Daily Archives: February 17, 2010

More on the risks of using pesticides

You may ask why I am posting issues on pesticides. You may ask what they have to do with GMO’s?

Everything.

GMO crops use pesticides (herbicides, fungicides, insecticides) and because there is a resistance being created in weeds to these chemicals, all forms of pesticides are being manufactured in stronger batches. It’s a cycle that will be very difficult to break now. We are in it. This is the tipping point. It is up to every individual to come to some understanding of what the real issue is here. It’s not about the chemicals. It’s about control. Read on:

By DR. IAN SIMPSON
The Western Star

My letter last week about cosmetic use of pesticides has promoted some discussion both in The Western Star printed edition and its web edition.

I would like to reply to Tuesday’s letter from Lorne Hepworth of CropLife Canada.
He states “we can rest assured that before any pesticide is sold in Canada it undergoes comprehensive scientific review and risk assessment by Health Canada.”

Health Canada has created PMRA — the Pesticide Management and Regulatory Agency — which is the responsible body for reviewing all the studies submitted. But there are problems:

  • Underfunding — in 2002, $8 million of the funding was from the pesticide industry.
  • PMRA does not conduct its own in-house laboratory work. It reviews the research provided — most of it from industry sources and most of it not published in peer reviewed literature.
  • The industry requests PMRA to treat the material as “proprietary.” So this science remains hidden.
  • PMRA relies mainly on U.S.A. studies (80 per cent of the studies reviewed in the early part of the decade.)
  • Health Canada has a track record of approving pesticides, only to later phase them out due to health and environmental concerns. Examples: DDT, Eldrin, Diazinon, Dursan, Mecoprop.
  • PMRA  does not evaluate other chemicals in the formulation, so- called “inerts,” or the breakdown products.

Mr. Hepworth goes on to say “As for benefits … well maintained public and private spaces make for happier  healthier communities.” Happier I will not debate, but healthier? This I will argue is nonsense. In the comments on the web page, DB from NL worries at the use of the word “linked” when commenting on the link between pesticide exposure and different diseases. DB would like hard numbers and quantification.

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