The Evils of Pesticides
A pesticide is a “chemical preparation for destroying pests, also called biocide which is “any chemical that destroys life by poisoning.” The definition of poison is “a substance to destroy life or impair health.” Why are pesticides evil? They are synthetic (not naturally occurring) chemicals poisoning & impairing the health of all the Earth, including man himself.
Man vs. pest has been a battle from the beginning. History has many references to plagues and infestations – already hieroglyphic cave drawings illustrate frustrations with pests. Here we are thousands of years and scads of scientific breakthroughs later and nevertheless the battle rages.
Most pesticides used today are patterned after nerve gas technology developed during World War II. These synthetic chemicals are neuro-toxins which attack the central nervous system and affect the internal communication with the brain.
Some pesticides affect reproduction, others affect the ability to eat, but the most shared are those that affect voluntary and involuntary movements. The frightening fact about these man-made toxins is that because they are not natural, they persist – in our bodies and in our water and they concentrate as you move up the food chain.
Swiss Chemist Paul Mueller discovered DDT for which he won the Nobel Prize in 1948. DDT enjoyed extensive use until the truth was known. The lethal effects of DDT were concentrating to the point that many species were at the brink of extinction, most notably our national symbol, the Bald Eagle. So in 1972, DDT was banned in the United States. But was the danger gone? Not already close.
Research into new synthetic pesticides has been to provide quicker results, longer persistence (stays around to continue to kill pests), and consequently higher toxicity levels. New chemical poisons are in need because pesticides lose their effectiveness due to Pesticide Resistance – a fascinating biological occurrence. When a pest population is exposed to a pesticide, a certain percentage will survive. When they copy, they pass that immunity to their offspring. As pests often have multiple generations in a short time, ultimately the complete population is immune and the pesticide once used for control is now useless.
The solution has been to rotate different toxic synthetic chemicals with more frequent applications but the same Pesticide Resistance occurs. Now these pests are immune to multiple pesticides and consequently already harder to control. It doesn’t matter how lethal the dosage or in any case the mode of action, Pesticide Resistance will always occur when using synthetic pesticides. consequently, we have produced super pests that are immune to controls however we are bio-accumulating the poisons used to treat them.
The United Nations adopted an environmental treaty known as the Stockholm Convention requiring global action to eradicate the 21 most lethal chemicals on the planet defined as “chemical substances that persist in the ecosystem, bio-build up by the food web, and present a risk of causing negative effects to human health and the ecosystem”. One of these poisons is Lindane. Inexplicably, certain chemicals on this most toxic list have ‘exemptions’ and the exemption for Lindane reads: Human health pharmaceutical for control of head lice. So one of the most dangerous chemicals on the planet is OKAY to spread all over my child’s head?
Where is our protection? The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the government agency charged with protecting us and our ecosystem however they receive no government funding. What? Instead, the 17,000 employees of the EPA are funded by the large chemical companies whose products they want registered by the EPA. How’s that for the Fox guarding the Henhouse?
Many people erroneously believe that if a product is EPA registered, then it is safe. That is absolutely false. The ONLY products the EPA registers are those whose active elements are known poisons, toxins or carcinogens. If a product is safe, it is exempt from registration. Make no mistake about it – if a product has an EPA registration number, it is dangerous.
Chemical companies pay the EPA hundreds of thousands of dollars per product for them to determine the maximum permissible levels of exposure to the toxic active ingredient. Exposure levels are based on a 180 pound man. These are maximum safe exposure levels – meaning anything above this level can cause harm. So a developing toddler’s exposure is not taken into account but lumped into the adult exposure safety levels.
Here is the scariest part of all – the inert, other or idle elements listed on a label are not tested or already proven. They are considered ‘trade secrets’ and nobody has any idea what is being used. These elements can be far more dangerous than the active elements! They change due to market conditions so if you’ve been using Frontline on your dog for years and after an a treatment he suddenly gets chemical burns, respiratory distress, has seizures or already dies – everyone is perplexed – how can this be? It is due to the ‘other’ elements that may have been $.02 per barrel cheaper during manufacturing.
What kind of effects do pesticides have on us today? That is simple – disease.
