At West Chester University on Sept. 17, a crowd of students and community members heard author Ken Ilgunas recount his hike across much of Canada and the US along the actual and proposed parts of the Keystone Excel pipeline route.
From the devastation wrought by the extraction of saleable product from the Alberta Tar Sands, the talk ranged across many themes and adventures, from winter weather and unwanted encounters with bovines to the beauty of the landscapes and the generosity of farmers faced with a tired and hungry hiker asking if they couuld spare a glass of water.
The listener couldn’t help reflecting on the underlying principle of Ilgunas’s adventure: this land is our land–the land of the people who live here–and not that of the corporate interests.
On Sept. 11, the West Chester Green Team’s 3 highly effective and hard-working summer interns—from left to right Kara Thorpe, Paige Vermeulen, and Courtney Bodle—described their accomplishments since May to the audience at the West Chester University Sustainability Research and Practice Seminar. All stressed not only what they got done (much of which shows up on this web site) but also the learning experience and how it oriented them to new ideas.
Don’t Spray Me! believes pesticides and herbicides should not be sprayed on any sort of educational institution or in parks where the public, including children, may go unawares shortly after spraying. The PA School Code requires notification of families and employees of public schools (but not all schools) before spraying occurs. Stay tuned for more!
The map below, by Paige Vermeulen, shows schools (from day cares to university) in yellow, parks in green, and a 300 foot buffer zone in orange. Why 300 feet? Because spray drifts, and Bayer says its product DeltaGard kills mosquitoes at 300 feet (see more here).
[DSM note: the 2 sections below, added in 2002, are valuable in showing that the Commonwealth has recognized the value of protecting children in school settings against exposure to harmful pesticides and herbicides.]
|PUBLIC SCHOOL CODE OF 1949|
|Excerpts re pesticides: sections 772.1 and 772.2||PUBLIC SCHOOL CODE OF 1949 Act of Mar. 10, 1949, P.L. 30, No. 14 [as amended]|
Section 772.1. Integrated Pest Management Programs.–a) Each school shall, by January 1, 2003, adopt an integrated pest management plan in accordance with the integrated pest management policies established by the department on the effective date of this section until regulations are promulgated by the department…
[DSM summary: The Department of Agriculture shall “maintain a hypersensitivity registry to assist in the notification of students and employes who are especially sensitive to pesticides” (defined to include herbicides) and work with schools for that purpose. A school is defined as “a school district, an intermediate unit, an area vocational-technical school or any of these entities acting jointly.”]
Section 772.2. Notification of Pesticide Treatments at Schools.–(a) The following apply to pesticide applicators:
[DSM summary: Pesticide (including herbicide) applicators must supply information about the pest control chemical plus a sign. The school must, at least 72 hours before the planned treatment, post the sign and provide the pest control information sheet to all working in the building plus all parents of students (or all parents who have requested notification, if the school sets up a notification system.
Also, ” pesticides may not be applied within a school building where students are expected to be present for normal academic instruction or organized extracurricular activities within seven (7) hours following the application or on school grounds where students will be in the immediate vicinity for normal academic instruction or organized extracurricular activities within seven (7) hours following the application.]
[Download the full wording of both sections here: School Code PA pesticides 772]
A recent study about rats could have implications for humans. It shows that even when exposure to the herbicide glyphosate (the main active ingredient in Roundup, but also used in other products since the patent US expired in 2000) is low enough not to do evident damage to individual rats, their offspring in the 2nd and 3rd generations may suffer epigenetic effects, meaning that although DNA sequences are not affected, the way the body instructs genes to act may be affected, notably in sperm cells.
Thus, even apart from any effects on the exposed individual humans (witness the recent large court judgments about Bayer-Monsanto), grandchildren and great grand-children may suffer adverse health conditions. Since glyphosate entered the market 43 years ago, children whose grandparents used the product may soon, unfortunately, be observed as test cases.
