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'Pesticides are what is killing our kids'

From Wednesday's Globe and Mail

Rural PEI is an unlikely hotbed of rare cancers, and one doctor has made it his mission to raise awareness about the potential health hazard posed by pesticides used on the region's potato farms ...Read the full article

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  1. Annie S from Fredericton, Canada writes: Beautiful little Prince Edward Island depends upon agriculture and tourism. If they enacted laws to become an all-organic province, and advertised their clean environment, with organic fresh food being offered in restaurants and markets, they would greatly enhance their appeal as a tourist destination, and raise their profile in the tourism world. Health-protection is the wave of the future, and the island province is an ideal place to make a bold move in that direction.
  2. Mr. Reilly from writes: Maybe its time to get back to basics and get rid of all the poisons we are putting into our food by cutting back and hopefully eliminating pesticide and herbicide use. If not we are in danger of eliminating the human race.
  3. Pete Demarte from London, Canada writes: Our government condones the use of these pesticides so there's no way they're hazardous to our health. Would our government really care more about the big poison producing companies than its own citizens? Come on now! (note the sarcasm). What kind of world are we living in? This is pathetic...
  4. Carlos Segundo from Canada writes: 'Potatoes are a heavy user of chemicals, needing up to 19 sprays in a single growing season.' Not so. Mono-cropping potatoes, or any crop for that matter, requires heavy use of pesticides. Any time you grow many thousands of acres of one crop close together you will get exponentially greater infestations of insects. You want cheap food, you pay the price.
  5. noel fowles from salt spring island, writes: The danger, of pesticides and other chemicals, has been known for at least 40 years. Corporations with huge lobbies, to a large degree, run the country. The cancer industry runs for the cure, but does not run for the cause. There may be much truth to the adage ' an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure'
  6. Simon Leigh from Toronto, Canada writes: Insects are tough little critters. Anything strong enough to poison them can hardly be harmless to humans.
  7. George Kerr from Peterborough, Canada writes: why is it even being debated that toxins are unhealthy for humans. How stupid are we. Part of the problem is the training we provide our doctors with. They have never led the journey away from toxins in our environment or healthy eating. They only know what their training has offered them. Why is our very drinking water full of toxins?
  8. Ken Hunt from Canada writes: Pesticides and herbicides do cause cancer.
    I live in an area where water is from individual shallow wells (Groundwater).
    Near to us is a field of about 12 acres that for years was used to grow sod ,used mainly in new subdivisions.
    It was heavily treated with chemicals to obtain a weed free bright green carpet.
    I know of four people including myself who have had bowel/colon cancer .
    Some died some survived.
    There could have been more but these three and myself live adjacent to the sod field and rely on a shallow well for water
  9. jorly fuster from Canada writes: What? Clean up the environment and have companies lose billions of dollars. NEVER!!!!
  10. Marvin, Manic Depressive Robot, Esquire from Vorgon Spaceship near Earth, Canada writes: Heh: This is just a scam, pesticides are good for you, and the CEO's (and their families) of the companies that make them will prove it to you by eating food laced with pesticides with happy smiling faces, they even have some three eyed fish from their holding ponds that they will BBQ....oops, sorry, I've just heard that due to technical difficulties the CEOs will not carry out this exercise to appease the masses as they have to go to an important meeting in the Bahamas, but trust them they wouldn't lie would they? I mean what have they got to loose if pesticides are actually harmful. And all that research they pay for, you know the ones that show it is isn't harmful, why that is really really really (have I said really enough to convince you yet, I can go on...) independent, the other research is what is confusing the issue. I mean they've learnt these time tested methods from their buddies, the Tobacco company CEO's, who are the jewels of integrity...
