People are up in arms about the Light Brown Apple Moth and the government's spraying program designed to eradicate it. The question everyone is asking is, why are people being sprayed with an unregistered pesticide along with crops and fields?
Drina Brooke wants answers, so she sent a letter to the Department of Agriculture to see what they had to say. Here is their response:
Dear Ms. Brooke,
Thank you for writing about the Light Brown Apple Moth (LBAM) project. I value hearing your thoughts on the project's impact on California. California must work to combat the LBAM because of the complex threat it poses to our diverse range of agricultural and natural plant life. This invasive pest attacks more than 250 crops and 2,000 plants and threatens the native and endangered species that depend on them. If it becomes established statewide, the LBAM has the potential to cause billions of dollars of damage annually and cost the state numerous jobs. California has a duty to prevent the spread of the LBAM before it crosses borders into other states, agricultural regions and environments.
The LBAM is an invasive pest - not native to California - with few natural enemies here to reduce its expanding population. To combat this growing threat, we have proposed an integrated pest-management approach utilizing aerial and ground application of a moth pheromone. However, misinformation about the LBAM and our program continues to spread and cause unwarranted fear - despite constant and open dialogue for more than a year with citizens and local officials. There has been no shortage of grossly exaggerated and completely unsubstantiated claims - such as the pheromone product's being untested and the treatments causing red tide (red tide is a naturally occurring marine algal bloom). Fortunately, the actual facts and due diligence have proven these claims false.
Pheromones are simply chemical signals that resemble a scent. Pheromone treatments have been used in the United States and around the world in agricultural and urban areas (including residential areas of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin) for more than a decade without incident. As recently as last year, more than 3 million acres in the United States were aerially treated with moth pheromones to disrupt the mating of the harmful gypsy moths.
For years, environmentalists have urged farmers to develop alternatives to conventional, toxic, "kill-on-contact" pesticides; pheromones are the alternative. These pheromones do not even harm the moths; they merely mimic a signal "scent" naturally emitted by the female moth, thereby distracting the males so they cannot locate a mate and reproduce.
Recently, the claim that residents became sick from past treatments has held the public's attention and has been the subject of demonstrations. Public health officials with three state departments thoroughly reviewed health claims submitted during and after the aerial pheromone treatments last year in Monterey and Santa Cruz counties and could find no link between the claims and the treatments. As the Governor recently said in Monterey, the spraying is safe, and "there is nothing that says otherwise."
I also hear a number of misleading and inaccurate references to describe the pheromone, including: hormone, carcinogen, mutagen, endocrine disruptor and other inaccurate descriptions. These unsupported claims overlook the fact that the federal Environmental Protection Agency, our state's Department of Pesticide Regulation and numerous health agencies have thoroughly reviewed and unanimously approved these products and their classification as pheromones. In fact, the pheromone products we have used in this program are approved for treating organic crops; they are safe enough that the law states you don't even have to wait or wash them off after a treatment before you eat the produce.
However, to thoroughly ensure everyone's safety, the aerial spraying has been postponed while we complete what's known as "six-pack" toxicology tests in addition to the normal extensive tests on the pheromone products. These tests thoroughly test toxicity for eye, inhalation, respiratory and other potential irritants. I am confident that these additional tests will reassure Californians that we are taking the safest, most health-conscious and most progressive our state of this very real threat to our agriculture, environment and economy. I implore everyone to rely on sound science and to shut the door on false information. For more information about the LBAM project, please visit our website at www.cdfa.ca.gov
As a public official, I am sworn to protect the public, the environment and the ecosystems that make California such a uniquely productive and sustainable resource. I take that responsibility seriously, and I vow to pursue only the safest, most environmentally friendly means available.
Again, thank you for writing
A.G. Kawamura, Secretary
California Department of Food and Agriculture
I am so relieved to hear that this agency is sworn to protect the public, and that all those people who got sick from the last spraying must have been mistaken about their illnesses. The following statement from the Agriculture department's Secretary A.G. Kawamura is so reassuring. To bad it is false.
There has been no shortage of grossly exaggerated and completely unsubstantiated claims - such as the pheromone product's being untested and the treatments causing red tide (red tide is a naturally occurring marine algal bloom). Fortunately, the actual facts and due diligence have proven these claims false.
I wrote an article about the spraying after I heard about it. You can read the entire article HERE. An excerpt from the article:
SUMMARY: EPA has received a quarantine exemption request from the United States Department of Agriculture/Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA/APHIS) to use the pesticide (E,E)-9,11-tetradecadien-1-yl acetate (CAS No. 30562-09-5) to treat host plants to control the Light Brown Apple Moth (LBAM). The Applicant proposes the use of a new chemical which has not been registered by EPA. Due to the unique nature of this emergency situation, in which the time to review the conditions of this situation was short, it was not possible to issue a solicitation for public comment, in accordance with 40 CFR 166.24, prior to the Agency's decision to grant these exemptions.
DATES: EPA is waiving the public comment period, as allowed in 40 CFR 166.24, due to the short period of time available with which to review this situation and render a timely decision. However, comments may still be submitted and will be evaluated. (EPA, 2007) This exemption is dated July 2007. The spraying is to begin in August 2008, over a year after the exemption was granted. “Because of that exemption, the spraying program isn't subject to state approval, according to representatives of the state Department of Pesticide Regulation” (Kay, 2008).
