Uncontrolled Dangers to Our Environment and Health
After World War II, the world was recoiling from the multiple nuclear explosions. People really started to think that humankind could actually destroy our world. With questions about what we, as a species, were doing, people started questioning the absolute power of our political and corporate leaders to manufacture chemicals and promote them as beneficial to humankind.
Trying to better nature
Our corporate leaders had the hubris to think humans could improve anything that nature provided. Scientists created things like the drug thalidomide. This was manufactured by the German drug company, Chemie Grünenthal (1957), initially prescribed as a sedative and sometimes to cure anxiety and as an anti-nausea pill for the morning after sickness. That did not turn out well at all. Because of the drug babies were born with serious malformations. Still, we continued to develop more chemicals.
Many years earlier, we were introduced to the chemical DDT which was supposed to be a wonder chemical to rid us of all those unwanted bugs. It was made available for use by the public in 1945. Then an American marine biologist, author, and conservationist by the name of Rachael Carson wrote a pivotal book called book Silent Spring and the environmental movement has been growing ever since.
The beginning of EPA
The outcry from Rachel’s book in combination with other disastrous events led to the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 1970. With the passage of the Clean Air Act (1970), the EPA had the authority to set goals and standards for the release of pesticides and herbicides into the environment.
In 1972, the EPA was required to measure every pesticide’s risks against its potential benefits. This act gave the EPA the authority to gather information on chemicals and require producers to test them, gave it the ability to regulate chemical production and use, and required the agency to create the National Inventory listing of chemicals.
Now, sadly, the EPA appears to be under new management.
The danger of Chlorpyrifos on your food
Among all the pesticides and herbicides that the EPA was supposed to evaluate was chlorpyrifos. Recently, I received a newsletter by an independent environmental organization called Environmental Working Group (EWG).
They asked if we realized that there are neurotoxic pesticides on fruits like peaches, apples, and cherries? This is a dangerous chemical and EWG supports a complete ban on chlorpyrifos. There is such a bill currently under consideration in the Senate. Grocery shops should stop supplying foods that might have residues of chlorpyrifos.
Be safe and buy organic
The best option would be to buy organic milk and produce. I hope you have that possibility nearby where you live. You should ask when visiting your weekly market if the product is pesticide-free. Perhaps you can even visit an organic farmer in your neighborhood, and buy it from them. It seems that peaches and nectarines imported from Chile are not good. Include on this list, the bell peppers and hot peppers imported from Mexico because they might also be contaminated.
Finding out what Chlorpyrifos is
Well, I had to first look up what chlorpyrifos is and wonder why these things always have such complicated names. Here is a synopsis of what I found at Wikipedia: Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate pesticide used on crops, animals, and buildings. It might also be used in different settings and that means it can be nearly everywhere. It is used for a variety of pests including insects and worms (recall the concern with DDT). It was patented in 1966 by the Dow Chemical Company.
These pesticides were used, I dare say, without long term studies to prove they were completely harmless. In those times the people were not aware of what pesticides were used and if it could be a health hazard.
Nowadays one hears more about things like this, a good example being Roundup made by Monsanto and sold worldwide. In the case of Roundup, more people find out about it because of the media reports about the ongoing court cases, so that attracts attention.
The EPA is not functioning well
I have written about the EPA, which is an entity that was given the authority to guard peoples health against dangerous products. Lately, it has not been doing a good job. The previous director of the EPA was a voice for oil production and coal mining (not really a friend of the environment). Neither is the new director focused on environmental health. How the EPA functions depends on who is in power and who has been named director, and that again depends on who has the last word in the country.
Now in the case of chlorpyrifos, EPAs own assessment came with the following finding. In multiple independent studies, the levels of chlorpyrifos were considered unsafe testing food and drinking water.
Finally, in 2017, the EPA was scheduled to ban this pesticide but suddenly those plans were aborted. The EPA sided with the pesticide industry instead of taking care of public health. Yes, that is right, public health is your health!
Other countries and their concern on chlorpyrifos
There are discussions in Europe about this pesticide and why it should be banned. The reasons for banning chlorpyrifos and what it can do to your health are given below. This is very disturbing.
Loss of working memory
Attention deficits, like ADHD
Thyroid hormone disruption
Nerve damaging Parkinson disease
Yes, we can if we unite
The question arises, why do we let this happen? Do you want this to happen to your health? When one gets informed about these awful things I imagine most people will say no. Can we do something about it? Yes, we can. We can join the world movement bUnited to help set these awful situations straight.
There are alternatives out there
On this website, I read something very true. It is important to remember, when controlling a pest problem, to look for long-term solutions and not just a temporary control. That sounds so much like modern medicine. Take a pill for your aches and pain. The underlying cause is not addressed.
The advice is, that if pesticides have to be used, to choose the less toxic one, of course only after having tried non-toxic alternatives. At the bottom of the Beyond Pesticides website, mentioned earlier, is an extensive list of these methods so please have a look. The less harm we do to our environment the better. There are so many beneficial insects that are lost through the aggressive use of pesticides, in addition to the many harmful effects on humans. We really should speak up.
As an Afterthought
We are responsible for our own health. We should not blindly and unknowingly always accept what is presented to us. We have to think, be informed, and then decide what is good for us. When leaders, big companies, and entities which should look for our health do not do that, change it.
Source: Wikipedia, EWG, Article on July 19, 2019, in Forbes by Leah Rosenbaum, Forbes Staff
Photo Source: Pixabay
You might like to read the following post. Changes are possible and you can start right now in your own backyard.