  11. c mctavish from toronto, Canada writes: Although I do think various causes need to be looked at more, I do not believe that pesticides are the cause of all what is wrong with the world. Pesticides were used to begin with because, a. crops kept being destroyed by insects and fungus, and b. people got sick because moulds and other toxins grew on, or in the food. Therefore, pesticides were invented to alleviate these problems, and as a result, crop yields have gone up substantially, and as a result, has made food yields increase greatly and more affordable for the masses. Organic food is the biggest scam of the present day. Studies have shown that organic food is no healthier than food that uses pesticides, therefore, paying twice or three times as much for 'organic' food is pointless. Actually, organic food 'elitists' actually who believe that all pesticides should be banned, will cause food prices to skyrocket, making food even more unaffordable for the poor. In addition, rates of food poisoning will go up, due to the increased presence of bacteria in food, as is evident with the contamination of the ORGANIC carrot juice and spinach recalls. Also, correleation does not cause causation, as anybody that has taken statistics will tell you. I am not taking away the right of 'limousine liberals' to buy organic food, but banning all chemicals in farming will cause food shortages, and cause food prices to go up. Not everyone can afford to shop at 'Whole Foods'.
  12. Ken Rush from Canada writes: We hear more and more stories every day. There is a cancer epidemic and we are seeing cancer in children in increasing numbers. What has changed? We have become a chemical infested country. They are everywhere and more people are becoming aware because when there is friction between business and people's welfare it usually takes much time and significant outcry before the protector (government) does anything. In the mean time make personal decisions for you health and well being.
  13. Peter Wishart from Vancouver, Canada writes: It is not a coincidence that the potato belt in Western New Brunswick is also known as the cancer belt of the province.
  14. M YU from Canada writes: Both 1 & 2 have made great points. I believe it is time that people should realize that all life is interconnected. You cannot kill one form of life without hurting another, in this case, the humans. Organic farming sustains both the human health and the environment. We can certainly live with more expensive, cleaner food, as arguably crop yield will drop without use of chemical. But sometimes less is more.
  15. Patrick Dunn from London, Canada writes: Try selling a pesticide ban to PEI farmers. With such a great portion of the provinces economy relying on the success of potato crops, removing a tool for increased yields will be a political non-starter. Just a quick point: did anyone else notice that much of the reported statistics came with caveats such as 'at the high end of the estimate...' and 'no strong evidence' or 'other major contributing factors' and comments reporting an overall regional bias on cancer rates outside the pesticide discussion? Don't get me wrong its wholly rational to believe that ingesting chemicals is unhealthy but I would only support a ban when clear and concise evidence warrants one, considering the costs which will be borne by the locals and the farmers. By the way PEI is an absolutely beautiful province and I look forward to yet another visit. Lobster and blue potatoes?...Sweet!
  16. Jack MacAndrew from Canada writes: A very fine piece of journalism. I live in the countryside , with potato fields on three sides of my house.The fields are planted in potatoes every third year.I have been sprayed while sitting in my living room. The stuff just seeps into the house if the spraying takes place in a high wind. It is not enough for farmers and the PEI government to plead that poison sprays are good for you , as long as Health Canada says so. What if they are wrong - and they are . No one has done sufficient research to be able to say that prolonged exposure to low levels will not harm you . When the farmer next door sprays his fields with top killer - no one isallowed into the field for at least 48 hours because of the extreme toxicity. Dog have been known ( anecdotally ) to die after running through a top sprayed field. The current situation is yet another by-product of industrial farming . The plants are top killed so they will all die at the same time , making machine harvesting more efficient. In nature the tops do not all die at once , you see...nature is so unco-operative towards industrial practices.
  17. Robert Pike from Kitchener, Canada writes: PEI uses pesticides and lots of cancer cases, Newfoundlanders eat plenty of potatoes and quite a few cases, and the lower the dependency on such foods the less cases it seems from an outsider's point of view. Ya think there's a link between pesticides and cancer? Ya think?!?! You'd be dumb not to. Maybe Pamela Andersson can make a stop on her way to the seal hunt this year to help raise awareness.
  18. jorly fuster from Canada writes: c mctavish, I can think of 10 things that are incorrect about your post. you should do your research before posting idiocy.
  19. Walt O'Brien from Binghamton, NY, United States writes: No one ever mentions hair dyes, cosmetic bleaches and other salon and household pollution vectors in their diatribes against industry, but there is not a community in North America which is not pumping tonnes of this highly toxic gluck into their main water supplies with not so much as and issuance of a single HAZMAT permit.

