Nobel Prize

Groups call for buffer zones in pesticide use

///
Aerial spraying of pesticides, or “crop dusting,” is a practice dating back to 1906.

Several public advocacy groups held a rally today against pesticides at the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza during the Saturday Market. Pitchfork Rebellion, an anti-pesticide group from the Triangle Lake area organized “Occupy This! Rally for Pesticide Justice and Jobs!” The event called for banning aerial spraying of pesticides near homes and schools, creating a buffer zone to protect people’s health.

The rally began with a performance by local reggae/jam band Sol Seed, followed by a spoken word protest performance calling for a “pure organic Oregon.”

Then “Day,” a resident of the Triangle Lake area, took to the stage. Day is one of several residents of Triangle Lake who has been documented to have the pesticides 2,4-D and atrazine in his urine. 2,4-D, or 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, is a major ingredient in Agent Orange, one of the chemicals used by the U.S. military as part of its herbicidal warfare program during the Vietnam War. A professional analysis of four public streams near Day’s and other residents’ homes found these pesticides in all of the streams.

Several environmental groups held a rally today against pesticides at the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza during the Saturday Market.

Day said,

“We’re just a bunch of hillbillies from Triangle Lake tired of getting hit by pesticides everyday.”

Studies by numerous organizations, from the EPA to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to public universities, have documented the effects of human consumption of pesticides. Pesticides can cause damage to the human nervous system, reproductive system and other organs, developmental and behavioral abnormalities, disruption of hormone function as well as immune dysfunction.

Day introduced Roy Key, a professional forester of over 40 years. Key said he was there to talk about the dangers of pesticide poisoning in Lane County.

“I’ve been in the forest business for 40 years. I’ve managed forests without herbicides or pesticides. You don’t need those substances to manage the forest.”

Key compared pesticide use to his experience in the Vietnam War.

“It’s just like Agent Orange all over again. But here in Lane County.”

Key called on attendees to tell Oregon governor John Kitzhaber to stop the use of pesticides in the state near homes and schools.

Day, a resident of Triangle Lake, has been documented to have the pesticides 2,4-D and atrazine in his urine. A professional analysis of four public streams near Day’s and other residents’ homes found these and other pesticides in all of the streams.

Oregon already has a buffer zone to protect waterways and salmon species. Streamside protection rules for non-federal forest land in Oregon were adopted in 1994. All private, state and local government forest landowners or operators conducting pesticide operations near streams, lakes or wetlands must comply with these rules. In November 2011, a federal judge upheld buffer zones for pesticide use near streams and rivers. Dow Chemical Company, a leader in specialty chemicals based in Michigan, filed a lawsuit seeking to undo the Oregon rules, saying that they were too restrictive. The restrictions ban the ground spraying of three agricultural insecticides within 500 feet of waterways with salmon. They also ban aerial spraying within 1000 feet of said waterways.

While Oregon has a buffer zone for pesticide use near water, it has not adopted a buffer zone near human activity. The Oregon Department of Forestry says,

“Currently, there are no regulations in Oregon requiring a buffer zone for aerial application of herbicides near specific structures or facilities, including schools.”

There are, nonetheless, safety requirements in how pesticides are used, both in residential and forested situations:

“While pesticide use in a residential setting must abide by pesticide label safety requirements, forestry applications must follow those requirements plus additional regulations spelled out in the Oregon Forest Practices Act.”

Pesticide companies, such as Dow Chemical, argue that their products abide by these safety requirements. Concerning 2,4-D, the substance found in Triangle Lake residents, Dow Chemical has said the following:

“2,4-D is available for use in U.S. crop production today because EPA has determined, after evaluating all human health and safety considerations – including the concerns expressed by activists – that current uses (including currently authorized uses on corn) pose ‘a reasonable certainty of no harm.’ This EPA conclusion was reached only after the Agency had considered all relevant data…This regulatory conclusion is supported by mainstream health and safety experts who have thoroughly evaluated the product.”

The application of pesticides has had a long and controversial history. Dr. Patricia Muir, Professor at Oregon State University’s Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, says that, following World War 2,

Ingrid Edstrom, nurse practitioner at Eugene’s Infrared Breast Thermography LLC, spoke of the link between pesticides and breast cancer. “Oregon has the second highest breast cancer rate per capita in the nation,” she added.

“Chemical pesticides have become the most important consciously-applied form of pest management.”

The Oregon Department of Forestry explains this popularity according to pesticides’ cost-effectiveness:

“Many landowners see herbicides as the most cost-effective means of achieving their reforestation goals following logging or fire, or for converting neglected brush land to forests.”

The first important pesticide was DDT (otherwise known as dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane). Muir says,

“DDT was discovered in 1939 by a Swiss chemist Paul Muller. In its early days, it was hailed as a miracle…It was inexpensive and easy to apply. It was so effective at killing pests and thus boosting crop yields and was so inexpensive to make that its use quickly spread over the globe. In 1948, Muller was awarded the Nobel Prize for its discovery.”

As years went by, however, DDT was labeled both directly and indirectly toxic to many organisms. Most disturbingly, as Muir explains, DDT

“showed up in human breast milk at remarkably high concentrations — so high that the milk couldn’t legally be sold through interstate commerce if it were cow’s milk! [DDT] is the most widespread contaminant in human milk around the world.”

