McDonaldâs is the largest purchaser of potatoes in this country, so anything it does to reduce the use of pesticides on these crops will have a big impact on potato workers (as well as the environment). Thanks to pressure from shareholder advocates, McDonaldâs has now committed to:
(1) survey its current U.S. potato suppliers; (2) compile a list of best practices in pesticide reduction that will be recommended to the companyâs global suppliers (through the companyâs Global Potato Board); and (3) communicate findings related to best practices to shareholders, and in the companyâs annual corporate social responsibility (CSR)report.
McDonald’s shareholders theÂ Bard College Endowment, Newground Social Investment, and the AFL-CIO Reserve Fund filed a shareholder resolution that, according to Reutersâ Lisa Baertlein, âwould have required the company to publish a report on options for cutting pesticide use in its supply chain.â If the resolution hadnât been withdrawn, it would have come up for a vote at the next McDonaldâs shareholder meeting. Instead, the investor advocates and McDonaldâs management met and, with the help of Investor Environmental Health Network, came to an agreement about steps the company would take toward reducing the use of pesticides in its potato supply.
In other news:
New York Times: The families of two workers who died in last yearâs New York crane collapse have filed lawsuits, and their lawyers have turned up messages in which a company hired to repair a critical crane component warned the crane owner that it doubted its ability to do the necessary welding correctly.
Washington Post: More problems with asbestos in Smithsonian buildings arise â this time, at the National Museum of American History.
Medscape Medical News: A recent pilot study identified ingredients in hospital cleaning products that might affect workers health through inhalation and dermal exposure, and assessed the potential for exposure during cleaning tasks performed in hospitals.
Environmental Health News: Women of nonwhite origin who worked at a capacitor manufacturing plant between the 1930s andÂ late 1970s had an increased risk of breast with higher levels of PCB exposure; researchers didnât find the same risk in white women.
Todayâs Zaman (Turkey): Turkeyâs health ministry has banned manual sandblasting of denim fabric, after hundreds of workers have developed silicosis.