Dale, I am trying to rephrase your comment to ensure that I fully
understand your position before responding.
Are you suggesting that our disagreement with your position can only
have its basis in a misunderstanding of analytic chemistry?
If not, please clarify, because that's what I think you said.
If so, you have misunderstood
our statements and made a response unrelated to our positions.
I'll try this again. We were discussing finding chloropyrifos in the
urine of practically everybody.
> Apparently, the clear evidence of chemical trespass itself is
> disregarded as being in the category of things we call
> "a problem."
Deciding whether to label something a "problem" or not is a matter of
policy, not chemistry.
> I find such cavalier attitude towards chemical contamination
> quite incredible.
The analytic chemistry showed the unambiguous presence of chloropyrifos
in the urine or 80-90% of the people checked.
> Anything showing up in our bodies uninvited is a violation of
> both property rights and human rights.
Mark does not wish to allow this chemical trespass and feels that his
rights have been violated.
To these above quotes, Dale responds:
> Loren, Roberto, and Mark,
> First, I don't think you folks have an appreciation of just how sensitive
> modern quantitative analysis really is.
None of us said anything about analytic chemistry. We were all making
the point that we find it a problem when manufactured substances which
we have never used and in fact actively avoid contact with, nevertheless
can be found in our bodies, as evidenced by being excreted by our
Sombody manufactures chloropyrifos. They sell it to person B. Now
person B "owns" it. As it is applied, person B seems to be allowing it
to run amok, and many of us are not pleased with that.
Person B is not allowed to store his lawnmower in my garage. His shoes
are not under my bed; his livestock may not graze in my front yard, nor
may his dog crap there. No shoes, no lawnmowers, not a single grazing
animal, not one little turd. Zero. I don't have to prove that it would
injure me seriously to have B doing any of these things. I do not want
these things on my property, and that reason is sufficient.
That is also the case for chloropyrifos. I did not buy it. I do not
benefit from it. I don't want it in my personal space or on my property
for any reason, in any quantity. If it's there, then person B still
"owns" it and he is trespassing with his stuff. He should have to keep
better track of his belongings. If it is not possible to ascertain which
"person B" has been careless with his purchase, then it is fine with me
if the legal responsibility for the substance still belongs to the
I still haven't said anything about analytic chemistry. This subject
matter is not in the realm of analytic chemistry.
I have taken the opportunity to have 150 college students decide whether
chloropyrifos in the urine is or is not a "problem," by giving the
choice to them on an exam. They may choose either, provided only that
they supply their reasoning. I'll let you know what they think when I'm
done grading this mountain of papers.
> At a sufficiently low level of
> contamination, this controversy devolves into theoretical hair-splitting.
What does that mean? The "threshold" concept has never been validated,
and it is probably not valid. It is the responsibliity of all modelers
(for example those who estimate toxicological risk) to know the
limitations of the model and ALL of the assumptions built into the
model. The threshold assumption is built in to all the models. It's
use, however, is not a matter of analytic chemistry, it is merely a
policy choice, and we all know that POLICY and CHEMISTRY are not the
same thing. Or do we all know it? Must we eternally suffer this mutant
dialogue, where every time somebody doesn't like where the policy
conversation is headed, a random comment about "sound science" is
inserted in the hope of deflecting the conclusion?
> Second, society subjects all of us to all kinds of risks.
Name some. This conversation is improved by specificity. How is this
statement relevant to the discussion of chloropyrifos in the urine of
people who never use chloropyrifos?
> Ordinary risks we accept without second thought are a lot bigger than
> pesticide risk (as far as I can tell).
Name some. Explain the relevance of this statement.
Which non-zero risks do "we" accept with absolutely zero benefit to us?
I cannot think of any.
Or do we "accept" them because we have no choice? Do we accept them
because we do not know about them? Is our conscious, informed choice
implied by your use of the word "accept?"
Are you and I are the same person in your "we" scenario?
> Third, we constantly ingest all manner of toxic substances that occur
How many of these compounds are large, chlorinated molecules?
Which ones were humans never exposed to before 1900? Which ones do we
ingest without knowing that we are eating something? How is this
statement relevant to chloropyrifos in my body?
> To a large extent, the function of kidneys and liver is to
> detoxify and/or eliminate these things.
Yes, these organs have co-evolved with other life forms on this planet
for many millions of years, and can, to some extent, allow the organism
to escape harm from naturally occurring toxins evolved over the same
time scale. UNLIKE CHLOROPYRIFOS.
And that's not analytic chemistry either, it's evolutionary biology,
which apparently is not a permitted subject matter in some parts of this
country. I wonder if my email will arrive with "the E word" deleted?
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