Pesticide Poisoning, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, Lupus, Lyme, Neurological, Mold (Mycotoxin), MS, Metabolic Syndrome & All Manner of Environmental & Legal (System) Assaults Upon Human Health.
DOMESTIC OR COMMERCIAL PESTICIDE USE: COULD YOU KILL OR BE KILLED?
DOMESTIC OR COMMERCIAL PESTICIDE USE: COULD YOU KILL OR BE KILLED?
By Murray Thompson (BAppSci Environmental Health 1998; Hons I Social Ecology 1999, University of Western Sydney)
http://indiegogo.com/poisoned-people (http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/poisoned-people–2/x/941124 or http://igg.me/at/poisoned-people)
http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-good-samaritan–8/x/941124 or http://igg.me/at/the-good-samaritan
WordPress.com URL: https://poisonedpeople1.wordpress.com/2012/11/06/domestic-or-commercial-pesticide-use-could-you-kill-or-be-killed/
While at home or at work in a suburban residence, hotel complex or block of units, while living quietly next to an agricultural area or working your farm, while at the golf club or auto dealership, or while inspecting real estate or holidaying abroad, could you be injured or killed by a pesticide application, or could you inadvertently injure or kill someone with pesticide during normal use? Could a neighbor, pest control company or a farmer located nearby (or even as far away as nine miles) injure or kill you or your unborn by spraying weeds in their back yard or spraying their crops? What is the chance of a resident in a block of units spraying pesticide and inadvertently affecting a neighbor in an adjoining unit? What could happen if a person set off an aerosol fogger or an insect or flea “bomb” inside their unit just before walking out the front door to spend the day away from their residence? Would a wall between two rooms or units prevent pesticide from migrating into the baby’s room next door?
These are life and death questions that need answers in a world where pesticide use is skyrocketing.
1.0 HOW MUCH PESTICIDE IS IN USE AND IS PESTICIDE USE INCREASING?
“In the United States, more than 18,000 products are licensed for use, and each year > 2 billion pounds of pesticides are applied to crops, homes, schools, parks, and forests” (Kamel & Hoppin, 2004).
“Genetically engineered crops have led to an increase in overall pesticide use, by 404 million pounds from the time they were introduced in 1996 through 2011…” (Gillam 2012).
“GE crops are pushing pesticide use upward at a rapidly accelerating pace. In 2008, GE crop acres required over 26% more pounds of pesticides per acre than acres planted to conventional varieties. The report projects that this trend will continue as a result of the rapid spread of glyphosate-resistant weeds” (Benbrook 2009).
Further: “The current massive reliance on glyphosate, which has been promoted by the rapid adoption by U.S. farmers of genetically engineered (GE) corn, soybeans and cotton, is a key factor in this epidemic of herbicide-resistant weeds. A report released in November of 2009, for instance, found that since the first 13 years of commercial use of GE crops, they have been responsible for an increase of 383 million pounds of herbicide use in the U.S. (1996-2008)” (BeyondPesticides.org 2012).
Note that herbicide resistance also registers as a morbid condition in nature.
2.0 DO PESTICIDES MOVE?
2.1 There Are Two Forms Of Pesticide Spray Drift
First and foremost, it should be understood clearly that pesticides sprayed in the open (especially agricultural pesticide sprays) easily MOVE.
2.1.1 Primary Particle Drift
The first type of pesticide drift is “particle drift (off-target movement during application)” (Owens & Feldman 2004:16). “The drift of spray from pesticide applications can expose people, plants and animals, and the environment to pesticide residues that can cause health and environmental effects and property damage… Where significant drift does occur, it can damage or contaminate sensitive crops, poison bees, pose health risks to humans and animals, and contaminate soil and water in adjacent areas” (Fishel & Ferrell 2012:1).
It is obvious here that wandering droplets of pesticide spray have a widespread and also UNKNOWN (unquantifiable) diabolical effect on the environment. What spray accumulates where (in soil, in crops, in humans), and how that spray COMBINES with other chemicals (which it will) and produces what outcomes is entirely untraceable. This is a superb example of the Precautionary Principle literally thrown to the wind.
2.1.2 Secondary Vapor Drift
Pesticide spray drift is also not just a matter of the above. Drift can also occur in a form that is entirely non-visible and almost totally undetectable, that is, “vapor drift (off-target movement when a pesticide evaporates from a sprayed surface)” (Owens & Feldman 2004:16).
Note: “…the full range of drift cannot be detected visually” (Cordell & Baker 1998:1). Further: “Drift isn’t limited to the period during or immediately after an application since it can occur hours or even days later… Days after application, pesticides can volatilize into a gas. Low levels of pesticides may be carried long distances by air currents. Vapor drift from a legal pesticide application is sometimes difficult to predict…” (ibid:2). The distinction being made here is “…primary particle drift and secondary vapor drift” (Cordell & Baker 1998:1). The somewhat lagged and staccato vapor drift is therefore pictured as “frequent, lower doses that drift by invisibly throughout the growing season, contaminating… air, water and food” (Peeples 2012).
2.1.3 Drift And Inevitable Poisoning Issues
Now, it should be asked here if volatilization of applied pesticide (resulting in pesticide vapor) can cause problems. “Some herbicide formulations are sufficiently volatile to cause plant injury from drift of vapor. For example, 2,4-D esters may produce damaging vapors, while 2,4-D amines are essentially nonvolatile and can drift only as droplets or dry particles. Herbicide vapor may drift farther and over a longer time than spray droplets” (Fishel & Ferrell 2012:2).
Again: “If winds are blowing towards a sensitive area, do not spray at any wind speed” (ibid:10). Who, today, factors in the unborn, or babies, or chemically-sensitive people (who are a MOVING TARGET) as a “sensitive area”? How could vapor drift NOT intersect a sensitive person?
