Sunday, January 4, 2009

Veterinarians Asked to Report Pesticide Poisoning Incidents

Fri 02 Jan 2009
The Hanover Post
Two kinds of science
Dear Editor:
This is a response to "Where is Ontario's science?" by Don McCabe,vice-president OFA, published in The Post, Hanover, on Dec. 12, 2008(OFA Commentary).
I am a retired intelligence analyst, currently honorary Canadianobserver on the Pesticide Working Group with headquarters inWashington, D. C.
There are two kinds of science: the science of pesticide manufacturersthat always proclaims pesticides safe, and there is independentscience of highly qualified professionals -scientists and medicaldoctors. This is the kind of science that Bill 64 is based upon.
Clearly, Ontario farmers are exempt from Bill-64 banning cosmetic useof pesticides, so it is unreasonable for them to encroach on theprerogative of urban dwellers not to be exposed to these syntheticchemicals.
Ontario farmers would be well advised to put some distance betweenthemselves and manufacturers of pesticides and their lobbyists, suchas CropLife Canada. Case in point is the dubious reference to"science." Farmers are intelligent people and should distinguish truescience from self-serving propaganda.
If Ontario farmers do not wish our urban dwellers to develop anegative public perception of Ontario farming they should be morecautious as to the company they keep and attempt to understand theissues without falling prey to the one-sided and irrational partisanapproach they seem to be embracing.
Ontario's urban residents are especially concerned about theunconscionable, unnecessary and secondhand exposure to toxic chemicalsof young children living in the densely populated urban environment.They are weary of the predictable delay tactic employed by spokesmenfor the industry. The vast majority in Ontario do not want the long-awaited legislation to be postponed.
There is nothing absurd about allowing spraying of indoor plants forspecific purposes, so as to protect neighbours from harm. We are notallowed to expose others to tobacco smoke, so why should we exposeneighbours to our chemicals?
Not so long ago, protection for nonsmokers was attacked by spokesmenfor the tobacco industry. They no longer dare to do so.
Science-based criteria for prohibiting or restricting syntheticchemicals do exist. The retailers were given plenty of time (an entireyear) to prepare for the provincial regulations. Instead of ignoringor fighting against the inevitable, they should have concentrated onpreparing for the long awaited legislation.
Kazimiera J. Cottam, PhDNepean
http://www.thepost.on.ca/SearchCat.aspx?cid=5912&cname=Letters+to+the+Editor
==========================
Veterinarians Asked to Report Pesticide Poisoning Incidents
(Beyond Pesticides, January 2, 2009) Household pets and other animalsare commonly exposed to toxic pesticides in lawns and parks, fromhomeowner use of bug sprays, in contaminated air or water, or fromflea and tick control products, potentially poisoning the animal andcausing acute and chronic health effects. A new website has beendesigned for veterinarians to help track these pesticide poisoningincidents.
The incident reporting website is part of the American VeterinaryMedical Association (AVMA) webpages. It was developed by the NationalPesticide Information Center (NPIC) with input from the U.S.Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Pesticide Program, AVMA’sClinical Practitioners Advisory Committee and Council on Biologic andTherapeutic Agents “to capture the optimal amount of relevantinformation using a form that is quick for busy practitioners to fillout.” The data is to be evaluated by EPA.
According to EPA, “Most of the reports of more severe pesticide-related incidents EPA receives are neurological or dermatologic innature. The reports from veterinarians will help improve the qualityof all animal incident data.”
Numerous studies have documented the risk of pesticides to pets overthe years. A 1991 National Cancer Institute study, finds that dogswhose owners’ lawns were treated with 2,4-D, four or more times peryear, are twice as likely to contract canine malignant lymphoma thandogs whose owners do not use the herbicide. Exposure to herbicide-treated lawns and gardens increases the risk of bladder cancer by fourto seven times in Scottish Terriers, according to a study by PurdueUniversity veterinary researchers published in the April 15, 2004issue of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.Research published in the December 1988 issue of Preventive VeterinaryMedicine links hyperthyroidism in cats to flea powders and sprays,lawn pesticides and canned cat food. Allethrin, a common ingredient inhome mosquito products (coils, mats, oils and sprays) and other bugsprays, has been linked to liver problems in dogs, according to a 1989study by the World Health Organization. The 1989 edition W.C. CampbellToxicology textbook reports that chronic exposure to abamectin, aninsecticide often used by homeowners on fire ants can affect thenervous system of dogs and cause symptoms such as pupil dilation,lethargy, and tremors. According to 2004 statistics compiled by theAmerican Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ AnimalPoison Control Center, 22% of approximately 880 cases of pet birdsbeing exposed to common household items involved pesticides (includingrat bait and insecticides).
