How Much Do You Pay
BY FLORENCE SENAY
Scientific research links the alarming rise in childhood illnesses such as cancer, asthma and immune system problems with pesticide use. Even though the link is clear, pesticide use increases. Dr. June Irwin, a Quebec specialist, says, “without permit, our children are part of a human experiment. How many lives must be lost and how many illnesses suffered, while waiting for statistics?”
And, just who are the victims of pesticides? Children, fetuses and the elderly are especially vulnerable to pesticide poisoning. Children’s developing bodies, their hand-to-mouth behaviours, and their higher metabolism make their exposure to pesticides far riskier than the same exposure to an adult (which are already very significant). Standard Soviet forestry practices recommend buffer zones of 3500 metres around any youth camp or senior citizens home when the pesticide 2,4-D is used nearby.
2,4-D in 1988. It is now believed that low-dose, chronic exposures
to such toxins are far more dangerous than previously thought.
Health problems at your expense
These are real costs. And with the increase in cancers, and early onset of diseases of all kinds, taxpayers subsidize increased medical costs caused by toxic lawn programs.
Seat belt and
bike helmet laws were enforced not only to protect the person using them,
but also to protect taxpayers who pay the medical costs associated with
frequent, but avoidable injuries. It’s common sense public health
policy to eliminate disease inducing levels of non-essential environmental
toxins in our communities.
Like the impact
of a flu virus (some reactions are similar), the type of effects from toxic
exposure reflect differences in the tolerance and physiology of each individual.
“So why can’t these people just leave their homes?” is another questions that’s also asked. We explain that everyone is at risk of suffering pesticide-induced illnesses, either immediate or delayed, as we all share the same physiology. Therefore, a case could be made for evacuating entire communities.
The high cost of safety
acutely sensitive to pesticides, built a separate house to move into when
pesticides are sprayed in her neighbourhood. Another doctor spent
over $5000 on extra summer housing; another bought an extra lot as a buffer
Lawn pesticides are impossible to keep out of your home if they are used in the neighbourhood. Most people cannot afford any of these solutions: they simply seal their houses as securely as possible...and fall ill.
People are compensated by insurance policies and/or government agencies when their homes are damaged by ice storms or flooding. But there is no compensation for chemical exposure - whether it affects your home or health - because it is not an act of nature.
Unfortunately, satisfactory legal solutions have not proceeded the spread of lawn chemicals. The latent damage caused by some pesticides may not be evident for months or years after exposure, making it very difficult for people to make the connections and assess their true costs.
The truth is
simple, as Environment Canada stated in a 1987 report: “Pesticides
are poison, or they wouldn’t kill...We must insist on nontoxic, biodegradable
materials.” Our community can hardly afford to do otherwise.
Ways you and your pet are being exposed to lawn pesticides
Breathing: Toxic fumes in the air are carried by the wind which are breathed in; they are also absorbed by laundry drying outside.
Skin Exposure: Touching plants, patio furniture, bicycles, laundry, etc. which have been treated or coated with drifting pesticide spray.
Ingestion: Well water contamination
and/or drifting spray onto vegetable gardens, fruit trees.