Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The American Dream Didn’t Include Bed Bugs. Part I: The Problem

By Rich Kozlovich

In recent months the bed bug issue has reached headline proportions on the national scene. National television news networks have featured the story, magazines have highlighted the problem nationally and newspapers have focused on local infestations that seem to be out of control and growing. It is almost like one of those overnight movie star sensations who won an award only to find out that he has been in the entertainment business for fifteen years. We, the pest control industry, have known this day was coming for some time, and in point of fact I know one old timer who ominously stated over ten years ago that bed bugs would be back.

After 1994 the Congress made an attempt to fix the Delaney Act, which amended the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938 (FFDCA).   The Delaney Clause states that nothing can be used if "it is found to induce cancer when ingested by man or animal, or if it is found, after tests which are appropriate for the evaluation of the safety of food additives, to induce cancer in man or animal". But because it was so extremely complicated and convoluted (made mores so by a court case Les v. Reilly) it was implemented in such a way that it basically declared that if something was carcinogenic at any level it was carcinogenic at every level and nothing that tested carcinogenic could be used in any food additives in processed food.

Since Delaney required zero risk versus negligible risk the whole thing became so perverse that Delaney would forbid the EPA from registering new pesticides that were perceived safer if they tested carcinogenic. This was known as the Delaney Paradox. This clearly had created a regulatory nightmare based on a law that had no basis in real science. Because of this the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) issued a statement in 1987 outlining four principles that pesticide law should meet

1. All pesticides should be regulated on the basis of a consistent standard, so that there is no "double standard" for raw vs. processed foods or for old vs. new pesticides. The NAS found no public health reasons for treating residues on raw or processed foods differently.

2. A uniform "negligible risk" rather than a "zero risk" standard for carcinogens in food, consistently applied, would best enable EPA to improve the overall safety of the food supply, and would result in only modest reductions in the benefits of pesticide use to farmers.

3. EPA should set its regulatory priorities by focusing first on the most worrisome pesticides used on the most-consumed crops.

4. The Agency should adopt a comprehensive analytical framework for forecasting the broad-scale impact of its pesticide-specific regulatory actions on the overall safety of the food supply.

This clearly seems to be more than reasonable and justified. Unfortunately the fix ended up being as bad as the problem. Possibly worse because the EPA was being forced by lawsuits to enforce Delaney to its fullest extent, and if that had occurred we might have gotten rid of it entirely, instead we ended up replacing it with another compromise now based on risk assumptions.

The FQPA changed the rules regarding the 100 fold safety factor tied up in pesticides by a potential factor of ten, ratcheting up the safety factor from 100 to a potential of 1000. (This explanation is a “really” shortened and simplified version of this subject. Please go to Frank B. Cross’s extremely well done and lengthy examination of this subject in the article, “THE CONSEQUENCES OF CONSENSUS: DANGEROUS COMPROMISES OF THE FOOD QUALITY PROTECTION ACT”)

At this point I think it worthwhile to explore this issue of carcinogenic testing. The EPA bases it judgment on rodent testing. Make no mistake about this; a mouse isn’t a little man and using rodents that are genetically predisposed to growing tumors for testing and then exposing them massive doses of anything to make that determination isn’t the best science as required under the Information Quality Act.

In 2005 the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) (As a point of disclosure: I am member of ASCH) petitioned the EPA to “Stop declaring chemicals carcinogens based on rodent tests alone”. ACSH noted that the law permits EPA “to adopt policies that err on the side of caution when faced with genuinely equivocal evidence regarding a substance's carcinogenicity, but the IQA does not permit EPA to distort the scientific evidence in furtherance of such policies.”

The petition argues that EPA ”distorts scientific evidence through its Guidelines' use of "default options," its purported right -- based not on scientific evidence but its regulatory mission to protect human health -- to assume that tumors in lab rodents indicate that much smaller doses can cause cancer in humans. Erring on the "safe side" in regulatory decisions does not, argues the petition, permit EPA to falsely claim that such regulated substances truly are "likely to be carcinogenic to humans." To do so, argues ACSH, is a distortion of both science and law. “

Finally after months of delays the EPA formally responded saying “that their Risk Assessment Guidelines are not statements of scientific fact -- and thus not covered by the IQA -- but merely statements of EPA policy.” My question was then and is now. If EPA policies aren’t based on scientific fact, what are they based on?

In 1950 the legal limit for DDT was seven parts per million. Why? Because they couldn’t test below that; so anything below seven parts per million was zero. As the years went by we have learned how to detect substances at parts per billion, then parts per trillion, then parts per quadrillion and parts per…well…even higher numbers that I can’t recite. At some point we will be able to detect everything in anything. But should that matter? No! At some point the molecular load will be so small that cells will not respond to it. Under Delaney that wouldn’t matter. It was later discovered, mostly through the efforts of Dr. Bruce Ames, that the number of naturally occurring carcinogens was shockingly high. Take for an example the traditional Thanksgiving dinner menu which is filled with carcinogens.

So the goal to fix Delaney was a worthy one, but devastating as it was replaced by the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) in August of 1996 by Congress and the Clinton EPA under Carol Browner. This amended FFDCA and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and rodenticide Act which the structural pest control industry also falls under. This ended up being one of the most significant environmental and public health bills passed since the Nixon administration, and most of the Congress didn’t really understand what this was going to mean.

As a result of FQPA we lost (in the U.S.) whole categories of pesticides that had been used for years safely and effectively here and around the world.

