Time to start drinking the 2,4-D before the next urine test people.
Better yet, just blow something up. That will get your point across.
GUEST VIEWPOINT: State’s response to child’s positive pesticide test: Don’t worry
Published: (Wednesday, Dec 21, 2011 06:11PM) Today
What if our government knew that a threat to human safety existed in Lane County? Would we expect it to take action to protect us?
Our state and federal governments recently informed dozens of Lane County residents that poisonous pesticides have been found in their bodies.
On Dec. 15, the Oregon Health Authority and the federal Centers for Disease Control told a mother in Lane County that test results show residues of 2,4-D, a powerful pesticide, in urine samples drawn from her and her children (as well as dozens of other members of her rural community). The samples were taken in response to reports that families have been sickened from exposure to pesticides sprayed by helicopter over hundreds of acres of forest land. These industrial chemicals are sprayed by timber companies attempting to kill grass and brush.
That mother was told she need not worry that her children are carrying 2,4-D in their bodies, because it is becoming more common to find 2,4-D residues in urine samples across the United States.
It may appear at first glance that having 2,4-D in a flask of a child’s urine on a lab bench is not such a big deal. However, to a mother who gets that report about her child, it is disturbing.
And it should be disturbing. She knows the contents of the flask are the endpoint of the pesticides that are inside her child’s bladder, after the kidneys have filtered it from the blood. Upstream from there, those pesticides circulated in the child’s bloodstream, bathing every cell with some quantity of pesticide.
She knows, and research confirms, that children are much more vulnerable to harm from pesticides than adults. Such harm may come in the form of learning disabilities, reproductive disorders or cancer later in their lives.
Yet government agents had the audacity to tell a mother that it is not worrisome, because other people also have 2,4-D in their bloodstreams.
A government’s most fundamental responsibility is to protect its citizens from physical harm. A case in point is the medical and economic history of lead.
Lead used to be ubiquitous in gasoline and paints until it was discovered that children were suffering irreparable neurologic harm from lead exposure. At first, government agencies told parents not to worry. Since then, though, lead has been banned in consumer products and society rightly has declared a policy of zero tolerance for lead poisoning in children.
Not unlike the story of lead in gasoline, Lane County timber companies broadcast pesticides over thousands of acres of land until they are omnipresent in the environment. Pesticides are sprayed by helicopter, just as the military used Agent Orange to defoliate jungles in Vietnam. These dangerous chemicals travel far from where they are sprayed, eventually falling over rivers, homes and schools and exposing families through contaminated air and water.
When government agencies announced they would conduct testing of atrazine and 2,4-D in the fall of 2011, a group of Lane County timber companies cleverly decided simply to not use these two chemicals during the testing period. By choosing not to spray those particular pesticides this year, timber corporations conceded that detectable levels would show up in people’s bodies, presenting a difficult public relations problem.
Despite the timber companies’ efforts to thwart the study, though, the government’s new test results prove that these herbicides are still in people’s bodies — even a child’s body. Even the Environmental Protection Agency does not know if there are “safe” levels in humans. The International Agency for Research on Cancer considers 2,4-D as possibly carcinogenic to humans.
But here in Oregon, mothers are told not to worry that 2,4-D is circulating in their children’s bodies. Health authorities, who should put health protection first, told this mother, “These exposures are occurring as a result of … economic conditions under which our present world is defined.” Mothers may ask: Does that trump the fundamental right of all children to live in a healthy environment?
In promoting the economic interests of a highly influential and powerful fraternity of timber corporations, policymakers and health officials are acting without consideration for that child with 2,4-D in his bloodstream. To them, that child is merely a data point, a victim of legalized poisoning.
All manner of medical evidence suggests that pesticides constitute a threat to human health. We need our state government to build the political will to prevent this harm.
Mothers, for eons, have told their children, “I don’t care if everyone else is doing it; it is still wrong. Never forget: Our family takes the path of ethical behavior.”
Our state agencies should listen to their mothers.
Lisa Arkin of Eugene is executive director of Beyond Toxics, formerly known at the Oregon Toxics Alliance.
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In days gone bye, primitive peoples gave great weight to superstitions involving black cats, broken mirrors, stepping on cracks in sidewalks, etc. It is an aspect of human nature to fear consequences from things not understood or imagined to be causally connected. Science attempts to intervene and constructively resolve the fear associated with superstition. Scientists have studied herbicide exposure and determined the exposure levels that can be causally related to harm. When the government says don't worry about your exposure, they are saying that there is no scientific evidence that suggests that the exposure received will cause harm. Of course, the government cannot PROVE that no harm will occur – only that tests have revealed none in controlled studies.
Science cannot prove that stepping on a crack will not break mother's back. It has found no correlation or imaginable causal relationship between crack stepping and mother's backs breaking, but that does not mean that it is truly safe for mother when you step on those cracks. You never know what scientists have missed.
Today, we still have our superstitions and boogeymen. Those afflicted with them tend to congregate in organizations like Beyond Toxics. Irrational fear and the desire to live forever seem to dominate much of American life these days.
[Hwy_36_exposure_investigation] December 16, 2011 Updates
BISHOP Karen karen.bishop at state.or.us
Mon Dec 19 11:01:55 PST 2011
By now everyone who participated in the August sample collections have received letters informing them of their urine sample results. We have been fielding questions daily from many people about the test results, and we hope our responses have been helpful. We want everyone to have a clear understanding of their results, so if there is anything confusing about your results please let us know.
Dr. David Farrer from OHA is available for one-on-one consultations, and his phone number is on the letter you received. You can call and he will return your call, to save on long distance. He can also be reached by e-mail at david.g.farrer at state.or.us<mailto:david.g.farrer at state.or.us>. We also have a medical doctor on staff who is available to consult with individuals. His name is Dr. Matthew Dubrow, and is best reached by e-mail at matthew.e.dubrow at state.or.us<mailto:matthew.e.dubrow at state.or.us>.
The environmental samples have been analyzed by the lab, and are undergoing validation and quality assurance by EPA. We expect results will be mailed to participants by mid-January.
ATSDR and OHA are in the process of preparing a report for release in early 2012 that will describe the sampling results for urine only. An additional report will be released that addresses both urine and environmental data. That report is expected to be released in spring 2012.
OHA is planning for another sampling event, which will most likely occur in March/ April of 2012. We will begin recruiting volunteers for the next round of sampling in January and February. Residents who live within the recruitment area will be sent a flyer with information on what they can expect and how to sign up. Information will also be provided over this listserv, and posted throughout the community. Spring sampling will include collecting urine samples both before and after herbicide applications in the area have occurred. Once we receive the food and soil sample data from EPA, we will know whether or not additional food and soil sampling in the spring is warranted.
As the exposure investigation continues, , people may be interested in many of the commonly used products that are sold in Oregon that contain 2,4-D, you can find a complete list by clicking here.<24D%20products%20registered%20in%20Oregon.pdf>
Another resource that may be of interest to many community members is an article that discusses the use of 2,4-D biomonitoring equivalents (urine) as a valid screening value for 2,4-D in population-based biomonitoring studies. Click here<http://www.scribd.com/doc/29800277/Biomonitoring-Data-for-2-4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic-Acid-in-the-United-States-and-Canada-Interpretation-in-a-Public-Health-Risk-Assessment-Context-Using> to see this study, which was co-authored by Emory researcher Dr. Dana Barr.
The biomonitoring equivalents website can be accessed here: http://www.biomonitoringequivalents.net/