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Heal Toxics is a member of the International POPs Elimination Network

This website provides resources on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) such as pesticides, dioxins, PCBs, and wastes. Valuable examples of community monitoring of health and environmental impacts of toxic chemicals are also furnished.

Further, there is an entire section devoted to chemical safety in its proper socio-political context or in relation to issues such as globalization and people's empowerment.

 

Filipino activist-scientist receives international award

by Resistance and Solidarity Against Agrochemical TNCs

The RESIST (Resistance and Solidarity Against Agrochemicals TNCs) announces and congratulates a Philippine scientist among its ranks who recently bagged a prestigious international award for his courageous research on pesticide poisoning by a banana plantation in Mindanao.

Toxicologist Dr. Romeo Quijano, president of PAN Philippines (Pesticide Action Network), a professor in the University of the Philippines and RESIST Convenor, is one of the five recipients of the 2005 Jenifer Altman Awards of the Upstream Fund that will commence on August 2005.

The Jenifer Altman Awards this year honors the pursuit of science in the public interest, and highlight five scientists who have held true to their belief in the scientific process, and the public’s right to full information.

“In some cases, the publication of their research brought these scientists international attention, not only for the importance of their research, but also for the firestorm that followed. Questioning and debate is a critical part of the scientific process. But each of these scientists faced more than a healthy debate among colleagues.

As they remained committed to bringing the best available science to the public, private interests threatened their research, reputations, and livelihoods. We honor these scientists for holding fast to their belief in scientific freedom and dissent, even as these principles, and they themselves, are under fierce attack,” said Marni Rosen, Executive Director of the Jenifer Altman Foundation.

Dr. Quijano, who is also a consultant of the Department of Health in the Philippines and Southern Co-Chair of the International POPs Elimination Network, has dedicated his life to improving the life of the rural poor by teaching communities about the dangers of agrochemical pesticides used widely and irresponsibly in the countryside.

In a 1997 study conducted by Quijano at the request of farmers in Kamukhaan, Digos, Davao del Sur, he found that the pesticides used on the neighboring banana plantation (LADECO) were adversely affecting the human and ecological health of that community.

LADECO is owned by the influential family of Cito Lorenzo, former secretary of the Department of Agriculture and adviser of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Publication and wide dissemination of his findings resulted in both a libel and civil suit. In 2003, the libel case was dismissed but the civil case against against Dr. Quijano and his daughter remains. Lately, he has faced death threats as a result of his continuous defense of the health of Kamukhaan villagers in the midst of LADECO management’s moves to silence dissent within the community.

Other recipients of the Jenifer Altman Award include Tyrone Hayes, PhD and Ignacio Chapela, PhD from the University of California, Berkeley; Frederick vom Saal, PhD from the University of Missouri, Columbia; and Shanna Swan, PhD from the University of Rochester.

Recipients of the award will receive USD $5,000 each.

RESIST, an alliance of 52 NGOs and peasant organizations in the Philippines, says that it is about time that activist-scientists like Dr. Quijano are given due recognition for work that is usually thankless in the mainstream scientific community.

Dr. Quijano is currently working on an alternative livelihood project for Kamukhaan villagers who continue to suffer under unabated pesticide spraying by LADECO.

Note to Editor:

THE JENIFER ALTMAN FOUNDATION is a private foundation dedicated to the vision of a socially just and ecologically sustainable future through program interests in environmental health and mind-body health. Jenifer Altman was a Senior Research Associate at Commonweal, a health and environmental research institute in Bolinas, California. She established the Jenifer Altman Foundation shortly before her death in 1991.
The Jenifer Altman Foundation (JAF) manages the Barbara Smith Fund and the Environmental Health Programs of the Mitchell Kapor Foundation (MKF) and the StarFire Fund (SFF).

Contact information:
Marni Rosen, Executive Director
Jenifer Altman Foundation
P.O. Box 29209, San Francisco, CA 94129
Tel: 415-561-2188
Fax: 415-561-6480
Web: www.jaf.org

©heal toxics, 2003
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