Friday, September 4, 2009

“Demagoguery Beats Data”

By Rich Kozlovich

"What is more frightening than any particular policy or ideology is the widespread habit of disregarding facts. Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey put it this way - "Demagoguery beats data." Thomas Sowell

The pest control industry seems to be faced with the same problem. We are constantly told how we have to restrict pesticide use. We are told we must find alternatives to what we are using. We are told we must adopt “least toxic” (whatever that means) pest control programs. Why? Because they claim that pesticides may affect our health and the environment adversely.

This isn’t only from the environmental activists,  it's a constant refrain from the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It costs about three hundred million dollars to bring a pesticide to market, are we to assume that we don’t know what all the potential effects these products may have on people and the environment? Well....actually…..yes! We aren’t allowed to test people, so we don’t really know what any product will do until it's in common use. Ultimately the final testing ground will be agriculture.

Because of their effectiveness baits became common place in structural pest control. In years gone by the structural pest control industry used far more liquid pesticides than we do now, and we were only using 4% of all the pesticides manufactured. Four percent doesn’t make much money when the cost of testing is so high. Therefore any pesticide manufactured must be manufactured for use on corn, tobacco, cotton, rice, wheat, soybeans, etc. or it isn’t manufactured. Agriculture becomes the final testing ground for pesticides. If a pesticide is used in structural pest control it is because it has been used profitably elsewhere and for some time. We get it last. New technology in structural pest control is usually old technology everywhere else where pesticides are needed and used. So what must we conclude from that? These products have been used extensively for some time and the effect on people and the environment must absolutely be known to EPA.

So then we must conclude that they don’t care what the facts are. They apparently have made up their minds to advocate the view presented by the environmental activists and are not going to let facts stand in the way. Between the regulators, activists, universities, researchers, self serving politicians, and a compliant media they have managed to keep the public ignorant and frightened through “filtered facts” which has now given the completely opposite view of what is actually occurring.

Their answer to any criticism is that we must adopt IPM or "green" pest control, which cannot be truly defined. Name one thing you know for sure about IPM. Everybody has their own perception as to what it means, what products can be used, what techniques should be used, where and when they should be used if ever. This will always be debated because IPM is an “ideology, not a methodology” and "green" is nothing short of eco-religion.

If these products are so dangerous and EPA has the authority to remove products that are harmful from the market - and since they have traced the results of use of these products over the years - why don’t they do it? They clearly have the power and they certainly have the desire - why don’t they do it? It is quite simple...the facts must not support such an action.

Why are they promoting IPM to the tune of thousands of dollars a year in the form of grant money? Is it because there are no facts to support the elimination of these products and no matter how many times they change the rules (Food Quality Protection Act is one example along with re-registration requirements) to make it impossible to use pesticides they still can’t find the science to support the ban of pesticides, so they attempt to do it through a back door called IPM, organic or green pest control.

The public is constantly told by the media that pesticides cause ______. (fill in the blank) When it is discovered they were wrong or the facts were deliberately perverted, as in the Alar case, it is passed off as journalism. The activists jump up and down swearing it was good journalism. The media jumps up and down defending their right to say what they want to no matter where the real truth lies, no matter who's hurt, and in the Alar case, refusing to publically acknowledge their misconduct.

What are the facts regarding pesticides. There is no evidence that pesticides have adversely effected the general health of the population! In fact, if you compared the world before modern pesticides and today we find that we are better fed and healthier than ever in this nation’s history or any other nation that has adopted extensive pesticide use. Only the countries who are unable or unwilling to adopt modern practices suffer the consequences of dystopia; poverty, misery, disease, squalor, hunger, starvation and early death.

There has been a great deal of talk regarding trace amounts of __________(fill in the blank) in our waters and land and even trace amounts of over 200 manmade chemicals in our bodies. So what? This must be a good thing since the advent of these products people are living longer and healthier lives. The appearance of chemicals has nothing to do with toxicity. The dose makes the poison.

Still we have educated individuals teaching (and being taught) in our schools and universities that manmade chemicals are the great evil and we need to go "green" or “natural” or “organic”. Whatever those terms mean!

