Newsweek recently published an article about the hazards of mosquito spraying at http://www.newsweek.com/fighting-west-nile-virus-shouldnt-mean-poisoning-people-379568 Here is my response.
Our daughter Katherine died from leukemia we have every reason to believe was caused by mosquito spraying without our knowledge or permission with chlorpyrifos (trade name Dursban). At the time spraying occurred, our windows were open, and I and my two children were very ill with all the acute symptoms of exposure, including diagnosed asthma that was really a respiratory reaction to the chemicals. And then Katherine emerged with leukemia.
From a very early age, children are exposed to these terrible chemicals, chemicals that have been linked to cancer, autism, ADHD, lower IQs, diabetes, and obesity, and then we wonder why the rates of these childhood illnesses continue to climb. There is increasing evidence that exposures even years before conception can cause disease in their offspring. Chlorpyrifos, the chemical used to spray for mosquitoes in our area, is tied to two-fold increases in leukemia if the mother is exposed even a year before conception. When we tried to share our research with municipalities in our area, Clarke threatened to sue us for libel, although we were only presenting facts documented by the most credible research available.
I have read and written on this subject using hundreds of peer-reviewed journal articles. But two sources really suffice to establish these claims: the 2013 American Academy of Pediatrics Statement on Pesticides at http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/130/6/e1757 and the President's Cancer Panel Report 2008-2009 at http://deainfo.nci.nih.gov/advisory/pcp/annualReports/pcp08-09rpt/PCP_Report_08-09_508.pdf Between them, these two sources cite hundreds of credible sources to establish that our wanton use of chemicals is killing people, children especially. The AAP in particular is a conservative organization that does not issue statements until they are sure all the evidence is in. You can read more at my blog at https://poisoningourchildren.wordpress.com/ Our first principle should be this: to do no harm.
This is a very timely issue because this week the EPA proposed a ban on chlorpyrifos. There will be a period of comment, and comments could have a real effect in reducing deaths caused by exposure to this terrible chemical. It is about time someone cast some light on this issue: although there has been a great deal of attention paid to the damage caused by tobacco, there has been relatively little coverage of the deaths and disease caused by widespread pesticide use. It doesn't have to be this way. Europe has very different policies on chemical use; much of Canada has banned cosmetic pesticides.
A line from Upton Sinclair, the author of The Jungle, which chronicles the horrible abuses of the meat industry in the late nineteenth century, recurs to me: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!"
I hope you will all contribute comments to the Newsweek discussion. Every voice makes a difference.