How difficult is it to be safe when spraying, and in the days after spraying? “Letting neighbors know when pesticide applications will be made and, if possible, make applications during a time in which the fewest neighbors could be affected” (ibid:11). This caution highlights clear and obvious impossibilities in terms of widespread Occupational, Residential or Environmental Health and Safety. As well, it encapsulates gross deficiencies in terms of human interraction and communications quality. Is the farmer going to door knock to warn of a spraying and risk a negative reaction from a householder? Unlikely. Most Internet comments on Facebook from pesticide poisoning victims describe a complete deficit of communication in terms of an agricultural spraying event. In most cases, no-one will be warned that pesticide is going to be applied to a crop, or that herbicide is going to be sprayed on weeds. This further highlights the issue of pesticides in the hands of a largely uncommunicative, irresponsible and ignorant public, with people poisoning people at will and with almost no comprehension of the critical nature of this monstrous problem! This morbid and WHOLLY dysfunctional issue and dynamic (that, by the way, ensures maximum ongoing sales for pesticide manufacturers) will be addressed again below in Section 3.1.4.
As well, the pitifully deficient concept of buffer zones shows what a nightmare of toxicological logistics spraying pesticide in the open is! Note: “Buffer zones are untreated areas between the treatment site and sensitive areas. It is the area where no pesticide application should occur and is designed to catch off-target spray on their surfaces” (ibid:10). This inadequate idea shows, especially in terms of the vapor drift that will not obligingly deposit onto buffer surfaces, that there is nothing stopping any individual or sensitive area from being constantly exposed to toxic pesticides. This is further reinforced by the understanding that, “Pesticides in open water systems may float on the water, diffuse into the water, or deposit onto the sediments at the bottom of the water body. Pesticides that move from the ground surface through the soil may reach shallow ground water or deeper aquifers” (University of Minnesota 2003a). This means that rainwater runoff, streams, ground water, and well water are all available to pesticide contamination from spray droplet or vapor drift.
Pesticide migration is a global issue: “Six pesticides used in high volumes for agriculture travel from farm fields to the Arctic, researchers report in Environmental Science & Technology” (Lubick 2011).
Will your herbicide spray contaminate the environment and poison people beyond the point of application? Yes, frequently.
2.1.4 Further Drift and Transport Issues That Cross Time
This section brings into further consideration the above noted concerns where, “Days after application, pesticides can volatilize into a gas” (Peeples 2012). And that is: “Studies done in the recent past have found that air contains levels of pesticides that have been used in the past as well as those that are used today” (University of Minnesota 2003b). There is a recycling and movement of pesticide vapor occurring in the atmosphere that demonstrates that some pesticides are not very obliging of environmental degradational processes.
2.2 Pesticide Spray Drift: Areas Of Concern
Pesticide MOVEMENT is so critical an issue that the concept of “Areas of Concern” has been identified.
“Areas of concern are sites or living things that can be easily injured by a pesticide” (Cordell & Baker 1998:2), those being:
• wells or surface or sub-surface water accessible via porous soil
• schools, playgrounds or hospitals
• endangered species habitats
• honeybee sites, parks or wildlife preserves
• ornamental gardens, crops [!] or specialized (sensitive) plantings (ibid.).
• habitat areas for the sick, children, pregnant women, the elderly
• all feed or food areas
• all locations for confined or domesticated animals
• all locations for sensitive or ornamental plantings (ibid.).
There is almost no place or environment where people or plants will not be poisoned. Pesticide use and then poisoning, therefore, is a “given”. Why? Because: “It is estimated that less than 0.1% of an insecticide reaches the target pests. Therefore, more than 99% of the applied pesticide is released and left to impact the surrounding environment” (Owens and Feldman 2004:16, citing Pimentel, D., et al. 1991).
If you use pesticides, you WILL poison other people. And you WILL poison yourself too.
2.3 Aggregate Or Cumulative Pesticide Impacts: Repeated Exposures
2.3.1 Insect Pest Resistance From Repeated Exposures
What we consider might be good advice on the part of a pesticide company — to set up a regular schedule of repeat spray treatments — is not good for Nature or us: “…it soon became evident of the devastating environmental and health harms that these toxic chemicals can cause. Furthermore, there are more concerns regarding the use of these chemicals. First off, as pesticides are recurrently applied, insect populations develop resistances to the chemicals. Also, the target pest’s natural predators are frequently killed off when pesticides are used. Additionally, as one pest species is eradicated, its competition may soon take its place” (University of Minnesota 2003d).
2.3.2 Human Health Impacts From Repeated Exposures
What must be emphasized at this point is the cumulative or aggregate risks inherent in small doses of pesticide. The toxicological problem exists, however, that “the effects of combined multiple and cumulative exposures experienced by children in the course of their daily lives remains virtually unstudied” (PANNA 2003). Our children are thus left entirely unprotected in the face of a stampeding worldwide technological regime that cares only about profits, not the viability of the Human Race!
In other words: “Organochlorine pesticides in women put future generations at risk” (Schafer, et al. 2004:29). How? “The fact that women—including women of childbearing age—have the highest levels of OC pesticides is cause for serious concern, as many of these pesticides are known to be harmful when crossing the placenta during fetal development. Documented health effects of in utero pesticide exposures include reduced infant birth weight, reproductive problems such as low sperm counts or other fertility problems later in life, and disruption of neurological development during infancy, possibly leading to learning disabilities and other neurobehavioral problems” (Schafer, et al. 2004:29, citing further examples ).
Further: “Neuro-developmental toxicants that have been studied, including lead, mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls, alcohol, and nicotine, have demonstrated the vulnerability of the developing brain to environmental agents at exposure levels much lower than those having a similar affect on an adult. Scientific understanding of the effects of these toxicants has emerged slowly, and the regulatory response has lagged even further. Meanwhile generations of children have been exposed to these chemicals at levels that may have caused irreversible damage. Evidence of this is the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recent consideration of lowering even further the screening threshold of lead, from 10 microgm/dl blood to 5 microgm/dl blood, since impacts have now been documented at these lower levels.(8)” (PANNA 2003).
