Myths about pesticides are just testimonies/claims to support false advertisements, marketing strategies or acts of lobbying. Pesticide companies, like Big Tobacco and the oil industry, have produced, through tricks, doubts about the science behind pesticides and have promoted the myths that their products are vital to life and harmless IF used as specified.
The myths were referred to as Tobacco Strategy by book Merchants of Doubt. Pesticide companies organized public relations and legal campaigns to disagree with the evidence, often using untruthful scientists to create controversial premises around the so-called junk science ranging from second-hand smoke resulting into cancer, global warming and dangers of DDT.
Myth no1: That Pesticides Are Not So Harmful
In reality, pesticides are harmful by nature. They are formulated to cause death and troubles to human health, putting children, especially, at risk. Facts on the evils of pesticides are well documented, below are some of the deadly facts about pesticides extracted from the news;
– A complete class of pesticides (organophosphates) has been discovered responsible for children’s higher rates of ADHD.
– Our water supply contains 94% of the herbicide also called atrazine, and this is connected to birth deficiency, infertility and cancer.
– Pregnant women exposed to the pesticide called endosulfan are more likely to give birth to autistic children.
– Girls who are yet to get to puberty stage are five times more likely to develop breast cancer when exposed to DDT.
– Lately, the World Health Organization (WHO) tagged the active ingredient in the commonly used herbicide called Roundup as a “probable human carcinogen”
A substantial number of jointly-revised, scientific studies have proven that pesticides are detrimental to human health. The glaring environmental havocs caused by pesticides include but not limited to; male frogs turning into females after being exposed to it and reduced populations of bats and honeybees.
Myth no2: Poison Is In The Dose
In reality, whoever is exposed to a very little quantity of one ingredient from one single pesticide at a time, and if it happened to be a chemical having fairly low toxic concentration; and exposure took place outside the region of any biological vulnerability, it’s likely to cause little danger. Sad enough, this is likely to be an unreal situation.
I know you will be interested to know the following fact;
First and foremost, pesticide products usually contain lots of powerful harmful ingredients including the so-called inerts not written on the label.
Secondly, we all have contact with a cocktail of pesticides in the air we breathe in, water we drink and foods we eat and on every surface we touch. The mixture of these chemicals can be more harmful than any of them working alone.
The third fact is that, many pesticides are endocrine disorder and even the very smallest dose can obstruct the activities of delicate human hormone system and may cause costly damage for life.
Finally, it is also important to note that the timing of exposure works the same as (if not more than) the dose. Making contact with the very smallest amount pesticides can cause irreparable, harm, making lives miserable, if they happen at apoint when organs or other systems are still growing. One good example from a just concluded study using the MRI technology demonstrates the point. Children in utero exposed to the neurotoxic insecticide chlorpyrifos suffered prolonged changes in their brain frame work.
It’s important as well to know that research used to discover the safety of a pesticide is solely funded and carried out by the corporations helping to market the product, which most times leads to false information.
Myth no3: That GMOs reduce Usage of Pesticides
Reality: Genetically modified organisms are encouraging the use of pesticide, and do not be surprised to know that the biggest GMO seed sellers happen to be the same pesticide companies themselves. The aim of introducing GMO seed is to boost corporate control of global agriculture, which is easy to understand. Over 80% of the GMO crops cultivated worldwide are created to endure the increase in the use of herbicide, and not to reduce its usage.
Monsanto, the world’s leading patented engineered seed, would want us to believe that its GMOs will boost yields, decrease environmental impact and moderate climate change; and that farmers only need to use little quantity of pesticides whenever they plant the corporation’s seeds. All of these are blatant lies!
On the average, Monsanto’s biotech seeds do not boost yields. In 2009, Monsanto made a declaration that its Boll guard GMO cotton caused the presence of pink bollworm (the particular pest it was meant to control in the regions of Gujarat- India’s predominant cotton-growing state. With its introduction in 1996, Monsanto’s Boll guard seeds, which contain poisonous traits from the soil bacterium called Bacillus Thuringiensis (BT), now constitute about 50% of the total number of cotton grown worldwide. In India, the efficiency of BT cotton has reduced while pesticide costs have increased by almost 25 percent, being part of the cause of the tragic suicide epidemic among India’s bankrupt farmers.
In 2009, it was revealed that 93% of U.S. GMO soybeans and 80% of GMO corns were grown from Monsanto’s patented seeds. Roundup ready-to-use corn and soybeans, produced to eradicate weeds with the use of Monsanto’s weed killer were mostly used to feed animals and cars instead of people. Now that Roundup no longer work on weeds, Dow and Monsanto are lunching GMO corn that contains tolerance of dicamba and 2,4-D, obsolete and hazardous herbicides capable of spreading from where they’re used on neighboring non-GMO fields into neighboring communities.