    Nor have I ever seen a single expose by a chemist in the press of what goes into standard beauty parlour chemicals, nor how it is disposed of after use.

    Having been through the main plant which supplies most of North America's hair dyes and bleaches (no, I am not telling where it is located), its evacuation procedure in the event of fire is more elaborate and frightening than that for a nuclear or refinery facility. If the place catches on fire, the entire town and a radius of five miles has to be immediately evacuated. Many of the chemicals used routinely there are the same used for making rocket propellant, nerve gas, and for etching glass.

    Do they have a HAZMAT permit? Not one appropriate to the potential damage they do post-shipment nor if disaster struck.
  20. alexi putin from Canada writes: Thank God this story broke. When you go to P.E.I. never drink the water take bottled water , dont bath or brush your teeth either. Actually that goes for wherever potatos are grown. Another crop to look at is sweetcorn . Furadan is the spray used most often in it and it will kill everthing in the field , dogs , cats, raccoons and yes even people. Think of that next time you bite into a cob of corn. Some farmer will right in Im sure and say we use everthing the way we are suppose to , but you know what, a lot dont.
  21. Simon Leigh from Toronto, Canada writes: Organic food's expensive, but if you BELIEVE it's good for you it likely will be. The placebo effect is the strongest medical discovery of all. Removing pesticides would raise the cost of our food, but it's too cheap anyway, and we eat too much. True, profits would fall, but not only for Big Oil and the pesticide manufacturers, also for the sickness and pharmaceutical industries. Just as our police have a vested interest in crime, our 'health' industries (which we never stop nattering on about) have a vested interest in sickness. They may not know it, but they do.

    I've read that cancer rates are unusually high along the Niagara river, where assorted toxic-dump chemicals enter the water--and people don't even drink it!
  22. C C from Calgary, Canada writes: It's typical human nature to want to blame something man-made, such as pesticides, for the cancers that exist, but in my opinion it's only our own faulty genes that in the end determine who will get cancer. Why else would Brett have developed lymphoma yet his brother didn't? Why is it that someone can smoke or drink or lead a very unhealthy lifestyle and still live to a ripe old age, yet someone who takes perfect care of themselves still develop cancer (or other deadly diseases) and dies young? It's all in the genes, and thanks to modern medicines we're living longer and overcoming that which once killed us early, and now we're passing on our genetic faults to the generations after us. So lets stop playing the 'blame big business' game and start putting some money, time and research into correcting our messed up genes.
  23. John Underhay from Charlottetown, Canada writes: There is the possibility of cancer rates being tied to pesticides, the jury is certainly out right now. However, anyone who has ever done any work in studying disease rates knows that an increase in localized numbers of any disease has to cross a certain threshold before it can definitely stated that the increase means anything beyond chance.

    Deciding before any studies are done, that there is an increase in cancers, and that the cause is pesticides can only damage the real research that needs to be done. If there is indeed an increase in certain type of cancer, then it needs to be determined what the cause is. It could be pesticides, it could be airborne pollutants from blowing in from somewhere else, it could be anything.

    To Jack MacAndrew - a fellow Islander, I believe, you can never prove that something is absolutely safe, you can only determine the relative safety of any product. Industrial farming is, in our current society the only method to effectively and cheaply feed the urban population that we have.

    I also know Dr. Van Til and I am quite sure she will publish a comprehensive study of the matter at hand.
  24. Pauline D.C. from Niagara Falls, Canada writes: This is an excellent article, but what bothers me most is that this should be old news. Remember DDT? We've known for decades that exposure to pesticides and such is not a healthy thing. I know a woman who grew up next to a heavily sprayed field; she had NINE miscarriages as an adult.
    Even if the farmers are not willing/able to discontinue pesticide use altogether, could they at least cut back?? What about spraying the tops of the crops to kill them at the end of the growing season; couldn't they find an alternative to that? Is that completely necessary?
  25. Annie S from Fredericton, Canada writes: This summer I was in PEI later than my usual beach holiday. It was September, and I was shocked to see the lovely rolling fields dead -- nothing green whatever, just a wasteland of dry dead plants. I knew that the fields had been sprayed with defoliant , for when I was a kid I saw cotton killed this way in the southern USA, so the mechanical pickers could operate more efficiently. These are nasty chemicals, akin to Agent Orange. I asked about this ugly practice at the Charlottetown farmers' market, and was told that the potato producers also liked spraying defoliant because it 'toughens the skin' of the potatoes, so they can be stored without a curing period. But, they told me, 'the spray kills the plant but it doesn't get into the potato.' I don't believe it. I have bought only organic potatoes since then, and next year I will raise my own.
  26. Disco Stu from Toronto, Canada writes: #11, your post is laughable at best. Yes, pesticides are the cure all for world hunger - straight out of the pesticide industries mouth. Think of all the poor people? If we don't use pesticides, they won't be able to eat?