If this follows the route of tobacco and opioids, after decades of human suffering, government will suddenly find itself “shocked” and start trying to hold companies responsible–with little help for the humans affected, and small impact on the companies’ bottom line or executive leaders.
Below is the official summary of an article in Scientific Reports, volume 9, Article number: 6372 (2019)l read the full article there. See more background on harmful effects of Roundup in “Take Action by September 3 to Ban This Cancer-Causing Weedkiller!” at Organic Consumers Association (accompanying photo is from there).
Assessment of Glyphosate Induced Epigenetic Transgenerational Inheritance of Pathologies and Sperm Epimutations: Generational Toxicology
- Deepika Kubsad,
- Eric E. Nilsson,
- Stephanie E. King,
- Ingrid Sadler-Riggleman,
- Daniel Beck &
- Michael K. Skinner
Ancestral environmental exposures to a variety of factors and toxicants have been shown to promote the epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of adult onset disease. One of the most widely used agricultural pesticides worldwide is the herbicide glyphosate (N-(phosphonomethyl)glycine), commonly known as Roundup. There are an increasing number of conflicting reports regarding the direct exposure toxicity (risk) of glyphosate, but no rigorous investigations on the generational actions. The current study using a transient exposure of gestating F0 generation female rats found negligible impacts of glyphosate on the directly exposed F0 generation, or F1 generation offspring pathology. In contrast, dramatic increases in pathologies in the F2 generation grand-offspring, and F3 transgenerational great-grand-offspring were observed. The transgenerational pathologies observed include prostate disease, obesity, kidney disease, ovarian disease, and parturition (birth) abnormalities. Epigenetic analysis of the F1, F2 and F3 generation sperm identified differential DNA methylation regions (DMRs). A number of DMR associated genes were identified and previously shown to be involved in pathologies. Therefore, we propose glyphosate can induce the transgenerational inheritance of disease and germline (e.g. sperm) epimutations. Observations suggest the generational toxicology of glyphosate needs to be considered in the disease etiology of future generations.
email from Organic Consumers Association, 8/24/19
We’ve known since at least June that Monsanto, now owned by Bayer, compiled hit lists containing hundreds of names and other personal information about journalists, politicians and scientists, including their opinions about pesticides and genetic engineering.
But newly revealed court documents expose an even more calculated and sinister plan—a 130-page plan involving 11 staff members plus high-powered public relations firms—to “slime and slander” anyone who criticized their products or operations.
Among the targets of Monsanto’s hit list strategy is U.S. Right to Know (USRTK), a nonprofit investigative research group focused on the food industry, for which OCA provides substantial funding….
read more on Mayer-Monsanto’s nefarious tactics in “Monsanto Hit List Exposed” at Organic Consumers Association
So far, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and many other decision-makers have largely been taking Monsanto at its word when it claims its product is safe. But Monsanto has not been transparent about the potential health effects of Roundup. In 2017, Monsanto was caught ghost-writing studies for “independent scientists” to show that glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, is safe, and in late 2017, newly unsealed court documents showed Monsanto has had an influence on U.S. regulators in the EPA for years, while suppressing scientific information about the potential dangers of its widely used pesticide, Roundup.
Even without these deceptive actions, there is enough evidence to indicate that we shouldn’t be needlessly exposing ourselves to something that has the potential to cause such serious harm. But that is exactly what we are doing, and in a big way. …
read more at PennPIRG
We already know that the common yard product Roundup has been associated with multiple cases of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Now, more and more evidence is mounting that deltamethrin, the active ingredient in Deltagard, causes negative effects when animals are exposed to it.
A recent scientific report from Turkey studied the developmental effects on Zebrafish (Danio rerio) when they are exposed to deltamethrin. Survival rate, hatching, and body malformations were determined after deltamethrin exposure.
