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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.


Socio-Political Context

Toxic Chemicals and the Struggle for People´s Health
by Dr. Romeo F. Quijano (PAN Philippines) at the 2nd People's Health Assembly at Cuenca, Ecuador

"It is therefore necessary, to always ensure that the campaign for a poison-free environment is integrated with the people’s struggle for land, food security and other fundamental social, political and economic rights."

The Law For Food Facism:The Proposed Food Safety & Standards Bill 2005
by Devinder Sharma

"The (Indian) Government has drafted a Food Safety and Standards Bill 2005 as an “Integrated Food Law” which has been prepared with the intention to be contemporary, comprehensive, and ensure better consumer safety through food safety management systems and settling standards based on science and transparency as also meeting the dynamic requirements of international trade and Indian Food Trade and Industry. Clearly, the law has been designed to lubricate international trade and the expansion of the global agribusiness. Consumer health, nutrition, and food culture are not even mentioned as objectives of the integrated food law."

Farmers are not ‘day-blind’: They can see the harmful effects of Golden Rice
by Farida Akhter & Farhad Mazhar

"Geographically Bangladesh belongs to the origin of diversity areas of the world. Government failed to clarify the reasons to take such decision of endorsing GMOs that poses threat to human health, environment and to the farming communities. The genetically engineered rice variety that is going to be introduced has for long been criticised by scientists, farmers and activist as a gimmick and have no agronomic value."

Bringing back our stolen future: Perspective for a Poison-Free Future
By Dr. Romeo Quijano, HEAL Toxics read full text

"The problem is much more than the poisonous chemicals. We have to recognize that there are the poison-pushers, the transnational agro-chemical companies (TNCs) that aggressively promote and monopolize the basic elements of the food system such as seeds and agro-chemicals inputs."

This essay explains why the directions for the campaign against pesticides must be integrated with the people’s struggle for land, food security and other fundamental social, political and economic rights.

The Rice Bowl That Breeds Injustice
By the Brotherhood of IRRI Support Services Group read full text

"It was regrettable that the institute seeking to provide the rice bowl for the world has brought death and injustice instead. Filipino workers were stricken with dreaded diseases as result of their chronic exposure to pesticide and chemical which is the main thrust of IRRI’s research paradigm. Numbers have died but IRRI remains unaccounted."

A statement of BISSIG in protesting the 43th anniversary of IRRI in the Philippines last 2003.

Pesticide and Biotech Companies: The Wrong Partners for the World Bank
By Marcia Ishii-Eiteman and Jessica Hamburger, PANNA read full text

"When it comes to agricultural development, the World Bank’s business partnerships tend to benefit large pesticide and biotech corporations more often than poor farmers. The partnerships promote increased use of pesticides and genetically engineered crops, jeopardizing the health of farmers participating in World Bank-financed projects and the ecological stability of their farming systems."

This report explores the World Bank’s notorius reputation for entering partnerships with agrochemical transnationals, and how these partnerships are used by the companies to promote hazardous chemicals worldwide.

Elements of the Precautionary Principle
By Dr. Romeo Quijano, HEAL Toxics and PAN Philippines read full text

“In fact, “science-based” risk assessment is not the decisive factor in determining the regulatory status of a toxic chemical. The reality is that corporate interests and political expediency are the dominant considerations influencing regulatory decisions pertaining to toxic chemicals.”

This paper highlights the following elements of the precautionary principle as an alternative to risk-based assessment: Preventive, Reverse Onus, Elimination, Community-Oriented, Alternatives Assessment, Uncertainty is a Threat, Technically/Scientifically Sound, Information Unrestricted, Open, and Need-Based.

Upholding people’s control on agriculture
By AGHAM- Advocates of Science and Technology for the People

“The governments that adopted IRRI programs, under the direction of the CGIAR, imposed upon their farmers a scheme that shall increase harvest though the heavy use of chemical inputs. After the so-called “Green Revolution” farmers are more impoverished and poisoned by the very chemicals they used. Our farmlands have been devastated and our rice gene pool depleted. After years of following IRRI programs, the country is nowhere near establishing its own rice industry, and is in fact importing increasing amounts of rice every year.”

A paper presented in a People’s Street Conference protesting The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research’s Annual General Meeting in the Philippines last 2002.

