About 150 agricultural pesticides that the World Health Organization considers “hazardous” at some level to human health were used in the United States in 2017, according to U.S. Geological Survey data.
ByMarissa Plescia, Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting |
When Pam Uhlenkamp separated from her husband earlier this year, she knew the person to call.
As a farm business management instructor, Uhlenkamp mentors farmers one-on-one. When she notices they’re stressed, she refers them to the man who’s been the go-to counselor for Minnesota farmers for decades. The morning after the separation, she called him, and, by the afternoon, she sat opposite Ted Matthews.
“Today sucks. Tomorrow is going to suck. The next three weeks are going to suck,” Uhlenkamp remembered Matthews telling her in their first session.
“He was very honest with me,” she said. “Sometimes in life you kind of need the two-by-four across the head that says, ‘Yep, this is awful and this is the reality.’”
BySamuel Trilling, Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting |
Covid-19 could hamper the EPA’s ability to inform communities of health risks, according to a report released this month from the agency’s Office of Inspector General. Specifically, the inspector general’s office worried the EPA might not be able to inform residents who live near facilities with emissions that could cause cancer. In a separate report from late March, the office urged EPA to take “prompt action” to inform communities. As of the March report, the EPA and state agencies had not met with or reached out to residents around 16 of the 25 “high-priority” facilities, which are located primarily around cities in the South and Midwest. The June report detailed other concerns, including personnel shortages and cutbacks to routine inspections.
As more and more Smithfield workers in South Dakota fell ill with COVID-19, the company's workers at a Missouri plant contended with policies that made social distancing almost impossible, according to an affidavit from a plant worker filed in a lawsuit last week.
ByClaire Hettinger / Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting |
Last week, we hosted a discussion regarding our pesticide drift sensor project. Twenty-five people from various industries including scientists from the University of Illinois, local public health officials, the Champaign County Farm Bureau, and environmental focus groups gathered at the Champaign-Urbana Public Health Department as we presented our findings from the project and asked for their input.
A seven-state news investigation revealed plenty of problems facing rural patients but also a variety of creative attempts to solve them. The head of the National Rural Health Association puts it this way: “Everyone realizes we’re at a crisis point.”