Along with all else, the EPA requires pesticides to be re-registered after fifteen years. That means more unnecessary and expensive testing. It costs around $300,000,000 to bring a new pesticide to market. Manufacturers want to make sure that re-registration is worth it to them before they spend millions of dollars more on re-testing. Further testing for what you might ask? Who knows, because after a product has been on the open market for fifteen years you absolutely know what, if any, hazards it represents to humanity or to nature. Most importantly after fifteen years these products have probably gone out of patent. That means there is less value to the primary registrant, and if that is the case, there was no value incentive for the manufacturer to spend millions of dollars more to retest. They then simply pull their registration “voluntarily”.

This is just another way the EPA has found to eliminate pesticides without banning them, which can be a messy process; a process in which they would probably lose. When you ban something you have to show reasons for the ban. You have to have facts, figures and….most importantly….real science. If there is none the product stays. They have avoided all of that through their system of rules which can make it a de facto ban without any messy legal stuff.

Organophosphates, such as Dursban absolutely kill bed bugs; on contact and as well as a residual. But in 1996 the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) was passed and that changed all the rules. This national policy under the EPA to create uniform regulations with the stated goal to reduce the use of pesticides based on assumed risks cannot occur without compromising the health of the nation. This national bed bug plague is one of those issues, and the tip of the iceberg. Make no mistake about this; if bed bugs were transmitters of disease such as malaria, yellow fever, encephalitis or West Nile virus we wouldn’t be having this national conversation.

I did have a thought that crossed my mind. I wonder if the decline in bed bugs and the decline in leprosy in western countries ran concurrently. Perhaps that could be an interesting area of study.


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Friday, November 12, 2010

Legislative and Regulatory Update

This first appeared in the fall 2010 issue of the Ohio Pest Management Association's quarterly newsletter, The Standard.

By Belinda Jones, Legislative Counsel - Capital Consulting Group

With the legislature on election year recess, the state house has been relatively quiet. Still, given the fact that post-election, the period we call “lame duck,” things can “turn on a dime,” we thought it might be helpful to recap some of the issues we are following on your behalf.

Bed Bugs

Every day, it seems, another news story is printed or recorded about the problem with bed bugs in Ohio. Among the myriad of county and city bed bug task forces in Ohio, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) have teamed up for the Strickland Administration to study the bed bug problems and make recommendations via the Ohio Bed Bug Work Group. The Work Group is comprised of all types of stakeholders including representatives from OPMA and OPARR, as well as representatives from the university sector, state and local agencies, local health departments, low income housing agencies, hotel and lodging organizations and pest control operators. Having had numerous informational meetings, recent meetings have centered on Ohio request for a Section 18 exemption for emergency use of propoxur for bed bugs. Initial response from USEPA has been less than welcoming and, thankfully, the Strickland Administration has not “taken no for an answer.” While the final outcome cannot be predicted at this time, know that Governor Strickland , ODA and others are pressing USEPA to grant some relief to an issue that is fast approaching public health crises in Ohio.

In addition to the work of the Bed Bug Work Group, there are several bed bug bills pending in the Ohio Legislature:

SR 132 BEDBUG CONTROL (Kearney - D; Cincinnati) - To urge the Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency to grant an emergency exemption for the use of the insecticide Propoxur to control bedbugs in Ohio.

- Introduced Senate 12/13/09

- Passed Senate Environment & Natural Resources Committee 5/12/10

- Pending Senate Action

- OPARR Position: Support

SB 45 VERMIN INFESTATIONS (Kearney - D; Cincinnati) - Regarding vermin infestations in apartments.

- Introduced 2/10/09

- Pending Senate Health, Human Services & Aging Committee

- OPARR Position: Monitoring

HR 182 BEDBUGS (Mallory – D; Cincinnati) - To urge the Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency to grant an emergency exemption for the use of the insecticide Propoxur to control bedbugs in Ohio.

- Introduced House 11/30/09

- Passed House Environment & Brownfield Development Committee 5/26/10

- Pending House Action

- OPARR Position: Support

HB 201 BED BUGS (Mallory – D; Cincinnati) - To establish the Bed Bug Awareness, Education, and Prevention Program, to require boards of health to adopt vermin control policies under which bedbug infestations are treated in the same manner as other infestations, and to make an appropriation.

- Introduced House 6/2/09

- Pending House Finance & Appropriations Committee

- OPARR Position: Monitoring

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

In addition to bed bug issues, we are also following a bill relative to multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS).

SB 117 CHEMICAL SENSITIVITY MONTH (Miller D – D; Cleveland, Coughlin – R; Cuyahoga Falls) - To designate the month of May as “Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Awareness Month.”

- Introduced Senate 4/29/09

- Passed Senate Health, Human Services & Aging Committee(s) 10/27/09

- Pending Senate Action

- OPARR Position: Monitoring

CONCLUSION

In addition to the subjects discussed above, OPMA and OPARR are monitoring a variety of water quality issues relative to pesticide and nutrient loading in certain Ohio watersheds. If you would like more information on the issues listed above, please contact Belinda Jones at http://bjones@capitol-consulting.net./


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Letter from the President


By Andrew Christman, President of the Ohio Pest Management Association

This first appeared in the fall 2010 issue of the Ohio Pest Management Association's quarterly newsletter, The Standard.