    Do you really believe your own nonsense?

    Do I think pesticides should be banned? No, but they should be used sparingly, and, more importantly, safely.

    The over use of pesticides is one of the biggest problem facing our environment today. Where do you think the pesticides end up, #11? Do you think that something that is designed to kill is good for humans? How about animals?

    'Organic food is the biggest scam of the present day. Studies have shown that organic food is no healthier than food that uses pesticides'. Really, what 'studies'? Try offering up some proof, instead of some random sentence that is supposed to be taken as fact.

    Your post truly makes me chuckle, in that someone like you can't really understand and see what pesticides are doing to our environment. Too sad.
  27. Troy Bond from Halifax, writes: #5, you nailed it. The Canadian Cancer Soceity is more interested in appeasing their list of platinum sponsors, ie, chemical and pharmaceutical industries, than finding the cause. Your funds dry up when you find the cause of cancer, people give for hope. What a racket, it took them 10 years to mention eating more fruit and vegetables would be beneficial. I also agree with #22, there is a predisposition to certain cancers etc. and eating a more balanced diet might help reduce this predisposition.
    If you are interested in the effects of pesticides, check into farmers growing coffee beans in areas of South America. Bravo for the Dr. to take a stand against our government and big Pharma/Chemical. Now if we can get the rest of them to take a few basic nutrition courses, they might soliticing some worthwhile advice.
    You wouldn't urinate in your gas tank, but we have no problem using our body as a toilet.
  28. Vapor Pressure from Alberta, Canada writes: The carcinogens and how they are quantified don't worry me ... there are more natural things in the environment that worry me that way than so called 'man made' substances. For instance, tree sap ... but then a person can take that lignin and concentrate it, burn it inefficiently, condense the gases ... and nasty things are brought about but mostly they are simply toxic.

    The things that worry me are not all the chemicals I was exposed to on the family farm or in large pulp and paper facilities. The things that worry me are the everyday substances that we find in things like plastic cups that emulate estrogen thereby eliciting certain responses in the human body.

    Oh well ... It's a damn site better living today than the general misery of any average human existance prior to 1950. Statistically then I would be dead ... but we can always strive to do better ;)
  29. thomas laprade from Thunder Bay, Canada writes: And the professional anti smokers were saying all along ,it was second-hand smoke that was doing all the damage to our children.
  30. zoe chendel from United States writes: Chemical poisons used to kill insects are not safe. I don't understand these people who need 'proof' that a poison used to kill a living thing would cause cancer. We are indeed more resiliant than insects in that we do not die right away but our DNA gets damaged and that DNA damage leads to cancer. It really upsets me that we even have to prove it. It makes perfect logical sense to me. Poisons are not good period.
  31. john stockton from Hamilton, Canada writes: There is far too much cancer around to avoid the obvious question - what is causing it? We can't blame genes as #22 tries to do to discount the impact of pesticides. Any disease does not affect the population equally - yet because it does not, one cannot say it doesn't exist.

    We are fouling our nest for the sake of green lawns and mass production foods. Yet after finding portions of my garden dead because of insect infestations, I do sympathize with the farmers who's livelihoods are based on a successful crop.

    There are certain steps we must ensure are taken: 1) reduce the amounts of chemicals to a minimum 2) start research on alternative means to further reduce or eliminate pesticide use - are two that immediately come to mind.

    Like many who are writing or reading here, I have seen young relatives die of cancer and older ones who are stricken with it as well. Certainly we MUST attack this plague from both sides - prevention and cure. So far I have seen very little come out in the way of prevention - but Organic carrots and Potatoes will be a start. (Question - just where does the juice from the carrots and potatoes come from.... and might it not just be a bit laced with chemicals in the soil? Hmmm....)
  32. Harvey Easton from Canada writes: I won't wade into this debate, however there was a cartoon in the newspapers not long ago that showed two cavemen sitting around a fire discussing their lifespan. The conversation went like this. 'We eat free range meat, we eat organic vegetables, we get plenty of exercise and drink clean unpolluted water. But we only live an average of 40 years?' Given our lifespan today and the abundance of toxins we are exposed to everyday, it truly makes one wonder about how bad certain substances in our environment really are.
  33. Kent Thompson from Charlottetown, Canada writes: Mr Noonan states -'We have some extremists who see the thing as everybody should have a cow, a chicken, a goat and a few potatoes and live like we did 150 years ago. That isn't going to happen.'