The study results showed that DM (deltamethrin) cause body malformations, mortality and and delay hatching, survival rate decreased, and apoptosis increased.Parlak, Department of Aquaculture, May 2018
The figures above show how survival rate decreased with the concentration of deltamethrin, and malformations increased with concentration.
Deltamethrin easily enters waterways through runoff, which is why it is important to know how Deltagard is affecting our ecosystems. This is also why Deltagard instructions say to not spray the product directly on or adjacent to a waterway. But how can we be sure that when Deltagard trucks spray our lawns and streets in the borough, the poison does not run into the storm drains and affect our wildlife? Also, if deltamethrin has such detrimental effects on zebrafish, who’s to say what unknown effects if may have on insects, birds, dogs, and even humans? As always, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Reduce your use of Deltagard on your property, and express to the county that you are concerned about the use of Deltagard throughout the borough.
- Figures from Evaluation of apoptosis, oxidative stress responses, AChE activity and body malformations in zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos exposed to deltamethrin
According to Chester County Coroner Dr. Christina VandePol (download the Aug. 2 press release here),
The Chester County Coroner’s Office is releasing data on drug overdose deaths in Chester County from January 1, 2019 through June 30, 2019. A total of 65 people have been confirmed to have died of a drug overdose during this period, with 62 deaths determined to be accidental and 3 due to suicide. …
Something seems amiss in how the County organizes its services! The Health Department does not deal with this major health epidemic, but when you look at the Health Department home page you find under “Environmental Services”:
New Fees for Food and other Establishments (Effective May 1st, 2019)
Housing, Insect, and Vector Concerns
Spotted Lanternfly Information
Public Bathing Places
Emergency Action Plan for Food Establishments
Healthy Stream Recreation
Farmers’ Market Guidelines
Temporary Event Application
Sewage and Water
Request Existing Sewage/Well Permit
What does the spotted lanternfly have to do with human health? Why does the Health Department spend $200,000+ a year on mosquito control when the chief mosquito-related health problem it cites, West Nile Virus, has never caused one fatal case acquired in Chester County, compared to thousands of fatal opioid overdoses?
In the Health Department’s “A-Z Health Topic List,” you can find bats and dog licenses, and even Zika Virus (which is not transmitted by insects this far north), but no link to information about an epidemic that is killing an average of 2.5 people a week in Chester County! (You’d think Drug and Alcohol Services would feature itt, but good luck finding even one reference to fentanyl there.)
Why doesn’t the County have an Environment Department, with trained experts in environment and sustainability, to deal with concerns like over-proliferation of some species and existential threats to others, climate change, excessive water runoff, stream erosion, air and water pollution, environmental degradation from trash and especially single-use plastics, renewable energy, and so much more?
Then the Health Department could focus on its job: health.
Green America, an environmental organization, conducted a report exploring environmental initiatives in leading clothing stores. The report looked at 14 major apparel companies to see if they were addressing issues like chemical use and waste from clothing production.
One of the features they checked was chemical management. Directly from their report, which can be found here:
The production of textiles uses an estimated 43 million tons of chemicals every year – and this figure doesn’t even take into account the amount of pesticides used to grow natural resources, such as cotton, annually.
Chemicals are used heavily throughout the production of textiles – the process of turning raw materials into textiles uses over 8,000 different chemicals. The Swedish Chemicals Agency tested 2,400 chemicals and found that about 30% of them were toxic. While some chemicals have been banned/restricted in consuming countries, that chemical may be found in waterways of the manufacturing country, exposing not just workers to these hazardous chemicals, but also the community at large.
Industry-wide, there is a need for more transparency and data about the chemicals that are being used, as well as their effects on health and the environment throughout the life cycle of the textile/garment . . .
Until companies become more transparent about their chemical use, it’s hard to know what you’re truly paying for when you purchase clothing. Green Team’s advice to you is to purchase new clothes only when absolutely necessary – and to use the clothes you already have as long as possible.
For more information and the full report, please visit the article at greenamerica.org.