It is hard to fathom that almost a year has passed since I took oath to serve you as President of OPMA in December 2009. This has been a challenging and exciting year, to say the least. I have learned a tremendous amount about our association and how local, state and national legislation affects all of us. I have also realized the importance of personal involvement and the true impact that we, as individuals and as an association, can have when we put in the time and effort. Believe me, your voice is heard when you choose to use it! It is encouraging to know that our representatives, officials, customers and/or friends alike view us as professional industry experts when it comes to protecting their home, health, family, pets and properties. Another great industry supporter is our state regulatory official, the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA). I have always known this, but it was more apparent then ever when I attended the annual meeting for the Association for Structural Pest Control Regulatory Officials (ASPCRO) in August. ASPCRO is the National Association for the 52 states’ regulatory officials. I have never been more engaged during day-long meetings, and I was so pleasantly surprised to befriend industry officials from all over the country. I took over 20 pages of notes and would like to share a few of the topics that will be of interest to you:
• Gus R. Douglass – Commissioner West Virginia Department of Agriculture opened the meeting, as it was hosted in Charleston, W.Va. Gus indicated that stink bugs are going to be a huge problem for crops in the near future. I inquired about stink bugs with Dr. Susan Jones at OSU-E, and we, too, believe that stink bugs have the potential to become a structural invader and nuisance pest that our industry will soon be challenged to control. My advice to you is to remember STINK BUGS, and do your research and develop methods to treat them.

• Bill Diamond – USEPA Acting Deputy Office Director - Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) mentioned that the USEPA has many positions available and there has been a lot of change and “turnover” within the organization.

• Administrator Jackson’s seven priorities at the EPA are: 1) Climate change; 2) Air quality; 3) Safety of chemicals; 4) Cleaning up our communities; 5) Protecting America’s waters; 6) Expanding conversation on environmentalism and working for environmental justice; 7) Building stronger state and tribal partnerships.

• New York City asked the USEPA to eliminate the use of total release foggers for bed bug control. The USEPA denied this request, and found the incidents to be “minimal.”

• Current challenges at the USEPA are: budget constraints, efficiencies, risk based priorities, personnel retention and succession planning and performance accountability.

• IPM in Schools – Dr. Marc Lame with Indiana University spoke about his efforts to enforce IPM in Schools. Dr. Lame believes that the Health Departments should be the regulatory officials for IPM, because they are already mandated to inspect schools two times per year. Dr. Lame’s program quickly evolved into a debate over the use of pesticides and how certain pesticides are non-scientifically being classified as endocrine disruptors. THIS WAS THE DEFINING MOMENT WHEN I REALIZED ASPCRO AND THE ODA ARE TRULY FRIENDS OF THE INDUSTRY EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE OUR REGULATORY OFFICIALS.

• Liza Fleeson, (Virginia Department of Agriculture) representative and chairwomen of the ASPCRO Bed Bug Committee, indicated that there is currently a great deal of work going on behind the scenes looking at existing products where the label could be potentially changed to include bed bugs.

• Robert Alverous (New Mexico Department of Agriculture) has been studying all registered pesticides and has scrutinized all existing labels. I believe Mr. Alverous will soon posses the knowledge regarding what products of efficacy are going to be best utilized in the future.

• Susan Jennings – Public Health liaison with USEPA indicated that she is actively working within our industry to find new products and/or locate existing compounds that will work against bed bugs. Susan also reiterated that the USEPA would expedite registration of any new product.

• Gene Harrington (NPMA) – Released the results of NPMA’s extensive bed bug survey. (To review these results, please see the article on page XX of this issue, and check out www.npmapestworld.org). Gene indicated that over 950 people/companies responded to the survey. There is a lot of good information with in the survey, and I recommend that you read it. One interesting result was the answer to the question regarding what products are most commonly used by PMP’s to control bed bugs. The order was: Phantom, Gentrol, Suspend, Bedlam and Tempo.

• A recent New York law, A10356B/S8130, which took effect around September 1st, comes amid a rash of complaints about bed bugs in New York City and other major cities across the nation. The measure applies only to the city. Dubbed the Bed bug Disclosure Act, the measure requires owners and leasers to notify new rental tenants of bed bug infestations that have plagued the building and the tenant’s individual unit during the previous year.
Lastly, I would like to talk to you about a pest that is consuming national and local media attention: Bed Bugs, Bed Bugs, Blood Suckers, Bed Bugs and Bed Bugs!!! Many of you have been called upon by a reporter or newscaster and asked to be involved in a televised story or answer questions for print. OPMA asks you to please be very careful while conducting these interviews. If you do not feel comfortable answering the media, please direct them to the OPMA. We are here to serve as the voice for our industry. Many interviews only publish and/or televise a fraction of what you state during an interview. Oftentimes after reading your interview or seeing yourself on television you ponder, “that is not what I said,” or “my answer was totally taken out of context.” Believe me, it has happened to me on more then one occasion. If you are going to conduct an interview: 1) Be confident in your speaking abilities; 2) Be knowledgeable of the subject matter; 3) Only use factual statements; 4) Ask the reporter for the questions in advance; and 5) Never bad mouth a competitor, registered products and/or approved methods used to eradicate a bed bug situation. We, as an industry, are going to be under the microscope for years to come. If we fail to control bed bugs, the finger is going to be pointed at us, regardless of our handicap with current product efficacy issues.

During this current evolution in our industry, you cannot afford to miss OPMA’s Winter Meeting in Columbus, Ohio on December 6th - 7th. There will be a wealth of knowledge distributed and absorbed during this upcoming meeting. I hope to see you there!

