Letters for Monday, Sept. 2, 2013

Safety first!Farming co-exist • Protect the ainaThe color of ash

Safety first!

At the July 31 public hearing for proposed bill 3491, I heard many workers from the seed companies proclaim that safety was paramount on their jobs. The first day at work was safety training. One said you even have to wear safety glasses to use a stapler.  

Pesticide applicators professed to be very strict at following label instructions, saying that their spray rigs even had wind speed indicators. (It is against the law to spray most restricted use pesticides when the wind exceeds 15 mph). It was emphasized that everything possible was done to minimize risk of pesticides that were only used if absolutely necessary. A few said they would quit their job, if they thought they were doing harm.

Safety first!? What about the people living in Waimea Valley, which is subject to spray drift and chemical volatilization from the fields above them, who are telling us about their children’s nosebleeds and respiratory problems?

Safety first! What about the pediatricians noticing higher rates of childhood illnesses, asthma, cancer and diabetes among Westside patients?

Safety first! What about mothers on the Westside who are afraid to open their windows because of the pervasive dust that might be contaminated with agricultural chemicals?

Safety first! What about the Kekaha ditch emptying at the County beach park contaminated with atrazine? What else is in that water, chloropyrifos (Lorsban)? This organophosphate reacts synergistically with atrazine and is very highly toxic to aquatic organisms, with a half life of 72 days. Or how about all those synthetic pyrethroids: Dow Asana, DuPont Coragen, Mustang Insecticide, Permethrin, Baythroid, which all have detrimental effects for life in the water?

Safety first! Dr. Stephanie Seneff explained how GMO Roundup Ready crops take up higher levels of glyphosate, which when consumed in food, can effect intestinal bacteria with negative health ramifications and possible links to autism.

Safety first! Dr. Steven Savage testified that pesticide usage was declining due, in part, to GMO crops and that modern chemicals are more benign in their environmental effects than in the past — DDT was his example. Glyphosate usage in the USA, according to the EPA, went from 85-90 million pounds in 2001 to 180-185 million pounds in 2007, the most recent year data is available. The five biggest users of restricted use pesticides on Kauai all purchased Gramoxone in 2012. This is an infamous herbicide paraquat dichloride, the label of which states categorically “Fatal if inhaled.” Paraquat, banned by the European Union in July 2007, is linked to Parkinson’s disease and clings tenaciously to soil with a half life of 620 days. “Avoid dispersion of dust.”

Safety first, indeed. It behooves us to take a close look at what is happening here. Bill 2491 is a beginning.

Ned Whitlock

Kilauea

Farming co-exist

Is it entirely IMPOSSIBLE for the opposing camps on Bill 2491 to seek ways in which compromises may be attainable? In the arena of agricultural endeavors, can various methods of farming “co-exist?” Under the current conditions, will our honeybees still be able to provide the natural pollination process? Admittedly, I am leaning toward supporting Bill 2491, but with that said, I am also very concerned about the apprehensions being voiced by the opponents of that bill. What actual avenues of seeking answers to these kinds of questions have been attempted here? It’s important for us to rely on data based on sound research.  We need to have the opportunities to weigh and consider the evidence of claims being made on BOTH sides of the issue. We need to establish clear lines of agreements in prioritizing “malama aina” principles and work toward establishing common ground and common goals to maintain those stewardship responsibilities. Might these be alternative approaches and considerations for us to incorporate in seeking what might be in the best interests for us all? Think about it.

Jose Bulatao, Jr.

Kekaha

Protect the aina

As a chemically sensitive child, I suffered terribly. As an adult, I found that avoidance was key to homeostasis. Eliminating fragrances, colors, dyes from my laundry soap and personal items and eating only organically grown

produce and free range organically fed meat and poultry made me feel better. I no longer had headaches, neck and body aches, and my skin rashes and sensitivities went away. As the mother of a chemically sensitive child, I became even more proactive and followed the same regime. It is imperative to those of us who are sensitive to know what is being sprayed in the open air and to put limits on that which has not yet been tested.  Please support Bill 2491. Protect the aina and protect it’s people.

Kathy Schuster

Kapaa

The color of ash

I am grateful that Bill 2491 has brought so much awareness to the dangers of agricultural-related pesticides. It is a start and I support it, but it is only a very timid beginning to what should have been addressed from the start.

And it is only addressing restrictive use pesticides, not general use pesticides.

But this bill may lead us to the question: how much general use pesticides is the county using inside parks and schools, roads and sidewalks?

The creators of these products are profiting while saying they are safe to use. As if putting out dangerous products first and denying they are making people sick until years later, when it is proven (not by them) that they were not safe after all, has not been done before by this very same industry!

How many times do we allow this to happen?

When I look around at some public parks, the Lydgate Park and Kealia bike path, roadsides and even schools, I see evidence of harm. There is the color of ash gray in all the places where children play. I don’t need guys in lab coats to tell me that what I see done to nature by glyphosates (herbicides) is not harmful to all living things.

 Yes, I support the bill because it is a place to start, but now that our eyes are open, let us continue with our questions. Here is one: what color do you choose, ash gray or green? I choose green.

Danitza Galvan

Lihue

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