Sunday, January 11, 2009

Pesticides in Hawaii...And More

Saturday, January 10, 2009
Fipronil and Termidor Pesticides Followed TO Hawaii By Bans andLawsuits
by Wayne Parsons
I posted an article on pesticides in Hawaii waste water (KHNL ReportsPossible Health Risks of Pollutants in Honolulu Wastewater) and I amfollowing up with an inspiring piece from the Big Island aboutconsumer activism regarding pesticides that I found today. You canfind to original article at a chemical sensitivity website that isworth visiting if you care about risks to public health in Hawaii.VardoForTwo: Pesticide Action Network.
The center piece of the VardoForTwo story is a pesticide calledfipronil. Dangerous stuff this fipronil. It has been banned for yearsin France because it wiped out the French honeybee industry. InLouisiana it wiped out the cray fish farms when it got into the water.That debacle resulted in a a $45 million settlement for destroying thecrawfish farms 10 years ago and now another group of farmers havefiled suit for the same reason demonstrating the long term effects ofpoisoning the water with this pesticide: "Crawfish group sues Iconpesticide maker"
So who is watching out for the public? Apparently no one. Notgovernment and certainly not the corporate giants in the pesticideindustry who make money selling this stuff. Oh, by the way, fipronilis the active ingredient in the most popular subterranean termitepesticide: Termidor. Those selling Termidor refer to it as a "lowtoxicity" pesticide. I suggest that if you read about the actualchemical Termidor and what it becomes when it breaks down in the soilaround your house or your kids' school you will think the word usedshould have been "poison":
Fipronil is a relatively new insecticide. It is used in cockroachbaits and gels, flea products for pets, ant baits and gels, termitecontrol products, turf and golf course products, and agriculturalproducts.
Symptoms of exposure to fipronil include headache, nausea,dizziness, weakness, and sometimes eye irritation and eye injury. Inpets, poisoning symptoms include irritation, lethargy, incoordination, and convulsions.
In tests with laboratory animals, fipronil caused aggressivebehavior, damaged kidneys, and “drastic alterations in thyroidfunction.”
The fipronil-containing product Frontline caused changes in thelevels of sex hormones.
The offspring of laboratory animals exposed to fipronil duringpregnancy were smaller than those of unexposed mothers. They also tooklonger to mature sexually.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency classifies fipronil as acarcinogen because exposure to fipronil caused benign and malignantthyroid tumors in laboratory animals.
One of fipronil’s breakdown products is ten times more toxic thanfipronil itself.
People can be exposed to fipronil when they pet an animal that hasreceived a flea treatment.
Fipronil persists for at least 56 days on pets.
Studies of fipronil contamination of water are limited, but it hasbeen found in rivers near rice fields where it is used in Louisiana.It has also been found in an urban stream in Washington.
Fipronil is toxic to birds, lizards, fish, crawfish, shrimp, bees,and other animals. Minute concentrations (as low as five parts pertrillion) have caused adverse effects.
Millions of gallons of Termidor have been sprayed under and aroundHawaii buildings. the non-poisonous solutions cost a few cents morebut then Big Business and government put money ahead of health soHawaii's families get pesticides around their homes and schools.
Here is the great article from VardoForTwo:
Friday, January 9, 2009 PESTICIDE ACTION NETWORK Yesterday anissue relating to the life of bees turned me into a little volcano.Susie Collins over at The Canary Report was the messenger of the storythat caused the volcano-making. Here's the link to that story aboutthe state of Hawaii Department of Agriculture's decision to poison allthe wild bee hives in Hilo Town, on the island of Hawaii. Here is an excerpt from the article appearing in the HonoluluAdvertiser:
The state Department of Agriculture plans to poison wild honeybee hives in Hilo as an emergency measure to stop a growinginfestation of bee-killing varroa mites, and warns the public againsteating honey from wild hives over the next three weeks.
The department is using a “crisis exemption” to deploy theinsecticide fipronil at about 200 baiting stations within a five-mileradius of Hilo Harbor. Pesticide is never, in my opinion, a solution. I know thereare always opinions in very high places (not heaven) that argueagainst my opinion and yet, pesticides repeatedly are the source ofphysical break-down in my thyroid gland and brain cells. Those of usdisabled with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities know without doubt themalignant effects of the 'pesticide solution.'
