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Dana Reed

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Blogs by Dana Reed

Imported Food and Dangerous Pesticides
10/1/2008 6:08:02 AM    [ Flag as Spam or Inappropriate ]

Recently, an announcement has been made by our government that all imported foods must contain labeling stating their country of origin. While this may seen foolish, I've posted a thesis I recently wrote for a class at the Academy. It also covers the foolish interest in overturning the ban on DDT pesticides in this country, and the terrible effects on humans and wildlife.


In 1972, DDT and its counterparts DDE and DDD were banned due to proven detrimental effects on humans, animals, birds and the environment. Now there is a cry in government, along with private health groups and doctors to overturn the ban. This would be a crucial mistake considering the ill effects of DDT in both the past and present. DDT is as much a threat today as it was before it was banned in this country.

According to Dashka Slater, in his article written for the Sierra Club ‘Songbird Swan Song’, U. S. omithologists `began noticing the decline of common songbirds like bobolinks and wood thrushes in 1990’. At the same time, it became noticeable that birds such as ‘barn swallowers, Eastern kingbirds and Kentucky warblers’ were declining in numbers, too. It also led to the near extinction of the Bald Eagle and the Peregrine Falcon. At the time, there was no explanation since DDT pesticides—the biggest threat to the bird population—had been banned in 1972.

However, the solution to the problem soon came to light. Since Americans love `coffee, bananas, rice, strawberries’ and other foods that are generally imported, the connection was made between the birds’ deaths and Latin American countries. DDT was never banned in third-world countries like Latin America because it was considered to be cheap and effective. After a while, the use of DDT became dangerously widespread in Latin American countries. Therefore, even today the use of DDT-laced imported products is the norm rather than the exception.

Some birds winter in Latin American countries where DDT is still in use. The birds that winter in Latin America are lured to sweet fruits like strawberries. By ingesting the fruit they’re actually ingesting DDT, too. Since DDT is water and fat soluble, it remains in the bodies of birds until they die a poisonous death. According to Mr. Slater, this dangerous pesticide also `hampers the effects of reproduction in some birds because it causes their shells to weaken and crack’. In his article for Sierra, Dashka Slater imagined the problem of the dying birds would cease to be if we began growing our own coffee beans and other imported products. Personally, I don’t see this as an answer since the birds would still migrate in the winter months, exposing them to chemicals that are still legal to use in third-world countries.

In an article on a site for the Environmental Defense Fund (author not cited in article) there is a statement about the past use of DDT on fish. Since DDT is water soluble, it remains in some waters and fields today. Several types of not only fish, but insects, still carry the effects thirty-six years after the ban. While they don’t survive that long, it’s still in the soil where most of our food is grown. DDT `bioaccumulates significantly in fish and other aquatic species, leading to long term exposure since it attacks the central nervous systems and livers in some fish’. The question was also raised on the site about using DDT in this country to get rid of the threat of West Nile Virus. ‘However, unlike malaria where the parasites live in humans and mosquitoes, West Nile Virus lives only in birds. Since most birds migrate, using DDT in this country to control the West Nile Virus won’t help’.

On this same site (Environmental Defense Fund), the following has been documented: once DDT is applied to an area, `it remains active in the soil for several decades’; it’s been found that people from the decade before the ban, still carry DDT in their bodily cells’. Information on the site also points to the fact that chronic low dose DDT exposure has been associated with premature births, low birth weight in babies, and a decreasing supply of milk in nursing women’s breasts. Along with the previous charges, DDT has been proven responsible for miscarriages in women.

In Ascribe, the Public Interest Newswire, an article appears about Marcella Warner, an expert in environmental and reproductive epidemiology at the University of California at Berkeley (author of the article not cited). Many researchers had worked on the theory that DDT, when broken down to the compound DDE, could not be linked to breast cancer since they felt it was too early to determine. These researchers, from the `California-based Public Health Institute and Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York’, felt that women who had early exposure to DDT would not get breast cancer until around fifty-years of age. Therefore, they claimed that it was too early to positively state that DDT caused breast cancer.

However, Marcella Warner conducted her own studies using `p,p'-DDT’ instead of DDE and proved that it did indeed cause breast cancer. She then stated that previous studies might have misclassified because researchers were testing the wrong form of DDT. Barbara Cohn, who directs the Center for Research on Women's and Children's Health at the Public Health Institute, was doing research on her own by using blood samples from 266 women between 1959 and 1967. The women’s average age was twenty-six at the time. At the age of 50, 133 of the women came down with breast cancer and 133 did not. Due to their findings, Cohn feels that the research she conducted and the research conducted by Warner, was enough to open the discussion in the scientific community about DDT. The scientific community had already agreed that there was no link between DDT and breast cancer. However, these two women found a link.

