Commentary: Lawn Pesticides’ Danger to Children
By Marty Yellin
The purpose of this article is not to necessarily alarm you but
instead to make you aware of collective evidence from the National
Research Council, the National Academy of Sciences, the EPA, the
American Journal of Epidemiology, and other respected medical sources.
They all document evidence linking commonly used lawn products to
increased odds of childhood leukemia, non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, brain
cancer, and soft tissue sarcomas of the colorectum and testes among
children living in households where pesticides are used.
A study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that
home and garden use of pesticides can increase the risk of childhood
leukemia by almost seven times.
Herbicides and pesticides applied to lawns are tracked into the house
where they remain for months in carpets, toys and house dust. Everyone
in the house, especially children and pets continues to be exposed.
In addition, rainwater washes pesticides into our drinking water,
streams, lakes, ponds, rivers, wetlands and ultimately into the sound
and ocean. Homeowners may unknowingly contaminate their own well water
by using pesticides on their lawns.
Studies have confirmed that fetuses and young children are
particularly sensitive to the effect of pesticides because of their
rapid growth and decreased ability to detoxify toxins.
Also, according to the American Journal of Epidemiology, exposure of
parents (including fathers) to pesticides is associated with birth
defects and infertility in the next generation.
We are talking here about commonly used pesticides found in any
hardware store or applied by any non-organic lawn service. A complete
listing of the pesticides and their affects can be found at:
Some may wonder how these products can be so readily available and not
controlled. To help answer that question, think about another product
that is known to be the leading cause of lung and bladder cancer, yet
is readily available over the counter, even in drug stores. That
product is cigarettes.
Fortunately there are safe, effective, affordable alternatives to
using toxic lawn pesticides. These alternatives make use of
relatively safe synthetic and organic methods that have low toxicity
and break down very quickly in the soil.
One of the best sources of information concerning how to achieve
intelligent management of our lawns is the Northeast Organic Farming
Association Connecticut Chapter’s information Web site on organic lawn
care. They can be found at: http://www.ctnofa.org/
Marty Yellin serves as chairman of the Westport Conservation
Commission. He received his Ph.D in biophysics from the NYU Schools of
Science and is currently continuing studies of the impact of the
environment on gene mutations.
Posted 02/21 at 09:18 PM
Comments: Comment Policy
Thank you, Mr. Yellin.
My daughter attended a Westport nursery school where 2,4-D and other
lawn pesticides were used regularly; she and two other children who
attended the were diagnosed with cancer within an 18-month period.
While no one can be certain the lawn chemicals were the cause of the
cancers, you’d have to be crazy not to wonder. Common sense, if
nothing else, should tell us not to spray poisons where our children
For more information on lawn care pesticides in Connecticut, including
a sobering study on pesticides in well water, check out ehhi.org.
Posted by Stacy Prince on February 21, 2009 at 10:38 PM | #
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Letter: Government must curb noxious chemicals
By TCPalm Staff
There were 4,537 deaths reported in Indian River County from 1999 to
2001, of which 1,248 were attributed to cancer.
A growing body of research indicates that cremation has a significant
impact on the environment. The major emissions from crematories are
nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter,
mercury and hydrofluoric acid. Notable side effects are burning eye
irritation and coughing.
Our canals and many pristine lawns are regularly sprayed with so-
called safe defoliants to control weeds and insects.
Common sense should tell us that herbicides designed to kill plant
life will ultimately affect our immune system. As has been the case
with Vietnam veterans suffering from the long-term side effects of
Yet with all the precautions our government tells us it takes, many
toxins are found in the water we drink, the air we breathe and the
food we eat. Chemicals have been known to damage the brains and
nervous system of children and adults to the point they cannot think
or behave normally.
Epidemiological studies have shown that 30 percent of the population
is experiencing sensitivity to everyday chemicals found in the food
products we consume.