For more details visit: http://www.ohiopma.org./

It has been my pleasure and distinct honor to represent such a passionate organization. It is very satisfying to know that OPMA is a special organization comprised of competitors which all work towards one goal. Our competitive business spirit towards one another has never detoured the relentless dedication and tireless pursuit our leaders endure, “to promote education and ethics for the pest control industry, to foster research and diffusion of knowledge of the industry among its members and to cooperate with the National Pest Management Association and with governmental and educational authorities for the good of the community and industry.” - OPMA Mission Statement

It was great to see many of you at the annual National Pest Management Association meeting in October in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Aloha,

Andrew Christman
President – OPMA



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Wrapping up a Busy 2010!

Bed bugs are the #1 Issue in Our Industry Right Now

This first appeared in the fall 2010 issue of the Ohio Pest Management Association's quarterly newsletter, The Standard.


Here’s what our members are saying

By Michelle Crawley

You don’t need to be a pest management professional (PMP) to know that bed bugs are the hot topic in the industry right now. The public is slowly becoming aware that they are a real problem, after seeing many stories in national and local newspapers, in Time magazine, on the nightly news, on national television shows like “The Doctors,” “Doctor Oz” and “The Today Show” – all of them talking about how to identify and prevent these pests. And just a glance at this quarter’s OPMA Standard newsletter shows we’re all about bed bugs.

We know that the only way to rid your household or business of these pests is to call a licensed PMP, so we talked to some of our own member companies to get their take on their experience with the pest, including: Hank Althaus of Scherzinger Corporation in Cincinnati, Steve Kmetz of Certified Pest Control in Cleveland, Lonnie Alonso of Columbus Pet Control, and Andrew Christman of Ohio Exterminating Company in Columbus.

In this issue of The Standard you’ll find the NPMA’s summary of their industry bed bug survey  but here, closer to home, is what our four members had to say. . .

Becoming “A Fact of Life”

One thing that is for certain – and was mentioned by all – is that the bed bug problem is growing, and we have to get control and kill this pest. Up until 2003-2005, many of our PMP’s had never encountered a bed bug. They were common in the 1930s and ‘40s, but then largely forgotten. As Althaus said, “I have been in this business for 30 years and had never seen a bed bug until 2005, even having been in the navy and traveling around the world.”

It’s evident that bed bugs have taken most by surprise, especially the general public who thought that they were just part of a saying, “Don’t let the bed bugs bite.” No one actually thought there really were bed bugs to worry about. People had either forgotten or didn’t realize they had been a problem decades ago.

But the expansion of this pest has gotten out of control. The Time magazine article said that Ohio was ground zero for bed bugs. But is it really? Some think the publicity we’ve given on the subject has helped the state be perceived as #1. Many find it hard to believe that we could have more bed bugs than New York City, Chicago or Los Angeles. Christman says he doesn’t think we have more bed bugs than others – though we’re definitely top on the list. We certainly have a resistant strand and that is hard to kill. In addition, there is increased travel, more immigration and lack of once-available/more effective insecticides contributing to the problem, both here and around the globe.

“Cincinnati is one of the top cities because it is so transient,” says Kmetz. He and Althaus theorize that having an international airport, being on the river, having two major interstates going through town with lots of commerce, and a migrant worker population that can be found in the agriculture and horse farming industries also contributes to the growing problem. Cleveland is similar with the presence of the Cleveland clinic and its international visitors.

A lot of the recognition Ohio gets has to do with the public shock over the resurgence of the insect. And the work by the OPMA, OPARR, Ohio Department of Agriculture and others at the state and national level working on Ohio’s Section 18 request to EPA for use of Propoxur has also triggered a lot of media attention - building Ohio’s bed bug profile. “There are a host of things that have contributed to the public perception that Ohio is ground zero for bed bugs,” says Althaus.

“I think that the bed bug population is spreading so quickly that even if we are #1, I don’t think we will be for long,” says Alonso. “The thin line about who has the most bed bugs is getting blurred right now as they move across the country.”

The bottom line is that we live in a mobile society, and these little hitch hikers have lots of opportunities to spread. So much so, that Christman says that as things stand now they are “going to become a fact of life,” much like they were in the ‘30s and ‘40s. “Even with product efficacy, the bed bug problem is not going away anytime soon.”

The New Termite

Everyone agrees that the bed bugs are found everywhere. “Bed bug service is the new termite,” says Althaus. “We are on pace to do well over 1,100 bed bug jobs this year, compared to 2005 when we did two. It has escalated dramatically.”

They are being found anywhere the public goes – schools, hotels, dormitories, health-care facilities, movie theatres, stores, libraries, multi-family and residential homes.

“I’ve been surprised at how many single family dwellings we’ve serviced, particularly this year,” says Althaus. “In past years, it was focused mostly on multi-family housing and university dorms. This year, probably 50 percent of our business or more has been in single family residential environments, across all socio-economic strata. We’re not just in one type of neighborhood. Bed bugs are getting more deeply penetrated into the residential community.”

Christman has also seen them everywhere. “We’re getting the commercial accounts now – we’re talking freestanding commercial buildings – in healthcare, general retail, warehouses, doctor and dentist offices, etc. It seems like things have exponentially increased in the last three and a half years.”

Alonso says the pest has especially been a curse on the lower income areas where they have less means to treat them. Like the others we talked to, he, too, had not experienced calls for bed bugs until 2003. “Now the overwhelming majority of our work is bed bug related,” he says.

Kmetz agrees. “A few years ago we had zero cases of bed bugs. Over the last few months, 30 percent of our business is bed bug related.”

No magic wand

The methods of treating bed bugs are as diverse as the populations served. And everyone has an opinion about what works best. One thing is for sure, everyone agrees that bed bugs are tough to treat. And it’s labor intensive.

