Endangered Species (Burrowing Owl) Expert, Lakeland College Wildlife and Fisheries Instructor says :
Better to be cautious
By Darcey Shyry, Edmonton Journal March 14, 2011
Re: "Chemical bans do harm," by Ed Pichota, Letters, March 7.
The letter requires some clarification. First, Rachel Carson was a highly trained biologist with a graduate degree who worked for the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries. Thus, Ed Pichota need not attempt to devalue her conclusions. She has excellent credibility and understanding of the impacts of pesticides, particularly DDT.
Second, while DDT effectively controls mosquitoes, it also negatively affects many other living organisms, either directly or indirectly, as proven by the near-extinction of bald eagles, peregrine falcons and ospreys from DDT biomagnification, and by the DDT load carried by each and every human.
Does Pichota dismiss that the endangered B.C. orcas and polar bears are some of the most chemically polluted animals in the world from DDT and PCB biomagnification? So the choice is either killing and poisoning everything through blanket spraying of DDT to control mosquitoes, or find a less devastating means of dealing with malaria.
Third, Pichota's connection between fireloading from dry weeds and DDT is confusing, since DDT does not control weeds.
Why does Pichota, from Rocky Mountain House, care about a cosmetic pesticide ban in Edmonton?
Finally, Pichota refers to the American Council on Science and Health as an organization for information, but this organization is industry funded and its claims have already been shown to be biased.
Until these questions are clarified, I'll listen to the credible opinions in letters such as the one by Warren Bell, past founding president of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, and the thousands of unbiased scientific studies that show negative effects on health and the environment from pesticides.
The chemical industry's research on pesticides is inadequate to prove safety; therefore, it is only reasonable, by using the precautionary principle, that they should be banned until their impacts are fully and independently understood.
Darcey Shyry, Vermilion
Darcey Shyry BSc, MSc, PBiol
• Field Skills II and Wilderness First Aid
• Scientific Writing
• Vegetation Sampling Techniques
• Wildlife and Fisheries Biology
• Wildlife Biology and Techniques
• Wildlife Ecology and Management
• Wildlife Habitat Conservation
Darcey came to Lakeland College in 2006. His previous experience included one year as an instructor at NAIT, four years as a teaching assistant at the University of Alberta, five years as a consultant and also doing endangered species research (burrowing owls).
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