A Modern Disease of Ancient Origin

October 16th, 2006

To the Editor,

This is mere gossip about neighbors arguing over dandelions. An article about the use of lawn products, reliably linked to serious medical conditions, should not limit references to them as “legal chemicals”, dangerous to those with “rare” allergies. Had the author contacted the EPA, she would have learned two widely used products were banned (dursban, diazanon). A citation that Monsanto paid $75,000 in penalties for deceptive claims about RoundUp in 1996 might have been useful.

Communities across the U.S. have passed notification laws while many Canadian communities banned the use of ‘cosmetic’ poisons. A request for warning by passive consumers (forcibly exposed by nearby, active consumers), does not deserve a investigation into their psychiatric fitness, but a pertinent discussion of toxicology.

Socrates did not die of an allergic reaction to hemlock. Poisoning is a common disease of modern life although ancient attitudes of indifference to knowledge and civil rights have not changed one iota.

Barbara Rubin

Categories: NY Times

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