Pesticides can affect the endocrine system which is reproduction. Breast and Prostate Cancer diagnoses have increased. Pesticides can affect gastro-intestinal systems. Colon cancer, Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome diagnoses have increased. Pesticides most often affect the brain function of victims. Autism (500% increase), ADHD (381% increase), and Alzheimer’s (300% increase) diagnoses have skyrocketed in the last several decades. The chemical companies deny these claims saying they are due to the aging population, a larger population consequently greater incidences, and more thorough diagnostic tools. However, science has proven otherwise. The EPA reported a direct link between ADHD and pesticides and the U.S. Department of Defense has admitted that the Gulf War Syndrome is credited to chemicals including pesticide exposure. As research is funded by those who manufacture, little research has been done on the possible harm of long term, cumulative effects of pesticides as it may bring negative truths to light.
The reason we have disease from pesticides is because they cannot be metabolized – they persist within our tissue. Synthetic pesticides to the human body are like plastic to a landfill – they never break down. They bio-build up in our tissue so we are regularly increasing our own level of toxicity. We inhale, we absorb, and we ingest pesticides in many forms from the food we eat, the products we use and the odorless, tasteless fumes of exterminating chemicals applied in our schools, our businesses, in restaurants, grocery stores – already hospitals. Back to the example of using Lindane for head lice treatment, that is one of the most lethal substances identified on Earth being slathered on the scalp which is skin (the body’s largest organ), complete of pores and hair shaft openings for a toxic chemical to go into the body…and keep in the body.
The use of natural, organic or green pest control has been dismissed as nothing more than good intentions and that the stronger the chemical & the more frequent the application, the better. This is particularly true of those in the pesticide producing or application businesses. To concede that a natural product is competent is directly juxtaposed to the goal of selling synthetic chemicals for profit. And those profits are enormous.
The Pest Control Service Industry is a $6.5 billion a year industry (2008) in the United States and it is expected to double in size by 2015. That is impressive until compared to the agrochemical manufacturers – those who make these pesticides are a $34 billion a year industry. The top six producers in order are Bayer, Syngenta, BASF, Dow AgroSciences, Monsanto, and DuPont and the last three are all US held companies. Add these together and more than $40 billion worth of pesticide revenue is being used in our world each year.
As awareness grows of being ‘green’, ‘eco-friendly’ and ‘sustainable’, many people deserve accolades for their part in taking care of the Earth. However, those just beginning their consciousness are being taken advantage of by those in search of healthy profits. As an example, next time you are in the grocery store, look at the products for repelling pests. So much of the labeling is in green with pictures of happy children with small pets or healthy couples hiking in character. Buzzwords of ‘safe’, ‘green’ and ‘natural’ rule and the artwork has become more simplified as if to indicate simpler products. Yeah, right. Perception is reality so consumers are being duped into thinking they are making wise, environmentally responsible choices. Look at the labels and you will find the EPA registration number, the small percentage of active (or lethal poison) ingredient, and the large percentage of ‘other’, ‘inert’, or ‘idle’ elements which are the great toxic unknown.
What is known is that pesticides are poisons that bio-build up in live tissue. Due to Pesticide Resistance, pests become immune so pesticides must become stronger and add to the concentrations in our bodies. The EPA registration course of action is to prevent exceeding tolerable levels of toxins as opposed to encouraging safe options. Manufacturers are given permission to use in any case idle elements they choose without guidelines or oversight. Pesticides affect pest reproduction, gastro-intestinal and nervous systems of pests and these target areas have had a spiked increase of disease in humans within the past several decades. Large agrochemical manufacturers and exterminators enjoy great revenue and profits based on the sale and application of toxins. Their large lobbying and advertising presence continues to extol the virtues of their synthetic chemicals in addition as dismiss truly natural products as ineffective and naïve.
There are options. Natural options that work, are not poisons, do not cause disease, and pests cannot become resistant. character has proven greatly superior to Man’s attempt to control her and to assume that Man can create something better is arrogance at the highest level.
Get educated, become informed, and speak up. Insist that your child’s school not use traditional toxic pesticides. need that your food supplies are organic and your pest control company uses a true ‘green’ product. Certainly make changes in your own home to control pests safely and with better results. In the very least, find out the calendar of exterminating in the areas you live and work just to prove to yourself how common the Evils of Pesticides are in your everyday life. Slowly poisoning ourselves and the ecosystem is a disaster fueled by greed and it is up to the people to stop the runaway aim.