“A majority of the costs to treat bed bugs are from labor, not the product or method itself,” says Christman. “You have to send out two technicians to deal with the bulky furniture like sofas, hide-a-way beds, king size beds, etc.

“The fact is we need products that work faster. It’s tough to tell people that it’s going to take two to three treatments, over several weeks or months before they can get rid of the problem. They want it gone today.”

Alonso says that, “until you kill the bed bug or physically remove it, it will feed or reproduce. Everything we do has to be guided by killing this pest.”

At Scherzinger, Althaus offers two programs for treating bed bugs: chemical and heat. “We use conventional pesticides and are very detailed and thorough. We’ll penetrate cracks and crevices including furniture. There is a lot prep work for that service. Our minimum program is four services over an eight week period (and that’s on a mild infestation). Many programs extend beyond that. But you don’t go into a one-bedroom apartment and walk out in five minutes like you do treating for other general pests. You need to plan on being there for a few hours or longer, depending on the infestation. You cannot afford to miss anything.”

In March, Scherzinger got their first heat trailer, and has since bought two more. “We keep those busy and that method is easiest on the consumer. The nice thing about heat is that it kills all life stages of bedbugs. It is a one-time service and has a lot less preparation than the chemical treatment – for example, you may have to open your drawers, but not empty them. The downside, however, is that there is no residual. So you need to be very sure you identify the source of the problem so they are not reintroduced. Heat is also expensive. The equipment is a high capital expense and it’s an all day, two-man job. It makes it difficult for lower income clients to avail themselves to this and for owners of multifamily buildings to build that kind of expense into their economies.”

At Certified Pest Control, Kmetz uses canines for inspection and he treats with strictly heat (120+ degrees Fahrenheit). He says that his customers like the fact that there is less aggravation and preparation for when using heat. While he is not convinced that we should bring back products used years ago, he concedes that, “right now there is no magic wand. We need to give everyone more effective tools in the toolbox. And we qualified professionals to apply and treat for this pest.”

“If a thorough treatment is done and the client cooperates with all of the necessary preparation that is needed, you are going to get control,” says Christman. “But it matters how thorough the treatment is and how well the occupant prepared. There are products on the market that are working well.”

Alonso uses traditional pesticides. “The reality is that the bed bug population has expanded, and we need to control it as quickly as we can, and we need a product with residual effect. One of the real problems is that the bed bug populations are being transferred. We can eliminate an initial infestation, but need to impact further infestation. So we always use products that provide residual control.”

Alonso points out that “while everyone has their own niche and beliefs as to what works, the bottom line is that it boils down to what the customer can afford and what they are willing to accept. There is room for many treatments. The customer will choose the option, method/technology and pricing that is best for them.”

Kmetz agrees and points out that what the customer will choose will be based on success.

Althaus says that from what he hears, there is not a lot out there in the pipeline to treat these pests. “There is no magic wand in the works. There are a lot of economies involved in bringing a product to market these days and getting it through the regulatory process takes a lot of time and money.”

Do-It-Yourself-ers

Kmetz and Althaus point out that we need a chemical that can be sold to the general public that has desirable effect. Of course the big danger is that people try home remedies or products not labeled or produced for a residential setting. There have been many horror stories of people purchasing something at a lawn and garden or feed store that is intended for agricultural use and they’ve taken it inside and caused serious, unintended consequences. This is especially the case when people cannot afford the professional treatments.

“Many people say the public cannot control bedbugs on their own,” says Alonso. “My theory is different. I say, not only can they, but they better get involved. Many people cannot afford professional treatment, so as an industry we should realize that people will do things themselves, whether we or the EPA tells them they can or cannot. I think we can help them by getting them better products and explaining to them how to correctly do the treatment, rather than tell them they cannot. There’s a whole contingent of people who are DIYers with many things, let alone on an expensive procedure like bedbug control. At Columbus Pest Control we probably sell more product to the public than we perform services. And you have to realize our office is in a lower income area. Customers come in and we explain how to use the product and show them pictures, posters and pamphlets. I feel we’re doing a valuable service to our community by selling them product and giving them proper instruction. Rather than having them going somewhere else and buy something that will not control bed bugs, we think it’s better to point people in the right direction.”

Althaus says, “At the end of the day we need effective chemistry - something that is affordable across all socioeconomic strata to get ahead of the problem. If folks are not going to get services from a professional or have access to an effective product, they will use things that were not intended for bed bug control and end up causing more harm than good.”

Alonso says that there are many methods to try and, instead of shooting arrows at each other in the industry, we should realize that there are different options that ultimately the client will choose what is right for them.

Kmetz points out that despite the options out there, there will always be a majority of the population that has bed bugs and doesn’t care, or just lives with them. That may be due to where they come from and what they are used to, where they are living or the fact that they don’t want to draw attention to themselves. “They won’t be taking precautions to prevent the spread of bed bugs, and that in itself is a huge problem that is really taking a toll on apartment managers. And when you are in a condo or apartment there is no ‘majority rules’ way of dealing with them. One person can try heat, but someone else may use something that spreads them around to others again.”

Althaus adds, “Sometimes people don’t report them for fear of eviction or deportation.” The fact is that many scenarios can play into how these bugs spread in a multifamily environment. We need to consider this in our approaches.”

The EPA

We all know about Ohio’s Section 18 request for the use of Propoxur and the fact that the emergency exemption has not been granted. This continues to cause uproar in our industry.

