Monday, July 7, 2008

Pesticide Ban will Make a Better Place to Live

They are picking on us.

“…the county of Albemarle, Virginia is contemplating banning pesticide use in all of its parks and schools. Another article I read apparently quoted Jackie Lombardo of the National Sierra Club Toxins Committee as saying, “We’re seeing chemicals and materials that 75 years ago didn’t exist . . .We’re at a point where kids – our canaries in coal mines – are getting sicker and sicker”…But please don’t tell me that banning pesticides and fertilizers is going to make your county a better place to live . . .We live in a dangerous world. I, for one, don’t want to be told by Chicken Little that he knows a better way . . .”

Chicken Little? That’s ok. I’ve been called worse. Reducing, and hopefully banning, pesticides will undoubtedly make communities healthier and therefore better places to live. Pesticides are designed to kill and cannot discriminate between insects, pets, or children.

Pesticides are not only capable of causing immediate poisonings (vomiting, breathing difficulty, rashes, coma, nausea, convulsions, etc.) but pesticides are also capable of causing long-term adverse health effects like learning disabilities, birth defects, cancer, Parkinson’s, neurotoxicity, and sterility, among others.

Children are especially vulnerable to the effects of pesticides. Their bodies and brains are still developing and if something interferes with development, the result is permanent. There is no cure. And it’s clear, something is interfering with children’s development today:

- 1 in every 6 children in the United States today has a permanent learning disability,

- 1 in every 94 boys born today in America will develop autism,

- from 1975 to 1998, bone and joint cancers in young children rose by 65%, brain cancers rose by over 38%, nervous system tumors rose by 30%, and teenagers saw a 128% increase in non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute)

- asthma is now epidemic and the leading cause of hospitalization for children.

Children are unknowingly exposed to hazardous chemicals daily like:
1. carcinogens in their shampoo -

2. carcinogens in their food -

3. lead in their toys -

4. bisphenol A in their baby bottles -

5. and pesticides in their schools -

And children are unwillingly becoming polluted. Increasing concentrations of chemicals continue to be found in the bodies of mothers and children by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Scientists have discovered babies today are born pre-polluted with chemicals detected in their tiny bodies received through the umbilical cord of their mother.

Could this be a contributing factor as to why children today are so sick? No one knows. Health is way to complicated. But when American babies have 22 different pesticide metabolites detected in their blood on the first day of life, our failure to regulate the safety and use of chemicals is obvious. Chemicals like pesticides are behaving in ways never anticipated, and certainly not ever intended, by chemists.

Over and over we see a chemical introduced and presumed safe like lead in gasoline, tobacco, asbestos, DDT, PCBs, and just recently, two more pesticides, commonly used on school and park fields across America for weeds. MSMA & DSMA, arsenical compound pesticides, were recently pulled by the EPA because now we are certain they are carcinogenic to humans.

But parents don’t need proof, we need precaution. Better safe than sorry. So…if asthma rates are epidemic in children, remove the asthmagens. If cancer rates are up, remove the carcinogens. And if learning disabilities are epidemic, remove the neurotoxins and use safer alternatives.

Educate yourself about nontoxic solutions and work to ban pesticides in your community. For more information:

1. The CDC
Reducing Pesticide Exposures at School

2. The National Library of Medicine
Pesticides used in schools can be especially harmful to children

3. Example of Non-Toxic Pest Management Program for Schools

4. The EPA
Protecting Children in Schools from Pests and Pesticides

5. Oregon State University
Indoor Air Quality and Pesticides:

6. Ontario College of Family Physicians
Comprehensive Review of Pesticide Research Confirms Dangers

7. Pesticide Environ. Stewardship Program, National Foundation for IPM Education
Reducing Indoor Pesticide Risks
"...even with proper application, not realize pesticides persist indoors long after they would breakdown outdoors with the benefit of bacteria and sunlight."

8. Univ. FLA
Least Toxic Cockroach Management Strategies

9. Example Safer Alternative Pest Control