Most people have been misled into thinking that "organic" foods are healthier, taste better and that they don’t have to worry about pesticides. Nothing could be further from the truth. Note the following information by Dr. Bruce Ames.
Dr. Bruce Ames (a biochemistry professor at the University of California) pointed out in 1987 that we ingest in our diet about 1.5 grams per day of {natural} pesticides. Those foods contain 10,000 times more, by weight, of {natural} pesticides than of man-made pesticide residues. More than 90% of the pesticides in plants are produced {naturally} by the plants, which help protect them from insects, mites, nematodes, bacteria, and fungi. Those natural pesticides may make up 5% to 10% of a plant's dry weight, and nearly half of them that were tested on experimental animals were carcinogenic. Americans should therefore feel unconcerned about the harmless, infinitesimal traces of synthetic chemicals to which they may be exposed. The highly publicized traces of synthetic pesticides on fruits and vegetables worried some people so much that they began to favor ``organically produced'' foods, thinking that they would not contain any pesticides. Most people are not aware that organic gardeners can legally use a great many pesticides, so long as they are not man-made. They can use nicotine sulfate, rotenone, and pyrethrum (derived from plants), or any poisons that occur naturally, such as lime, sulfur, borax, cyanide, arsenic, and fluorine.

This apparently is OK because its “natural”. Chemicals are chemicals and have chemical names. If I presented you the following menu would you eat it? By the way...these foods are known carcinogens.

Cream of Mushroom Soup, Carrots, Cherry Tomatoes, Celery, Mixed Roasted Nuts, Tossed Lettuce and Arugula with Basil-Mustard Vinaigrette, Roast Turkey, Bread Stuffing (with onions, celery, black pepper & mushrooms), Cranberry Sauce, Prime Rib of Beef with Parsley Sauce, Broccoli Spears, Baked Potato, Sweet Potato, Pumpkin Pie, Apple Pie, Fresh Apples, Grapes, Mangos, Pears, Pineapple, Red Wine, White Wine, Coffee, Tea., Jasmine Tea. (Source: American Council on Science and Health)

Here are the chemicals that make up this natural meal.

Hydrazines, aniline, caffeic acid, benzaldehyde, caffeic acid, hydrogen peroxide, quercetin glycosides, caffeic acid, furan derivatives, psoralens, aflatoxin, furfural, allyl isothiocyanate, caffeic acid, estragole, methyl eugenol, heterocyclic amines, acrylamide, ethyl alcohol, benzo(a)pyrene, ethyl carbamate, furan derivatives, furfural, dihydrazines, d-limonene, psoralens, quercetin glycosides, safrole,furan derivatives ,benzene, heterocyclic amines, psoralens,allyl isothiocyanate,ethyl alcohol, caffeic acid,ethyl alcohol, furfural,acetaldehyde, benzene, ethyl alcohol, benzo(a)pyrene, ethyl carbamate, furan derivatives, furfural,benzo(a)pyrene, coumarin, methyl eugenol, safrole,acetaldehyde, caffeic acid, coumarin, estragole, ethyl alcohol, methyl eugenol, quercetin glycosides, safrole,acetaldehyde, benzaldehyde, caffeic acid, d-limonene, estragole, ethyl acrylate, quercetin glycosides,ethyl alcohol, ethyl carbamate,benzo(a)pyrene, benzaldehyde, benzene, benzofuran, caffeic acid, catechol, 1,2,5,6-dibenz(a)anthracene, ethyl benzene, furan, furfural, hydrogen peroxide, hydroquinone, d-limonene, 4-methylcatechol,benzo(a)pyrene, quercetin

For those that read the chemicals listed above you will notice that some of them are repeated a number of times. I deliberately left the list that way because you are getting a multiple dose of that compound in the above Thanksgiving meal.

Does that sound so bad now? It is unfortunate that so many in positions of authority and responsibility continue to allow filtered facts to become the conventional wisdom. More importantly it is impossible for any society to make intelligent long term decisions when preconceived notions are allowed to dictate what “facts” will be allowed to be presented.

Then again, facts are confusing and that certainly is the last thing the public needs - right?   And it certainly is the last thing the environmentalists and their minions want. Can you imagine who that might interfere with all those scares they are constantly presenting as eminent disasters. That in turn would foul up contributions and then the greatest disaster of them all would occur. They would have to go out and get real jobs.

All of this is disturbing, but what I find most disturbing is the unwillingness of our industry's information deliverers, including NPMA, the trade journals and state associations to stand up to these people and publish the truth. We are appeasers, enablers and will eventually we will become traitors to our own industry.

What we need is clarity and that can only be attained by making ourselves aware of the facts.  Once we're prepared to follow the facts wherever they lead then we have the truth, and truth isn't unkind.  It's just the truth!

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