Saturday, October 18, 2008

Response to Comments II

By Rich Kozlovich
I wrote the article “Sub-Prime Pest Control” and posted it on September 20th, 2008. Gerry Weitz of Hearts Pest Management in San Diego took umbrage with my views and so I published a Response to Comments". Gerry has responded and here are his comments with my second response.


I believe my observation about you being a sincere individual is a valid one, but I fear that you are under the influence of misinformation and fallacious thinking.

Here are just a few examples I have experienced:
My very first exposure in the industry was with a man who came to my house to do a gopher fumigation in our back yard. He did not have a license to do landscape gopher work! As things turned out, I bought the company from him. I didn't realize the remifications of the practices of the former owner until I tried to expand the business and the former owner told me I couldn't report my chemical usage to the state because our gopher applications were not approved! To solve the problem I had to hire a landscape operator until I got my own landscape operator license.

There are so many egregious issues in this paragraph that If you had sent this piece of information to me privately I would have responded privately, and I would have never published it. I am really surprised at your whole approach to this issue. In Ohio we had Litulis Kilgore, another unlicensed person making illegal applications. This is known as the "Proof by Example" fallacy. Just because they used pesticides for profit doesn’t make them exterminators and it is intellectually irresponsible to use people such as this as examples for why legitimate operators should be all hot and bothered to adopt a philosophy that is antithetical to good pest control and good public health!

You may remember the Kilgore issue of about 15 years ago. He was one of those people applying methyl parathion around homes and businesses. Kilgore was only semi-literate and when asked how did he determined how much was to be used in his mix, he stated that “common sense will tell you that”. Methyl parathion is one of the most toxic liquid pesticides developed; so what was the impact on the health of the population that was so heavily exposed? What did the CDC find? In spite of the fact that the level of breakdown product from MP in the children’s urine was startling, they couldn’t find any difference in health problems between them and others of the same socio-economic group, and that also included the comparisons for the adults that hadn’t been exposed. Eventually they decided that those children who were exposed “may” have an IQ problem.

Why is it a “maybe”? Because this problem did not occur in all those exposed. Some seemed to be effected and others were not. Since IQ is highly subjective anyway, they have nothing! Believe me, if there was even the slightest potential for some malady as a result of this issue, they would have been screaming it to the heavens….but because the worst….the worst…..they can come up with is that “MAYBE” it impacts IQ for one of the most toxic materials available nothing is being said.

If any legitimate applicator in Ohio would have known about it we would have called the Ohio Department of Agriculture post haste and reported him. Under no circumstances would we have bought his business. Forgive me for being unkind, but I have to ask…did you report this man to the officials responsible for those illegal pesticide applications in your state?

Another example was finding Delta-Dust totally engulfing a kitchen countertop.

Clearly that was a misapplication, but easily remedied and I have to ask….what terrible things happened as a result? Just because someone does something stupid, doesn’t mean that it was really dangerous and that the whole rest of the world has to change. Fifty thousand people die on our highways every year. Do we need to get rid of cars because there as so many stupid drivers doing stupid things on the highways? We live in a risk versus benefit world and we base our decisions on what is the overall good.

We must remember that DDT was used to dust people all over Europe at the end of WWII with no ill effects. I have an elderly Hungarian lady as an account who calls herself one of the “DP’s” of the 1950’s who made a point of telling me that being dusted with DDT was the best thing they could have done to her and all the others who were “treated”. That procedure saved countless lives, preventing a typhus epidemic in Italy and probably over much of Europe. Although I don’t condone the misapplication you mention, I have to still ask; what terrible thing happened?

The activists and their acolytes at EPA make claims that have no basis in science or reality. A case in point is the endocrine disruption clause in the Food Quality Protection Act. The primary study that this was based on was the Tulane study which turned out to be fraudulent. They were exposed and Tulane pulled the study and the lead researcher was prohibited from applying for federal grants for five years, a punishment which I deem to be seriously flawed since he perpetrated fraud on the public with the public’s money and we are now stuck with the regulation as a result of that fraud.

As for EPA’s view of this study! Lynn Goldman, assistant administrator of the Office of Prevention, Pesticides & Toxic Substances at the Environmental Protection Agency under Carol Browner during the Clinton administration, stated that this was the cleanest science she had seen. Hogwash….how can something be science if it hasn’t been peer reviewed…and it hadn’t. Peer review was what exposed the fraud and she has a degree in medicine….she HAS to know better, yet that didn’t prevent her and the rest of the activists at EPA from plowing ahead.

