ARE SYNTHETIC PESTICIDES SABOTAGING OUR CHILDRENS HEALTH, BEHAVIOR AND ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE
by Steve Tvedten
It makes no sense to use poisons that do not even control pests and are known to impair and/or destroy children's lives and their ability to think and develop normally, in the very places that are mandated to provide a safe learning and growing environment.
We've been bingeing on volatile synthetic pesticide poisons far too long. It's time to get off the toxic merry-go-round. You and your family deserve ZERO EXPOSURE to synthetic pesticide poisons.
Volatile, synthetic pesticide poisons are biologically disruptive, basically untested, toxic chemicals, designed to kill. Many of our most commonly used pesticide poisons are neurotoxins which were developed as an outgrowth of poisonous nerve gas research, during World War II.
No one - not your pest control applicator, not the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency - No one can guarantee your safety when you or your loved ones are exposed to these volatile neurotoxins or poisons. Not surprisingly then, there are approximately 10,000 diagnosed cases of pesticide poisoning in the United States annually. And the World Health Organization conservatively estimates that more than 25 million people are poisoned by pesticide poisons, worldwide, each year, resulting in at least 20,000 deaths. As Albert Schweitzer stated: "Man has lost the capacity to foresee and forestall. He will end by destroying the earth."
Synthetic pesticide poisons are capable of disrupting the normal functioning of every major organ system in the body, but the nervous system is the most likely target. The nervous system consists of the brain, the spinal cord and a vast array of nerves and sensory organs. It controls most essential bodily functions like thought, movement, vision, hearing, speech, heart function, respiration, mood, etc. And even minor changes in the structure or function of this critical system can have profound, long-term consequences.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta noted 12 million Americans have asthma today - a rise of 40% since 1982. In 1994, 5000 Americans died from asthma - 50 % more than in 1980! Young children are much more vulnerable to the lethal effects of synthetic pesticide poisons, than adults. In testimony before the U. S. Senate Committee on Pesticides in 1992, Herbert Needleman, M. D., of the University of Pittsburgh, and our leading national expert on lead toxicity in children said:
"There is no question that pesticides impair children's brain functions as insidiously as lead ... When the brain is developing, it lays down connecting pathways. Introducing poisons, such as those contained in pesticides, can fundamentally and irrevocably throw this critical neurological development process off course."
Exposures to volatile synthetic pesticide poisons (even at extremely low levels) are capable of accumulating in the fatty tissue of the body and of causing malignancies and/or persistent over-stimulation of the central nervous system and alterations in brain activity. The adipose tissue (fat) acts as a biological magnifier - so that an intake of as little as 1 part per 10 million results in storage of 10 - 15 parts per million - an increase of a 100 fold or more.
Children exposed to synthetic pesticide poisons will have more ear infections, colds, bouts of pneumonia, asthma and flu and are likely to become chemically hypersensitive. These children will often have difficulty concentrating and will exhibit short-term memory loss, attention deficit disorders, hyperactivity, mental confusion, forgetfulness, cognitive impairments, difficulty interpreting the spoken or written word, headache, depression, social withdrawal, blurred vision, seizures, skin irritations, behavioral and emotional problems, anxiety, dizziness, lack of coordination, muscle cramps, muscle tremors, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, urinary frequency and incontinence, sleep disturbances, chronic fatigue, numbness of the hands and feet, aggressive and violent behavior, and respiratory disorders.
Some pesticide-poisoned youngsters will develop chronic, life-long health problems that manifest in reproductive problems (sterility, infertility, birth defects) and degenerative diseases (mental retardation, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, ALS). Several recent studies have reported on a relationship between childhood pesticide exposure and an increased incidence of brain cancer, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, soft tissue sarcoma, leukemia and immune system suppression.
Research has shown that when patients' blood pesticide levels were reduced by an amount as tiny as one-tenth of a part per billion, they had I. Q. improvements of between five and fifteen points.
One of the synthetic pesticide poisons, an organophosphate most commonly used in schools, Dursban, has a half-life greater than 30 days. Organophosphates have the ability to destroy enzymes (e.g., a protective enzyme called cholinesterase) - that perform vital body functions. Organophosphates attack the nervous system in man and insect alike - I have often noted pest control operators drinking copious amounts of wine and beer and craving pizza - in a sub-conscious attempt to replace their lost enzymes.
