Wednesday, January 6, 2010
An Unhappy Pest-Filled 2010
By Alan Caruba
From its inception on December 2, 1970, the Environmental Protection Agency has done everything in its power to deprive Americans of the protection against insect and rodent pests that is afforded by the proper use of pesticides.
I know this from personal experience because in the 1980s I worked with a company that produced a pesticide called Ficam. Following its introduction, it was immediately embraced by the pest control industry because, not only did it work wonders against a broad spectrum of insect pest species, it was applied with nothing more toxic than tap water!
It costs several millions of dollars to get a pesticide registered with the EPA because they are subject to all kinds of field and laboratory tests to ensure they do not pose an unacceptable risk to the public. Despite having secured registration, the EPA came back to the company within a decade and demanded it re-register the product. The company decided to no longer market Ficam in America.
This is just one example, but perhaps the worst was the way the EPA denied access to Dursban, a Dow Agrosciences product, that was so effective and widely used for such a long time that it was evident it posed no threat to humans unless, perhaps, you drank it right from the bottle or injected it directly into your blood stream.
On June 10, 2000, using the power authorized by the 1996 Food Quality Protection Act, the EPA decided that anything that good had to be a risk to public health and forced the company to restrict it to agricultural use only. Some eighty popular pest control products used Dursban as a component, but you can no longer find them in your home and garden store.
The latest effort to deprive Americans of any protection against Mother Nature’s most active vectors of disease, insect and rodent pests, was announced in late December. The EPA requested public comment on options for disclosing inert ingredients in pesticides. This is a required charade before the EPA is allowed to do what it has already made up its mind to do. Inert ingredients are part of the end use product formulation and are not, by definition, active ingredients.
Pesticide manufacturers usually only disclose their inert ingredients to the EPA. More than 350 inert pesticide ingredients are at risk. This latest attack on the public’s access to pesticides was in response to a petition by the Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides. These demented “environmental” groups exist for the single purpose of leaving the public vulnerable to a list of diseases spread by insects and rodents.
If you’re a big fan of Salmonella, dysentery, murine typhus fever, leptospirosis, trichinosis, gastroenteritis, Lyme disease, West Nile Fever, Bubonic plague, and a host of other diseases spread by insect and rodent pests, you are going to love the EPA because it has been doing everything in its power to bring about their spread. Much of what we accept as public health today is based on the use of pesticides by trained, licensed, and certified pest control professionals.
In the endless effort to make schools “safer” for those condemned to twelve years of incarceration in them, Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ) has introduced H.R. 4159, the School Environment Protection Act (SEPA) to inflict a one-size-fits-all piece of legislation on American schools from Alaska to Alabama. Suffice it to say, different States and region of the nation have different insect and rodent pest populations. There are vast numbers of different species and each has specific habits and habitats.
At the request of Beyond Pesticides, yet another group devoted to leaving children and adults vulnerable to an astonishing variety of pest species, Rep. Holt’s bill ignores the fact that 38 States have approved or implemented a state law or rule expressly related to the management of pests in schools. In many cases, these rules have been in place for more than fifteen years.
No doubt the public will be deluged with studies asserting that pesticides are associated with acute illnesses due to exposure at school, but under the widely used standards of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) the likelihood of exposure is virtually non-existent.
It’s bad enough that the EPA is insanely insisting that carbon dioxide, a gas vital to the growth of all vegetation and all life on planet Earth, is a “pollutant”, but these latest regulatory and legislative actions add up to just one thing, a very buggy 2010 and beyond if enacted.