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Talk to focus on impact of chemical farming

Chemical farming’s impacts on Maui’s environment and the public will be the topic of discussion at a gathering at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Paia Community Center.

Sustainable Hawaiian Agriculture for the Keiki and the Aina, or SHAKA, which led the successful genetically modified organism moratorium voter referendum; Sustainable Action Fund for the Environment, or SAFE; and Physicians Coalition for Responsible Agriculture, or PCRAM; are sponsoring the talk.

Speakers include doctors, scientists and toxicology specialists who will look into agro-chemical experimentation and pesticide drift on Maui.

Speakers include:

• Kristi Cook, a PCRAM researcher, who will provide an overview of ethical concerns raised recently at the World Congress on Public Health held in Melbourne, Australia. She will speak about global perspectives and government responsibility for public health in an era of intensive use of multiple toxins in agro-chemical agriculture.

• Dr. Lorrin Pang, speaking as a citizen and not as Maui District Health officer, will report on his visit last year to The Hague, Netherlands, and the Monsanto Tribunal. Its website says the tribunal is an international civil society initiative to hold Monsanto accountable for human rights violations and ecocide. Concerned about dispersion of combined toxins from pesticide drift, Pang explained that “open-air testing violates the international Helsinki Accords that condemn experimenting on people without their informed consent.”

• Beth Savitt, SHAKA Movement president, will explain why SHAKA will be conducting a study of possible health impacts of agro-chemical operations on Maui and Molokai. Savitt says, “We need to find out if the atrazine and glyphosate and other chemicals used in Maui County are showing up in our houses and in our bodies.”

• Joe Ritter, an interdisciplinary scientist, physicist and NASA Innovation Fellow, will discuss aerosol chemical drift and a planned SHAKA epidemiological study designed to track illnesses possibly caused by environmental contaminants.

SHAKA, SAFE and PCRAM staff will be on hand to answer questions from the public.

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