Avian Flu: one more indictment of unsafe industrial food production
By Pesticide Action Network Asia and the Pacific

Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Asia and the Pacific calls for more ecologically sustainable, safe and humane poultry farming practices.

Answering the Critics of Precaution
by John Montague, Rachel's Environment and Health News

"The old way asked the question, "How much harm is acceptable" or "How much harm can we get away with?" and then tried to limit activities to keep the harm within those boundaries. And the burden of proof of harm was placed on those being harmed-it was up to them to prove they were being harmed before alternative actions would be considered."

Rice wars!
by the Institute of Science in Society

Rice is the current target of genetic modification, an activity that has greatly intensified after the rice genome was announced two years ago. Since then, all major biotech giants are investing in rice research. At the same time, a low-input cultivation system that really benefits small farmers worldwide has been spreading, but is dismissed by the scientific establishment as "unscientific". This is one among several recent innovations that increase yields and ward off disease without costly and harmful inputs, all enthusiastically and widely adopted by farmers.

A war is building up between the corporate establishment and the peoples of
the world for the possession of rice. The food security of billions is at stake, as is their right to grow the varieties of rice they have created and continue to create, and in the manner they choose.

Collusion and Corruption in GM Policy
by the Institute of Science in Society

Claire Robinson uncovers some uncomfortable truths about the machinations of the pro-GM establishment in Britain.

No to GM Oilseed Rape GT73
by the Institute of Science in Society

Monsanto has applied to import its GM oilseed rape GT73 into Europe for use in animal feed and processing. The Scientific Panel on GMOs of the European Food Safety Authority has given it a favourable opinion, and there will soon be a vote on it at the Council of Ministers. Here's a description of what it is and why it should be rejected.

Report Highlights Corporate Control at USDA
by Agribusiness Accountability Initiative

A recent report on food industry influence at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) concludes that corporate influence over the agency has reached a crisis point. "USDA Inc: How Agribusiness Has Hijacked Regulatory Policy at the U.S. Department of Agriculture" describes the links between USDA appointees and agrochemical or food industry corporations, trade groups and consulting firms that have undermined the regulatory mission of the agency in favor of the interests of agribusiness.

From Theory to Action: Implementing the WSSD Global Initiative on Children's Environmental Health Indicators
by World Health Organization

This paper provides the basis for putting the Global Initiative on Children's Environmental Health Indicators (CEHI), launched at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, into practice. This roadmap outlines the operational and technical processes for implementing the development, collection and reporting of indicators at the regional and country level.

Selected stories on the People's Caravan 2004
by Pesticide Action Network Asia and the Pacific

For the whole month of September 2004, different NGOs and people's organizations toured around Asia and several countries in Europe to assert people's food sovereignty and reject poisons in land and food.

Nepal: People's Caravan culminates in Nepal
India: Bhopal- The Toxic Effect; Indigenous people's lives poisoned
Indonesia: Organic Village 2004
Cambodia: People say no to pesticides
Malaysia: "Human beings" missing in current Pesticide Act; Silent killer and wrecker of homes in Asia
Thailand: Farmers proud to practice sustainable agriculture
Philippines: Farmers confront officials with food sovereignty issues

Sustainable Agriculture: Critical Ecological, Social & Economic Issues
by Institute of Science in Society

Martin Khor, Director of the Third World Network, discusses the choices facing developing countries and policy makers, and suggests some ways forward.

"Agriculture is perhaps the most outstanding issue and challenge for sustainability. To attain the `sustainable development' goal requires urgent actions on three fronts - the ecological, the social and the economic. There is a looming crisis and possible calamity developing in this all-important sector that must be urgently addressed, as it impacts on the livelihoods of most of the world's people and everyone else's food needs."

The State of Philippine Biodiversity: Changing Landscapes Amidst the Crisis
by Dr. Perry Ong, University of the Philippines- Institute of Biodiversity

This paper describes how rich in biodiversity the Philippines is, the major crises emerging as a consequence of its current state, and the changing mindscapes needed for success to be realized.

"The Philippines is an archipelago of more than 7,100 islands. Its complex geological history and long periods of isolation from the rest of the world are primary reasons for its high levels of biological diversity and endemism...The Philippines is also considered as one of the 17 megadiversity countries, which between themselves contain 70 to 80 percent of global biodiversity...Unfortunately, we have lost more than 93 percent of our original forest cover in the last five hundred years."

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©heal toxics, 2003
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