    This is often the rebuttal to saying that pesticide use should be cut down or stopped. No one is saying that we should go back to what we did 150 years ago!

    The most frequent solution is to do crop rotation - many fields have potatoes, and thus potato related insects, every year. The rotation also needs to be more than a 3 year cycle (potatoes, grain, hay, potatoes).

    When speaking to organic farmers at a recent Organic Harvest Meal, many stated that they had switched because they couldn't make money farming the conventional (chemical induced) way. They also stated that they were doing very well without using pesticides.

    As a young parent, I have one simple request to the farmers that are using the chemicals to make farming 'easier'...PLEASE STOP KILLING US WITH YOUR CHEMICALS!!!!
  34. Marie-Thérèse Leduc from Pointe Claire Qc., Canada writes: I searched the Island for honey this summer and spoke with a former producer who now grows garlic. His bees died seemingly from a pesticide which growers are forced to use when planting their potatoes. It is named,admire, is produced by Bear chemicals,has been banned in France because it kills bees.Researchers paid by Bear chemicals say that there is no effect on bees and that it is perfectly safe.
    The politicans believe them. What do we do when there are no bees to pollinate the plants which give us life? The problem will disappear if we eat admire, so will we. Malcolm Johnson
  35. 'Way Down South In The Land of Cotton- Folks Like Me Are Not Forgotten from Willowdale, Canada writes: The headline for this story caught my eye because 'kids' being the name for baby goats immediately made me wonder how goat farmers were allowing this helpless little animals get near pesticides. Closer reading, however, showed the reference to 'kids' to be little human children which means some careless humans must be misusing pesticides without due respect to others.
  36. D S from Canada writes: There are many reasons why we are in the state we are in.