“I am sure that (USEPA) would like to see an alternative product made available that they can embrace,” says Althaus. “While they have broadened the label on some products in the market, those products have not been as effective as Propoxur. It’s frustrating that we have research, such as from Mike Potter in Lexington, which clearly demonstrates that Propoxur is the superior molecule available to kill all life stages of this target pest and this request is not being granted. The idea that we have products that can take care of this pest, which is growing exponentially year to year, and that we have the professionals with the know-how to go out and take care of this pest, but we’re unwilling to give them the tool to do it strikes me as tragic.”

Alonso was featured in a CBS national news story about the bed bug problem, and he mentioned Propoxur in the story and the difficulty finding it these days. “I don’t know of any data anywhere that shows that the use of Propoxur is problematic. This is a product that has been used since the early ‘60s. Yet the EPA says it is dangerous. I’ve offered to let (USEPA) come to Columbus and set up their equipment where we are doing treatments so that they can get real-world data, but they refuse and keep claiming the product is dangerous. It’s unbelievable that they are turning a blind eye on what people are doing to control bed bugs and are slamming a product like Propoxur.

“One of the problems we are having is trying to understand the EPA. They talk about integrated pest management procedures like vacuuming and encasing your mattresses – and all that is well and good, but it doesn’t kill a bed bug. Bed bugs are breeding and we need to do something to reverse the trend. We need to kill them.”

“We need a chemical that we can sell to the public that has effect,” agrees Kmetz.

Education – does it help or hurt?

Because of the many stories out there about bed bugs, the general public is becoming aware that it’s a problem. But does all of this awareness educate the public or cause panic?

“Both,” says Christman. “At first, we desperately needed to educate the public. But now so much of the publicity has caused panic. I lot of the calls I receive are from people just wanting us to do an inspection to tell them if they have bed bugs or not. We’re getting more and more of those types of calls.”

“There’s no doubt that the public needs to be educated,” says Alonso. “But they are confused. They don’t know a lot about bed bugs because it’s a new phenomenon to many people. There’s also a lot of bad information out there and people selling remedies that don’t work. Unfortunately it takes time and money for the consumer to determine what tool is best.”

“People don’t care about this problem until it happens to them,” says Kmetz. “You can educate all you want, but until people get bed bugs, they don’t always pay attention.”

Althaus acknowledges that educating the pubic is important in that they understand the nature of the beast to help them prevent infestation of their homes, but, as far as educating the public, he says, “The only way I’ve ever seen knowledge kill a bug is if someone used the book they were reading to kill it!

“Still, I don’t want to belittle education. And certainly we need to educate PMP’s, but I think that, by and large, the industry does a good job nationally and at state levels in educating PMP’s about controlling pests. Is there a place for education? Yes, without question. But it doesn’t kill insects unless it’s in the hands and minds of a pest management professional that is there to provide a control service. The general public knowing a lot about the insect isn’t going to kill the bed bugs, and it doesn’t matter what level of precaution you take, you always run the risk that you’ll get a hitchhiker on you that gets introduced into your home and is the genesis of a problem at your property.”

Emotional stress

Kmetz points out that one of the things people don’t realize until they get bed bugs is the emotional toll that having them takes on a family. There is the embarrassment of having them, the stress and fear of having them bite their family, being afraid to sleep in one’s bed, and the work that goes along with getting rid of them. Kmetz had one client call off the wedding with his fiancée after seeing how poorly she handled the situation of having bed bugs, which were found in their apartment just one week before their wedding.

Bridezilla aside, he says from the PMP perspective, “(Killing bed bugs) is the most rewarding service I’ve ever provided to people. We take them from utter chaos back to reality. They are so happy to be able to peacefully sleep in their own beds again.”

How can the OPMA help?

“It’s important to link people with good companies and to advise them to contact a professional. Right now, it’s not a do-it-yourself kind of job,” says Kmetz.

“The more voices that are raised – especially with the OPMA and OPARR members and leadership, the better,” says Althaus. “Many members have been generous with their time in getting with legislators and regulators engaging in dialogues with a broad range of agencies, or serving on task forces and going to meetings with representatives from EPA. There is no lack of activity on this level. There are many voices asking for help and for solutions. But from a political perspective, at the state and federal level, we need to make our voices heard about what we’re willing to accept and what we’re NOT wiling to accept. Start contributing to a PAC fund at the state level and support candidates that support our industry. Be engaged in the political process. Help to encourage those people that are supporting our efforts.”

Alonso agrees – “Keep going to meetings and being involved.”

Christman points out that in the near future the OPMA will be putting on a lot of training geared toward bed bugs and bed bug control. “Our members can’t be trained enough on the proper treatments, what to expect from your customers and what they expect from you. We will also have a separate training on how to prevent them.”

Christman mentioned a web site that he and others have voluntarily put together with information on bed bugs – you can find it at www.centralohiobedbugs.org.

Bottom Line

Christman says that we need the right combination of product efficacy, proper preparation and education so that people can recognize the problem quickly and get it under control.

Althaus agrees, “We need to have a relatively safe, effective, economical product brought to market or made available to the market on a broad basis. And once the product is developed and delivered into the marketplace, there needs to be a concerted effort to educate the public on the proper way to use that product and to apply it in a manner that is going to be effective and to protect those that you want to protect from the bed bugs. It does no good to kill the people while trying to kill the bed bugs.”

Says, Alonso, “We started seeing the bed bugs and attacking them in 2003 with all of these different methods, ideas and actions and guess what? – The bed bug population is outpacing us. We’re not winning the war. It’s getting worse by the week, month and year, and they are spreading quickly throughout the country. And we have the USEPA dragging their feet. On behalf of the public, we need to kill bed bugs and kill them quick. This has gotten way out of control. We HAVE to get control.”