And, although the USEPA (at least, on this particular web page) notes pesticide “exposures from food, drinking water, and residential sources” ONLY (not other sources) in terms of assessing cumulative risks, this shows that at least a deficient and begrudging appreciation of aggregate pesticide risks has at least made some kind of intellectual impact within a government organization. Necessarily, this exposure source listing also disturbingly highlights “EPA’s failure to account for drift exposures in either the organophosphate or the n-methyl carbamate cumulative risk assessment” (Goldman & Ruiz 2009:24).
Importantly, one of the USEPA’s basic cautions is: “The Agency has determined so far that five groups of pesticides each have a common mechanism of toxicity and require cumulative risk assessments because exposure to these pesticide groups may pose potential risks to human health and the environment. The five groups are: the organophosphates, N-methyl carbamates, triazines, chloroacetanilides, and pyrethrins/pyrethroids” (USEPA 2012).
We are not safe, ANYWHERE!
2.4 Pesticides MOVE From External To Internal Environments
2.4.1 Pesticide Ingress Via Soil And Slab
Pesticides applied to soil also MOVE through the soil and into homes through concrete slab foundations and other flooring types.
And, just for this moment as an exercise, wholly ignore the mountains of pesticide vapor that emanate from strictly agricultural areas. Also ignore the pesticide sprays typically used indoors for fumigation, surface sprays, etc. Just for a moment, only consider the mountains of herbicide sprayed ON TO THE GROUND, and then the mountains of chemical barrier pesticides sprayed and pumped UNDER THE GROUND. Then consider that this ground and its groundwater and ground gases are located around, near and just below (are therefore intimately connected to), respectively, the wooden flooring and the concrete slab foundations of a worldwide population of ground-floor workers and residents. Wooden flooring is subject to upward pesticide vapor migration and diffusion. And concrete slab foundations are subject to “vapor capillary movement/diffusion”.
Then consider also that a truly incalculable amount of herbicide is sprayed by home owners, councils, golf clubs, railways and the like on THAT GROUND. Remember, all that ground is connected to residences, and so then consider that most (Western) people spend most of their work and home time INDOORS: “Americans spend up to 90 percent of their time indoors” (Healthy Home Association 2012).
Once this understanding and sensibility is internalized, you can then appreciate that, in terms of suspended timber or other flooring types, pesticide vapor will intrude into the residence. Specifically of concern here in terms of raised flooring and concrete slabs is this issue:
“…pesticide moisture flow upwards through the concrete slabs by vapor diffusion and capillary transmission passes through the top surface of the concrete slabs as well as through floor surface treatments (carpet, tile, wood floors) and leads to un-healthy contamination problems. Today’s almost airtight buildings let in little fresh air and draw from the ground more “soil gas”, rich in moisture and vapors from pesticides below ground. Pores in concrete draw in water by capillary action. The average (slab) lets in over (10) gallons of water each day, several times more than showering and cooking combined!” (Healthy Home Association 2003).
Please see my Essay titled “CHEMICAL-PESTICIDE DIFFUSION THROUGH CONCRETE” located at https://poisonedpeople1.wordpress.com/2012/10/21/chemical-pesticide-diffusion-through-concrete or http://wp.me/p2DVqC-2M. Also, see my personal story of synthetic pyrethroid termiticide chemical barrier poisoning at http://indiegogo.com/poisoned-people.
Further: “The EPA has reported levels of indoor air pollutants may be two to five times higher — and occasionally more than 100 times higher — than outdoor levels. The air inside your home could be more dangerous to your health than the air outside, according to a recent survey” (Healthy Home Association 2012). We can see here now that the domestic home, in particluar, will be a reservoir focus for, not just the toxics that arise from internal synthetic fixtures, paints, carpeting, lacquers, glues, solvent-based cleaning products and insecticide sprays, but also for the rivers of toxics that are pumped into the ground all around the home.
Will your herbicide spray move into your residence’s and your neighbor’s concrete foundation slab? Will your spray vaporize up through ground floor wooden or particle board flooring and into the internal living space? Yes. Everything is connected.
2.4.2 Pesticide Ingress Via Multiple Pathways
So insidious are pesticides that, more often than not, they cannot be kept out of homes: “A 1996 study finds that 2,4-D can be tracked indoors from lawns, leaving residues in the home. EPA research finds at least five pesticides in indoor air, at levels often 10 times greater than outdoors. Another EPA study finds residues of pesticides in and around structures even when there had been no known use on the premises” (BeyondPesticides.org no date). This mystery can only mean that pesticides have an unlimited MOBILITY via multiple pathways.
2.5 Pesticides CREATE DISEASE, PERSIST, And Are Intensely MOBILE, Including Moving Between Conjoined Units.
What you spray or wipe in one room or apartment will not only be adsorbed by surfaces and furnishings, but will also migrate into the next room or apartment. What your neighbor does in a block of conjoined units with insecticide spray or an insecticide “bomb” will impact on your living space. Sometimes pesticide sprayings can KILL pets and humans.
2.5.1 Heavy Home Pesticide Use And Toxic Exposures
Note: “Surveys have shown that more than 1/3 of all the pesticides used in the U.S. are applied in urban environments and most of these pesticides are applied in the home” (Miller & Koehler 2012). Further: “The use, misuse, and/or misapplication of insecticides in the residential environment can lead to acute, sub-acute or chronic exposures” (Ashley, et al. 2006:6). This means immediate exposure and poisoning effects, residual exposures, and chronic or long-term exposure effects.
Acute and chronic exposures: “Some OP pesticides are highly acutely toxic, some cause developmental or reproductive harm, and some are known or suspected to disrupt the human hormone (endocrine) system. Carbamate pesticides are very similar to the OP compounds in their effects on the human nervous system, interfering with the transmission of nerve impulses. Some chemicals in this class are hormone disruptors and/or carcinogenic as well. OC pesticides are linked to both acute and chronic health effects, including cancer, nurological damage, and birth defects. Many organochlorines are also suspected hormone system disruptors” (Schafer, et al. 2004:13, citing Solomon, et al. 2000).
