Spring 2013 Newsletter

The passage of House Bill 3364 means that Oregon’s public lands are safer for your children!

SPP_StoryConcept_website

House Bill 3364, known as the “Safe Public Places Bill,” has passed in both chambers of the Oregon legislature! On June 4th, Governor Kitzhaber signed the Safe Public Places bill into law. What this victory means: HB 3364 reduces the amount of toxic pesticides on public property, including protection of our six large state forests, our watersheds, our endangered fish and wildlife, and our fishing and camping areas. It requires protection of the offices, classrooms, and campuses of all public buildings, such as Oregon’s public universities. It requires protection of public parks and state highways, such as the scenic highways along Oregon’s beloved rivers. It includes protection of all who inhabit these public places. In fact, HB 3364 requires that all state agencies protect public health with a particular emphasis on children and the elderly. Reducing the amount of toxic pesticides means keeping thousands of gallons of chemical runoff from contaminating Oregon’s rivers, soils, and air. The passage of HB 3364 is a vital step toward increasing protection that is both a human rights issue and an environmental necessity. It manifests the tenacity, boldness, and vision Oregon’s environmental work is known for. The new law applies to you while you’re…

… hiking in Silver Falls State Park
… climbing in Smith Rock State Park
…driving along the picturesque Cascade Lakes State Highway
…picnicing amongst the cherry trees and fountains at the Oregon Capitol State Park
…fishing at Wallowa Lake State Park.

The new law is a significant victory for Beyond Toxics.Representative Alissa Keny-
Guyer (photo on right) led a delegation of legislators who supported the bill.

4-25-2013_RepKeny-GuyerReadsHB3364_ORHouse_TxtBox03The final law aligns with our mission to protect people and ecosystems from toxic
chemicals. This law follows on Beyond Toxics’ successful project to recommend and pass the 2009 Oregon School Integrated Pest Management bill that protects all K-12 students from pesticides on school grounds. These are monumental accomplishments that put Oregon out in front of other states to adopt environmental protections that are grounded in science, human rights and ethics.

Terrific reaction to HB 3364 passing from our many supporters around the state:

Congratulations on the state IPM bill passing the Senate and winging
its way to the Gov’s desk. This is such an important step forward. Thank you for doing the work you do. – Allison Hensey, Oregon Environmental Council

Thank you! Lisa and crew… thank you so much for this effort and
collaborative project. – Jill Davidson

Congratulations! This is a giant step forward for public health.
– Rachel’s Friends Breast Cancer Coalition

That’s awesome news! Congratulations, and thanks so much for all
your hard work! – Joanne Gross

“Wow, I just read the news…and it’s so fantastic! As I was reading, I had one of those moments of clarity…that now you’ve made this great achievement, it certainly paves the way for others across the globe to do the same thing. We’ll be able to point to Oregon as the living example of what can be done without pesticides. This is so powerful, and such a healing presence for the planet! I am just so dang proud of you…Way to go!”
– Patti Gora-McRavin, Safe Air For Everyone

See how your representatives in Salem voted

To see a history of the legislation, click here (Oregon Legislative Information System) and click on “Measure History”

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HUGE COAL TRAIN VICTORY IN LANE COUNTY!
by John Jordan-Cascade

Coal Victory - April 2013

Coal Trains through Lane County derailed!
The news came on April 2nd in a simple news report: COOS BAY, Ore. — The Port of Coos Bay ended its efforts with a California company to export coal. If the deal had gone through, it would have meant open cars of coal traveling right through Eugene. | Read the latest important developments and wins elsewhere in the Northwest!

The news brought us many kind words of appreciation from our supporters!

What welcome news! This is amazing. Words are inadequate – this is a stunning accomplishment! There is no adequate way to thank you for your hard work and persistence, Lisa – I thank you, your contributors and staff from the bottom of my heart (a phrase I don’t use but is needed here) as this issue was worrying me deeply. I too wrote and distributed my letters to our city council members, mayor and to our papers. Well done! And thank you for keeping up a fine website and all your own well researched writings.” ~ Leigh Henry

Stupendous!!!” ~ Bobbi Lindberg

YEEEEEESSSSSS!!!!! This is AWESOME!!! Thanks so much for all the hard work you do.” ~ Joanne Gross

Yay Lisa!! Thank You for caring about this so much!!” ~ Tim Greathouse

“Well done, one and all! I’m very proud of you.” ~ Victor Rozek


New Partnership! Beyond Toxics welcomes Portland’s Rachel’s Friends Breast Cancer Coalition

You may be familiar with Rachel’s Friends Breast Cancer
Coalition, a well-established, highly respected cancer prevention advocacy organization based in Portland. The Board of Directors of Rachel’s Friends reached out to Beyond Toxics with a unique proposal to combine our forces to mount advocacy work that reduces exposure to environmental carcinogens. The two organizations work to hold
corporations accountable for toxic chemicals in our homes, schools, workplaces, and
common consumer products. We advocate for laws and policies that promote
uncontaminated air, food, and water.