As part of my volcanic condition yesterday, I sought guidancethrough my prayers and meditative walks along the shore praying for"the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to changethe things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." I foundpeace with my volcanism -- the part of me that knows courage comesfrom the fire of transformation. Then I took action: I made calls,sent emails and sought other opinions.
I have emailed Beyond Pesticides to ask if their organizationis aware of the state of Hawaii's decision to use fipronil. I have yetto get a reply. A phone call to one of my dear friends here inWashington who is also MCS offered me other avenues to learn more andperhaps abate this action.
Last night I get this email from Bobby McClintock in Honolulu.HERE'S A SOLUTION, and a way to abate the irresponsible and arrogantbelief that "pesticides are the solution."
"This is too important an issue to not pass on. Pleasesign on to this petition from the Pesticide Action Network. Thosedisabled with MCS will be particularly interested in the N statementin the A through Z categories. Please move down to see N in itsentirety from just the statement. Please also pass this on to yourentire network.
Thanks! Bobby"
I hope you will join in the battle to demand a healthyenvironment. Stopping he use of pesticides altogether is the worldtrend. Lets do the same in Hawaii.
Find this article at:
(c) 2009
January 11, 2009
The Toronto Star
A PICTURE AND A THOUSAND WORDSThey sing incessantly, regard your car roof as a toilet, and clusterin groups of hundreds. An ode to our most misunderstood bird
Robert AlisonSpecial to the Star
Southern Ontario, and especially the Toronto area, is a winter meccafor European starlings, much to the dismay of detractors who claim thebirds are undesirable vermin.
Though they number more than 200 million in North America, they arenot native birds. But since their intentional introduction more than acentury ago, their population growth and rapid range expansion confirmthey are among the most successful birds on the continent.
Southern Ontario is a winter starling hub. According to Audubon'sChristmas Bird Count data, over 255,000 starlings winter in the GoldenHorseshoe area, about half of Canada's total wintering starlingnumber. Since about two-thirds of Ontario's starlings migrate towarmer U.S. states during the coldest months, the winter figuresrepresent just a small fraction of the total Ontario breedingpopulation.
But the winter flocks bother people; they're noisy and their droppingsfestoon parked vehicles, statues, buildings and sidewalks.
European starlings were introduced into North America in 1850, inPennsylvania; 1872 in Ohio, 1889 in Oregon and 1890 in New York City.The latter introduction was the most infamous. It involved 100starlings released by the Acclimation Society of North America in anattempt to establish here all the birds mentioned in Shakespeare'splays. (Starlings are in Henry IV.)
The introduced stock spread rapidly. The birds first penetrated Canadanear Brockville in 1919. By 1927 they were firmly established inOntario and Quebec. Huge urban populations developed. According torecent Audubon statistics, Toronto hosts about 11,000, Hamilton12,000, Kitchener 7,000. Up to 250,000 are on the Niagara Peninsula.Other starling hotspots are Abbotsford, B.C. (11,000); Ladner, B.C.(10,000); and Halifax (7,000).
Starlings are hardy, and about 15,000 brave the brutal winters on theCanadian prairies.
But while the perception of the birds as nuisances is long-standing,new research suggests that the slurs are unwarranted.
For instance, widespread allegations of crop depredations by starlingsare significantly exaggerated, according to the U.S. Department ofAgriculture. A recent report indicates that the beloved American robinis about twice as destructive of grapes and cherries as are starlings.There are similar recent findings by Simon Fraser University biologistOliver Love.
Those observations are not new. A 1927 study by Harrison Lewis, abiologist at the University of Toronto, noted that starlings can be"pugnacious," but they "do not have destructive feeding habits inCanada."
According to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and RuralAffairs, large wintering congregations of starlings in the NiagaraPeninsula could potentially damage grapes, though migration studiesshow that most winter starling congregations in that area do not occuruntil December and January, long after most orchard crops are alreadyharvested.
Project Feeder Watch, coordinated by the Ornithology Lab at CornellUniversity to document bird activities at winter bird feeders, hasfound starlings frequent up to 70 per cent of Canadian winter feeders,where they often bully other birds, muscling them away from food. But,since starling visits at feeders are brief, the impact is notconsidered to be significant.
Meanwhile, food-study research confirms that almost 60 per cent of thediet comprises harmful insect pests, and that the birds rarely consumegrain. According to an extensive U.S. Department of Agricultureanalysis, the starling diet includes many very detrimental insects:Japanese beetles, grasshoppers, weevils and scarabaeids.