Our lungs are the first to react to chemical sensitivity by a
shortness of breath and coughing; followed by a wide range of
illnesses such as cancer, asthma, nasal congestion, hives, eye and
throat swelling, numbness of face and lips, the ability to think,
trembling hands, loss of coordination and balance and the ever
increasing cases of autism.
It is up to us to evaluate the adverse heath and environmental effects
of the products we use by buying goods and services from
environmentally friendly businesses and encouraging our elected
official to do the same.
© 2009 Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers
Sunday, 22 February 2009
Agilent Technologies Introduces Forensics and Toxicology Database to
Increase Compound-ID Speed
DENVER, Colo., American Academy of Forensic Sciences 2009 Annual
Meeting, Agilent Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: A) today introduced the
Agilent G6855 MassHunter Forensic and Toxicology Database, enabling
users to quickly identify more than 7,500 compounds with high
confidence, based on liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS)
"Advances in time-of-flight (TOF) instruments, primarily in
sensitivity and unprecedented mass accuracy, are proving highly useful
to the forensics community" said Tom Gluodenis, Agilent Forensic and
Toxicology business manager. "This database was created to help users
quickly and easily harness the power of these accurate-mass
instruments to run far more samples per workday without sacrificing
The database contains accurate-mass data for compounds of interest to
forensic and toxicology investigators, gathered from laboratories
around the world. It includes software for searching, editing and
creating user-customizable content. It also features a ranking and
scoring algorithm that assigns a confidence level for each match. The
database accommodates the addition of LC retention times, which,
combined with accurate mass results, provides a significantly
increased confidence when confirming compound identity.
Time-of-Flight MS Emerges
Single (Q) and triple quadrupole (QQQ) mass spectrometers are fixtures
in forensics and toxicology labs for quantitative screening of blood,
urine and other body fluids. As the need grows to screen for larger
numbers of compounds or unknown compounds, as well as demands to
analyze more complex samples, the benefits of TOF-MS and quadrupole
time-of-flight (QTOF) MS systems become apparent.
TOF-based systems can identify a vast number of targets without the
need for specific instrument or analyte optimization. The detection
limit and data quality remain constant for any given compound, even as
the number of targets in the method or sample increases.
The sensitivity of TOF instruments has increased dramatically. For
example, the Agilent 6230 Accurate Mass TOF LC/MS can detect and
identify compounds in amounts smaller than two trillionths of a gram
(2 picograms). The instrument delivers sub-1-ppm mass accuracy. Mass
resolution is also enhanced with up to 20,000 resolving power at
fastest spectral acquisition rates of up to 40 mass spectra per
second, accommodating the latest high-throughput rapid-resolution
uHPLC liquid chromatography platforms.
TOF and QTOF instruments also require very small amounts of sample. A
single analysis captures a complete and comprehensive profile of each
sample. Therefore, the data can be interrogated at any time in the
future for additional targets of interest without the need to
reanalyze the sample - this is of particular importance when only a
limited amount of sample is available.
Agilent also offers an accurate-mass database for pesticides, and
plans to develop additional accurate mass databases for other analysis
Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) is the world’s premier measurement
company and a technology leader in communications, electronics, life
sciences and chemical analysis. The company’s 19,000 employees serve
customers in more than 110 countries. Agilent had net revenues of $5.8
billion in fiscal 2008. Information about Agilent is available on the
Web at www.agilent.com.
Home » 2009 » #784 » Comment & Analysis » Resistance!: The green
revolution in Cuba
Green Left Weekly
The green revolution in Cuba
21 February 2009
From December 2008 to January 2009, activists travelled to Cuba for
the Southern Cross Solidarity Brigade from Australia and New Zealand,
organised by the Australia-Cuba Friendship Society. Resistance member
Ash Pemberton was in Cuba for the 50th anniversary of the triumph of
the revolution. He spoke to Green Left Weekly’s Jay Fletcher.
Few first World — let alone Third World — countries can match the
legislative, planning and educational efforts that Cuba is applying in
its commitment to environmental sustainability.