2.5.2 Persistent Pesticide Residues
Pesticide residues remain in homes after application, sometimes in significant concentrations. For example, “Chlordane residues last forever and cannot be cleaned up. Heptachlor, a component of chlordane, may last for several years in air and for 10 years in soil after application. Similar chlorinated pesticides like aldrin and dieldrin were also used and last for the lifetime of the home” (Simon, no date). And, given that Chlordane was only banned in 1988, there must be many homes still containing toxic residues of this pesticide.
Further: “Studies conducted in the last 10 years have documented the presence of numerous different pesticides in indoor air, in carpet dust, and on settled dust of surfaces in homes (Rudel et al., 2003). Concentration or surface loading levels for individual pesticides span up to five orders of magnitude (Gordon et al., 1999; Nishioka et al., 1999; Roinestad et al., 1993; Simcox et al., 1995; Whitmore et al., 1994)” (ibid.). As well: “…personal bug repellants or fumigants used in the home may be inhaled or collect as a residue on food or other surface areas” (University of Minnesota 2003c).
2.5.3 Insect And Pesticide Movements Around and Throughout Housing Structures
Will your insecticide spraying, surface spraying or insecticide aerosol fogger or flea “bomb” set off inside your apartment, which can all be described as “indiscriminate chemical extermination methods” (Ashley, et al. 2006:5), contaminate insects, people and pets inside and beyond the confines of your “private” cell in a conjoined block of units? Yes.
An important consideration to keep in mind throughout this discussion are residence walls made from drywall (also known incorrectly as “plasterboard”), gypsum board, wallboard, Sheetrock (“only US Gypsum Company’s board panels are referred as Sheetrock” [www.differencebetween.net 2012]), Gypsum Wall Board, or gyprock. What is so important here in terms of chemical migration and human health is that these products are porous and easily absorb vapors and gases from the air inside units and houses. Gypsum materials will be examined by this Essay.
As well, one should consider cinder blocks, and homogenous or laminated sheets such as fiberboard, MDF, particle board, masonite, Homasote, Fir-tex, Beaver Board, Feltex, Nu-Wood, Upson Board (Wilson & Snodgrass 2007) and other composite materials and boards used a great deal inside residences. This Essay will not (as yet) attempt to examine and evaluate these particular products in terms of their ability or otherwise to hold and re-transmit toxic vapors, or allow vapor to pass through.
And, regardless of the absorption and transmission of pesticide vapor via any of the above products, “a larger source of transfer between units on a mass basis would probably be leakage through unsealed gaps in the wall from electrical boxes, plumbing line entries, baseboards, etc.” (Gary Whitmyre [D.A.B.T.] 2012, email pers. comm) .
126.96.36.199 Insect Movements
In interior insecticide applications, many of the escaping and/or migrating insect pests will carry pesticide residues with them when they move to other residences. Please note:
• Insects carry pesticide residues (Pfleeger, et al. 1995:542).
• Pesticides enter the bodies of insects and become part of the overall chemical burden of the insects. In fact, “Contact poisons penetrate the skin of the pest…” (Encyclopedia Britannica 2012). Specifically, crop pollinating insects, honeybees, butterflies, dragonflies and wasps have all been found to carry “chlorinated pesticide residues of DDT, BHC and aldrin along with their metabolites and isomers” (Ahmad, et al. 1985:25).
• Cockroaches migrate throughout buildings, and often in response to pesticide applications: “Cockroaches migrate easily through multi-unit dwellings via plumbing and electrical connections” (Miller & Koehler 2012), and “from one unit to the next” (Health Canada 1999). Note that cockroaches are a great deal larger than the components of pesticide vapor drift. Further, “New, improved chemicals and methods to fight cockroaches may be a cause for alleged cockroach migration” (http://en.wikipedia.org/ 2012), especially when “incomplete application of cockroach control products has simply allowed the insects to completely avoid the treated areas” (Amalgamated Pest Control 2012).
• Flushing pesticides that contain pyrethrins can motivate cockroaches to move into previously uninhabited parts of a building (Peairs 2012). Cockroaches will migrate throughout a building and across barriers to avoid the pesticide.
Please note that spraying for cockroaches “may ultimately kill off the parasitic wasps” that are the “natural enemies of the American cockroach” (Barbara 2008). Many authorities therefore assert that regular spraying is counterproductive. I believe that pesticide resistance in pests, along with the killing off of pest predators, represents the overall basis for this assertion, while the opposite assertion made typically by pest companies — that a regular program of eradication should be put in place — is simply an irresponsible appeal to regular contracts and fees.
188.8.131.52 Pesticides Mobile In 3-D
There exists today a great deal of bias that fashions notions of pesticide immobility. For example, Bifenthrin, a synthetic pyrethroid pesticide, is typically described as binding to soil particles (Fecko 1999:5) and remaining obediently immobile in soil. However, the following research begs to differ: “Recent studies showed that surface runoff facilitated transport of pyrethroids to surface streams, probably by sediment movement. Sediment contamination by pyrethroids is of concern due to their wide-spectrum aquatic toxicity” (Gan, et al. 2005:836-41).
Further: “Termites were killed in bifenthrin treatments, and this suggested the
movement of the chemical from treated into untreated sections. Su & Scheffrahn (1990) reported the movement of a pyrethroid (tralomethrin) from treated sand to the agar layer in their experiment against R. flavipes [the eastern subterranean termite], causing high mortalities even though the termites did not reach the treated area” (Boon-Hoi & Chow-Yang 2007:464).
Also: “When pesticides are applied to places such as homes, offices, lawns, gardens, fields, and water sources they become mobile in the environment… Excess pesticides that do not reach their “target” organism are free to move in the environment in other ways… pesticides have the potential to move in many environmental mediums and that their movement is three-dimensional… Pesticides, regardless of the medium that they are applied in, all have the potential to be transported by air” (University of Minnesota 2003a).