While DDT was banned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1972, other pesticides are commonly used in Oregon. The last year in which Oregon has data compiled for pesticide use is 2008. That year it was reported that 280,001 pounds of pesticides (chlorpyrifos, diazinon and malathion) were used in the state.

A rally attendee protests 2,4-D, one of the pesticides found in streams near Triangle Lake.

The groups that rallied today are hoping to change how those hundreds of thousands of pounds of pesticides are administered. They asked all attendees to fill out postcards to Governor Kitzhaber to ask for expanding pesticide buffer zones to include not just fish, but people.

Christina Hubbard, the Project Director of Forest Web, also spoke at the rally. Forest Web is a grassroots conservation organization based in Cottage Grove. Hubbard said,

“Forest Web stands in solidarity with these groups. I’ve personally been working with Day since 2007. A lot of these pople have had major clinical studies done on their urine and it is documented that they have pesticide poisoning.”

Hubbard says this rally’s message is not particularly radical.

“Really what this is about is creating a reasonable buffer zone for aerial spraying. This is common sense, to protect homes and schools.”

For more information about Oregon’s use of pesticides in agriculture, go to the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s website at http://oregon.gov/ODA/PEST/. For more information about Oregon’s use of them in forestry, go to the Oregon Department of Forestry’s website at http://www.oregon.gov/ODF/privateforests/pesticides.shtml. Websites for the groups involved in the rally are: Pitchfork Rebellion, http://pitchforkrebellion.com/; STOP, http://stop-oregon.org/; Forest Web, http://www.forestweb-cg.org/.

October 13 – Morning Headlines

//
Olympic Trials return to Hayward Field - Image courtesy UofO

Headlines

    • False fire alarm at the EMU
      The fire alarm triggered around 11:00 p.m. Wednesday night in the Erb Memorial Union (EMU), prompting DPS officials and the Eugene Fire Department to rush to the University campus to investigate. The alarm caused several University students who were st…
    • Bicycle theft on the rise around campus
      Walking around to the back of his house last Wednesday evening, junior Keane Daly expected to find his bike locked to a pole. Instead, he found an open lock and nothing else. Daly had used a wire lock with a letter combination system to keep his bike s…
    • Police remove anti-loitering bikes from downtown
      Now you see them, now you don’t. The old bicycles that the Eugene Police Department had been locking to flower planter railings at the intersection of Broadway and Olive Street are now gone. But the reason for the bikes’ removal is not entirely cle…
    • Police officer raises $6,100 to help keep the homeless warm
      Eugene police officer Randy Ellis said publicity and a generous donation from a local business owner helped him collect more than $6,100 during a fundraising drive aimed at helping to keep homeless people warm and dry this winter. “I was shocked” b…
    • Father basks in glow of Nobel
      Charles Sargent was lying in bed early Monday listening to “Morning Edition” on public radio and thinking of getting up when he heard the news. His son, Thomas Sargent, had received the Nobel Prize in economics. “I came pleasantly awake,” he sa…
    • “Real World” stages casting call at Eugene bar
      Are you young, individualistic and fearless in front of cameras? Maybe MTV’s “The Real World” is the place for you. Hundreds of would-be reality stars turned out at Eugene’s The Cooler bar on Wednesday, hoping to net a coveted spot on the show,…
    • Duck fans: Where’s the 110 percent?
      Take a knee, Duck fans. Saturday is arguably the biggest home football game since Stanford visited a year ago. National television. ESPN’s GameDay. Sports talk show host Dan Patrick encouraging an “Occupy Eugene GameDay” rally. And, oh yeah, Ariz…
    • Hammer time comes to Portland for U.S. Olympic Trials
      The competition schedule for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials was unveiled on Wednesday. The eight-day meet will be contested over a 10-day period at Hayward Field, June 22 to July 1, but the first members of Team USA that will compete at…

 

Tim Chuey Weather:

Sunshine and dry weather for your Thursday. What about the rest of the week into the weekend?

High: 65
Low: 42
Rain: slim chance

A weak high pressure ridge (“arch” forming on the orange jet stream line) will build up just long enough to give us a series of dry days. A frontal system pushed through Oregon bringing some pretty heavy showers with it and now high pressure at the surface (represented by “H”) is combining with the upper air ridge to clear us out for some sunshine.  The question is when will it fade another upper level low (“U” shape on jet stream line) set up off the coast to bring back the rain.

Forecast for the Southern and lower Mid Willamette Valley including Eugene-Springfield and Albany-Corvallis: Partly cloudy with patchy fog this AM, a mix of clouds and sun this afternoon, mostly cloudy tonight through Friday night, a mix of clouds and sun Saturday, mostly cloudy at night, then partly cloudy Sunday and Sunday night highs 65-60 lows near 42. Partly cloudy Monday through Tuesday night, then partly cloudy with a slight (20%) chance of showers Wednesday highs near 64 lows 43. (seasonal averages high 66 low 41)

Because weather forecasting is a combination of science, intuition, and timing there can be no absolute guarantees that individual forecasts will be 100% accurate. Nature is in a constant state of flux and sudden unexpected weather events can happen.

Keep Current on the Weather: timchueyweather4u.com