A pesticide is “a chemical agent used to destroy pests, also known as a biocide, which is” any chemical substance that destroys life by poisoning it. A poison is defined as a “substance that destroys life or impairs health”. Why are pesticides evil? They are synthetic (non-naturally occurring) chemicals that poison and damage the health of the entire planet, including ourselves.
Human versus human pests has been a battle from the start. There are plenty of references to plagues and invasions throughout history—even cave drawings in hieroglyphics illustrating frustration with vermin. Thousands of years later, we’ve made plenty of scientific breakthroughs here, but wars are still raging.
Most pesticides in use today are modeled after nerve gas technology developed during World War II. These synthetic chemicals are neurotoxins that attack the central nervous system and affect internal communication with the brain.
Some insecticides affect reproduction, some affect the ability to feed, but the most common are those that affect both voluntary and involuntary locomotion. The scary truth about these man-made toxins is that because they’re not natural, they persist – in our bodies and water, and concentrate as you move up the food chain.
Swiss chemist Paul Mueller discovered DDT, for which he won the 1948 Nobel Prize. DDT was widely used until the truth came out. The deadly effects of DDT have concentrated many species on the brink of extinction, most notably our national symbol, the bald eagle. So in 1972, DDT was banned in the United States. But is the danger gone? Not far.
Research on new synthetic insecticides aims to provide faster results, longer persistence (stays around to continue killing pests), and therefore higher levels of toxicity. New chemical poisons are needed because pesticides lose their potency through pesticide resistance — a fascinating biological phenomenon. When a pest population is exposed to a pesticide, a certain percentage of the pests survive. When they reproduce, they pass this immunity on to their offspring. Since pests often have multiple generations in a short period of time and eventually entire populations become immune, pesticides once used for control are now useless.
The solution is to rotate a different toxic synthetic chemical, applied more frequently, but with the same insecticide resistance. These pests are now immune to many insecticides, making them harder to control. Insecticide resistance always occurs when synthetic insecticides are used, regardless of the dose or mode of action. So we’ve created superpests that are immune to control, but we’re bioaccumulating the poisons we use to treat them.
The United Nations adopted an environmental treaty known as the Stockholm Convention, calling for global action to eliminate 21 of the deadliest chemicals on Earth, defined as those that “persist in the environment, bioaccumulate through food webs and May cause adverse effects on human health and the environment. One of the poisons is Lindane. Inexplicably, some of the chemicals on this most toxic list have “exemptions” and Lindane’s exemption reads: Human Health Drugs to Control Head Lice. So can one of the most dangerous chemicals on the planet be spilled on my child’s head?
Where is our protection? The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the government agency responsible for protecting us and our environment, but they receive no government funding. What? Instead, EPA’s 17,000 employees are funded by large chemical companies whose products they want to register with EPA. What about the fox guarding the henhouse?
Many people mistakenly believe that if a product is EPA registered, then it is safe. That is absolutely wrong. The only products EPA registers are those whose active ingredients are known poisons, toxins, or carcinogens. If the product is safe, it is exempt from registration. Make no mistake—if a product has an EPA registration number, it’s dangerous.
Chemical companies pay the EPA hundreds of thousands of dollars per product so they can determine maximum acceptable levels of exposure to toxic active ingredients. Exposure levels are based on a 180-pound person.all these are maximum Safe Exposure Level – Means that anything above this level can cause harm. Therefore, the exposure of developing young children was not considered, but was included at a safe level for adult exposure.
This is the scariest part – the inert, other or inactive ingredients listed on the label are not tested even documented. They are considered “trade secrets” and no one knows what is being used. These ingredients can be much more dangerous than the active ingredients! They change based on market conditions, so if you’ve been using Frontline on your dog for years and after treatment he suddenly develops chemical burns, respiratory distress, seizures and even death – everyone is confused – how is this possible? This is due to the fact that “other” ingredients may be $0.02 cheaper per barrel during the manufacturing process.
How do pesticides affect us today? That’s simple – disease.