“A lot has been said about Cuba and its innovative approach to
ecology, being declared the only country in the world to have achieved
sustainable development by the World Wildlife Fund”, said Pemberton.
“This system came about out of necessity during the ’Special Period’,
when Cuba’s access to oil and other products was severely cut back due
to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the continuing US blockade”,
Overtime, through democratically planned and implemented changes, Cuba
transitioned from an agricultural system based on large farms or
plantations with a reliance on fossil-fuel-based pesticides and
fertilisers, to one largely based on small organic farms and urban
As a result, Cuba has achieved a higher level of food security and a
far healthier population. Sixty percent of the fruit and vegetables
consumed in Havana are grown within the city limits.
There are many national initiatives that exist in the country, all
under popular democratic control, including a national strategy for
environmental education; projects for food production via sustainable
methods, biotechnological advancement and sustainable animal food; and
a national energy sources development program.
“The brigade allowed us access to a side of Cuba the average tourist
wouldn’t get to see. We got to meet people involved in mass
organisations that drive political decision making, such as the
Federation of Cuban Women, the trade unions, as well as university and
school students”, said Pemberton, who toured various ecological
“We also got to visit medical centres, schools, cooperative farms,
universities and more. These meetings really highlighted the gains of
the revolution and the way that it is driven by, and seeks to include,
the maximum number of Cubans possible.”
Unlike capitalist countries, Cuba recognises that more extreme weather
is going to become a dominant feature of climate change. It also
understands its own vulnerability. Cuba was beaten by savage
hurricanes — Gustav and Ike — last year, where wind speeds of up to
300 kilometres per hour were recorded.
Despite this, no one was killed during Gustav and 1 million people
were evacuated with less than 24 hours notice. Seven people died
during Ike, but this is compared to more than 700 people killed in the
neighbouring island of Haiti.
“The hurricanes last year certainly had a devastating impact. They’ve
cost the Cuban economy billions in reconstruction costs and wiped out
food and tobacco crops from a wide area of the country. Food shortages
are still in effect and will continue for a while to come.
“I saw some of the damage in Vinales in Pinar del Rio province — one
of the most badly affected areas — which was quite intense, with
massive trees either completely uprooted or snapped clean in half by
300km per hour winds.”
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
reported estimates of damage in Cuba from Ike and Gustav at US$3-4
billion, around 10% of the island’s gross domestic product. However,
Cuba’s moves to rebuild after the devastation have been swift and
“The recovery effort seemed impressive given the few resources Cuba
has. Damaged houses had already been repaired and temporary housing
has been built for those whose houses were destroyed”, said Pemberton,
who visited the country only months after the damage was done.
“Excluding the effects of the recent hurricanes, Cuba now produces
enough vegetables for its domestic population, but still has to import
some food for tourists. This system has brought about a lot of jobs”,
Full-scale conversion to organic agriculture, improved methods of
water and soil management and the application of new technologies are
only possible because of Cuba’s highly educated and politically
engaged population, half of which are university graduates.
“These days, workers in the ‘organoponicos’ [urban organic gardens]
earn roughly double the wage of the average Cuban worker and the
harvesting of food is seen as one of the key tasks for the social
wellbeing of the country”, Pemberton said.
Ordinary people, from local communities through to labour collectives,
participate in food production in a meaningful way — not simply as
workers being exploited by multinational, corporate interests. It is a
system that is connected to all other areas of life and recognises
that access to healthy food and sustainable living are vital to true
equality and are fundamental human rights.
What we can learn from Cuba is that it doesn’t simply take an
understanding of environmental solutions and methods, or even a
willingness to implement them. If that were the case, Australia would
have been on the way to renewables long ago.
What Cuba has that other countries don’t is a mass, participatory
system and commitment to lasting solutions and sustainability that
draws in all parts of society. Cuban people care about these problems
and see the necessity of addressing them.
