The EPA Fiddles while the USA burns. . .

July 31st, 2006

To the Editor,

I am a 50 year old woman who became brain damaged and chronically ill in the manner described in your article about pesticide dangers. It is always encouraging to see that research is continuing to emphasize the obvious to an ignorant public. The labels on pesticides tell us it causes gastrointestinal, central nervous system, urinary tract and dermatological effects (short term). It is no mystery that these chemicals maim and kill human bystanders over the longer haul. Formerly called ‘economic poisons’ by the EPA (before some bright Madison Avenue spark renamed them ‘pesticides’ and ‘herbicides’), their touted safety is actually a federal crime. It is against the law to say they are safe even when used as directed. Monsanto paid a hefty fine in NYS for speaking about Round-up in soothing tones which should be reserved for baby foods and apple pie (organic).

Another recent news article demonstrated how manufacturers add synergistic chemicals to make pesticides more toxic than the studies on the pre-marketed, “approved” versions actually reveal (e.g. piperonyl butoxide). Apparently, the formerly “safe” best-selling organophosphates like Dursban and Diazanon fell out of favor with the EPA for the extensive damage to human health claimed in tens of thousands of complaints by consumers, restricting current sales and uses. The replacement chemicals are similarly lacking in appropriate safety assessments. Once again, profits will roll in until these are also banned, once the EPA finds their sale to be indefensible and a threat to their credibility (and budget).

Pesticides have become background noise, inserted into the indoor and outdoor environments of homes, offices, hospitals, schools, public places, highways and parks. The combinations of various formulations used are considered to be unpredictable and highly toxic, yet we have no say or warning when we are exposed to them. The use of sprays is efficient only for the applicators who can visit many more customers in a day versus more time consuming, but highly safe and effective, methods of pest control. The consumer pays the price in medical costs, lost work productivity and an enormous amount of suffering.

I ought to know.

Barbara Rubin

Categories: Grand Forks Herald

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