Author Tanya Tillett wrote an article claiming that exposure to DDT, PCB’s and the DDT metabolite does cause altering attention in infants. The researchers she cited in her article used the `Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale to assess infants' visual and auditory stimuli responses, ability to regulate crying, alert, and sleep states, and motor tone and motor activity levels’. Since the infants `were born in the 1990’s to mothers who lived near a PCB-contaminated harbor in New Bedford, Massachusetts’, this caused great concern, and was a basis for the research. After analyzing ‘infant cord serum samples taken at birth’, the researchers concluded that the infants showed a decline in scores of attention because of `increased serum levels of DDE and of PCB’s in their systems.

In the article on the effect of DDT in humans, DDT has been found to be an organochlorine, which is a ‘contact insecticide that kills by acting as a nerve poison’. This organochlorine has been found to be readily transferable from a pregnant mother to her baby. Again, since it’s water soluble, it remains in fatty tissue in the human body. Some people do manage to expel many of the organochlorines through weight loss, but older adults tend to keep their weight, and the poison remains in their system.

When found in low doses in humans, organochlorines can cause an upset stomach, diarrhea, a faltering gait, and liver and neurological problems. In higher doses, it can kill. Most of the DDT found in humans in the United States today is either due to remnants of the past, or it comes from foods imported from third-world countries. Eating imported foods causes the poison to be secreted into our organs through the foods we eat. Most of the meat imported from foreign countries contains DDT since it’s sprayed in the fields where the cattle, pigs and lambs eat. These animals ingest their food from those fields or from grain grown in those countries in those same fields. The food they eat is stored in the animals’ fatty cells, and passed on to us.

In his article ‘The DDT Ban Turns 30—Millions Dead Because of Malaria Due to Ban—More Deaths Likely’ Todd Seavey claims that although DDT was banned due to its alleged ill effects in this country, the truth has been withheld from us. Seavey goes on to claim that DDT wasn’t responsible for everything the government allegedly blamed on it. If other chemicals were tested, the government would’ve discovered the truth—that DDT was perfectly safe. Another issue Seavey’s attacked is our alleged reduction in producing crops since the DDT ban because insects and birds now have free access to those crops. In his opinion, this is why we have to import much of our food.

He also claims that malaria has killed millions of people the world over, but he doesn’t mention the United States since there is no threat of malaria in this country. (Article appearing on Source #1) We have long ago found pesticides that destroy malaria-bearing insects. In fact, the countries Seavey discusses are countries like `Africa, where malaria is the second-leading cause of death after AIDS. However, Seavey’s claims are baseless in this area because according to the Environmental Defense Fund (Source #1), malaria-causing mosquitoes in other countries, such as Africa, have built up immunity to DDT. Therefore, the Environmental Defense Fund has graciously offered their services to the American Council on Science and Health, the organization that Seavey represents, to share the new pesticide to defeat malaria in other countries. So far, no one has taken the offer.

In closing, I am more adamant than ever that the ban on DDT, and its counterparts, should never be lifted. Considering the dangers to human health caused by DDT, the idea of using it again is like issuing a death sentence to everyone in the United States. Women have suffered the most. Their babies have been miscarried; they suffer from a shortage of breast milk; their babies are suffering from infant altering skills, plus the majority of those with DDT still in their systems can look forward to breast cancer in the future.

Our birds, insects (some beneficial), fish and other aquatic species were nearly extinct due to DDT. Without birds, pesky rodents would take over. Without birds harmful insects would thrive and flourish. Without fish, we would lose a nutritious source of food. This is not to even mention the effects of DDT on all humans in this country. I repeat: DDT is an organochlorine that attaches itself to the fatty tissue in human bodies. Once attached, this poisonous substance can cause many lasting ailments; even death. This should be enough to discourage the government, health organizations, and other uninformed sources from ever wanting to use it in this country again or from wanting to import food from countries that use DDT and other dangerous insecticides.


Sources:
A. The U.S. Ban on DDT--A Continuing Success Story http://www.edf.org/article.cfm?ContentID=4407
B. Songbird Swan Song. Preview Sierra, Jul/Aug2008, Vol. 93 Issue 4, p29-29, 1/3p; (AN 32789136)New Evidence Links Breast Cancer to Pesticide DDT. Ascribe Newswire: Health; 10/2/2007, p2-2, 1p Article
Subject Terms:
BREAST -- Cancer
DDT (Insecticide)
SCIENTIFIC surveys
BREAST feeding
Geographic Terms:
UNITED States
http://newswire.ascribe.org/