# # #

3 Billion and Counting and Me!

This first appeared in the fall 2010 issue of the Ohio Pest Management Association's quarterly newsletter, The Standard.

By Rich Kozlovich

Rachel Louise Carson (May 27, 1907 – April 14, 1964) lived her early years in Springdale, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh, and graduated from the Pittsburgh Pennsylvania College for Women (Chatham College) in 1929, later earning a master’s degree in zoology from John Hopkins University. She is the author of “Silent Spring” (her 4th book), published in 1962 and considered by some to be one of the most damaging books of the 20th century.

Her claims in this book about decreases in mammal and avian wildlife as a result of DDT were simply wrong. One of the many claims by Carson was that robins were in danger of extinction as a result of continued use of DDT. The truth was that there were more robins in the DDT era than before. And according to Audubon bird charts, there many have been as many as 47 times more. World renowned Ornithologist Roger Tory Peterson stated that the robin was the most abundant bird in North America around the same time that “Silent Spring” came out.

None of the predictions regarding cancer made by Carson ever came true. She herself died of breast cancer on April 14, 1964, at the age of 56, two years after her book came out. She did not live long enough to see real scientists using real science to shred her claims. Unfortunately, this gave impetus to her unscientific statements.

Considered the mother of the modern environmental movement, her radical naturalism became the standard for the movement. She taught that the environment had done all of the shaping and directing on the Earth and it was an act of arrogance for man to attempt to control nature. She is still lauded in various encyclopedias as a thorough, meticulous, highly qualified scientist. Those that have attacked her are presented as self-serving, large chemical companies.

Although the chemical companies did attack her (rightly so), there were also sincere, dedicated scientists such as Dr. J. Gordon Edwards, who had no ax to grind, philosophically or financially, and was just as concerned as Carson about large corporations and their designs on nature. Dr. Edwards was initially thrilled when her book first appeared. As he read “Silent Spring,” his enthusiasm waned when he realized that there was information in the book that simply wasn’t true. He noted “she was playing fast and loose with the facts.” Dr. Edwards, who considered himself to be an environmentalist, believed that “environmentalism didn’t need fraud to justify itself.”

Over the years, research on Carson’s work has shown this to be so. In spite of all the evidence showing that her work should not have been taken seriously, Carson was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1980.
• Carson advocated and promoted ideas that simply are not true.
• She claimed that DDT was a serious carcinogenic agent that with continued use would eventually impact almost 100 percent of the population.
• She claimed that DDT was causing egg shell thinning and as a result the bird population was decreasing.
• She played fast and loose with the facts and made inappropriate citations.
I was born in 1946, and like Carson, I grew up in southwest Pennsylvania. I can understand Carson’s fears for the environment. The effects on the local environment from pollution emanating from coal mines, steel mills and coke ovens in those days would make anyone concerned. Believe me when I tell you that you haven’t seen water pollution until you see a sulfur creek, or air pollution until you have see an old time coke oven. Having seen and experienced all of this, however, is still no excuse for dishonesty.

Approximately five years ago I became aware of a web site, www.3BillionAndCounting.com, created by Dr. D. Rutledge Taylor, who was making a feature documentary film (this film was shot in the purest and most respected form of artistic film making called vérité style, meaning no script and with interaction between the filmmaker and subject). The film debunks the lies about DDT, and makes clear once and for all the devastation the America’s ban on DDT caused worldwide. After posting comments on Doc’s web site for a while, he sent me a personal e-mail asking; who are you? We have communicated and shared information ever since. As a result, I was invited to the world premiere of his documentary movie, “3 Billion and Counting,” in New York City on September 17th, and I was pleased to find that I was listed separately in the credits as the Pest Control Consultant. I also finally got to meet the Doc and his producer Helene Udy, who lost a lifelong friend because of her stand regarding this film and its message.

 Dr. D. Rutledge Taylor, Helene Udy and Me.  

The research that went into this film was a massive undertaking. Oftentimes we will read that there were over 9,000 pages of testimony in the DDT hearing presided over by Judge Sweeney. The Doc managed to find the original documents that have been stored all of these years at the National Archives. He knows they were the originals because he cut the wrappings himself – they had never been opened. He will be posting many of these 9,000 pages online along with all of the comments made by Judge Sweeney. . . and I believe that there were 90 pages in that ruling. That testimony makes it very clear that the ban on DDT was not a scientific decision, but a political decision made by the first director of the Environmental Protection Agency, William Ruckelshaus, which he later admitted.

The “stars” in the film included: Doctors Elizabeth Whelan and Gill Ross of the American Council on Science and Health; Dr. Paul Driessen, author of, “Eco-Imperialism, Green Power, Black Death;” Richard Tren, a Director of Africa Fighting Malaria and co-author of, “The Excellent Powder: DDT’s Political and Scientific History;” Dr. Dennis Avery of the Hudson Institute; Roy Innes and a number of his associates from C.O.R.E. (some of whom have suffered from malaria themselves and lost family members to malaria). All participants outline the real story about the devastation caused by the unscientific ban on DDT.

Richard Tren and Me

Dr. Rutledge Taylor dedicated this film to Dr. Edwards, who single-handedly kept hope alive for millions in the third world by having the courage to be the lone voice in the wilderness in favor of keeping DDT, and that it might not fall prey to the POPS treaty.

