Washington Post – You are missing the point!

April 26th, 2004

To the Editor,

Your paper completely misses the boat regarding the proper use of valuable genetic information. It’s major value is in understanding the risks we take by living in a land where environmental pollution goes unchecked and where consumers use products incorporating many toxic ingredients Such exposures are the triggering events which activate genetic “time bombs”. Exposures can actually alter DNA characteristics (mutagenic effects).

Genetic testing would diminish the tragic costs stemming from adverse effects of pharmaceuticals. An executive at GlaxoSmithKlein, has stated that efficacy for drugs is around 50% due to genetic factors alone. Ernst and Grizzle (J Am Pharm Assoc, 41 (2), 2001), reported that, “Overall, the cost of drug related morbidity and mortality exceeded $177.4 billion in 2000.”.

I am deficient in an enzyme called “paroxonase” along with many other adults and ALL babies. This deficiency may have caused me to be ill most of my adult life since it is required to detoxify the commonly used pesticides, dursban, diazanon and ‘oxon’ forms of malathion (widely used in mosquito control). This deficiency has been noted widely among ill Gulf War Veterans (heavily exposed to pesticides) and is also implicated in heart disease. Yet testing for it is not commercially available so only a few of us know the source of our suffering and our urgent need to avoid lawn chemicals and pesticides incorporating above-named products.

Health care is a ruinous 15% of the economy these days. Disability rates are soaring despite increased longevity in humans. The misuse of chemicals incompatible with the biochemical make-up of large segments of society is the culprit – not faulty genes!

Barbara Rubin

Categories: Washington Post

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