Pesticide Action Network

Share

Pesticide Action Network North America Regional Center (formerly known as Pesticide Education and Action Project) is an Oakland, California-based 501c3 non-profit campaigning, regulatory and advocacy organization founded in Malaysia in 1982 and incorporated in California on October 24, 1984. It is one of five collaborating PAN Regional Centers worldwide. All five Pesticide Action Network units work “to replace the use of hazardous pesticides with ecologically sound and socially just alternatives” and to ban all commercial food production technologies involving genetically modified plants and organisms (GMOs). The PAN network conceived the “Dirty Dozen” list of target pesticides that gained attention and growth for the emerging anti-pesticide movement in the United States.

 

Money

  • PAN North America 2014 Assets: $1,299,387 including $390,574 in publicly traded securities
  • PAN North America 2014 Income: $2,266,144; 2013 income $2,946,088
  • PAN North America spent $2,596,612 on lobbying and related expenses during 2014
  • PAN North America spent $216,269 on fundraising in 2014
  • PAN North America spent $1,725,483 on salaries in 2014
  • PAN North America received during the group’s history 366 grants from 85 foundations totaling $18,694,914.

 

Power

  • Regulatory Dockets: PAN North America submitted recommendations and petitions to 170,888 dockets of more than 10 federal agencies. View all dockets from PAN North America.
  • Notices, Rules, Proposed Rules: PAN North America submitted recommendations, comments and studies to 264,490 dockets of more than 10 federal agencies. View all Notices, Rules, Proposed Rules of interest to PAN North America.

Network Interactions

Top ten PAN North America contributors, ranked by amount:

  • CEDAR TREE FOUNDATION INC $2,619,733;
  • MARISLA FOUNDATION $2,340,000;
  • THE CALIFORNIA ENDOWMENT $2,007,357;
  • THE CALIFORNIA WELLNESS FOUNDATION $825,000;
  • CLARENCE E HELLER CHARITABLE FOUNDATION $765,000;
  • CERES TRUST $735,300;
  • KENDEDA FUND $600,000;
  • C.S. FUND $590,656;
  • KRESGE FOUNDATION $590,000;
  • JOHN MERCK FUND $573,000.

Background and History

According to Pesticide Action Network’s IRS filings, the organization is charged with “link[ing] local and international consumer, labor, health, human rights, environment and agriculture groups into an international citizens’ action network. This network challenges the global proliferation of pesticides, defends basic rights to health and environmental quality, and works to ensure the transition to a just and viable society. (IRS Form 990).”

Generally, the actions of PAN North America are primarily mass comment campaigns to federal agencies, litigation and lobbying against corporations, and rhetorical opposition to aspects of capitalism in publications, studies and public statements. All collaborators are part of the social or political left in word and deed. PAN North America gives no grants, no member benefits, and no financial or medical aid according to its IRS Form 990.

Development

Anwar Fazal, a Malaysian economist, is the father of the Pesticide Action Network. He was awarded an Eisenhower Fellowship in the United States in 1972 and returned home to become president of the International Organization of Consumers Unions. There, in May of 1982, he became the motivating force behind a five day workshop in Penang, Malaysia, that brought together 40 people from 20 countries. From that conference, Pesticide Action Network (PAN) was born.

Fazal created the “local/global action network” format for social change activists through his Consumers Association of Penang (1969); the system, and the organization, earned him the Eisenhower Fellowship. He later formed the International Baby Food Action Network in 1979, the Health Action International in 1981, and the Pesticide Action Network in 1982, using the same format. The format did not require charismatic leaders and allowed grassroots groups to find local solutions and disperse ideas globally, a key to effective activism, and an innovation that immediately attracted grants from several progressive foundations.

The idea for the Pesticide Action Network resulted from a “right-time, right place” coincidence in The Hague, Netherlands, at the 1981 World Consumer Congress where Fazal spoke. During breaks Fazal met members of the Union of Dutch Scientists, OXFAM/UK and the small group, Mondial Alternative, each of whom had their own reasons to focus on growing worldwide pesticide use, particularly in “the Global South,” as developing nations became known regardless of actual geography. After much talk the little assemblage decided to hold a pesticides-only conference in Malaysia. They found sponsors in Panang: the International Organization of Consumers’ Unions, of which Fazal was then president, and Sahabat Alam Malaysia (Friends of the Earth/Malaysia). The Pesticide Action Network was a natural outgrowth of the resulting five-day meeting.

Collaborator Network 

Branches include PAN North America, U. K., Germany, Mexico, Asia and Pacific, and Africa. Allies and collaborators: Earthjustice; California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc.; United Farm Workers of America; Californians for Pesticide Reform; Pesticide Watch; Pesticide Watch Education Fund; Worksafe; Communities and Children; Advocates Against Pesticide Poisoning.

Controversies

Anti-Pesticide Efforts

In 2010, a Wired Magazine article entitled Leaked Memo Shows EPA Doubts About Bee-Killing PesticideBrandon Keim revealed that PAN leaked and publicized a memo from the Environmental Protection Agency, indicating that the Federal agency suspected the crop spray clothianidin, manufactured by German agrochemical company Bayer, as a factor in “colony collapse disorder.” The pesticide is banned in Europe, but under conditional approval for use in the US.

In January of 2011, PAN North America joined with several other organizations in a lawsuit against the state of California, challenging the state’s approval of methyl iodide, a pesticide commonly used on strawberries. According to eNews Park Forest, the Network organized a “coalition of  farmworkers, community advocates and environmental health organizations are announcing a lawsuit to challenge the state’s approval of the cancer-causing strawberry pesticide methyl iodide,” the day Governor Jerry Brown took office. PAN also solicited comments on the pesticide from approximately 52,000 members of the public urging quick action to repeal the pesticide’s conditional approval.

Anti-GMO Efforts

PAN is heavily involved in “anti-GMO” efforts, focusing much of its efforts on several corporations who are heavily involved in producing genetically modified crops. According to PAN’s website, they regularly target the “Big 6,” as they call them – Monsanto, Dow, BASF, Bayer, Syngenta and DuPont – claiming that these corporations have “historically unprecedented power over world agriculture” which enables them to influence trade, agribusiness and market competition. PAN claims that this leads to widespread poverty and food insecurity, though it does not demonstrate any specific connection between these corporations’ profits and any prospective impact on global crops.

PAN engages in several tactics designed to prevent public acceptance of GMO foods, including an effort to mandate labeling of “genetically modified” foods at the Federal level, claiming that the US is far behind other countries in recognizing the “dangers” of genetically modified crops and other biotech foods. On July 24, 2015, the House of Representatives voted 275-150 against PAN’s efforts, passing a bill that banned state laws designed to force food manufacturers to label “genetically modified” foods. PAN has also voiced concerns over efforts by the National Academy of Science’s National Research Council (NRC) effort to put together a comprehensive research study on the physiological effects – or lack thereof – of consuming biotech foods. PAN claimed that a “balanced” research panel would look not only at the health impacts, but also at the economic and social impact of corporate involvement in global agriculture.

 

PAN has been criticized in the past for adopting an anti-GMO stance because of the positive impact it has on PAN’s economic stability.