Why CATs Is So Important

CATs has served us especially well with many useful reports and publications and thorough toxicological profiles. CATs' staff scientist references studies that suggest toxicity which often is not acknowledged on common reference points such as Material Safety Data Sheets supplied by manufacturers, or EXTOXNET, university supported, with the University of California as one of the major named contributors. UC has contracts with pesticide manufacturers and specializes in selling its genetic engineering research and development as an alternative to toxic pesticide use.

Several very well-funded pesticides groups (which refuse to call for the elimination of toxic pesticide use and instead refer to "reducing use" and consistently hail "victory" over IPM programs they have pushed resulting in the continuation of toxic pesticide use in parks, schools and other public spaces) use MSDS's and EXTOXNET for reference and generally do not acknowledge the studies which, in fact, are causing EPA's wildly slow reevaluation of pesticides under the 1996 Food Quality Protection Act. The FQPA acknowledges that many past studies were flawed, either due to less sensitive testing capabilities of the past, or other factors.

Particularly relevant to anyone visiting our site is a report CATs issued in 1997. "Time for a Change: Pesticides and Wine Grapes in Sonoma and Napa Counties," exposes pesticide use and the user mentality in the TYPICALLY high-toxic, industrial vineyards of California's Northern California wine country. Since the publication of this report and the continued organizing of Sonoma Pesticide Alert (whose work dates back to '93) and West County CATs, and more recently other Sonoma County groups also addressing pesticide use as well as vineyard water use and damaging planting and growing methods, we have seen outrageous amounts of money going into advertising and public relations stunts which say that Sonoma and Napa counties are full of sustainable agriculture, which they are not. The region is advertised as a grand destination for romantic getaways.

Pesticide use records examined in the '97 CATs report (based on California Department of Pesticide Regulation's 1995 database) and the subsequent collection of records by Sonoma Pesticide Alert representing the majority of the Sonoma Valley acreage in '98 (with some '96 and '97 and some more recent '99 and '00 monthly Use Reports), contrasted with the public statements of many of the users, tell a tale of extreme Greenwashing. Northern California boasts some absolutely fantastic Organic growers and some of California's sought-after Organics consultants are based right in that region. But Organic wine grapes are only small oases stewarded by real farmers. They are surrounded and crops are sometimes threatened by irresponsible and selfish toxic practices of Conventional wine grape growers.

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