Dr. Edwards suffered personal attacks for years because of his unbending stand on DDT, lecturing on this subject for the rest of his life, helping prove that all the claims about DDT were lies. Without his efforts, the fate of so many innocent women and children would have been sealed. Dr. Rutledge Taylor states, “It is why I dedicated this film to him/his tireless efforts. . . He simply could/would not stop, as his wife says in the end of the film, "you just don’t give up on something you KNOW is right.” I have much gratitude for this man. To me, HE should get the Nobel Peace Prize.”

What I find ironic is that Dr. Edwards, who can be credited with saving an untold number of lives because of his stand on DDT, is mostly unknown. Yet Rachel Carson is lauded, praised, and even has schools named after her, in spite of the fact that hundreds of millions have suffered or died as a result of her book.

Dr. Edwards was among that group of scientists who drank DDT every day for a year to prove that there would be no detrimental effects. He finally died at the age of 84 from a heart attack while climbing his favorite mountain in Glacier National Park.

In this feature documentary film, Dr. Rutledge Taylor addresses all the claims, from cancer to bird shell thinning and more. Please see it when you get the chance. This is a film that should be seen by every regulator and legislator, along with their staffs. Her pseudo-science ideologies are still taught in high schools this very day! My hope is that this film will rectify that.

###

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Greenwashing America




By Alan Caruba


Every time you see some product being sold as “Green”, allegedly safer or beneficial for the environment, you can be sure that it is more expensive than a comparable product that does the same thing without making this claim.

Everything you eat, drink, wear or use begins as a “natural” product. It is absurd to think that calling it “Green” improves it in any fashion. Countless inspections before anything reaches the marketplace ensure product safety. To put it another way, a carrot is a carrot is a carrot.

Recently I received a news release from a public relations firm touting clients selling Green products such as “Parsley Plus All-Purpose Cleaner”, along with “stylish organic bed linens, “natural and organic clothing”, a “99.6% natural line” of shampoos, and, “100% Bamboo towels.”

In a similar fashion, every time you hear a corporation claiming it is concerned about the environment you can be sure that it is trying to protect itself against lawsuits from environmental groups or Environmental Protection Agency action that will eat into its profits and dividends.

A recent Wall Street Journal article, “Misleading Claims on ‘Green’ Labeling” cited a study asserting that “more than 95% of consumer products examined committed at least one offense of ‘greenwashing’, a term used to describe unproven environmental claims, according to TerraChoice, a North American environmental-marketing company that issued the report.”

“Environmental-marketing company”? By reading further down in the article, one learns that “TerraChoice was recently acquired by Underwriters Laboratories, an independent product-safety certification organization”, adding that both companies “could benefit if more manufacturers seek third-party verification of the eco-claims.” You think?

Consumers Union, an independent testing company, has built its reputation on its review of various products. Underwriters Laboratories has done the same, but there is no reason to believe any Green product claim, particularly since TerraChoice has announced it is probably a scam. Not surprisingly, third party certification has been offered by some major environmental organizations as yet another way to raise a few bucks.

It is no accident that the term “greenwashing” is akin to “brainwashing”, a term that came out of the Korean War when it was learned that American prisoners of war were subjected to “re-education” by their captors.

Communists have always been big on re-education, a practice of nations such as China, Vietnam, North Korea, Cambodia, and others where you were expected change your mind and learn to love Big Brother. The alternative was that you either stayed in their concentration camps or were systematically murdered for the crime of having been an intellectual, a landowner, or a bourgeois capitalist.

Communism murdered more people in the last century than all its wars combined.

Environmental organizations, in league with an unquestioning mainstream media, have been greenwashing and brainwashing the public for decades. It usually takes the form of scare campaigns and, in the case of supermarket products, it is directed a chemicals, plastics, how livestock is raised, or some other totally superfluous “issue” that has nothing to do with the quality, price or safety of the product. The object is always the same, to lay a guilt trip on the consumer, i.e., to greenwash them.

Green product claims go hand-in-hand with the metastasizing Green regulations whose bottom line raises the costs of everything in America these days. Angela Logomasini of the Competitive Enterprise Institute is an expert on regulatory affairs. When it comes to the environment, Congress passed 1,163 new laws between 1973 and 2006. Ms. Logomasini found that only 85 of those statutes reduced government regulation, while 795 increased it. The remaining were deemed to lack significant regulatory impact.

Five of the fifty volumes containing the federal regulatory code are devoted exclusively to environmental regulation and an additional twelve also address environmental regulation in some respect. The Small Business Administration concluded that environmental regulation is the leading regulatory expense for businesses with fewer than 20 employees, averaging $3,296 per worker.

Currently, the Environmental Protection Agency that generates the new laws and regulations is totally out of control. It has been on a regulatory binge anticipating a Congress controlled by Republicans. Nothing rational explains President Obama’s continued reference to greenhouse gas emissions, Green cars, and, especially, Green jobs when so many Americans are out of work..

The EPA, created by Richard Nixon with an executive order in 1970, has to be downsized to its original mandate, ensuring clean air and clean water. When it began to define rain puddles as navigable waters and ordinary dust as a pollutant, you have to know just how crazed and dangerous it has become.

It will take a generation or two for Americans to shake loose of the insanity that is environmentalism. Long seen as a religion, it seeks total control over every aspect of your life.

© Alan Caruba, 2010

November 7-8, 2010

I would like to thank Alan for allowing me to publish this in Paradigms and Demographics. Alan publishes hard hitting, insightful, factual bottom line articles daily at Warning Signs. For more information about Alan's background please read, "On Writers, Professional and Otherwise".  RK