Can I assume that the numbers you gave for Veggies are "Average" use in
the US? If so, then it may be possible, or should I say it is PROBABLE?,
that some US Farmers use far more applications. It is widely known that
many fruit crops are sprayed heavily many times per crop.
In tropical and sub-tropical climates where many fruits are grown there
is a ten fold (or more) increase in the numbers of insect pests that must
be dealt with in one way or another. Those farmers who choose to use
pesticide spraying end up using an inordinate amount of these chemicals
because of this increased threat to their crops.
Add to this problem the probable significantly lower level of education
of the farmers and the normal greed of pesticide salesmen who see no harm
in taking advantage of a situation, and I am not surprised at the numbers
quoted in the report.
While I agree the level of usage reported may be excessive, and the use
of DDT (outlawed in the US) is a possible contributing factor, the way I
read the report, DDT's only effect may have been to mitigate the results,
rather than amplify the difference.
As was pointed out in the report, it is very preliminary and suggests
further study is needed. What is the acceptable level of usage? What
level of usage can be tolerated with essentially zero effect on the mental
capacity of the children being exposed to it? Do we want to use the 50%
rule here where the intelligence and reasoning powers of our children (the
next generation of humans on this planet) are at risk?
>And can we assume that insecticides were sprayed 365 days a year in their
>houses? I don't have current info on American housholds but I think it is
Again this is an example of how these products are used in areas where
education is limited and information dissemination is sadly lacking. I
submit that you will very likely find not so small areas right in the
Continental US where similar conditions prevail: families living in rural
areas well below the defined poverty level with limited educational
opportunity and limited or non-existent access to mass media such as TV and
radio that you and I take for granted. Try living in some of those low
lying, insect infested, areas without screens on your windows (or glass in
them) and no air conditioning.
>Let's use another analogy. Medications are much like pesticides- they are
>designed to kill a targeted organism. Taken at recommended doses they can be
>very effective and cause little harm.
This analogy is not valid at all. Medications (even over the counter
types) are studied and tested at great length to determine not only their
effectiveness, but the recommended dosage. Usually (but not always) the
dosages are carefully established for both adults and children. Many
medications are NEVER to be used on infants or children under a specific
age. Warnings are printed on the labels and on package inserts.
Pesticides on the other hand go through a much less stringent testing
program and hazard or danger levels are established at the 50% kill level.
As far as I know, there is never any attempt to establish an acceptable
level of exposure where zero, or essentially zero harm to the non-target
human who may be exposed will occur. Nor is there even an attempt to
define a level where "limited" harm will occur. Applicators are warned to
wear protective equipment. But the neighbors or others who may be in the
area are very seldom warned.
--Dan in Sunny Puerto Rico--
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