The Fresno Coalition Against the Misuse of
Formed in July 1999, we are a
grassroots volunteer group working to reduce the harmful presence
of toxic pesticides and other chemicals in our air, water, and
mission: To reduce the level of pesticide use in the
San Joaquin Valley by educating the public about their misuse,
acting as a watchdog to the pesticide regulation agencies, and
promoting the role of organic agriculture in the Fresno community's food supply.
We want to reduce the amount of pesticides used in all areas of life: school, workplace, home, garden, recreation area,
roadside, field and farm... Contact us: Joan Poss (559) 227-6134 in
Fresno Judy Stege at firstname.lastname@example.org
FresCAMP works with and support education and
environmental groups, including:
By 1990, many residents of
Fresno became aware of pesticide exposure in our fertile agricultural
county, and began talking about the growing evidence of toxic
chemicals used around crops and in urban neighborhoods. In
1991, an action group was organized, which became known as the Fresno
Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides, or FresCAMP.
Some of the original members were Ingrid Carmean, Jill Fields, Jean
Hays, Cindy Hoops, Joan Poss, Stan Poss, Rose Rowe, Justin Rubin, and
The volunteers of FresCAMP
read the reports published by organizations like Pesticide Action
Network of North America (PANNA) and Californians for Pesticide
Reform(CPR). They attended conferences, and spoke at
legislative meetings about pesticides in our air, water, and soil.
Their goal was to educate themselves and others about the toxicity of
synthetic chemicals used on crops to kill weeds and insects.
They sought practical and available alternatives to toxic products,
such as roach traps, weeding hoes, and healthy garden bugs.
has always stood for positive alternatives to the use of unhealthy
man-made chemicals which
poison the air, water, and soil throughout
the past twenty years FresCAMP:
Convinced Fresno Unified
School District to stop regular spraying of Round Up in kindergarten play
Joined with Fresno Unified
School District to hold regular IPM meetings to help monitor use of
toxic chemicals on school property.
Contacted Fresno County
Supervisors and the Agricultural Commissioner about use of
Joined with Californians for
Pesticide Reform (pesticidereform.org)
on The “Safe Air for Everyone” (SAFE) Campaign and “Keep Methyl
Iodide out of California”.
Used grant money to distribute
safe cleaning posters (in Spanish and English) and buckets with
effective “old fashioned cleaners” like vinegar and soda to
the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) mothers in Madera.
Co-sponsored and ran the Green
Gardeners program with Fresno Metro Ministries to train professional
gardeners about Integrated Pest Management. (IPM encourages soil
enrichment, reduced water usage, and pesticide and herbicide free
yards and parks.)
Their efforts raised the
awareness of many residents of the Central Valley, and helped pass
legislation in Sacramento, like the Healthy Schools Act of 2000,
which in January 2001 put into place “right-to-know requirements”
such as notification, posting, and recordkeeping for pesticides used
at schools. Students, teachers, and neighborhoods are safer
today because of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) policies in action
in school districts. (IPM encourages the study of the
environmental cause of infestation and the use of least toxic
solutions, like baits.)
The work of the Fresno
Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides broadened. Toxic
pesticides were not the only concern of FresCAMP volunteers.
More scientific evidence was published in the last 10 years by groups
like the Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org)
about the toxic chemicals in our bodies and environment because of
our American lifestyle. Synthetic chemicals, such as
anti-bacterial triclosan, are used in popular home products like
toothpaste and shampoo, cleaning supplies, and building materials,
with no testing for safety or long-term environmental impact.
FresCAMP has produced and distributed brochures explaining toxic
warnings and giving alternatives for home, garden, and personal
grooming products and activities.
Another area of concern was
the proliferation of genetically modified crops in the American food
chain. During the same time that Europeans and Asians were banning
products with GMOs because of concern for the environment and citizen
health, American consumers were eating packaged food with many GMO
soy, corn, and canola ingredients. There is no way of knowing
if this diet is related to the poor health of so many Americans of
all ages today. After years of effort, in 2012 there was an on-going
statewide campaign to have the Label
GMOs California Initiative
on the November 2012 ballot. (www.labelgmos.org)
It failed, but efforts persist in California and other states to
label GMO food sources.
The volunteers of FresCAMP
have come and gone, but a few have continued on call for twenty years
to take action when needed. In 2012, the Fresno Chapter of
WILPF, The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom,
assumed sponsorship of FresCAMP’s commitment to provide Central Valley
citizens with information on positive alternatives for a sustainable,
non-toxic lifestyle. WILPF Earth Democracy/FresCAMP is our current
Peace and Freedom
items in our homes, such as paint,
plastics, household cleaners, fabric and stuffing on furniture, air
fresheners, or craft supplies, are
often toxic to humans and animals.
In 2009, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified
formaldehyde as a known human carcinogen,
causing leukemia. The EPA considers formaldehyde one of the major
toxins in smog. Also, formaldehyde is found in many consumer
products, including antiseptics, cosmetics, dish-washing liquids,
paints, fabrics, shoe-care agents, medicines, glues and adhesives,
nail polish, carpeting, furniture, and building materials. It is an
indoor toxin, causing illness from breathing.