    Health Canada's PMRA receives a percentage of sales from all pesticides sold.
    Fungicides that are used are nasty. Take Methyl Bromide, banned just about everywhere but the USA (the same USA that provides much of the data the PMRA uses to decide what is safe or not. Canada, Mexico and the USA work jointly together to regulate these). There is published articles that garlic can do the same thing as this nasty chemical but the chemical producers stifle this information.
    Natural and benign pesticides that work are subjected to thousands and up to millions of dollars of testing so appease these agencies. Many new ideas that don't come from the multi-nationals (coincidentally are pharmaceutical companies) can't afford these tests.
    Personally I know for a fact a food product we consume everyday needs a million dollar chronic toxicity test. Seems to me, if we eat it everyday why is this needed?
    Even China realizes that killing our soil to produce food or trees is not sustainable. They have been an agricultural society for thousands of years. In a matter of 20 years much of their better soils have been riddled 'dead' because of these chemicals. New thinking is in place that understands this.
    While I do criticize Health Canada they have just made a step in the right direction. We must applaud this. They are working on a policy to allow low-toxic products into the marketplace without this burdensome submission process. So if people are not happy with the results - they will not buy them as in the USA ( 25b list of minimal risk pesticides ). Garlic will now be available to Canadians.
    If we keep up the pressure, our governments will listen. Sometimes it takes time. Too bad, some of the most susceptible, our children, won't have it.
  37. Misty Blue from Kelowna, Canada writes: I'm not a scientist, but I came to the conclusion years ago (and posted my opinion here a few times but it never got passed by the editors) that the electro magnetic fields we are surrounded with are a huge factor in the growth of cancer in our populations. Nobody really paid attention to me. This article is the first time I've seen statistics that back my anecdotal opinion. I've also been of the opinion for years that the funds raised for the 'cure' for cancer have been wasted because nobody seemed to be researching environmental triggers and other causes. The cancer society really needs to get its act together if they want my money, ever. What they have been focusing on just isn't working. Cancer rates keep going up and up. If as the article states, self interested big corporations are major 'platinum' supporters of the cancer society, then they need to change that. How dare they take the millions and millions of heartfelt dollars raised by well meaning ordinary people, yet give more weight to corporate bucks to keep there jobs. It's disgusting. This is a national problem and our governments should be funding this research without the influence of special interest parties.
  38. The Lone Stranger from Victoria, Canada writes: #1 Annie S is right. Eco-tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in the world (See the planet while it's still above sea level) Link Anne of Green Gables to saving the planet and personal health and you have a very popular attraction that should more than make up for decreased potato revenues. Radically reducing pesticides, however, doesn't need to mean less production. It's just a matter of fair income distribution. Let the huge corporations take the hit, not the farmers and not the consumers. The world is out of balance, economically as well as chemically. A tiny number owns half the world's wealth. Address that horrible injustice and you go a long way towards saving the planet from the poisons of agro-business.
  39. Mark H from Columbus, IN, United States writes: Comment's like 2's are funny on the surface - but then you realize how detached from reality green nutjobs are. It's BECAUSE of things like herbicides and pesticides that the world's population is GROWING OUT OF CONTROL - there is absolutely NO danger of humans extinguishing ourselves with these chemicals. But if there's one way to grab a headline it's to bring in the 'Children'. Yes, chemicals are bad for us. There is no doubt. But there are 6 BILLION people on this planet to feed. Do you want a billion of them to starve so you'll feel better about your organic lettuce? I will be villified for this comment, but some voice of reason has to come into this discussion, for Pete's sake!
  40. Me D from Montreal, Canada writes: Poster #32, you remind me of first year science students and how they love to use the words 'new' and 'modern'. And please note the lifespan of man has not changed throughout recorded history: about 80 years.
  41. Anne D from Fredericton, Canada writes: Mark H, your comment makes no sense as the great and glorious Green Revolution has not gone towards feeding the starving people around the world. If you look who has benefitted--and been fed by--the technological advancements, I think you would be very surprised. The idea that we cannot maintain agriculture without pesticides and herbicides is a myth, but one that that has been seized upon by the world and treated as miraculous and absolutely necessary for human proogress. I recommend that you read some of the articles discussing this, especially Vandana Shiva's work, and compare it to all of the literature out there that claims the GR was perfect.
    I'm not recommending that we immediately give up on the agriculture we have now. However, more work must be done to integrate truly 'organic' and sustainable forms of agriculture into world agricultural systems. That way we won't have to sacrifice the health of PEI children for agricultural success.
  42. dawn beeley from st catherines, prince edward island, canada, Canada writes: i moved to PEI three years ago from the UK, the first year i saw potatoes top killed i didn't know what was wrong! since then i have only eaten organic vegetables. all of my friends on the island know at least 10 people with cancer, they are amazed when i tell them this is not normal, i personally knew one person in the uk with cancer. most of the islanders refuses to eat the potato skins, they think if they only eat the whites they will be ok. kensington isn't the only high cancer rate place on the island, tryon is known as cancer city and every household has a connection with cancer. the tourism board is wandering why so many people have stopped coming to the island, i wonder how long it will take for them to realise that most people from away are appalled at the potao industry on this beautiful island. if they implementd a no spray policy on the island, tourism would go through the roof and generate far more revenue than the toxic potato.
  43. Chris Notsaying from Moncton, Canada writes: THis is what got me, I have cancer and its the only thing that could have. But money is more important than my life to Companies and Neo-Cons money whores.
  44. Pieter D from Montreal, Canada writes: Throughout history people have made sacrifices to their chosen God - and our God is Money.
  45. Western Pragmatist from Edmonton, Canada writes: The issue is how safe does the use of pesticides have to be? Pesticides do increase crop yield and there is an economic benefit to that. The question is what are the negative effects and are those negative effects too great? If the chemicals produce a level of risk of death or serious illness by disease that is greater than two orders of magnitude less than the background level of risk it is not accpetable. To put this "mumbo jumbo" into perspective,,, this is the method used to formulate standards of exposure for the public. For example, the background level of risk in Canada for a healthy and robust segement of the population, say 12 to 30 year olds, is approximatyely 1 x 10 -4 or one in ten thousand. That means one in every ten thousand of this population dies from "natural causes". This is considered to be the background level of risk. Now for a product to be considered to be acceptable to expose the public to, through involuntary exposure, it should have a risk about a hundred times less or 1 in a million. You will often hear this number quoted for things like a vacine,,, sounds familiar,,, that's why.