Starlings regularly nest in tree cavities and nest-boxes used bynative North American birds. According to research by Kerrie Wilcox ofBird Studies Canada, such behaviour can be disruptive to the nestingactivities of other birds.
But a range of research and experience suggests the birds' positivecontributions deserve a hearing. Among other things, starlings arelegendary songsters. Since the time of the ancient Romans, starlingshave been kept as pets, often for their extraordinary singingcapabilities. Emperor Nero and Agrippina had pet starlings that hadvast singing repertoires and large vocabularies of human words.
According to neurologist Lauren Riters of the University of Wisconsin,starlings have among the longest and most complex songs of any birdsin North America. They continually incorporate new sounds into theirvocal arrangements, often mimicking frogs, goats, cats and even otherbirds. The result is an admixture: warbles, creaks, squeaks, whistles,throaty chirrups, twitters and raspy trills.
While singing, the starling syrinx vibrates in two separate parts,which allow one bird to sing harmonizing duets with itself. "Starlingssing because it makes them feel good," Riters explains.
"Most other birds only sing in spring, but starlings sing all year."
They are also among the most chivalrous of birds.
Research at France's Centre d'├ęcologie shows starlings are among thefew birds capable of detecting odours. According to work by HelgaGwinner of Max Planck Research Unit for Ornithology, gallant males woofemale starlings with aromatic bouquets of flowers, often lavender.
European starlings have also been successfully introduced in Africa,Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere. In some areas, recent populationdeclines have been documented (in the United Kingdom, numbers havedropped by 66 per cent in the past 40 years).
Scientists are not sure why starling numbers are falling in someareas. In North America, counts have declined by about 1.5 per cent ayear for a decade, according to the North American Breeding BirdSurvey. The Ontario starling population, which doubled between 1980and 2005, is declining at the annual rate of 1.8 per cent.
Globally, starling numbers have fallen by more than 50 per cent in thepast 30 years, especially in the bird's native Europe. Some blamepesticides.
The degree of loss in such a hardy species is ominous, pointing towardecosystem damage that may be impacting seriously on wildlife.
The global decline is so acute there have even been suggestions thatstarlings be listed as endangered.
Robert Alison, now retired, was an avian specialist with the Ministryof Natural Resources.
==========================Warning Industry Propaganda Below==========================
Ottawa Citizen
The shared folly of Mbeki and McGuinty
By dangardnerCitizen Katzenjammer
Science is uncertain. It stumbles about. It makes mistakes. But forall its faults, science is the best means we have for apprehendingreality.
Leaders whose policies are not informed by the best available scienceare fools. Some are dangerous fools, such as South Africa's ThaboMbeki, whose rejection of what orthodox science had to say about AIDSled directly to 365,000 preventable deaths.
As Peter Singer writes:
The lessons of this story are applicable wherever science is ignoredin the formulation of public policy. This does not mean that amajority of scientists is always right. The history of science clearlyshows the contrary. Scientists are human and can be mistaken. They,like other humans, can be influenced by a herd mentality, and a fearof being marginalized. The culpable failure, especially when lives areat stake, is not to disagree with scientists, but to reject science asa method of inquiry.
Unfortunately, that failure is common.
An entirely typical example arose last year, when the government ofOntario announced it would ban the use of pesticides on lawns andgardens.
The most common pesticide in home use is 2,4-D. Fortunately, 2,4-D hasbeen studied for decades so we know a great deal about it. Equallyfortunately, the agency of Health Canada that regulates pesticides wasengaged in a major review of the scientific literature. It wasreleased after Ontario proposed its ban but before the legislation waspassed.
Health Canada's review, like many others before it, came to anunequivocal conclusion: 2,4-D is safe when used as directed.
So how did Premier Dalton McGuinty and the government of Ontariorespond? They didn't. They said absolutely nothing about the review.The ban was passed unchanged.
The consequences will be nothing like the tragedy in South Africa, ofcourse. But the basic folly -- ignore science unless it says what youwant it to say -- is identical.
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St. John's Daily Spray Advisory

