Blogs by Casey Alden
Conspiracy - Thoughts from the Edge #2
10/21/2010 5:37:24 AM
Thoughts leading up to the publication of the Conspiracy Series.
Who would imagine that nerve gas experiments done on prisoners in Nazi Germany might one day wind up as flea control products for our pets? The past influences the present–an obvious statement, perhaps, but one that is too often ignored. A considerable part of my research for my novel, Conspiracy, took me to World War II era Nazi Germany and to experiments done to develop nerve gas as a weapon.
According to Wikipedia, this first class of nerve agents, the G-Series, was accidentally discovered in Germany on December 23, 1936 by a research team headed by Dr. Gerhard Schrader working for IG Farben. Since 1934, Schrader had been working in a laboratory in Leverkusen to develop new types of insecticides for IG Farben. While working toward his goal of improved insecticide, Schrader experimented with numerous fluorine-containing compounds, eventually leading to the preparation of tabun.
In experiments, tabun was extremely potent against insects: as little as 5 ppm of tabun killed all the leaf lice he used in his initial experiment. In January 1937, Schrader observed the effects of nerve agents on human beings first-hand when a drop of tabun spilled onto a lab bench. Within minutes he and his laboratory assistant began to experience miosis (constriction of the pupils of the eyes), dizziness and severe shortness of breath. It took them three weeks to recover fully.
In 1935, the Nazi government had passed a decree that required all inventions of possible military significance to be reported to the Ministry of War, so in May 1937 Schrader sent a sample of tabun to the chemical warfare section of the Army Weapons Office in Berlin-Spandau. Dr. Schrader was summoned to the Wehrmacht chemical lab in Berlin to give a demonstration, after which Schrader’s patent application and all related research were classified. Colonel Rüdiger, head of the chemical warfare section, ordered the construction of new laboratories for the further investigation of tabun and other organophosphate compounds and Schrader soon moved to a new laboratory at Wuppertal-Elberfeld in the Ruhr valley to continue his research in secret throughout World War II. The compound was initially code named Le-100 and later Trilon-83.
Sarin was discovered by Schrader and his team in 1938 and named after their initials: Schrader, Ambrose, Rudriger and van der Linde. It was code named T-144 or Trilon-46. It was found to be more than ten times as potent as tabun. Cyclosarin was also discovered during WWII but the details were lost and it was ‘discovered’ again in 1949.
This brings us to insecticides which are used today. A number of insecticides, the phenothiazines, organophosphates such as dichlorvos, malathion and parathion, are nerve agents. The metabolism of insects is sufficiently different from mammals and these compounds have been sold to us as having little effect on humans and other mammals at proper doses; but there is considerable concern about the effects of long-term exposure to these chemicals by farm workers and animals alike. At high enough doses, acute toxicity and death can occur through the same mechanism as other nerve agents. Organophosphate pesticide poisoning is a major cause of disability in many developing countries and is often the preferred method of suicide. Veterinary sources are now reporting an alarming number of deaths and life-theatening reactions in animals who are given the spot-on treatments for flea/tick control. Fipronil is one of the active ingredients in some of these products. Fipronl is a neurotoxin. In animals and humans, fipronil poisoning is characterized by vomiting, agitation, seizures, and possibly death.
In 1996, when fipronil was introduced into the U.S. it was considered a safer insecticide because it appeared to target insects rather than mammals and other vertebrates. It kills insects by disrupting the central nervous system by a mechanism that is not completely understood. New research now shows that exposure to low concentrations of fipronil is toxic to vertebrates including mammals and humans by causing neurons to be come so over-excited that they burn out and die. Fipronil has been shown to mutate proteins and to kill human liver cells at a concentration of 0.1. Meanwhile, the government allows fipronil residue in foods at levels 220 to 34,000 times higher. Also, current research indicates that fipronil sulfone, a chemical left over after fipronil breaks down, is even more toxic than fipronil itself. It is also very persistent in the environment.
Are you getting worried yet? Keep reading.
Spot-on flea /tick products are applied topically between the pet’s shoulder blades. Fipronil collects in oils from skin and hair follicles and migrates across the pet’s body. Typically 98-100% of any fleas or ticks die within 24-48 hours. This toxic action lasts for approximately 30 days. A recent study found that, one day after applying the product to an adult dog, petting it for just 5 minutes while wearing gloves resulted in exposure of 600 ppm. Typical owners handle their pets more than 5 minutes per day. Also, any surface the pet contacts will become contaminated, thereby increasing exposure. Dander will also remain toxic for a period. Children are at higher risk. Veterinarians and other pet care providers also have increased risk. And what about the pet who has no choice in the matter but to stand there and be doused with a toxic chemical? Natural flea control methods are far superior on all levels, particularly when you consider the big picture, and recognizing the big picture is what the Conspiracy Series is all about.
In other studies where the animal survived being exposed to the chemical, fipronil disrupted endocrine activity, caused impaired spinal cord development, caused developmental delays, reduced brain weight, reduced cognition, hearing impairment, hair loss, and thyroid cancer.
Fipronil is applied to rice fields as an insecticide. The runoff was found to be highly toxic to crayfish. Fipronil has been observed to accumulate in fish, where it transforms into the even more toxic fipronil sulfone. Fipronil is highly toxic to bees, and bees are a critical link in the ecosystem. Without bees, how will crops be pollinated? Fipronil has been implicated in bees’ Colony Collapse Disorder. Without bees, there will be a serious threat to our food supply.
The EPA website has issued this warning: “EPA scientists estimate the amount of applied pesticide that can transfer from the animal to the child’s skin from hugging or otherwise contacting a treated animal. Based on these estimates, the EPA ensures that children are protected from exposure to pesticide treated pets.”
It has been reported that fipronil is 1 of 16 pesticides selected to be monitored in a study sponsored by industry and planned by the EPA. The study set out to pay families $970 to videotape their children after exposing them to pesticides and other dangerous chemicals for 2 years. Intentions about the study leaked out, and after more than a year of pressure the EPA said it would not ‘run’ the study. Although the EPA is no longer providing direct funding for the study, it is being undertaken as a ‘private’ study by the American Chemistry Council. Children will still be intentionally exposed. The study intends to use children from birth to age 3.
It’s a twisted world, friends, but I never realized just how twisted until I began writing the Conspiracy Series.
If you would like to learn more about the real world around you while being entertained, I invite you to read the Conspiracy Series, beginning now with Conspiracy and following soon with Conspiracy 2: The Agenda. You will be entertained but, hopefully, you will also wake up to what’s really going on in the world.
Download free chapters of Conspiracy now at www.FehrmanBooks.com
Conspiracy print version and sample chapters at www.amazon.com
Conspiracy on Kindle at www.amazon.com
Conspiracy 2: The Agenda by Casey Alden – Coming Soon…..
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More Blogs by Casey Alden
Conspiracy - Thoughts from the Edge #3 - Thursday, October 21, 2010
Conspiracy - Thoughts from the Edge #2 - Thursday, October 21, 2010
Conspiracy - How Safe Are You? - Thursday, October 21, 2010
Thoughts from the Edge - Thursday, October 21, 2010