Rachel’s Friends’ name honors biologist Rachel Carson, considered to be the founder
of the modern day environmental health movement. In 1962, Carson’s book Silent Spring was published. It was the first book to expose the devastating effects of synthetic pesticides and to raise public concern about environmental pollution. Rachel Carson died of breast cancer before she received the recognition she deserved. Ultimately, Silent Spring galvanized the public into actions that led to the creation of the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency.

The partnership of Rachel’s Friends and Beyond Toxics strengthens our ability to advocate for environmental policies that advance the precautionary principle, community toxics right-to-know laws and policies, pesticide reform, healthy air and healthy homes. The solid reputation of Rachel’s Friends Breast Cancer Coalition and their emphasis on cancer prevention is an appropriate fit with the larger mission of Beyond Toxics to protect environmental health.

As part of this integration, Joanne Skirving, the Board Chair of Rachel’s Friends will join the Beyond Toxics Board. Also, retired Portland oncologist Dr. Nancy Crumpacker, one of Rachel’s Friends’ health care advocates and former board member, has joined the Beyond Toxics Advisory Board. The addition of Joanne and Nancy gives Beyond Toxics closer ties with Portland-area folks who support our goal for a clean and just Oregon.

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BEES AND CITY OF EUGENE

Eugene city government will try to cut the use of a pesticide suspected of killing honeybees.

At the request of Beyond Toxics and area bee­keepers, the city will seek to find an alternative to the neonicotinoid pesticide it has used to kill bugs on downtown flowers. City officials also have asked the contracted manager of municipally owned Laurelwood Golf Course to find a substitute for the pesticide.

We were able to educate City Councilors and City staff about the dangers of pesticides to our local honey bee populations, as confirmed through two major, recent European studies.


The Trainsong neighborhood is one of the most impoverished areas in need of study because of significant groundwater contamination concerns over the years.

The Trainsong neighborhood is one of the most impoverished West Eugene areas in need of soil quality study because of significant groundwater contamination concerns over the years.

MY GARDEN – WEST EUGENE
by Lisa Arkin

An innovative project that will encourage local gardening and food production has sprouted from Beyond Toxics’ Environmental Justice project. My Garden – West Eugene is a collaboration of neighborhood groups, Beyond Toxics, local schools, state, and federal partners, working together to address issues of safe ways to grow local vegetable gardens and public health concerns in the West Eugene Industrial Corridor. The West Eugene area is surrounded by heavy industry and possible sources of environmental contamination. The project came about during the 2011 and 2012 neighborhood canvassing project coordinated by Beyond Toxics and Centro Latino Americano. During those canvassing interactions, many residents in Bethel and Trainsong neighborhoods asked us: is the soil in my yard safe for gardening?

Beyond Toxics has pointed out that while the City of Eugene maintains six community gardens that offer garden plots, information, training, and matching grants to promote growing food, none are located in West Eugene neighborhoods.

To address the inequity of lack of government support and to answer questions about planting gardens, Beyond Toxics will initiate the My Gardens – West Eugene project. We will be working directly with the EPA Region 10 office to test the safety of soils so that we can promote safe urban gardening. The project involves residents themselves collecting soil samples from their yards or gardens, and bringing those samples to a mobile EPA laboratory. Their soil samples will be analyzed for metals contamination and possibly industrial solvents. Results of the soils analysis will be provided to the residents and experts will be on hand to help them interpret the results.

We are also planning workshops and training on gardening, soil amendments and organic methods. One of our advisory board members, Margarito Palacio, who is a local organic gardener and a member of the Huerta de Familia gardening cooperative, will be presenting gardening workshops in Spanish for local residents.

The benefits of urban gardening are well-recognized. According to the U.S. EPA, urban gardening can “provide a local source of fresh healthy food, increase surrounding property values, reduce environmental hazards, create biologically diverse habitats, reduce stormwater runoff, create jobs, promote physical activity, increase community connections, and attract economic activity.”

The My Garden – West Eugene concept offers a way to respond directly to concerns expressed by our local community. Beyond Toxics continues to demonstrate our commitment to achieving environmental justice and promoting non-toxic solutions to healthy living.


COMMENTARY: Toxic exposure against our will

by Lisa Arkin, Executive Director

Roundup, the herbicide that contains glyphosate, has gotten a lot of international press in the past week.  And none of it is good news for us living beings who are exposed to Roundup in our food and in the environment. The use of a chemical known to bring about serious harm, especially by the government and industry, is a form of chemical trespass; it is toxic exposure against our will.

peer-reviewed study conducted by researchers at MIT concluded that Roundup has a “negative impact on the body [that] is insidious and manifests slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body.”

Read the full blog here.


May 2013 AdOur Spring Membership drive: your support is greatly appreciated
This Spring, there are MANY reasons to be hopeful! Now, more than ever, protecting what you cherish is possible. Whether you are a treasured old friend or are new to our work, we encourage you to become a member! We hope you know: you can count on Beyond Toxics to be your vigilant advocate for a clean and just Oregon.


Our Campaigns
More About Beyond Toxics
Read Lisa Arkin’s latest blog post, “Toxic exposure against our will

For more questions, please email us: info@beyondtoxics.org or call our office in Eugene: 541-465-8860.