184.108.40.206 Insect Mobility, And Pesticide Concentrations/Mobility And Adsorption Into Surfaces
The domestic pesticide (or any other chemical) use issue is associated with “multifamily or conjoined housing in which infestation in one unit allows migration of pests to the adjoining units, and poor ventilation which does not allow the pesticide residue to dissipate after an application” (Ashley, et al. 2006:6, citing Health Canada, 2001; Alliance for Healthy Homes, 2003).
What should be noted first from this information is that pesticide vapors inside a residence will build up and become concentrated, essentially generating a “gas chamber” effect. What can then occur is interesting and frightening:
“A wide range of organic chemicals adsorb to surface[s] in the home, including fabrics, painted or unpainted wallboard, polyurethane foam (PUF) in furniture and pillows (pesticides love to adsorb to PUF). As the airborne levels of a chemical decrease in a room, equilibrium processes would force the same chemical that is adsorbed to a material in the room to de-sorb into air until the equilibriuim concentration of chemical in air would occur. The exact rate of release would depend on the physical-chemical properties of the chemical and the binding constant (or affinity) of the chemical with the material. This is a dynamic process that a lot of people in exposure assessment don’t pay enough attention to.
“Hydrophobic (“oil-loving’) pesticides and solvents also are absorbed into fatty foods like butter present in the home. Thus, an airborne chemical can become a source of dietary exposure. [A] classic study is the one in New York State from the 1990s in which levels of dry cleaning solvents in the butter of residents living over a dry-cleaning establishment were extremely high. This is referred to as “partitioning” of a chemical from air to food” (Gary Whitmyre [D.A.B.T.] 2012, email pers. comm) .
The dry cleaning chemicals were obviously able to effectively vaporize and move through the ceiling of the shop into the living space of the residence above, negotiate the covering of the butter and incorporate into the butter.
Further to this issue showing that pesticides exchange between air and surfaces: “non-treated surface compartments… can act as potential reservoirs for the chemical [pesticide]; carpet, vinyl floor, and walls/ceiling… In order to illustrate the use of our model, we used available data for wallboard to define a fugacity capacity as well as the diffusive transfer rates between the air and the wallboard (Tichenor et al. 1991; Van Loy et al. 2001; Won et al. 2001). Much of the available experimental work provides information to establish sorption and deso[rp]tion rates from a surface” (Bennett, Furtaw and McKone 2002:262, 264).
Further: “pesticide residues [can] migrate into carpet backing and pads” (Ashley, et al. 2006:15, citing Fortune et al., 2000). This being especially so if an excessive application of pesticide is not treated very early by the repeated detergent cleaning of toys, surfaces and dishes and via the “aggressive use of ventilation” (ibid.). If these measures are left too late, then “pesticide residues have time to MIGRATE into carpet backing and pads, where they are no longer amenable to removal by cleaning” (ibid.; my emphasis).
Also: “…pesticides may be absorbed into surfaces” (Nova Scotia Environment and Labor 2006:3.4). “Gyprock”, wall boards and drywall board will absorb pesticide sprayed inside the home: “Gypsum from recycled wall boards may come with a great variety of contaminants that have been absorbed by the drywall wherever it was in use. These may include pesticides, fragrances, cigarette smoke and a myriad of other poisons found in many households and offices” (http://www.eiwellspring.org 2011).
As well: “In existing houses, the drywall has often become contaminated by the prior occupants. Their use of fragrances, pesticides, laundry products, cigarettes, etc. may have been absorbed by the porous gypsum and is then slowly released into the room for many years after” (Eriksen 2010:1).
So, what you use inside the home will be absorbed into the gypsum of the drywall or Gyprock. Varying conditions will then allow volatilization of that stored pesticide through the paper backing on the other side of the wall, where a neighbor may be living in a conjoined unit.
It may even be possible for vapor intrusion and diffusion to occur relatively rapidly across the wall “barrier”. This, especially given an insect/flea “bomb” application that raises concentrations of pesticide to extreme levels:
“Aerosol foggers (such as flea bombs) can result in particularly high contamination of room surfaces (including floors, walls, counter tops, and the insides of cabinets), leaving residues hundreds of times larger than those left from crack and crevice application methods” (Riley 2000:6, citing Wright and Jackson, 1974). In this case, chemical vapors that move across divides into other rooms and units will be very potent and toxic.
Note that aggressive ventilation is often impossible in blocks of conjoined units, thus leaving many tenants and families exposed to these large flea bomb applications or commercial fumigations, and multiple smaller sprayings.
As noted previously, vapor ingress would first occur via air movement facilitated through the inadequate fitting, sealing and painting of the drywall itself, and especially via gaps associated with various fittings, joins, pipes and other common non air tight features of internal building construction.
220.127.116.11 Other Means Of Pesticide Movement
Pesticide vapor will move from roof cavity to roof cavity in a block of conjoined units, and this especially so when the building design includes little or no significant partitioning of the individual units above the ceiling line. Roof cavity air is often an easily shared quantity.
Pesticide movement considerations between residences should also never leave out the direct transfer of pesticide chemical from one unit to another occuring with neighbor and children visitations along with kids swapping possessions and adults moving furniture, all of which will contain pesticide residues from any internal spraying. As well, there are the more direct transfers that occur when people move from one residence to another.
Therefore, it is small wonder that CDC data shows widespread exposure to pesticides. “In some cases, the vast majority of study subjects had the pesticide in their blood or urine.” DDE was found in 99% and chlorpyrifos was found in 93% of the test subjects. The pesticides tested for represented only a portion of the total number of pesticides that people are exposed to, and this demonstrated that “most people in the U.S. carry a measurable body burden of pesticides and pesticide metabolites” (Schafer, et al. 2004:21-22). No wonder, then, that “The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates 20,000 emergency room visits annually resulting from pesticide exposure” (University of Minnesota 2003c).