In 1992, an Israeli study documented many pesticide related illness' and that organophosphate metabolites are excreted for 4 months after a typical one-time application for cockroach control. In this way, a classroom or home can become a continuing reservoir of constant volatile synthetic pesticide poison exposure, long after the poison application appears to have dried. The various pesticide vapors build up into an invisible, odorless, toxic chemical soup, that is capable of causing a cascade of toxic reactions, for years to come.
The California Department of Health Services made an estimate of the amount of chlorpyrifos to which a child would be exposed, one day after an indoor application. The estimate was based on the amount that the child would breathe, added to the amount the child would absorb through the skin. The estimate was over 1700 times the acceptable daily intake established by the World Health Organization. In addition to the known individual organophosphate dangers there is an exponential increase in danger when several toxins are combined.
In the 50's a team of Food and Drug Administration scientists determined that when malathion exposure is combined with another organophosphate (or plasticizing agent) exposure the exponential increase in toxicity may be 50 times as severe - as Rachel Carson noted: Only 1/100 of the lethal dose of each compound may be fatal when the two are combined! What if several more are combined?
The headlines in many newspapers 6/7/96 noted a Tulane University study published in Science shows the pesticide threat already linked to breast and testicular cancers, lower sperm counts and male birth defects may increase 1,000-fold the possibility of damage to humans and wildlife when paired with other pollutants than when contaminating alone. This is quite easily understood when you think about ammonia by itself or chlorine bleach by itself; either is not very dangerous, but combine the two and you create terrible danger and even death!
Recent research at Duke University noted the Gulf-War Syndrome may have been caused by three ordinarily harmless doses of chemicals that, when combined, produced significant neurological damage, research on chickens suggests. The soldiers took anti-nerve gas pills that may have limited their bodies' ability to withstand certain synthetic pesticide poisons that were applied to their skin and clothes. According to government reports, the number of veterans who claim they may be ill as a result of their service in the Gulf War in Iraq in 1991 passed 108,000 in early 1996. Unlike insects which quickly develop resistance to these toxins - man, his pets, livestock and wild animals, birds and fish do not.
Sperm counts in men are now half what they were in their grandfathers! 1 out of every 7 Americans is significantly impaired from toxic exposure and 1 out of every 2.5 of us will now get cancer!
The aerial drift of one droplet of pesticide, on a calm day, was reported to drift 24 miles. On a windy day, it has been traced halfway around the globe. In spite of the fact we have contaminated the globe, our air, water, food and ourselves with trillions of tons of these deadly neurotoxins and carcinogens, we still have not controlled, much eliminated, the pests we are trying to treat.
According to the FBI and Labor Statistics, twice as many deaths result form corporate contamination and/or pollution as from violent crime and car accidents combined! One study by the California Department of Public Health in 1995 revealed a 1-in-5 prevalence of chemical sensitivity; this is a higher rate than asthma, breast or prostate cancer and HIV combined! Continued corporate contamination is genocide!
Researchers at the University of Minnesota have discovered why synthetic pesticide poisons triple the rate of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. They found a high rate of chromosomal breakage (fractures of the 24th and 18th chromonosomes) in farmers who apply these toxins to crops.
A study published in the Medical Journal of Australia (9/95) found a higher-than-average incidence of synthetic pesticide poisons in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) patients. Substantiated levels of organochlorine pesticides, including the insecticide DDT and fungicide hexachlorobezen (HCB), were found in people with no known exposure to toxic chemicals. The study, conducted by Newcastle University, measured HCB in about 45% of CFS patients compared to 21% in other people without CFS.
Given this barrage of sobering statistics, why would intelligent and caring people, intentionally and regularly saturate their schools, homes, workplaces and lawns with these toxic poisons?
It makes no sense to use poisons that do not even control pests and are known to impair and/or destroy children's lives and their ability to think and develop normally, in the very places that are mandated to provide a safe learning and growing environment. We've been bingeing on volatile synthetic pesticide poisons far too long. It's time to get off the toxic merry-go-round. You and your family deserve ZERO EXPOSURE to synthetic pesticide poisons.
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