(Reuters) – An estimated 2 million U.S. farm workers, children and others who work or live near farm fields will have more protection from hazardous pesticides under changes unveiled Monday by federal officials.
The changes to the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard should reduce the risk of injury and illnesses from contact with pesticides on farms and in forests, nurseries and greenhouses, according to officials with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Labor.
“We depend on farm workers every day… they deserve fair, equitable working standards with strong health and safety protections,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said in a statement.
Each year, between 1,800 and 3,000 occupational incidents involving pesticide exposure are reported from the farms, forests, nurseries and greenhouses covered by the Worker Protection Standard, the EPA said. That range is thought to be lower than the actual number of incidents that occur, the agency said.
The EPA said it is additionally concerned about low level, repeated exposure to pesticides that may contribute to chronic illness as well.
More than 48.1 million Americans lived in households that were struggling against hunger in 2014, according to new data on food insecurity released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service. The 2014 numbers were a slight decline (of fewer than a million people) from 2013, with the rate declining from 15.8 to 15.4 percent.
It’s a contradiction in the starkest terms. The nation’s most food-insecure children are also at the greatest risk for childhood obesity, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association in September.
The study surveyed more than 7,000 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 18, finding that participants from the most food insecure households — defined in the study as having “marginally low,” “low,” and “very low” food security — were 33 to 44 percent more likely to be overweight and 1.5 times more likely to be obese.
Obesity is linked to a host of health problems, including a higher risk for cardiovascular disease, pre-diabetes, bone and joint problems, as well as psychological problems such as stigmatization and low self-esteem, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The United States Department of Agriculture defines food security as “access by all people at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life.” People who do not have access to enough food for a healthy, active life are considered food insecure. Fourteen percent of U.S. households qualify as food insecure at some point during the year, a number that rises to almost 20 percent among households with children, according a 2013 USDA report.
Find the report here: http://jaoa.org/article.aspx?articleid=2432876
August 12, 2015
In 2010, 20.7 percent of New York City residents received SNAP benefits, while 63 percent of St. Louis residents (and 63 percent of children in that city) depended on the program. The cost of living rose in June for the fifth consecutive month, driven in large part by skyrocketing rents in U.S. cities. Nico Lang, in this op-ed, writes that he has had to apply for SNAP in New York City because of high rent, “steep student loan bills,” and the city’s daily cost of living – even though he has a full time job. He grew up on SNAP, relied on the program in college, and hoped he would be off the program once he got a full-time job.
Read more about who’s on food stamps: http://theweek.com/articles/569285/have-masters-degree-fulltime-job–im-still-applying-food-stamps
USDA’s National Household Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey (FoodAPS) is the first nationally representative survey of American households to collect unique and comprehensive data about household food purchases and acquisitions. Detailed information was collected about foods purchased or otherwise acquired for consumption at home and away from home, including foods acquired through food and nutrition assistance programs. The survey includes nationally representative data from 4,826 households, including Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) households, low-income households not participating in SNAP, and higher income households.
Learn more about the findings: http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/foodaps-national-household-food-acquisition-and-purchase-survey.aspx
USDA is proposing for the first time to permit grocery purchasing and delivery services run by government and non-profit organizations to accept SNAP benefits as payment, allowing for home delivery to those unable to shop for food…Nationally, only 42 percent of eligible elderly individuals participate in SNAP, compared to 83 percent for all people who are eligible.
“Home delivery of groceries is an important step forward in serving the needs of these vulnerable populations. Allowing homebound seniors and people with disabilities to use their SNAP benefits through government and non-profit home delivery services will help ensure they have access to healthy foods.” ~Secretary Vilsack
“This issue has a particular importance for seniors living in rural areas, as America’s rural population is older than the nation overall and rural seniors experience higher poverty than seniors nationwide.”
Authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, the proposed rule outlines eligibility and participation criteria for purchasing and delivery services serving the homebound elderly and disabled, and seeks comment from stakeholders.
In addition, USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service will soon begin seeking up to 20 food purchasing and delivery services to participate in a one year pilot program. Lessons learned during the pilot will used to help shape the final rule.
If they finish their sentences and comply with any terms of parole, Texans convicted on felony drug charges soon will be able to receive food stamps, though another strike will put them back under a lifetime ban.
Earlier this month, Gov. Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 200 — a sunset law partially consolidating the state’s health and human services system — which included an amendment making people with felony drug convictions eligible for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Previously, a drug conviction meant a lifetime ban from food stamps.
Many states that opted to bar drug felons from SNAP for life when it was created in 1996 are now reversing course.
The change prevents people “from being held hostage for a crime that they did and paid for decades ago,” said Rachel Cooper, senior policy analyst for the Center for Public Policy Priorities.
Not your average school bus, the CHOW Bus of Murfreesboro, TN, is used to deliver free hot meals to youths 18 and under during the summer break. To see the NBC News segment, click here.
So what does it mean to be hungry?
That’s a question that occurred to us as we read some encouraging news: The world isn’t as hungry as it used to be.
A U.N. report has noted that 795 million people were hungry in the year 2014. That’s a mind-boggling number. But in fact it’s 200 million lower than the estimated 1 billion hungry people in 1990.
The improvement is especially impressive because the world population has gone up by around 2 billion since the ’90s.
And the rate of hunger is also declining. Only 12.9 percent of the population in developing regions are hungry today, compared to 23.3 percent a quarter century ago.
Here’s a look at what hunger is like — and why it’s declining.
The Hungry Person’s Diet
The world’s hungry people consume fewer than the 2,000 or so daily calories the average person needs to survive (the amount varies based on age, gender and energy expended).
There are two reasons for this calorie deficit, says Pedro Sanchez, director of Agriculture and Food Security Center at Columbia University. There’s acute hunger: When sudden conflicts and disasters like a drought leave people starving.
That accounts for less than 10 percent of the hungry population, according to the World Food Program.
The more prevalent type is chronic hunger, which happens mainly in rural areas and among the poorest of the poor.
People who are chronically hungry do eat. But their diet tends to consist of food like cereal, corn, cassava and rice — high in calories and carbohydrates but not much else.
Even then, these people eat so little that the carbs barely fill their stomach with the calories they need. And they don’t eat the vegetables, meat, fish and/or dairy products that provide ample protein, vitamin A, zinc, iron and iodine, says Pedro Sanchez, director of Agriculture and Food Security Center at Columbia University.