Mothers and Others for Pesticide Limits

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Release date: February 27, 1990
Running time: 30 seconds

Meryl Streep appeared alongside daughter Mamie Gummer in a commercial for Mothers and Others for Pesticide Limits to raise public awareness on the growth-regulating chemical Alar.

A February 1990 article in the Washington Post highlighted the commercial’s connection to the “long-simmering debate that erupted in the public eye a year ago, on Feb. 26, 1989, when a “60 Minutes” television expose’ indelibly linked that all-American symbol of health, the apple, with questions of cancer and children. The television show highlighted a report by an environmental group, the Natural Resources Defense Council, (NRDC) charging that children were at particular risk from exposure to residues of suspected cancer-causing agents like Alar, a growth-regulating chemical used to keep apples from falling off the tree. Now, 12 months later, Alar is off the market but the resulting furor still has not died down. “The Alar controversy served as a sparkplug for public concern,” says Janet Hathaway, senior project attorney for NRDC in Washington. “Now, there is activity under way to translate that concern into lasting pesticide reform. Alar was symptomatic of the problems that permeate the whole regulatory process.”