18.104.22.168 Chlordane Mobility And Contamination
A very interesting take on Chlordane and other pesticide exposures in the home: “Chlordane was used regularly as a termite preventive for over 30 years, finally being banned in 1988, but unfortunately, not before contaminating millions upon millions of U.S. homes. Although 100-200 gallons of the chemical is usually applied underneath the home’s concrete foundation, it is now being found to migrate into the indoor air through either cracks in the foundation or around pipes entering the home. The principal of why this occurs is similar to that of a heavy boat sitting on the water that develops a pin-hole sized leak. Likewise, with a hundred ton home sitting on top of chlordane saturated sand – the high pressures underneath the home allow the vapors to be pulled into the lower pressures within the home. Other ways in which contamination can occur include accidental spills or through overspray saturation of the ceiling drywall boards if applied to the attic’s wooden 2×4’s” (http://www.chem-tox.com no date).
As well, “many other pesticides and herbicides used residentially may migrate inside of homes or contaminate well water” (Simon, no date). This seems to imply that pesticides move extremely freely: from soil to home, from air to home, and from soil to well water.
2.5.4 Home Pesticide Applications Move Offsite
Further, your pesticide can move off-site and leave your residence to contaminate the environment and people beyond your fence-line. This means pesticide can not only move from one room to another and from one conjoined unit to another, but it can also completely escape from a house:
“It should be noted that drift is not associated only with outdoor applications. Those handling pesticides indoors may not realize how easily some pesticides move offsite in the air currents created by ventilation systems and forced-air heating and cooling systems” (Cordell & Baker 1998:1). Air currents occur within residences (from room to room), between residences in blocks of units, and between internal and external environments. Usually, though, there is not enough ventilation in modern buildings to prevent Sick Building Syndrome.
2.6 Pesticides MORPH/DEGRADE/CHANGE, MOVE and PERSIST Across Time And Space
Pesticide residues pose continuing threats to human health long after a pesticide has been banned. An example of this is p,p-DDE, a waste or breakdown product of the pesticide DDT. Even though all uses of DDT were banned in the U.S. in 1972, the CDC revealed that “p,p-DDE was present in the bodies of youth in all ethnic groups aged 12–19 — i.e. in youth born long after the U.S. ban — indicating continued exposure from residues in the environment. This is consistent with PANNA’s findings of ongoing contamination of the U.S. food supply with DDT residues” (Schafer, et al. 2004:27-29, citing ).
If pesticide residues like p,p-DDE did not MOVE, then testing would not discover their presence in “food residue, house dust, soil and sediment samples” (Schafer, et al. 2004:29, citing National Water Quality Assessment Program, U.S. Geological Survey, http://water.usgs.gov/nawqa).
Further, “Other pesticides may degrade into chemicals that are more toxic then the original chemical. The “daughter” or degradation product(s) may then be toxic to organisms other th[a]n the one it was intended for… Pesticides are also degraded at different rates in the environment depending upon their chemical structure. For example, soil organisms might degrade a pesticide within days, whereas another pesticide might take hundreds to thousands of years to degrade. Degradation or transformation of a pesticide results in a change of structure and will change how it moves in the environment. Transformation may occur in any medium that a pesticide is in” (University of Minnesota 2003a).
3.0 ARE DISEASES, CONDITIONS OR ADVERSE HUMAN HEALTH EVENTS COMMONLY RELATED TO PESTICIDE USE?
What we also need to appreciate at this point in this discussion very clearly is that the above section on MOVEMENT also must simultaneously include and be followed by the movement or progression of pesticide-induced disease states. This means the evolution and movement of pesticide health EFFECTS: “Dramatic increases in the use of pesticides and other chemicals since the 1950s directly parallel the increased incidence of diseases associated with environmental contamination” (Schafer, et al. 2004:13).
However, and to be fair, we should also note decreases in pesticide body burden and morbid symptoms: “It is encouraging to note that researchers in New York City have documented a decrease in chlorpyrifos levels found in umbilical cord blood and an increase in newborn birth weights since the ban has taken effect” (Schafer, et al. 2004:25, citing Op. cit., R.M. Whyatt et al., 2004, reference 20). Wonderful (?) news for those born after the ban; not so good news for the others…
DISEASE AND MORBIDITY ARE ON A CONTINUUM WITH DEATH. Pesticides not only generate disease and contribute to early deaths, they also precede sudden deaths in terms of acute poisoning symptoms. And if diseases or poisoning events are indicated as being associated with pesticide use, then increased numbers of deaths (whether known or unknown; recall how untraceable pesticide movement is) will also logically follow.
By their very nature (silent, largely invisible, and difficult to identify and measure, especially in blood tests hours or days after ingestion and death) toxic chemicals are a very problematic quantity in terms of attributing their application, usage or even spillage directly as assertive causative disease or death agents. Nevertheless, given the burden of evidence now compounding and compressing lightyears ahead of lagged toxicological studies and legislation, this incredibly awkward dynamic itself now posits MASSIVE AND WORLDWIDE POISONING AS AN EXTREMELY COMMON OUTCOME OF PESTICIDE USE.
Why? How? Because it is known that mild to moderate pesticide poisoning symptoms can be easily misdiagnosed as stomach-flu, bronchitis or asthma (Reeves, Schafer, Hallward & Katten 1999:17). And, with a little more complexity added: “Because most of the symptoms of pesticide exposure, from respiratory distress to difficulty in concentration, are common in children and may also have other causes, pesticide-related illnesses often go unrecognized and unreported” (Owens and Feldman 2004:17, citing National Environmental Education and Training Foundation 2002).
Therefore, much illness is produced through pesticide and other chemical exposures as a supplementary or primary cause, but which illness is typically more easily and automatically attributed in millions of clinics worldwide to general cold/flu/gastro infections, and pollens and stress. This is especially so when the patient has only five minutes to explain their symptoms to the doctor. This dynamic, along with medical practitioners’ general ignorance of pesticide poisoning symptoms, assists greatly in concealing the huge range of pesticide impacts on human health.
3.1 Bedfellows: Pesticide, Disease And Death
Where is the modern rash of sudden deaths and new and resurgent disease coming from?
3.1.1 Direct Links Between Pesticide And Disease
• “Several pesticides, such as pyrethrins and pyrethroids, organophosphates and carbamates, are also known to cause or exacerbate asthma symptoms” (Owens and Feldman 2004:17, citing Salam. M., et al. 2004).
