Timber's fallen: Efforts show promise for working conditions in Oregon forestry

This is Part III of a three-part series on the working conditions and treatment of Oregon's immigrant forestry workers.

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GUEST BLOG: Toxics in our Living Rooms

The comfortable chair that I just bought and sit in for hours each day is giving me a sore throat and making my eyes sting. I know that sounds crazy, but I’ve been experimenting for about a month now, and I can say for certain that after about a half hour of sitting in it – reading, doing my emails, or whatever – my throat starts to feel raw and I need to blink my eyes more. If I get up and move away from the chair, the symptoms dissipate until I go back there, and it starts again. I would just return the chair to the store, but there’s a no return policy. And if it’s actually emitting some sort of harmful chemical or fibers, I don’t want to give it away to an unsuspecting person who, like me, just wants to relax without side effects.

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BLOG: Helicopter herbicide sprays are poisoning Oregon…is it rigged or is it rogue?

Two years ago, there was little public awareness about the common industrial practice of using helicopters to spray thousands of acres of forests with herbicides. That was before the Cedar Valley spray case in which over forty people reported being sickened by exposure to a chemical soup raining down from an aerial herbicide spray. After all, who could really imagine that Oregon’s timber companies routinely hire helicopter pilots, dozens of hazardous chemical truck drivers and pesticide applicators to carry out a program of blanketing forestlands and streams with toxic chemicals?

It seemed unbelievable, until the public learned more.

Oregon agencies cite multiple pesticide violations and levy fines against helicopter company in a worker whistleblower case

Highly toxics pesticides should not be sprayed on workers, but the Oregon Department of Agriculture concluded that is what Oregon-based Applebee Aviation did to its employees. On September 30, the Department, which is responsible for regulating state and federal pesticide laws, issued a citation revoking the Applebee’s operating license in the state of Oregon and levying a fine of $1100.

The Bee, the Puppy and You!

This week national environmental leaders in bee protection, including Beyond Toxics, signed on to letters sent to Ace and True Value Hardware stores asking them to act now to protect bees! Our petition is for Ace and True Value to commit to not sell products containing systemic neonicotinoid pesticides harmful to bees, butterflies, birds and other wildlife.

Low-wattage legislators dim the lights on forestry practices reform

A year ago the editors of the Register Guard urged Oregon legislators to “shine a light on forest sprays.” Our low-wattage legislators did the opposite. Today aerial forest spraying continues unabated.

Communities sprayed with poisons remain in the dark while chemical lobbyists hold sway in the offices and back rooms of our legislature. The response from Oregon’s Legislature? No change to Oregon’s infamously outdated and weak Forest Practices Act.

Overspray

Dr. Tom Titus was a guest speaker at the Legislative Briefing Day for SB 613. SB 613 was introduced as the Public Health and Water Resources Protection Act in the 2015 Legislature. His presentation on amphibians and herbicide exposure was so informative that we asked him to submit his thoughts for the Beyond Toxics blog.

Dr. Titus wrote the following piece before it was announced that SB 613 was not going to get a hearing in the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee, chaired by Senator Chris Edwards.

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Chilling … public health ignored

Over the past year, the issue of exposure to toxic soups of herbicides and other chemicals from aerial helicopter sprays has spurred an outpouring of public indignation! Cases of outright poisoning or suspected harm have been reported in Lane, Curry, Tillamook and Douglas counties.

Portland joins Eugene as one of America's Most Bee-Friendly Cities!

Beyond Toxics’ idea to ask local governments to ban neonicotinoids started in Eugene with our proposal to the City Council. You remember...Eugene became “America’s Most Bee Friendly City!” in the early part of last year. Then the idea spread to Seattle, Spokane and Sacramento, as well as towns in Alaska, Minnesota and other states.

And today, the big news is that the Portland, Oregon has made good on their promise to Protect Portland’s Pollinators!

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Each of us can demand protections from aerial sprays!

On March 12th, Beyond Toxics and our partners in the Oregon Conservation Network hosted the first ever Oregon Legislative Briefing on Herbicides and Health. Over fifty Oregonians came from communities across the state to talk to their legislators about gaps in the Oregon Forest Practices Act that leave homes, schools and drinking water unprotected from pesticide drift, run-off and volatilization.

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Contact

Lane County Office
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Eugene, OR 97440

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