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Dosing Kids with Toxic Pesticides

March 30, 2012

"A proposed rule on human pesticide testing that fails to protect children and families should be shelved immediately. A protective rule must be issued in its place." - Senator Barbara Boxer

Every man, woman, and child living in America would test positive for a pesticide called Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, otherwise known as DDT. How can that be? The use of DDT was made illegal in the United States more than 40 years ago.

Should DDT continue to be a concern for American consumers in 2012? What is the latest science?

Researchers in the Department of Wildlife at Mississippi State University recently published a study in the February 2, 2012 journal Pest Management Science in which Mississippi River delta sediment was tested for 17 different pesticide residues. The scientists found DDT was present in 47.5 percent of samples tested.

A second group of researchers at the Department of Chemistry at City College of New York tested water sediments for Organochlorines including DDT in the Long Island Sound and published their findings in the March, 2012 issue of the Journal of Environmental Monitoring. Their conclusion:

"The results indicate that the three (organochlorines) were still widely present in Long Island Sound surficial sediments two decades after the use of these pesticides in the United States was banned."

The March, 2012 issue of PLoS One (published by the Public Library of Science) includes a study in which human breast cancer samples were analyzed for the effects of DDT by doctors at the College of Pharmacy at Xavier University of Louisiana. Their conclusion:

"We have shown, for the first time...that DDT... alters the expression profiles of microRNA in MCF-7 breast cancer cells."

Every supermarket in my geographic region (Northeastern New Jersey) offers organic bananas for sale at an average price of 20 cents per pound more than non-organic, yet, a division of USDA, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) requires every crate of exported produce coming into America be sprayed before getting on the boat or airplane. Organic bananas are not organic, nor is any produce grown outside of American borders.

APHIS does so to prevent "pests" such as the Mediterranean Fruit Fly from entering our borders. If you eat Mexican-grown produce, you eat DDT. Look for the signs in Whole Foods supermarkets extolling the virtues of Mexican produce.

Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" resulted in the banning of a horribly toxic pesticide, D.D.T. Ironically, Carson died a few months after publishing the best selling book that changed America. Or did it? Her breasts became toxic dump sites for chemicals approved by government agencies, and her breast cancer overwhelmed healthy cells, resulting in her death.

The United States Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) established so-called safe levels for pesticides in foods, but their tolerance levels make absolutely no sense in 21st century America.

EPA's math is one level below dyslexic, hovering between unethical and criminal.

If humans and animals eat the same plants, and humans then eat the flesh of these same animals, or drink their milk, the pesticides become concentrated in the bodies and body fluids of those food-animals. Humans sit atop the food chain.

Unfortunately, EPA standards for farm animals allow greater amounts of pesticides in animal feed.

Let me cite you one example. If soy crops are sprayed with one of the most toxic substances used in agriculture, malathion, EPA will allow no more than 8 parts per million on those soybeans.

Soybeans are harvested, roasted and served to dairy cows and beef cattle. If soy forage is used for animal feed, the permitted level of malathion is nearly seventeen times greater (135 parts per million).

Humans may eat a few ounces per day of malathion- treated soy products. Dairy cows might eat ten pounds per day or more of that same product with higher permissible residues. Day after day. Week after week. Thousands of doses.

The actual human dose of malathion for milk drinkers or meat eaters may very well be thousands of times greater than the maximum standard for human tolerance as set by EPA.

Mal means bad, and malathion (Dimethoxy Phosphino Thioyl Thio Butanedioic Acid Diethyl Ester) is the baddest of pesticides. Exposure to malathion can result in a vast array of human conditions, including birth defects, cancer, chromosomal, brain, and kidney damage, leukemia, and often-times death.

Many hundreds of different pesticides are used on America's farms. In most cases, the allowable levels of pesticides in feed for farm animals is significantly higher than it is for human food.

Other pesticide ranges include acetochlor (7 times higher for animal feed), alachlor (3.5 times greater), bentazon (60 times greater), carbaryl (20 times greater), chloroneb (20 times greater), diflubensuron (10 times greater), diphenamid (5 times greater), fenvalerate (20 times greater), methomyl (50 times greater), methyl parathion (10 times greter), metolachlor (40 times greater), and norflurazon (10 times greater). Many more pesticides are used.

Eat soy or any fruit and vegetable, and you get one dose. Eat organic soy, or organic fruits and vegetables, and you receive zero doses of pesticides.

Eat animals who are permitted many more times than the levels of pesticides than are humans, and who eat many hundreds or thousands of doses, and you introduce poisons into your own flesh. Is there any living creature higher on the food chain than human adults who eat poisoned flesh and dairy products?

Sadly, the answer is yes. The highest creature on the food chain is the growing fetus whose mother is exposed to these concentrated toxins. After birth, her mother delivers these concentrated pesticides to the child through breast milk.

Who protects Americans from pesticides? It is the Environmental Protection Agency.

Why does EPA allow 8 parts per million of malathion on soybeans grown for human consumption, and 135 parts per million for farm animals? Animals eat many more doses, and it is concentrated in their milk and meat.

Those levels are established by scientific studies performed on laboratory animals, whose systems do not resemble human systems.

EPA establishes tolerance levels for pesticides more as an enforcement standard than a safety assessment. When humans eat soybeans, some of the pesticides are lost after the beans are washed, ground up, and made into other foods. EPA attempts to reflect the "dinner-plate values" of various pesticides, but does not do the same with animal feeds containing dangerously high and untested levels.

Who should care most about animal health? Those who eat animals! Who should eat animals? Those people who have no care regarding their own health.

In the case of malathion, cow soy forage is permitted contain 17 times the level of pesticides as human soy, and cows eat thousands of portions to our one portion. The steak or ice cream contains fat, which captures that pesticide, which does not degrade. In milk and meat, consumers eat many more doses. Should not the standard for animal feed be lower and safer than human feed for that identical reason?

Robert Cohen

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