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WHO Promotes DDT, New evidence of DDT health damage; U.S. Hoards Methyl Bromide, Idaho County Goes Organic for West Nile, and more
September 21, 2006
Communities and health professionals decry DDT promotion by WHO: Public health advocates in and outside of Africa, indigenous people in the Arctic, and DDT-affected communities around the world were dismayed by the recent World Health Organization (WHO) decision to promote DDT for use in Africa inside homes in areas where malaria is prevalent. “WHO’s decision to increase use of DDT threatens the health of children and families already plagued with malaria, and directly undermines an important global treaty” says Dr. Jamidu Katima, Director of the Tanzanian public interest group AGENDA and Co-Chair of the International POPs Elimination Network. Read PANNA’s response to the WHO decision. DDT’s well documented adverse health effects have been left out of most media reports on the WHO decision (for detailed recent information see PANNA’s DDT and Malaria Resource Center). DDT is listed as a Persistent Organic Pollutant, a class of very dangerous chemicals identified for global phase out under an international treaty called the Stockholm Convention. For more information, see our recent PAN North America Magazine article, “DDT and Malaria: Setting the Record Straight.”
New evidence of DDT health damage: A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics documents evidence of DDT-linked neurological impacts in young children in Mexico. Another study from Emory University underscores DDT’s link to Parkinson’s Disease, while a new University of Florida study suggests that a generation of young mothers may not be able to breast-feed their babies because their mothers were exposed to pesticides, including DDT and similar chemicals, that can have a major impact on breast development.
U.S. stockpiling more dangerous methyl bromide: Los Angeles Times reports, “The United States has a large stockpile of methyl bromide, a pesticide that depletes the ozone layer, yet the Environmental Protection Agency continues to allow chemical companies to produce millions of pounds every year.” Cone documents how the Bush administration’s EPA is ignoring the spirit and the letter of the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty aimed to ban methyl bromide world-wide. In addition to depleting the ozone layer, methyl bromide has been implicated in respiratory illness and neurological problems including Parkinson’s Disease. Read the entire story.
Lawn of Michigan activist sprayed with pesticides: “If you’re going to screw up and apply toxic pesticides to the wrong lawn, probably the worst person in Michigan you could mess with is Tess Karwoski. But that’s exactly what happened Sept. 14, in a stranger-than-fiction story that appeared on FOX2 News, the Ann Arbor News and both Detroit daily newspapers.” Karowski, a nurse and health policy director for the Michigan Environmental Council had her organic lawn and garden sprayed with pesticides by Tru-Chem lawn care, even though it was prominently marked with a “pesticide-free” lawn sign. The contamination was an apparent mix-up, but Karowski took the opportunity to warn the applicator of the dangers of his job, generating media coverage in the process. Karowski is also a leader in the Michigan campaign for a ban against lindane, used in lice shampoos. PANNA campaign director Kathryn Gilje got the story from Tess.
Twin Falls, Idaho, goes organic for West Nile: County commissioners in Twin Falls, Idaho decided to use an Integrated Pest Management approach for mosquito control and managing West Nile virus. They have directed mosquito abatement staff to use Bti, a bacterial pesticide that targets mosquito larvae specifically. The local newspaper, the Times-New, reported that Theresa Strolberg, a local organic producer, “was jubilant” about the decision. “I think it is a wise decision,” Strolberg said. The use of the larvacide can reduce mosquito populations below levels of concern and avoids aerial spraying of the more toxic adulticides. Read more.
PANUPS is a weekly email news service providing resource guides and reporting on pesticide issues that don’t always get coverage by the mainstream media. It’s produced by Pesticide Action Network North America, a non-profit and non-governmental organization working to advance sustainable alternatives to pesticides worldwide.
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