Children’s toys which smell like plastic probably contain
phthalates, which are
suspected hormone disruptors. Other products which contain phthalates
are vinyl mini-blinds, food packaging, plastic wrap, and vinyl
“Active ingredients” in cleaning products are usually pesticides
added to kill bacteria, viruses, or molds. Avoid them—they are
hazardous chemicals. Use products which disclose all
ingredients on the label.
Disruptors are chemicals that may interfere with the body’s
endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive,
neurological, and immune effects in both humans and wildlife. Thyroid
problems, birth defects, and cancers may be caused by Endocrine
Federal legislation enacted in 1996 required the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) to develop a screening program to identify
potential Endocrine Disruptors. Not until October 2009 did any
testing begin. About 10,000 chemicals were listed to be screened.
In 2009 the EPA ordered the manufacturers of 67 pesticide
chemicals to determine whether their chemicals may disrupt endocrine
systems. Why are chemical
companies doing the testing?
Look for BPA-free
products. A 2010 report from the United States Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) warned of possible hazards to fetuses, infants,
and young children, so BPA is banned in baby bottles now. Yet most
aluminum and metal food cans have linings that contain BPA. This
plastic is generally hard, clear, and lightweight. Do not microwave
Educate yourself and
your family to reduce their risk and exposure to
Read labels carefully
on all personal care products.
Never use adult
products on babies and children.
Choose to take time
to use safer “old fashioned” cleaning
methods, like “elbow grease”.
Read labels on
everything you bring into your home
Keep up on
information about plastic products. Chemicals
are released when old plastic breaks down.
Refuse to use
products in home and yard that have warning labels (DANGER!
orWARNING! or CAUTION!)
or that advise calling the Poison Control Center if exposed to the
We all want to keep our
houses clean and healthy, but in our effort to do so, we use too many
products that contain chemicals, which can be toxic to all life,
especially children and pets in our homes, and fish and wildlife
downstream and in the ocean.
With these six
products, you can clean just about anything safely:
White vinegar Good
for killing germs and deodorizing cookware, countertops, carpet,
bathrooms, and drains. Dilute with water to avoid damaging the
surfaces and materials being cleaned.
Baking soda Used
for gentle scouring, absorbing odors, and water softening
An alternative to chlorine bleach; kills
germs and bleaches
Lemon juice Cuts
grease, bleaches, and deodorizes. Removes tarnish from metals,
except for silver.
Safe for skin, it’s an all-purpose cleaner, grease-cutter, and
disinfectant. Use to wash away insect trails.
can easily make decisions about our own homes and local environment
which will provide a healthy sustainable future for our children.
1. PLAN FOR PESTICIDE AND HERBICIDE FREE YARD
Read all directions and warnings on garden products you buy.
Stop using hazardous chemicals in your home and yard now.
Buy plants which repel pests. For example, basil repels
Learn about IPM (Integrated Pest Management) methods to
control weeds and insects.
Integrated Pest Management is the standard now recommended by most
agricultural universities around the world. Pests are identified;
then natural enemies and the least toxic biological techniques are
used to eliminate the pests. University of California IPM website: http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu
2. PRACTICE SAFE PEST CONTROL
Learn about beneficial insects which naturally occur in
Plant bushes and flowers to encourage birds and pollinators
to visit your neighborhood.
Buy plants which repel pests. For example, basil repels
Toss banana skins around rose bushes to deter aphids and
Learn about and use homemade repellants like vinegar or soap.
“Our Water, Our World“ is a website which assists consumers
in managing home and garden pests. Information available in English
and Spanish for printed reports. http://ourwatrourworld.org
3. EXERCISE WITH GARDEN TOOLS
Instead of going to the gym, grab your hula hoe and spend 30
minutes removing weeds and improving your health.
Bend and stretch to pluck snails in the morning or evening.
Check plants regularly for spots or insect damage; prune with
in your garden and enjoy it!
4. REDUCE WATER USAGE
Learn about low-water and low-maintenance landscaping.
Watch for water run-runoff or erosion, and adjust your
irrigation system for the most efficient, waste-free watering.
Mulch around trees and plants in hot weather
Remove decorative lawns and replace with drought-resistant
plants. This would save thousands of gallons of water a month
5. ENRICH THE SOIL
Purchase a compost bin or start a simple compost pile in a
corner of your yard away from the vegetable garden.
Allow leaves and litter to remain on the soil to decompose
and recycle back into the earth.
Learn about worms and nematodes which are disappearing from
our soil because of herbicide and pesticide use.
Use organic steer or chicken manure instead of chemical
plants and flowers
invite all to enjoy them!
Man-made chemicals from farms, factories, and homes have
accumulated in our water, soil, and air for the past 50 years. The
vast majority of these chemicals have not been tested for toxic
effects. At the same time, health issues like cancer, birth defects,
cognitive disorders, diabetes, and hormonal disruptions have
Today there is an increasing awareness that we need to use our
science and technology to protect our earth’s precious environment
from the effects of seven billion humans striving for a comfortable
lifestyle. We are reconnecting with the wisdom of long-lived ancient
cultures and practices which recycle, share resources, and remember
Principal of replenishing resources and taking the
least harmful action. Individual choices that families make each day
will ripple out to cultural and political action to protect our
future. Biodiversity is healthy, sustainable, and doable.
B.U.G.S Biological Urban Gardening Services The voice of Ecological Horticulture www.organiclandscape.com
Parents for a Safer Environment Reducing Chemical Exposure in
Contra Costa http://pfse.net