Opinion

Viewpoint

"Spring is here, but what's that in the air? The bitter sweet taste and invisibility of seasonal spraying is upon us. As we venture outdoors, we don't always notice these pesticides around us as their colorless, odorless form settles throughout our neighborhood and to the ground. What would our island look like if they left a trace of red? Would we do anything differently if we could actually see their wake of potential danger? How much do we really know about these spewing chemicals? As we approach the growing weeds of the season and chase our uninvited picnic pests, I invite you to step into another world for a moment, one of which I live every day.Exposure to minute amounts of these synthetic, neurotoxic chemicals can cause debilitating health problems. I was diagnosed with chemical induced porphyria in 1994, as a result of overexposure to carbon monoxide, burning styrene and phosgene. The liver is unable to metabolize these chemicals.You see, I am one of the many people living the legacy of Rachel Carson's famous writings of Silent Spring. Published in 1962, her book educated us about the high risks of using these chemicals in our natural environment and how their potential would not only poison, but alter the biological processes of the human body. As we shall see, she said, they will destroy the very enzymes whose function it is to block the body from harm. Her extensive research and efforts contributed to environmental protection and the banning of DDT. Yet in spite of her forewarnings and our increase in disease, we have continued to produce thousands of these chemicals compounds each year. Prior to her death of cancer, she predicted that pesticides would contribute to the environmental disease of the future.Insecticides were discovered while developing chemical warfare agents in WW II. They were proven to be lethal to insects while searching for killing agents for man. Cide = to kill. Since then, over 80,000 chemical compounds have been introduced into our modern world, with minimal testing for health effects.How do they pass through inspection for safety if they are potentially harmful? Testing is primarily done by their manufacturers whose profits would be killed instead. As they enjoy limited regulations on these chemicals, and as we head for them on the shelves, we need to analyze the risks we are imposing on ourselves, our children, other living species and our future.Accumulative build-up and the body's failure of the enzyme detoxification pathways to adequately clear these compounds can result in: fatigue, memory loss, dizziness, nausea, respiratory distress, chronic flu like symptoms, body aches, joint pain, inflammation, burning, rashes, migraines, asthma, irritability, and depression. In environmental medicine, education is the key. In treating this condition; avoidance, detoxification and environmental control are critical.Governor Gary Locke has proclaimed May 7-13, 2000 as Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Awareness Week and urges all citizens to support increased understanding, education and research of this illness. Read Chemical Exposure & Disease by Dr. Janet Sherman.You are what you breathe.What can you do to protect yourself?*Learn about the chemical ingredients and their risks by requesting a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) from the supplier.* Post No Spray signs on your property or the entrance to your community. You can obtain them from either Bayview road shop or Coupeville Engineering Dept.* Order a free copy of Recognition & Management of Pesticide Poisonings from the EPA. 703-305-7666 or email www.epa.gov/pesticides/safety/healthcare.* Research the healthier organic alternative.* Call the county and learn about Integrated Vegetative Management alternatives.* Write your State Legislators and request that they protect us from herbicide spraying throughout Washington.* If you are already sensitive to these pesticides, contact the Pesticide Management Division, at Washington State Dept. of Agriculture 360-902-2073 and request to be added to their notification list for future spraying.* Attend theWhidbey Island Chemically Injured support group. March 29, 10 a.m. at the Evergreen Room at Bayview Senior Center.*Hire some high school kids to cut berry bushes for the summer.Lori O'Neal, a Clinton area resident, moved to Whidbey Island because of her sensitivity to chemicals."

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