Coffee, tea, or DDT?

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What do you take with your tea? Milk? Sugar? DDT?

Like it or not, you may very well be taking it with just a dash of the banned pesticide. IN THESE TIMES reports that some brands of green tea — popular with breast cancer patients and survivors because of low breast cancer rates in Japan, where the drink is nearly universal — contains trace amounts of the chemical.

It’s not surprising when you consider that DDT, though banned in this country since 1972, is still manufactured in India and China and in use in much of the Third World.

The United Nations and environmental organizations are pushing for a treaty to ban DDT worldwide. But many developing countries are resisting, saying the cheap and effective pesticide is needed to help restrict transmission of malaria, which in many parts of the world poses a much more immediate threat to health than DDT.

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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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