My Past Articles

More enforcement needed for pesticide spray regulations
The Western Star (Corner Brook) - Final - 10-01-2002 - 413 words
Karen Griffin - Judie Squires says someone needs to patrol the companies that spray residential areas for pesticides because she's observed nine violations of the Environmental Protection Act in her Paradise neighborhood alone

Spray woes: Province falling down on monitoring pesticides
The Telegram (St. John's) - Final - 10-01-2002 - 253 words
Judie Squires - environment to become poisoned? A temporary ban on all residential pesticides has to be put into place, to protect us, our wildlife and our environment as a whole. Judie Squires Paradise

Government lax on cosmetic pesticide regulation: advocate
The Telegram (St. John's) - 08-28-2004 - 613 words
Stokes Sullivan, Deana - Despite increased awareness about adverse health effects from pesticides, Judie Squires, a member of the Pesticide Working Group of Newfoundland and Labrador, isn't optimistic the province will ban cosmetic use

Woman doesn't expect cosmetic pesticide ban any time soon
The Western Star (Corner Brook) - 08-30-2004 - 712 words
Stokes Sullivan, Deana - Despite increased awareness about adverse health effects from pesticides, Judie Squires, a member of the Pesticide Working Group of Newfoundland and Labrador, isn't optimistic that the province will ban the

Province lagging behind in pesticide control
The Telegram (St. John's) - 09-04-2005 - 496 words
Squires, Judie - it to do is to prohibit the cosmetic use of synthetic pesticides altogether in order to protect our citizens and the environment. Judie Squires writes from Portugal Cove-St. Philip's

The two sides to pesticide use
The Telegram (St. John's) - 07-16-2006 - 781 words
Judie Squires - health of your families. When Canada's most respected health authorities tell us pesticides threaten our health, we should all be listening. Judie Squires writes from Portugal Cove-St. Philip's

Inquiry implicates BTk
The Telegram (St. John's) - 06-24-2006 - 353 words
DEANA STOKES SULLIVAN - of trees. The live spores can be inhaled by humans and animals exposed to BT. Judie Squires, secretary of the Northeast Avalon Group of the Sierra Club, says despite claims that

Delayed pesticide laws 'disappointing'
The Telegram (St. John's) - 06-24-2006 - 833 words
DEANA STOKES SULLIVAN - at the end of this year. These products will only be sold to certified dealers. Judie Squires, secretary of the newly formed Northeast Avalon Group of the Sierra Club, isn't

Above Articles available through Trancontinental Newsnet

Time for provincial lawn pesticide regulation
The Telegram (St. John's) - 03-14-2009 - 419 words
pesticides. Please join me in lobbying our province for a pesticide ban Judie Squires Portugal Cove...

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