    Now that is the minimum level of safety that should be required. Then the product should be shown to have a benefit to society greater than the cost. This is where the straight cost benefit analysis comes in. Only after the minimum level of safety has been achieved.

    For the skeptics in the crowd please refer to the Canadian Standards Association risk managment framework standard. If these exisitng standards are utilized we will start to approach a sustainable existance. In addition environmental laws are starting to put some teeth behind this type of standard.

    The themes are, individual rights, and the freedom not to be harmed by anothers profit and then and only then, judge the possible allowance of an action based on a cost to benefit analysis.
  46. mg casey from Canada writes: I've spent some time in PEI, and I've seen what chemicals can do, not just to children but the farmers also. There has been talk for years about how the ground water must be contaminated. How can it not be. It looks like the people of PEI, and elsewhere have some hard decisions to make. I can't help but wonder if the choice of making those decisions is in the hands of the people, or in the hands of governments and big business.
  47. Rob Gilgan from Canada writes: Aw c'mon, you're being silly. Companies wouldn't poison citizens. Here in Alberta, we have a huge oil industry that produces billions of barrels of oil and billions of cubic metres of gas and not one of their practices could be harmful to human health. Heavens, we have the cleanest air and water and the companies always clean up after themselves. No, I think these maladies are being produced by terrorists. No, wait a minute. I bet it's aliens. Yeah, that's it, aliens. Certainly not chemical comanies and oil companies.
  48. Island Girl from Victoria, Canada writes: You may agree with its politics or not, but cuba has proven that organic farming works better than using pesticides. The country, which supplies all of its own food (as it is communist) uses only organic means and research has show that not only is it cheaper and more environmentally friendly, it also yeilds are also 10x more per field. We have known for a very long time these chemicals are bad but they are still used. Look at Agent Orange and asbestos, things that were used in canada 60 years ago and are now band, are still being supplied by companies and used in places like africa. Companies are greedy and will fight to the death, literally, to keep them on the market.
  49. Lance M from Canada writes: This has been an issue for years, increases in birth defects, learning disabilities, and falling male fertility is all the result of environmental factors. We have reached so far ahead in terms of historical diseases of childhood and infant mortality rates, however we have poisoned our air, soil and water and it is working its way into the food chain, water supply and through our respiration. Are we prepared to make the sacrifices that it will take to mitigate future incidences or do we keep on paying the price in higher social costs, medical costs, and general misery for those affected?
  50. Lance M from Canada writes: #39 your comments are true, the loss of the green revolution will see hereto unseen numbers fall to famine related illness and starvation. The chemicals that we have come to rely on for large, pest free yields are going to grow more and more expensive in the years to come until they are no longer in use universally, the consequence, falling yields and no food for the billions that relied on them for their existence. Welcome to Peak Oil and Peak Natural Gas. One further note, the natural gas that North American farmers have relied upon for fertiziler creation peaked in supply in 2001, by 2010, the current supply will be halved again. Knit a sweater and plant a garden, it's going to be a bumpy ride.
  51. Vickky Angstrom from Calgary, Canada writes: The studies on these chemicals should be conducted on the chemical company's executives and their families first. Then we would discover pretty quickly how they felt about the precautionary principle. If they are safe at the levels "recommended" then this should be no problem.
  52. Alec O'Hanley from Charlottetown, Canada writes: The amount of unwarranted chemophobia on this thread is astonishing.

    "alexi putin from Canada writes: Thank God this story broke. When you go to P.E.I. never drink the water take bottled water , dont bath or brush your teeth either. Actually that goes for wherever potatos are grown."


    Just because something was made in a lab doesn't mean it causes cancer (a synthetic molecule of vitamin C is EXACTLY the same as a "natural" molecule of vitamin C). Likewise, "pesticide" does not equal "toxin." If there are specific chemicals that need banning, single those out based on scientific proof; don't just generalize against every substance applied to plants.
  53. Lawrence Davis from Denver, United States writes: Great blog with lots of useful information and excellent commentary! Thanks for sharing.

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