• Cancers, foetal death, miscarriages, premature births (NCAP, 1999:3; Bonn, 2005; Cox, 2004) and ADHD (Cox, 2004) are all now linked to pesticides.
• There are increased stillbirth rates with proximity to agricultural areas using organophosphate – pyrethroid – carbamate – or chlorinated pesticides (Sinclair & Pressinger, no date, citing Bell, et al. 2001).
• “A National Cancer Institute researcher who matched pesticide data and medical records in ten California agricultural counties recently reported that pregnant women living within nine miles of farms where pesticides are sprayed have an increased risk of losing an unborn baby to birth defects” (Owens and Feldman 2004:17, citing Bell, E., et al. 2001).
• Pesticides are strongly linked to birth defects (Montague 2001).
• “Studies show that children exposed to pesticides suffer elevated rates of leukemia, brain cancer, and soft tissue sarcoma” (Owens and Feldman 2004:17, citing Ma, X. et al. 2002).
• “Two separate studies in Sweden have linked exposure to Glyphosate to Hairy Cell Leukemia and Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. These types of cancers were extremely rare, however Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is the most rapidly increasing cancer in the Western world. It has risen by 73% in the USA since 1973. Another study has found a higher incidence of Parkinson disease amongst farmers who used herbicides, including glyphosate” (Leu 2007, citing Cox 1998; Lehmann & Pengue 2000; Nordstrom, et al. 1998; Hardell & Eriksson 1999).
• Further, Swedish researchers have linked Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma to several commonly used pesticides. This cancer is increasing in the Western world extremely rapidly. Another study showed that Swedish sufferers were significantly more likely to have been exposed to MCPA (“Target”), fungicides and glyphosate (“Round-Up”) (Nexus 1999:7).
• Roundup is “a known carcinogen, neurotoxin, irritant, and has been found to kill human embryonic cells, and can cause kidney and liver damage” (BeyondPesticides.org 2012).
3.1.2 Traveller/Backpacker Pesticide Deaths In South-East Asia
“In the last three years, a dozen vacationers have died under suspicious circumstances in tourist areas of Thailand and Vietnam” (CBC News 2012).
As well, the article titled “Mysterious Deaths to Travelers in Southeast Asia: Pesticides are Blamed (VIDEOs). The World Health Organization suspects poisonous pesticides”, reports a rash of incidents involving the death of tourists. A number of young women and an elderly couple have died under suspicious circumstances. Typically, low blood pressure, respiratory distress, vomiting and dehydration, and cardiac arrest feature as symptoms before death. Both a TV3 investigation and the Thailand Disease Control Department appear to agree that pesticide poisoning is the culprit. The “Downtown Hotel”, where a number of deaths occurred, was destroyed. Another guesthouse where deaths occurred changed its name (Feldman 2012). As well: “Other media reports linked Bowerman’s and Huynh’s deaths to the 2009 deaths of Jill St. Onge and Julie Bergheim, who had similar symptoms in adjacent rooms at the Laleena Guesthouse on the island of Phi Phi. (The hotel has since changed its name)” (eTN Global Travel Industry News 2012).
Note: “The chemical chlorpyrifos is illegal for any use inside a home or hotel in most countries of the world. However, it is still legal in Thailand and Vietnam, according to Dr. McDowell [a U.N. toxic chemical consultant], and was found to be an ingredient in the pesticide that had been sprayed in the Downtown Inn. “The level of (chlorpyrifos) in this product is quite low and should not normally cause a problem. However, in my work we have found many sprayer companies ‘top up’ the level of (chlorpyrifos) when they are battling bedbugs in Asia” ” (Feldman 2012).
3.1.3 Pesticide Deaths (Human And Animal) Worldwide
A directly attributable death from a pesticide treatment: “Excerpt from Beyond Pesticides original blog post: Pesticide Exposure Kills Woman, Three Years Later EPA Files Complaint (Beyond Pesticides, December 22, 2008) The U.S. EPA has filed an administrative complaint, seeking a maximum penalty of only $4,550, against a pest control company that sprayed pesticides in a couple’s home, causing the wife to die shortly thereafter. It has been more than three years since the incident took place in Florence, Oregon…” (Philbrick 2009:3).
Deaths in the most vulnerable group: “The study compares 43,500 birth outcomes between 1995 and 1997, compiled by the National Center for Health Statistics in selected counties of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana… Death rates from birth malformations among male infants in high-wheat counties are more than twice the rates in low-wheat counties. In addition, the study finds an increased chance of circulatory and respiratory (excluding heart) malformations for infants conceived from April to June, a time that more than 85% of the acreage treated with chlorophenoxy herbicides is applied on durum wheat in the states studied” (Kepner 2003:5).
“In this issue, we cover the bad news: pesticides linked to… the death of 58 cows due to pesticide poisoning…” (Feldman 2003).
3.1.4 Pesticide Deaths And Non-English Speaking Pesticide Use In Australia
Sam Vella, 56, died of cardiac arrest while using a common herbicide in a paddock next to his house in Sydney’s south-west (Robinson 2010). It should be noted that the article stated that Mr. Vella’s older brother thought that Sam did not die from the pesticide itself. However, two clues remain: the older brother (who looks fairly fit and strong in the Herald’s photo of him), while demonstrating confidence in his own frequent use of the herbicide product, admitted that Sam had been ill following a stroke. Further, in the article, a police officer stated that “the three people who tried to help Vella were affected by the weed killer”, though a later statement seemed to indicate that, ultimately, the three were not treated (ibid.).
However, another news article was more definitive in stating that Sam Vella died “after ingesting the toxic fumes”. As well, the article noted that ambulance paramedics described the herbicide Vella had been using as a “highly toxic” chemical. Further, the article stated that the three individuals who tried to help Mr. Vella “showed signs of poisoning, including nausea and vomiting, and were taken to Liverpool Hospital” (Bevin 2010).