I hear of technicians who use Termidor to treat bees.
I assume that you are also meaning wasps when you say bees, and although California and New York may not allow it, Termidor is labeled for wasps in the world of the sane. http://www.cdms.net/LDat/ld3DR020.pdf
The EPA has mounds of documented evidence of pesticides in our water and evidence that it is killing off marine life. It is a known fact on our chemical labels that most pesticides are highly toxic to aquatic life. There is so much that can and is reported.

These are two separate issues. Yes the labels clearly state the dangers to marine life. However, I have serious misgivings about EPA have “mounds” of information regarding chemical pesticides causing devastation to marine life through normal and legal use. If this were true EPA would be free to eliminate these products…and we wouldn’t be having this conversation. EPA is notorious for making claims that bear no resemblance to reality and when you take out the weasel words; there isn’t much left. To say that the thinkers at EPA wallow in a sinkhole of poor reasoning is being kind.

We really should do our best to get on board with the environmental movement. As I mentioned, Hearts Pest Management is an EcoWise Certified company and there is nothing in our certification that states we can not use pesticides..
I have no beef with any pest control program that a company wishes to use, whether they call it IPM, Green, Organic or anything else they wish to use as a promotion to attract customers. I do however have a beef with those who make false claims about pesticides, pesticide applicators and the effect they have on society and the environment. The reality is that as a direct result of pesticides we are living longer, healthier, better fed lives than ever in human history.
As far as getting on board with the green activists?

The green movement is irrational and misanthropic. Everywhere in the world where their programs hold sway dystopia is rampant. They oppose pesticides, genetically modified foods, roads, dams, hydroelectric plants, electric plants of other types, chlorine in the water, and a host of other modern conveniences that make life so much better for so many people. They want everyone to go back to the primitive, yet they all live in the modern world with its conveniences. Why don't they move to those areas of the world that are primitive? If that is paradise; why aren't they living there? Why would I want to get on board with those who have shown such a massive disregard for human life?

They constantly harp how their programs are “for the children”, but children are dying because of them to the tune of hundreds of thousands each year. Tens of thousands of children in Southeast Asia go blind each year because their diets lack sufficient vitamin A. Golden Rice is a genetically modified food that would correct this immediately. They have thrown road block after road block in front of this product to keep it off the market. If they are so concerned about the health of children in the first world; why then do they distain the health, welfare and lives of children in the third world so badly?



These are also two separate issues. I take it then that you believe that Canada has a unreasonable government? I concur, because they are actively working for the elimination of pesticides, and I don’t consider California or New York much better.

As far as resistance goes….that will occur because it is the pattern of nature. Plants cannot run, they can’t hide, they don’t have teeth, claws, tough hides covered in fur and so the only way they can defend themselves is though a barrage of chemical defenses. As pests become resistant to one of these defenses; the plants develop another. It is already programmed in each of their genetic codes.

One more point. The vast majority of chemical pesticides people will consume are naturally occurring in the food we eat and over 90% of all carcinogens we consume are naturally occurring chemicals in the food we eat. There are 11 different carcinogens in coffee. In one cup of coffee you will consume more carcinogens than from the entire amount of synthetic pesticide residue from all the food you consume in one year.

Before we have any more discussions, I must insist that you first read Paul Driessen’s book, Eco-Imperialism, Green Power, Black Death. You can find it in my home page link to “My Book Reviews” where I have provided a link to order it.

I won’t be attending National. Best wishes. RK
No reasonable government will ever elliminate the use of pesticides as it could lead to uncontrollable epidemics, but we who use pesticides should be concerned about using them in a way that develops resistance in insect species, such as we have now with cockroaches.



____________________________
Rick, thank you for reposting my comment in its' original form.

If you are going to the NPMA convention, I would be happy to discuss these issues more with you.

Here are just a few examples I have experienced:
My very first exposure in the industry was with a man who came to my house to do a gopher fumigation in our back yard. He did not have a license to do landscape gopher work! As things turned out, I bought the company from him. I didn't realize the remifications of the practices of the former owner until I tried to expand the business and the former owner told me I couldn't report my chemical usage to the state because our gopher applications were not approved! To solve the problem I had to hire a landscape operator until I got my own landscape operator license.

Another example was finding Delta-Dust totally engulfing a kitchen countertop. I hear of technicians who use Termidor to treat bees. The EPA has mounds of documented evidence of pesticides in our water and evidence that it is killing off marine life. It is a known fact on our chemical labels that most pesticides are highly toxic to aquatic life. There is so much that can and is reported.