Many Australian people also understand these problems and are
committed to addressing them. The difference is Cuba’s economy is not
under the control of big corporations and it has a political system
where the power and control lie in the hands of the majority of
people, and it is only the majority that are capable of creating
The Mercenaries Previously Known as Blackwater
First it was Blackwater USA. Then it was Blackwater Worldwide. Now,
it's "Xe" (pronounced "Zee"). The private military company has
repeatedly tried to re-brand, after numerous controversies from the
killing of civilians in Nisoor Square in Baghdad; to its no-bid
contracts in Iraq, Afghanistan and New Orleans, post-Katrina; to its
hiring troops with ties to repressive regimes, like that of former
Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. The company says its latest name
change is meant to reflect a new focus. Blackwater / Xe spokesperson
Anne Tyrrell said, "We've taken the company to a place where it is no
longer accurately described as Blackwater." Its subsidiaries also have
new names: Blackwater Airships is now Guardian Flight Systems,
Blackwater Target Systems is GSD Manufacturing, and Blackwater Lodge
and Training Center is the U.S. Training Center. The company has also
shed its famous (or infamous) bear-paw and crosshairs logo. The new
head of Blackwater / Xe, Gary Jackson, told employees, "Xe will be a
one-stop shopping source for world class services in the fields of
security, stability, aviation, training and logistics," reports the
Wall Street Journal.
Warning Industry Propaganda Below
New kinds of state legislation issues we are seeing:
Animal Pesticide Poisoning Reporting
Veterinarians are being asked to report pesticide poisoning incidents
on a new Web site, designed to help them track pet-related pesticide
poisoning incidents. The incident reporting site is part of the
American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Web site. It was
developed by the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) with
input from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s)
Pesticide Program, AVMA’s Clinical Practitioners Advisory Committee,
and the Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents “to capture the
optimal amount of relevant information using a form that is quick for
busy practitioners to fill out.” The data is to be evaluated by the
EPA. Unfortunately, many reports may get listed with no reference to
the real cause, as is the case with many incident reports filed with
poison control centers. Unless proper investigation and laboratory
testing is done, many pesticide poisoning symptoms are the same as for
other illnesses (such as the flu) and are counted as being caused by
pesticide when they may not be.
A former EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Prevention,
Pesticides, and Toxic Substances during the Clinton administration
predicted there would be a renewed emphasis by the incoming
administration on reducing pesticide exposure in schools and on
scrutinizing uses of cosmetic pesticides — those used for lawns and
decorative plants — and pesticides used in public places.
Others within the EPA think a pesticide drift draft notice by the
agency could happen early in 2009. It would include guidance to
applicants and registrants concerning revising pesticide labeling
statements intended to protect people, nontarget organisms, and sites
from potential adverse effects that may be caused by pesticide drift
from applications on nearby agricultural fields, but could also
include other pesticide labels used by the green industry.
The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is requesting that the
EPA revoke all tolerances (maximum legal residue limits) and cancel
all registrations for the pesticide 2,4-D. The petitioner, NRDC,
claims that the EPA cannot make a finding that there is a reasonable
certainty of no harm from dietary residues of 2,4-D and, therefore,
that the agency must revoke all tolerances established under section
408 of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, as amended by the Food
Quality Protection Act.
We suggest you send your comments about the value of 2,4-D to you
company’s pest control program to the EPA at the site listed below.
Direct your comments to docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPP-2008-0877 on or
before February 23, 2009. The EPA’s policy is that all comments
received will be included in the docket without change and may be made
available online at http://www.regulations.gov.
MSMA herbicide used mostly in southern states will only be available
for use as a residential weed control in 2009 and 2010. On December
31, 2010, all uses of the product on residential turf will be
discontinued; however, some remaining uses for products with MSMA will
have label uses that will continue until 2013 or as otherwise
indicated. As great as the need is for this product, the industry is
stuck with the registrants having to live with the EPA’s January 16,
2009, agreement. My suggestion is buy this year only what you need for
2009 and 2010 any no more. Next year you will not find product with
the label uses need to use on residential turf which includes
commercial properties. Read the full document.