There are two critically important points that need to be made here. Given that the above article stated that after the event “21 people required decontamination due to chemical exposure” and that “NSW Ambulance Service District Inspector John Ellems said the toxicity of the chemical made the scene very dangerous for everybody” (ibid.), one must ask WHY ARE ORDINARY PEOPLE PERMITTED TO USE SUCH TOXIC PRODUCTS AT WILL AND DOMESTICALLY?
Further to this issue: “Weed and feed formulations of 2,4-D encourage repeated applications over the entire lawn area, rather than selective application to areas where weeds are present. Typically, weeds exist in only a small fraction of a lawn. Moreover, there is evidence that a substantial number of consumers do not recognize weed and feed formulations as pesticides. Furthermore, not all people read and follow label instructions. One study recently determined that only 53% of households report reading and carefully following the label when using pesticides and fertilizers” (www.panna.org 2005).
Further still in terms of the diabolical situation created by selling toxic pesticide products to those who cannot read the labels effectively, a ground-breaking study done on non-English speaking market gardeners in the Sydney Basin (Australia) by Prof. Frances Parker of the University of Western Sydney found that:
“Mostly growers (69%) could not read the labels on the chemical containers. Those who could read them said, “they were clear”. This, however, must be interpreted with caution, as the meaning they take from the labels may not necessarily be correct. All, particularly the women, stated that if the labels were in Arabic it would be easier for all of them to read it. Sometimes Johny (a former NSW Agriculture extension officer), or other Lebanese with experience, or their young children, help them to read the labels. Usually they buy fertilisers and chemicals from Lebanese shops or other stores. Sometimes the shopkeeper suggests that they buy and use suitable and effective chemicals. Most said that they spray once a fortnight. Although they stated that they use gloves and a mask, in practice they do not. In other words, they give the “expected response” to the question rather than the reality. Most mix the chemicals with bare hands and using a long stick for mixing. Most said that they disposed of the empty cans by the garbage bin, or by burning. One used the empty containers for storing petrol. They also stated that it is only when sprays do not work that they remove the diseased plants. The farm women wash the clothes after spraying, but only 15% washed them separately from their other clothes” (Parker 2000:65-66). I proof-read and created the graphics for this book. Prof. Parker was my former PhD Supervisor.
Few restrictions exist in terms of domestic pesticide use. Are those who have preexisting medical conditions ever effectively warned away from using toxic herbicides? Even owners of blocks of units apparently cannot prescribe how tenants use or don’t use domestic insecticides! The entire issue of pesticide use is a unregulated nightmare of global public health and slow-rolling Extinction Level Event proportions, all in supreme favor of continued and massive pesticide sales.
3.2 Global Disease Patterns on the Tail of Massive Pesticide Use
And broadly, how do these pesticide and other chemical causative agents trend in terms of global disease patterns?
• There is an increasing incidence of newly recognized or emerging, or re-emerging (resurgent) older diseases (World Health Organization 2002:10). Please see my Essay titled “DISEASE AMPLIFICATION IN THIS MODERN ERA: A DISASTROUS COMBINATION OF FACTORS” (https://poisonedpeople1.wordpress.com/2012/10/15/disease-amplification-in-this-modern-era-a-disastrous-combination-of-factors/).
Toxic chemical technologies are leading us into an era of unprecedented disease manifestation and resurgence!
• And on a slightly different note, also observe that the above data automatically demonstrate immeasurable loss of quality and potential of life in these tragically abbreviated, earlier adult and child deaths through pesticide-induced disease, be that chronic disease or sudden disease (acute symptoms) and death onset.
• If you are unborn, if you are a baby, if you are elderly, if you suffer from an existing illness (Ashley, et al. 2006:5, citing Watson, et al. 2003), or if you are pregnant (Ashley, et al. 2006:4, citing Avakian 2001), then you will be susceptible to poisoning from chlorpyrifos and “possibly the entire class of organophosphates” (ibid.) and even the so-called “safer” pyrethroids and their adjuvants and ‘inert’ ingredients.
As well, you may be subject to SUDDEN DEATH, if your existing illness includes stroke, Lyme or Lupus, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, a neurodegenerative disorder, OR even if you are young and fit and healthy and travel to South-East Asia for the trip of your death.
We have learnt in this Essay that we live inside a technological regime that demands we swamp our natural, living world with killer chemicals. The use of these chemicals is increasing. Further, pesticides are infinitely mobile and will find you wherever you are. Pesticides generate stillbirths, malformations, dysfunction (such as weed resistance), disease, debility, death and tragedy across the board.
Therefore, the chemical treatment of insect pest problems is a wholly inadequate, indeed massively destructive form of “technological fix”. The fact we are on such a synthetic treadmill, and have wrought so deep a wound in the fabric of a single Planet’s Web of Life, is a disgrace beyond words.
We may one day learn that to “fix” is not to fix, that the only way forward is with the permission of all the natural forces that we are immersed in.
However, until that dawning day and paradigm shift we are firmly tethered to the harsh lessons of this life. We are framed by problems so great that we would be accurate to describe our exposure to vehicle exhaust emissions, and pesticides, and food additives, and chlorine, and flouride, and sick building VOCs, and radiation, and pollution in this modern era as either an example of exceptional synchronous and accidental blundering across all human thought and activities, or a strangely coordinated worldwide assault (and profound learning experience) upon the very viability of human existence: an authored Extinction Level Event.
And further to our immortal and generationally repeating demand for self-destruction and the denial of the obvious:
“Most tragically, suffering, illness and disease surround us today in a way we would not have imagined a half century ago. We have banished some diseases only to have them replaced by a grumbling yet profound toxicity which is stripping our children of their rightful future” (Donohoe, 1998:38).
And, to sum up, an Aldous Huxley quote: “We are living now, not in the delicious intoxication induced by the early successes of science, but in a rather grisly morning-after, when it has become apparent that what triumphant science has done hitherto is to improve the means for achieving unimproved or actually deteriorated ends” (Huxley 2004).
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