We really should do our best to get on board with the environmental movement. As I mentioned, Hearts Pest Management is an EcoWise Certified company and there is nothing in our certification that states we can not use pesticides. No reasonable government will ever elliminate the use of pesticides as it could lead to uncontrollable epidemics, but we who use pesticides should be concerned about using them in a way that develops resistance in insect species, such as we have now with cockroaches.

2 comments:

Ed Darrell said...

The Tulane study that was withdrawn was not the primary study done on endocrine disruption, but instead claimed that there were synergistic effects between endocrine disruptors.

That was one paper, fraud caught by the director of the lab who promptly withdrew that one paper.

What about the dozens of previous papers showing endocrine disruption to be a problem? What about the hundreds of papers following?

One case of fraud in a paper does not -- cannot -- invalidate other, accurate and ethical studies.

What harm did the overuse of DDT cause? It makes it almost impossible to use insecticides against malaria-carrying mosquitoes now. It contributed to the explosion of malaria in the late 1960s and 1970s, because DDT had killed off the predators of the mosquitoes much more effectively and permanently than it killed the mosquitoes themselves.

If you're using Driessen's over-the-top, unscientific book as a source, no wonder you're missing the bigger picture. Even Driessen has come around on indoor residual spraying against malaria, now taking Rachel Carson's view (though, I'll wager, he'll never admit it).

Nuclear war has its place. It's a very limited place, best never exercised. DDT is a lot like that.

Gerry Weitz said...

Hello Rick,

Regarding the story about the illegal gopher application, let me tell you that I am very proud of how I handled the issue. The story is part of the early history of Hearts Pest Management and I talk to my technicians about it as part of their instructions on staying safe and legal.
Please understand that when I bought this company in 2002, I had no exposure to the industry. I was an out of work middle-manager from the information technology sector which had taken a plunge.
The specific application for gophers was done at my house in my orchard and I had no idea that the owner/operator had acted illegally. This is how I came into contact with the operator whose company I eventually bought. He had a structural license, but not a landscape license and this particular job was in my orchard, over 150 feet from my house.
When I purchased his company I became an applicator working under the supervision of the former owner.
As soon as I went through my 1st class, I realized that his contention that this work was legal came into question. He felt that the local ag. dept bureaucrats were just over-extending their jurisdiction. When the operator stated that we couldn't report the chemical usage, it raised another flag.
At the risk of losing a $150,000 investment, I insisted that the former owner/operator of Hearts go to the local agriculture department with me to clarify in what situations can a structural operator use fumitoxin for gophers. The agriculture department had been claiming that a structural operator could never use fumitoxin and my operator said he could use anything he wanted so long as the use was structural. That day, within a couple of months of purchasing the company, I came very close to losing it. As it turned out, my operator did have the authority to use fumitoxin (although not something they widely recognized), but only if a structure was endangered.
The agriculture department also realized that as a new owner, totally new to the field, I had taken the step to pro-actively address the situation and obtain clarification. I immediately modified all our agreements, so that we only used the product if we identified a human structure that was endangered and additionally hired a landscape operator. Within a year, I obtained both my structural and agricultural licenses.
Again, I am very proud of having stood up to the practices of the former owner and qualifying operator at the risk of losing a very large investment. I was very happy when I was able to terminate the services of an operator who seemed to think there where many "grey areas of the law" where I saw black and white.

With regard to the delta-dust application by another company that I came in back of, I can tell you that the owner of the home did get sick. He had been instructed to leave the delta-dust out on his kitchen counter top, where he prepared food. (There must have been about 16 ounces on his countertop). In resolving the issue, I exited the home and informed the prior vendor, who came out and took several hours to clean up the mess.

With regard to Termidor usage by techs in the area, I can only tell you that in California, Termidor is not labeled for bees or wasps. There have been techs from other companies who have bragged about how well the product worked on bees specifically.

Look, there are arguments for and against pesticides. It is no secret that pest control companies make mistakes. Truly Nolen wrote a book that was published not too long ago, in which he talks about how he almost lost his own company, when one of his applicators used a bird control product that got into the feed of a herd of cattle, killing several of them and placing the entire herd in quarrentine for a month.

I don't have the deep historical knowledge that you have on some of these matters. I have been in the field for 7 years. All I will tell you is that pest control companies need proper oversight. The pesticides put a lot of power into the hands of people, who for the most part are not well educated. Look, even doctors, for all their education, make a lot of mistakes and sometimes go over the line.

Are there people out there so radical to foolishly ban pesticides? Absolutely. Are there consumers that abuse pesticides? Absolutely. I don't have the time or inclination to parse each of your sentences or words as you are doing, but I believe we should all step back and look at the true merits and de-merits of pesticide use.