“I can think of numerous cases over the years of abnormal neurologicsigns in dogs after exposure to ‘benign’ herbicides and a prettysevere contact dermatitis in a cat after exposure to a pesticide,”states an ER vet in California. “I will try to encourage my colleaguesto report any questionable adverse event in the future.”
If you suspect your pet has been poisoned, contact the Animal PoisonControl Center at 888-426-4435. Encourage your veterinarian todocument the pesticide poisoning through the new AVMA website. To besure the incident does not go undocumented, complete BeyondPesticides’ Pesticide Incident Report.
For more information on how your pet may be poisoned, what pesticidesdo to pets, and alterative pest management strategies for your homeand pet pest problems, see Beyond Pesticides factsheet Pesticides andPets: What you should know to keep your pets safe.
http://www.beyondpesticides.org/dailynewsblog/
==========================Warning Industry Propaganda Below==========================
Friday, 2 January 2009
belfasttelegraph.co.uk
Farmers concerned over pesticide ban
Irish farmers have been voicing their concerns over plans for an EUwide ban of the use of key pesticides, which they say could double theprice of vegetables.
The scheme would involve changing the way pesticides are assessed foruse on crops, as part of a goal to halve the use of toxic products infarming by 2013.
The plan is due to be approved in Strasbourg later this month.
http://tinyurl.com/9nee7d
==========================
Friday, 2 January 2009
www.independent.co.uk
Farming pesticide ban 'too far too fast'
By Geoff Meade, PA
A ban on the use of key pesticides in European farming goes too fartoo fast, it was warned today.
The proposal has already been condemned by the National Farmers Unionas risking a doubling in the price of vegetables.
Now, as the European Parliament prepares for a crucial vote on theissue, an MEP says practical alternatives to some vital chemicalscurrently in use have not yet been fully developed.
The controversial ban is due to be approved in Strasbourg on 13January.
It involves changing the way pesticides are assessed for use on crops,as part of a goal to halve the use of toxic products in farming by2013.
The plans have already been scaled back after Europe's pesticidesindustry warned the new assessment standard would remove products fromthe market that have been used safely for years.
A compromise hammered out between EU governments and MEPs means areduced number of 22 toxic substances would be banned from use as cropchemicals.
But SNP MEP Alyn Smith said even the compromise was too much. Urginghis colleagues to "reflect over the holiday period", he went on: "Theproposals which will be presented in January go too far.
"Alternatives to many of the chemicals which the legislation proposesto ban have not been fully developed, and are mainly highly-targetedniche options. This often makes them expensive and impracticable, andwe can ill afford to make farming more expensive at a time of risinginput costs."
The proposals update EU pesticides rules introduced in 1991, andinclude new criteria for registering potentially hazardous pesticides,while emphasising a balance between tough food safety standards andviable farming.
The NFU has warned that the changes, including assessing products forprotecting plants on the basis of "perceived hazard" instead ofscientific evidence, could rule out the use of established chemicalswith a track record of controlling diseases and pests, as well aspushing up food prices.
And the plans could make farming of certain crops in Europeuncompetitive, such as wheat and barley, cotton, potatoes and a rangeof fruits and vegetables.
Mr Smith commented: "This could be disastrous for some farmers whilenot improving safety one jot.
"In fact, by pushing consumers to buy cheaper foreign foods in marketswith no pesticide restrictions whatsoever, this whole policy maybacklash. In effect, we could export our food production to areasoutside the EU's control."
He added: "I hope that MEPs have a restful break, and come back withclearer heads than we have seen to date. The vote in January isimportant for Scottish farmers, as well as for sustainable agricultureacross the whole EU, and our food production is too important tojeopardise for a dossier that is at times more theological thanscientific."
The German Green MEP pushing the changes, Hiltrud Breyer, has calledthe plan a "milestone" for the environment and consumer protection.
The idea is to make pesticides use more flexible in future, withchemicals able to be approved by region, between EU countries withsimilar geography and climate.
Most aerial crop-spraying will be banned across all EU countries, andindividual EU countries will be allowed to ban a product to deal withspecific environmental or farming problems.
"I have no difficulty at all with the idea that the chemicals industrymust be forced to innovate, but there has to be a balance and thelegislation we pass must be workable," insisted Mr Smith.
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St. John's Daily Spray Advisory

My Past Articles

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