Pesticides affect the endocrine system, which is the reproductive system. Breast and prostate cancer diagnoses have increased. Pesticides can affect the gastrointestinal system. Diagnoses of colon cancer, gastroesophageal reflux disease and irritable bowel syndrome increased. Pesticides most commonly affect brain function in victims. Diagnoses of autism (up 500%), ADHD (up 381%) and Alzheimer’s (up 300%) have risen dramatically over the past few decades. Chemical companies deny these claims, saying they are due to an aging population, with larger populations and therefore higher rates of disease, and more thorough diagnostic tools. However, science proves otherwise. The EPA has reported a direct link between ADHD and pesticides, and the US Department of Defense has acknowledged that Gulf War Syndrome has been attributed to chemicals, including pesticides. Since research is funded by manufacturers, little research has been done on the potential harm of pesticides’ long-term cumulative effects, as it could reveal negative facts.
The reason we get sick from pesticides is that they can’t be metabolized – they persist in our tissues. Synthetic pesticides are to the human body what plastics are to landfills—they never break down. They bioaccumulate in our tissues, so we continually increase our own levels of toxicity. We inhale, absorb, and ingest many forms of pesticides from the food we eat, the products we use, and the odorless and odorless pesticide fumes used in schools, businesses, restaurants, grocery stores, and even hospitals. Going back to the example of using lindane to treat head lice, one of the deadliest substances found on earth, is applied to the scalp, which is the skin (the largest organ in the human body) filled with pores and hair shaft openings where toxic chemicals enter The body…and stays in the body.
Using natural, organic, or green pest control has been viewed as nothing more than good intentions, and the stronger and more often the chemical is used, the better. This is especially true for pesticide production or application enterprises. The acknowledgment that natural products are capable sits directly alongside the goal of selling synthetic chemicals for profit. And those profits are huge.
The pest control services industry is a $6.5 billion (2008) industry in the US and is expected to double in size by 2015. That’s impressive compared to agrochemical manufacturers — the companies that make these pesticides are a $34 billion annual industry. The top six manufacturers are Bayer, Syngenta, BASF, Dow AgroSciences, Monsanto and DuPont, and the last three are all American holding companies. Add these together and our world generates more than $40 billion in revenue from pesticides used annually.
As it gradually becomes “green”, “eco-friendly” and “sustainable”, many people deserve to be commended for their contribution in caring for the earth. However, those who are just beginning to realize are being taken advantage of by those looking for a healthy profit. For example, the next time you’re at the grocery store, check out bug repellent products. Many of the tags are green with pictures of happy kids with small pets or healthy couples hiking in nature. Buzzwords like ‘safe’, ‘green’ and ‘natural’ dominate, and artwork becomes more simplified, as if to indicate simpler products. yes, yes. Perception is reality, so consumers are tricked into thinking they are making an informed, environmentally responsible choice. Check the label and you’ll find EPA registration numbers, small amounts of active (or lethally toxic) ingredients, and large amounts of “other,” “inert,” or “inactive” ingredients of unknown toxicity.
Pesticides are known to be poisons that bioaccumulate in living tissue. As pests become immune due to insecticide resistance, the insecticide must become stronger and increase the concentration in our body. The EPA registration process is designed to prevent toxins above tolerable levels, not to encourage safe choices. Manufacturers are allowed to use any inactive ingredient they choose without guidelines or oversight. Pesticides affect pest reproduction, the gastrointestinal tract, and the nervous system of pests, and human diseases in these target areas have increased dramatically over the past few decades. Large-scale agrochemical production enterprises and pest control enterprises have obtained huge returns and profits through the sale and use of poisons. Their massive lobbying and advertising campaigns continue to extol the virtues of their synthetic chemicals and dismiss truly natural products as ineffective and naive.
There yes option. Effective natural selection, non-toxic, does not cause disease, and pests do not develop resistance. Nature has proven far superior to man’s attempts to control her, and to think that man can create something better is arrogance at the highest level.
Get educated, informed and speak up. Insist that your child’s school does not use traditional toxic pesticides. Require that your food sources be organic and that your pest control company use truly “green” products. Be sure to make changes to your home to safely control pests and achieve better results. At the very least, find out the pest control calendar for the area where you live and work to prove to yourself how pervasive pesticide hazards are in your daily life. Slowly poisoning ourselves and the environment is a disaster fueled by greed, and it’s up to people to stop the runaway train.