The EPA has not registered this pesticide, and because of the exemption granted by the EPA for the spraying program, it is not even subject to state approval. So just whom are we relying on to verify the product's safety? Why California Governor Arnie's buddy and campaign contributor Stewart Resnick, who just happens to own the company that manufactures the pesticide, and is the owner of the largest farming operation of tree crops in the world.
I feel so safe and protected. Thank you Governor Schwarzenegger and Secretary Kawamura, for entrusting the public's safety to a pesticide manufacturer's discretion.
Here is Drina's response:
Sent: Wednesday, June 04, 2008 8:26 AM
Subject: Public request concerning Light Brown Apple Moth aerial pesticide spraying
Dear AG Kawamura, Secretary, California Dept. of Food and Agriculture; and dear Mr. Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver (http://gov.ca.gov/interact)
Referring to your emailed form letter below in response to public concerns about the aerial pesticide-spraying program for the Light Brown Apple Moth, I have a public request. I am carbon copying a chain of concerned citizens, a military-trained expert on chemical warfare, several journalists, and four newspapers as I submit this request to you. All the above have my permission to circulate this letter and/or reprint and/or quote it, publicly.
You state, in your letter below, that a) the proposed untested pesticides to be sprayed over a 250-mile radius of urban areas, is so non-toxic as to be edible without washing the produce. You also state that b) "Public health officials with three state departments thoroughly reviewed health claims submitted during and after the aerial pheromone treatments last year in Monterey and Santa Cruz counties and could find no link between the claims" (of health injury, including more than 600 documented cases plus the near-death of one American child) "and the treatments. As the Governor recently said in Monterey, the spraying is safe, and "there is nothing that says otherwise." "
If that is true, then I publicly request that you, Mr./Ms. Kawamura, Mr. Schwarzenegger, Maria Shriver, the individuals who are funding this aerial spraying project, and your family members (young and old) and your best friends, all stand unmasked and unprotected in the direct firing line of the pesticide spray, at the moment of occurrence. I request that you thereafter eat of the dripping wet produce, unwashed, directly on the spot, at the moment of spraying. Thereafter, I also request that you issue a public statement with unarguable proof that your own ensuing illnesses are not traceable to the spray which you ate and inhaled, and that "nothing says otherwise.”
To ensure your full participation in this spraying experiment as public proof of non-toxicity, I ask that this entire matter, with you personally and all those above-named individuals standing in direct line of the jet's chemical trail, be televised unedited. Your own hospitalization and doctor's visits, from start to finish, must be viewed on public TV as well, with the attending physician's statement that "nothing says otherwise" that the chemical exposure had zero impact on your health state, and that of your loved ones. I also add to this request that you stand in the direct line of spraying for the Light Brown Apple Moth each and every time such spraying occurs, again aired unedited on public TV, with your own personal health exams thereafter aired unedited on TV as well. After all, if you are cooperating with the Patriot Act in turning our private health info over to the Feds without court warrant, and health information is at this point unconstitutionally considered public property, then you are not exempt either.
I also demand a public explanation why you prefer to spray an urban area of more than 200 radius miles instead of agricultural fields, selectively. It seems to me that if you were serious about exterminating an agricultural pest, that you would spray crop fields and not cities and counties of people themselves.
I hereby request that every reader please contact his or her local newspapers, and their own friends who in turn will also reiterate the same request as above, on a public level. I am requesting that my readers post this letter to the Internet, showing your own letter below which is an e-mailed response to the Light Brown Apple Moth aerial pesticide-spraying program. I also am linking a website which details the chemicals contained in the pheromone spray, their health impacts and their exponentially exacerbated effectiveness together, our legal rights and documented health cases, from an unbiased perspective instead of the perspective offered by your special moneyed interests.
I also wish to remind you that our liberty is being violated under the 14th amendment, where our freedom to protect our own health and wellbeing is concerned. That is no small violation under the law or under any moral code of ethic. To boot, we are even being required to pay for this violation to our health with our own tax dollars. That's absurd. Only hospitalized psychiatric nutcases are willing to fund their own abuse, out of their own pocket.
If you are not willing to prove your claims that this spray really is non-toxic, putting your own bodies in harm's way, then you should be jailed for the mere attempt to spray entire urban areas of living, breathing, thinking and feeling human beings.
"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants, it is the creed of slaves" ---William Pitt the younger, Nov. 1783
The 14th amendment states:
"All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
With best wishes and a sante, to your good health!
---Drina Brooke, concerned citizen, Novato CA
You go girl! I would like to witness these people whom assure us that they have our best interests at heart take a nice big bite or two, or three, out of a freshly sprayed piece of fruit. After all, we can trust the pesticide manufacturers to make sure their products are safe, can't we? We can't let a few mistakes such as past claims by the manufacturers of DDT and Agent Orange that these dangerous chemicals were perfectly safe dissuade us from trusting them. Therefore, I am looking forward to viewing our fearless leaders stand in the path of the spray and show us just how safe it is, but I've got a feeling these defenders of public health and safety won't be around for the show.
Copyright 2008, Barbara H. Peterson