DDT, through its metabolite DDE, caused eggshell thinning and resulted in severe population declines in multiple North American and European bird of prey species. The US Environmental Protection Agency stated DDT and DDE are chemically similar enough to estrogens to trigger hormonal responses in animals, and available epidemiological evidence indicates that these effects may also be occurring in humans, causing developmental and reproductive problems. Even in 2010, more than forty years after the U.S. ban, California condors which feed on sea lions at Big Sur which in turn feed in the Palos Verdes Shelf area of the Montrose Chemical Superfund site seemed to be having continued thin-shell problems.
DDT has been banned in most countries, yet there are still some who are continuing to manufacture and use it. The chemical compounds used in the original formula have been altered to pass the new regulations, but the use of similar products is still being sprayed on our food crops. Environmental groups are increasingly concerned about the so-called "inert" ingredients. These receive less testing and are often not even listed on the product label. Some have been shown to be more toxic than the active ingredient.
Today forest companies use herbicides to kill deciduous trees and bushes and to clear an area before planting a commercially desired species. They also spray insecticides against forest insects. When the budworm outbreak in New Brunswick in 1952 was sprayed with DDT, the outbreak spread over an area four times the size of the initial spray zone. By also killing the budworm's natural predators, the spray program kept the budworm outbreak (normally a cycle of five to seven years) in a state of artificial, permanent epidemic for over forty years.
Virtually tons of pesticides are sprayed on Canada's lawns, playgrounds, parks and golf courses for cosmetic reasons. Winnipeg is the most heavily sprayed city in Canada, due to the yearly effort to control mosquitoes. Spraying occurs during the mosquito season which is generally May through September. After predetermined threshold numbers of larvae are identified, population management is conducted using a bacterial larvicide that kills mosquitoes during the aquatic larvae stage of their development.
Bti has been used since the 1950s for insect control. Effects of Bacillus thuringiensis on human health and the environment depend on how much Bacillus is present and the length and frequency of exposure. Effects also depend on the health of a person and/or certain environmental factors. Mosquito spraying programs affect unintended species, such as bees and butterflies, which have noticeably declined according to the bee keepers.
Pesticides have been linked to many different types of cancer in humans from breast cancer to lymphomas and soft-tissue sarcomas. A National Cancer Institute study in the U.S. indicates that children are as much as six times more likely to get childhood leukemia and brain cancer when pesticides are used in their area. A recent study published in the American Journal of Public Health found elevated levels of cancer in children where pesticides were used in their homes and yards. Evidence indicates that even the family dog is a victim of pesticides. Dogs from homes with lawns that have been sprayed with pesticides have a higher than average rate of the canine equivalent of lymphoma.
As one can see from the World’s history on biological and chemical warfare, forest and agricultural disasters, as well as scientific experiments gone wrong, the human race has still not learned from its mistakes. The question is not whether GMOs and pesticides are a hazard to health, because they are. It’s not about feeding the population, because we are a Nation of fat cats, who could miss a few meals and not suffer. No, this is all about the almighty dollar.
This is about free enterprise. Fancy cars and designer jeans. I-phones and Smart TVs. The question is how many will die while the subject is still being discussed and researched? Inmates in Auschwitz were able to distribute information from the camp via messages and shortwave radio transmissions. The Polish government-in-exile in London first reported the gassing of prisoners on July 21, 1942. These reports were discarded as exaggerated or unreliable by the Allied Powers, and Germany's opponents.
It wasn’t until May, 1944 that there was a growing campaign by Jewish organizations to persuade the Allies to bomb Auschwitz or the railway lines leading to it. At one point British Prime Minister Winston Churchill ordered that such a plan be prepared, but he was told that precision bombing of the camp to free the prisoners or disrupt the railway was not technically feasible. In 1978, historian David S. Wyman published an essay titled "Why Auschwitz Was Never Bombed", arguing that the US Air Force had the capability to attack Auschwitz and should have done so; books by Bernard Wasserstein and Martin Gilbert raised similar questions about British inaction.
My partner owned a health store in Kelowna 25 years ago. She rallied against GMOs and pesticides then, with no results. People thought she was a fanatic. Now, 25 years later, everyone is acting as though this is a new concept. It is time to stop talking and start acting. There is definitely no lack of research data or references on GMOs and pesticides. Since the book Silent Spring in 1962, data on cancer and other unexplained anomalies associated with pesticides have been published.
Look around you. My grandparents lived well into their 90s. My parents, in their 70s are on a handful of pharmaceutical medications for high blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and cancer. People my age will probably not see their first pension cheque. There is an epidemic of endometriosis, miscarriages, and infertility in young women. Half the children in school are on Ritalin, the other half are deathly allergic to peanuts, and most children are 20 pounds overweight. (Fat globules are the body’s way of surrounding the toxins so that they are not absorbed into the body.) And, let’s not forget the 2 and 3 year olds with leukemia and brain tumors. Isn’t that evidence enough?
Harris, SH, Factories of Death: Japanese Biological Warfare, 1932-1945 and The American Cover-up, New York, NY: Routledge: 1994.
Scoff, LB, Beebe, GW, Hoofnagle, JH, et al. A serologic follow-up of the 1942 epidemic of post-vaccination hepatitis in the United States Army, N Eng/Med Journal medicine 1987: 316:965-970.
David Kinkela. DDT and the American Century: Global Health, Environmental Politics, and the Pesticide That Changed the World (University of North Carolina Press, 2011).
Holm L, Blomqvist A, Brandt I, Brunström B, Ridderstråle Y, Berg C (October 2006). "Embryonic exposure to o,p'-DDT causes eggshell thinning and altered shell gland carbonic anhydrase expression in the domestic hen". Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 25 (10): 2787–93.
Vos JG, Dybing E, Greim HA, Ladefoged O, Lambré C, Tarazona JV et al. (2000). "Health effects of endocrine-disrupting chemicals on wildlife, with special reference to the European situation". Crit Rev Toxicol 30 (1): 71–133.
Barras, Vincent; Greub, Gilbert (2014). "History of biological warfare and bioterrorism". Clinical Microbiology and Infection 20 (6): 497–502.
GMOs & Pesticides - con't