...
- 1 of 3