Letters for Friday, August 9, 2013

• Disappointed with coverage of Bill 2491 • Data for pesticide issues still needed • We are in this together • A call for property tax breaks for seniors • All herbicides should be regulated • Lower the speed limit

Disappointed with coverage of Bill 2491

I was disappointed to read “Testimony passionate from both sides” (TGI, Aug. 1).

I was upset to read the article had two personal stories, several paragraphs each, from pro-GMO people who lived near GMO spraying; one paragraph from one anti-GMO people who is not affected; but zero from the people who are sick.

It’s the sick folks who live near the spraying and their stories of nightly nose bleeds with their children (I was shocked to hear more than one, too! I haven’t heard of any kids getting consistent nose bleeds in the North Shore), cancer victim stories, moms having to board up her child’s windows because of spray, etc. is what Bill 2491 is about, plus the damage to the land/water/air.

Instead, the article quoted a person saying “the other side is fighting to feed their families good food.”  

That’s not what we’re fighting for — it’s the health of the people and the island. This article missed the whole issue! Let alone, one-sided.

There were many heart-wrenching stories (I was there all day) and TGI didn’t publish one. This is the core of Bill 2491.

Desiree Hoover, Kilauea

Data for pesticide issues still needed

Thanks to Gail Wilkes (TGI Aug. 5) for providing data on the incidence of cancer on Kauai relative to the other islands and the U.S. as a whole. Her statistics show that Kauai County has the “lowest incidence rate for cancer in the Hawaiian counties, overall, for the period 2006-2010.”

Incidence rates for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and leukemia appear slightly higher, although the statistical significance is not presented. In the case of leukemia, the rate on Kauai is similar to the entire U.S.

However, I question her statement in support of Bill 2491 that “we cannot afford to wait 15 years to see how many people develop cancer.”

Kauai has an over 50-year history of heavy agricultural chemical use in the sugar and pineapple industries, which was generally not well-regulated, and involved rather nasty chemicals, many of which are no longer available. The current farming operations, some of which have been here for 15 years, are far more tightly regulated and use safer modern crop protection chemicals.

Given the statistics already available, do we really need to wait another 15 years for the answer on cancer?

We have recently seen statements from other health care workers, including the head of a nursing association, asserting numerous other health problems caused by the agricultural industry on Kauai.

What is needed is actual specifics and data, and not general statements to the effect that we are all being poisoned. Only when such information is made available can we judge the necessity for Bill 2491.

Robin Clark, Kalaheo

We are in this together

To me, one of the most disturbing factors in the GMO/pesticide dispute is the pitting of health and dollars against each other.

How did we get in this mess? To me, of course, good health is always the most important issue. Still, if it means people will lose their jobs — lose a job, lose income, can’t buy food — and health suffers. I don’t think anyone can argue about that.

Still, I wonder if that is the case here? Is this fear? Hyperbola? Or truth? Won’t new jobs be developed, too?

My greatest concern is this, without the pesticides we are using now, which created stronger pests — back to Darwin and survival of the fittest — how are we going to handle that? How are we going to get rid of them? They’re here, we know they’re here, and it takes a stronger pesticide to kill them. It’s Catch-22.

Same with herbicides. We created bigger, stronger, more prolific weeds immune to the chemicals that kill them.

Creating new pesticides and herbicides is a very lucrative business.

But I ask you, if you keep your jobs, your income and your profits, and your kids and grandkids sicken and die of pesticide/herbicide-created diseases, did you benefit?

Thank you council members for being there. Thank you people of Kauai for your concern.

“The real and lasting solutions can only come out of our relations with each other … ” — Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura.

Remember, we’re all in this together.

Bettejo Dux, Kalaheo

A call for property tax breaks for seniors

Talking about property taxes: I went to the office to pay for them, and I had a fit. I own my home with an ohana (that I rent long term, and is affordable). I live on $700 something Social Security disability plus some of the rent of my rental.

I could not believe that my bill for the property taxes this year was almost $2,000!

What is going on here? I think there should be some way to help the people that are not having enough income any more.

Any help? Any ideas?

Lilian de Mello, Kapaa

All herbicides should be regulated

All of the recent hoopla about GMO and the use of chemicals on the Garden Island has got me thinking: How many pounds of pesticides and weed killer are used each year by the golf courses, landscapers, pest companies, Kauai County, commercial owners and residents?

Should we ban these nasty products from the entire island?

Should these products be regulated like the pharmacy, only allowing a certain amount purchased per person, business or family ?

Seems like we are awash in chemicals and should cast a larger net into this matter.

David Kundysek, Koloa

Lower the speed limit

I would like to see a lower speed limit on Elua Street in Lihue. We have a few preschools on my girlfriend’s street and people still going anywhere from 30 to 40 mph.  I think it’s time to do something for the children’s safety.

Danny Renaud, Kapaa

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