C. Hold that Thought: Organochlorines May Alter Infant Attention Skills. Preview By: Tillett, Tanya. Environmental Health Perspectives, May2008, Vol. 116 Issue 5, pA215-A215, 1/2p, 1 color; (AN 32712646
http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/resultsadvanced?vid=2&hid=5&sid=460385a7-0613-4800-a930-1608026c62fe%40SRCSM1&bquery=(DDT+Insecticide)&bdata=JmRiPWFwaCZjbGkwPUZUJmNsdjA9WSZsb2dpbnBhZ2U9TG9naW4uYXNwJnR5cGU9MSZzaXRlPWVob3N0LWxpdmU%3d
D. Its effect on Humans
http://www.pan-uk.org/pestnews/Actives/ddt.htm


Arguments against Prolonging Ban:
American Council on Health and Science—The DDT Ban Turns 30—Millions Dead Because of Ban, More Deaths Likely. By Todd Seavey. Posted: Saturday, June 1, 2002. http://www.acsh.org/healthissues/newsID.442/healthissue_detail.asp
©2008 by Dana Reed


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• What Do They Hope To Gain? - Wednesday, July 18, 2007
• I Told You So, George. - Saturday, July 14, 2007
• One Dissenter Out of Six True Politicians Isn't Bad. - Friday, July 13, 2007
• George is Bellyaching Again. - Thursday, July 12, 2007
• Slipping to The Bottom of The Food Chain. - Tuesday, July 10, 2007
• The Meaning of Treason - Sunday, July 08, 2007
• News Stories That Make Me Want to - Sunday, July 01, 2007
• Only Offline 6 Days & It’s all Gone to Hell - Thursday, June 28, 2007
• Opie & Dopey, er... Joseph - Thursday, June 21, 2007
• Bush on Ethics - Wednesday, June 20, 2007
• Hussein, Jr. Attacks Hillary, - Tuesday, June 19, 2007
• He Taketh From The Poor & Giveth To The Rich - Thursday, June 14, 2007
• Someone to Be Admired - Wednesday, June 13, 2007
• More Off the Wall Commercials - Monday, June 11, 2007
• Finished--More Stupid Commercials - Sunday, June 10, 2007
• As Blogless As George is Clueless - Friday, June 08, 2007
• George Learned a New Word - Thursday, June 07, 2007
• USMC Veteran Helping Troops - Wednesday, June 06, 2007
• Trading Your Conscience For Flashy Gems - Tuesday, June 05, 2007
• Put George and Paris in the Same Bag - Monday, June 04, 2007
• Spitzer Makes Every Nickle Count. - Friday, June 01, 2007
• Stoners and Whiners - Wednesday, May 30, 2007
• Memorial Day, sad but proud. - Monday, May 28, 2007
• Sequel to Lord of the Flies - Thursday, May 24, 2007
• Hey George. They're Not Playing Fair. - Tuesday, May 22, 2007
• Top Status A-Holes in This Country - Saturday, May 19, 2007
• 45 Days Isn't Enough. 45 Years is More Like It. - Friday, May 18, 2007
• News That's Hardly Worth Reporting - Sunday, May 13, 2007
• So Much Going On - Saturday, May 12, 2007
• Insulting the Queen And What Not. - Tuesday, May 08, 2007
• From China to Panama, Toxic Ingredient Kills Thousands - Sunday, May 06, 2007
• Hanoi Jane is fighting the big fight again. - Friday, May 04, 2007
• George Still Doesn’t Get It - Thursday, May 03, 2007
• Grown, Picked and Canned in the USA - Tuesday, May 01, 2007
• Damnit, We Need a President - Monday, April 30, 2007
• Doing the Bush Boogie - Thursday, April 26, 2007
• The Politically Incorrect George Bush - Wednesday, April 25, 2007
• Okay. Shut your mouth and quit bragging. - Monday, April 23, 2007
• More Stupid and Annoying Commercials - Saturday, April 21, 2007
• Fell Behind So Long Ago - Friday, April 20, 2007
• Another Psycho Absorbed in Self-Pity - Thursday, April 19, 2007
• Massacre at Virginia Tech. - Monday, April 16, 2007
• Poppies From Afghanistan - Sunday, April 15, 2007
• If You Believed These Lines, - Friday, April 13, 2007
• Where is Al Sharpton? - Thursday, April 12, 2007
• It Never Stops. - Thursday, April 12, 2007
• An Open Letter to Al Sharpton - Tuesday, April 10, 2007
• Don't Let Commercials Influence Your Better Sense. - Sunday, April 08, 2007
• George, Dick and Newt - Friday, April 06, 2007
• You're not generals," Bush said to House and Senate Democrats. - Wednesday, April 04, 2007
• A Little of This… - Monday, April 02, 2007
• George, Count Along With Me. - Friday, March 30, 2007


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