Myth no4: That we’re weaning ourselves off of Pesticides
Reality: After 20 years of market stagnation, the pesticide business entered a period of serious growth in 2004 after 20 years no sales. The worth of the global pesticide market was valued at approximately $46 billion in 2012 and still growing. It is anticipated to reach $65 billion by 2017, with the U.S. making use of about 53% of total global figure.
About 80% of the total market usage is meant for agriculture, but sales from non- agriculture and profit margins are rapidly growing, driven by the emergence of a global middle class using chemically dependent lawns and landscapes. In addition, the industry’s policy for promoting GMO seeds, which most of them are engineered to withstand higher applications of herbicides, has caused an increase in the sales of weed killers.
Myth no5: Pesticides are the Solution to Global Climate Change
Reality: Multinational corporations are working tirelessly to increase their market share by using climate change as their major opportunity to make sales. As of 2008, Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta, BASF, BASF and others had filed 532 patents for climate-related genes, advertising the impending arrival of the new generation seeds engineered to tolerate heat and dryness. Their approach will further limit the obsolete practice of farmers safeguarding seeds with desirable traits (a practice that may prove more useful as the climate change occurs in irregular trend and demands for nothing less than farm-scale diversity.
In fact, it is evident that long lasting farming provides vital solutions to climate change, with resilient systems that generate very smaller amount of greenhouse gases, encourage on-farm biodiversity and produce carbon sinks to offset warming.
Despite the invention of this latest gene-grab, not even one of these companies has been able to manufacture any kind of seed to have high yield or withstand climate change. Their promises to eradicate hunger from the world by producing drought-heat- and salt-tolerant seeds and crops that will give maximum nutritional values have failed.
Myth no6: “Pesticides Are Necessary to Feed the World”
Reality: The most comprehensive analysis of world agriculture to date tells us that what can feed the world—and what feeds most of the world now, in fact—is small-scale agriculture that does not rely on pesticides.
Dow, Monsanto, Syngenta and other pesticide producers have marketed their products as necessary to feed the world. Yet as insecticide use increased in the U.S. by a factor of 10 in the 50 years following World War II, crop losses almost doubled. Corn is illustrative: in place of crop rotations, most acreage was planted year after year only with corn. Despite more than a 1,000-fold increase in use of organophosphate insecticides, crop losses to insects has risen from three-and-a-half percent to 12 percent (D. Pimental and M. Pimental, 2008).
More to the point, hunger in an age of plenty isn’t a problem of production (or yields, as the pesticide industry claims), efficiency or even distribution. It is a matter of priorities. If we were serious about feeding people, we wouldn’t grow enough extra grain to feed one-third of the world’s hungry—and then pour it into gas tanks.
Myth no7: “The Government is Protecting Us”
Reality: Our regulatory system is not doing its job. More than one billion pounds of pesticides are applied every year on U.S. farms, forests, golf courses and lawns. Farmworkers and rural communities suffer illness throughout the spray season and beyond, and infants around the world are born with a mixture of pesticides and other chemicals in their bodies.
As as the President’s cancer panel concluded in 2010:
The prevailing regulatory approach in the U.S. is reactionary rather than precautionary. Instead of requiring industry to prove their safety, the public bears the burden of proving that a given environmental exposure is harmful.
The cornerstone of pesticide regulation is a fundamentally flawed process of “risk assessment” that cannot begin to capture the realities of pesticide exposure and the health hazards they pose. Environmental Protection Agency officials remain reliant on research data submitted by pesticide manufacturers, who do everything they can to drag out reviews of their products, often for decades. Lawsuits are pending to force theEnvironmental Protection Agency to abide by the law and speed up their reviews.
A better, common sense precautionary approach to protecting us would assess alternatives to highly hazardous pesticides rather than accepting public exposure to pesticides as a necessary evil. Such a shift will require fundamental federal policy reform. Meanwhile, state and local authorities are pressing for rules that better protect their communities.
Myth no8: “We Need DDT to End Malaria, Combat Bedbugs, etc.”
Reality: The resurgence of bedbugs in recent years has nothing to do with the 1972 ban of DDT. Bedbugs, like many mosquitos, are resistant to DDT—and they were decades ago, when DDT was still in use. In some cases DDT even makes bedbug infestations worse, since instead of killing them, it just irritates them, making them more active.
Resistance is also an issue for malaria-carrying mosquitoes. DDT had been abandoned as a solution to malaria in the U.S. long before it was banned for agriculture use.
Around the world, practitioners battling the deadly disease on the ground report that DDT is less effective in controlling malaria than many other tools. A small cadre of chemical advocates continue to aggressively promote widespread use of DDT to combat malaria, bedbugs—even West Nile Virus—despite its lack of effectiveness and growing evidence of damage to human health, even at low levels of exposure.
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