Sunday, August 23, 2015
Local action needed to protect Hawaii’s health against pesticide effects
The baby was born minutes before with a severe heart malformation that would require complex surgery. What worried her as she waited for the ambulance plane to take the infant from Waimea, on the island of Kauai, to the main children’s hospital in Honolulu, on another Hawaiian island, was that it was the fourth one shehad seen in three years.
In all of Waimea, there have been at least nine in five years, she says, shaking her head. That’s more than 10 times the national rate, according to analysis by local doctors.—Guardian article
by Larry Geller
When you see numbers like “10 times the national rate” there is little room for argument. If I saw, 5% more than the national rate, I could say, well, we need more proof. But 10 times?
This sounds like a public health issue that our Department of Health and independent medical organizations should jump on, for the sake of the health of their patients.
In Kauai, chemical companies Dow, BASF, Syngenta and DuPont spray 17 times more pesticide per acre (mostly herbicides, along with insecticides and fungicides) than on ordinary cornfields in the US mainland, according to the most detailed study of the sector, by the Center for Food Safety.
That’s because they are precisely testing the strain’s resistance to herbicides that kill other plants. About a fourth of the total are called Restricted Use Pesticides because of their harmfulness. Just in Kauai, 18 tons – mostly atrazine, paraquat (both banned in Europe) and chlorpyrifos – were applied in 2012. The World Health Organization this year announced that glyphosate, sold as Roundup, the most common of the non-restricted herbicides, is “probably carcinogenic in humans”.
[The Guardian, Pesticides in paradise: Hawaii's spike in birth defects puts focus on GM crops, 8/23/2015]
Pesticides cause other health problems besides this particular heart defect. There is no reason why Hawaii’s health should be allowed to suffer for the profit of these large chemical firms.
If it falls to either our state Department of Health or to the ag folks to protect us against the adverse effects of these businesses, they are failing to do their jobs.
Please read the entire story by clicking at the link. One more snip:
When the spraying is underway and the wind blows downhill from the fields to the town – a time no spraying should occur – residents complain of stinging eyes, headaches and vomiting.
“Your eyes and lungs hurt, you feel dizzy and nauseous. It’s awful,” says middle school special education teacher Howard Hurst, who was present at two evacuations. “Here, 10% of the students get special-ed services, but the state average is 6.3%,” he says. “It’s hard to think the pesticides don’t play a role.”