By Dr. Jay Lehr and Rich Kozlovich
Whenever the EPA or the green movement uses the term, “it’s for the children” as a justification for their legislative and regulatory actions, it is time to look deeper. First, the EPA banned DDT. And yes….it was a ban. It is true that there were exceptions written into the ban, and yes, it is true that this ban in the U.S. was not incumbent on other nations, and yes it is true that it was not a worldwide ban…..on paper. However, so much economic pressure was placed on countries that didn’t ban it outright that it became a de facto ban in all but a few nations.
The cost to humanity has been staggering as a result. It is estimated that there are up to one million deaths from malaria each year. But that is the tip of the iceberg. Each year approximately 500 million people (some believe this number is underestimated by WHO) are infected each year with up to “365 million cases of malaria in Africa alone in 2002”. As a result the cost in diminished lives has been far reaching. Children, who are impacted by malaria the most, will have serious development problems that will affect them for the rest of their lives, the lives of their family members and their societies as a whole. This is an economic burden that is not easily overcome when the numbers are so high. In many areas of the world there isn’t a family that hasn’t lost loved ones to malaria.
Now the EPA has decided on a program of rodenticide elimination. I know that it will mostly prevent unlicensed consumers from using the most effective rodenticides, but do we really believe this is the end of their meddling? The green activist’s ultimate goal is the elimination of rodenticides. Can any knowledgeable reasonable person believe this will end here?
They cite poison control figures of 12 to 15 thousand “reports” about rodenticides. What does that mean? Does that mean that up to 15 thousand people were sickened or died from rodenticides? No, it doesn’t. If you just call a poison control center and ask about rodenticides you go on the list. The fact that there are no figures listing anyone being sickened or dying from accidental exposures indicates that the actual number is amazingly small or they would have cited it. In a nation of three hundred million people where millions of rodenticide applications are being made each year by licensed applicators and homeowners that is an amazing safety record.
What about the number of “reports” regarding household cleaners? Fifteen years ago or so when this was first becoming a major issue it was noted that “reports” about bleach was far greater. True, there is a per ratio issue here, but the fact that “reports” are recorded by the poison control center doesn’t justify these actions by the EPA.
At pest control conferences I have heard it said that most human poisonings from rodenticides were self induced in failed attempts to commit suicide. They usually fail because it takes a lot of rodenticide to kill a person.
This will definitely impact those at the lower end of the economic scale. Just as the EPA has created the regulatory nightmare that has caused this plague of bed bugs that is spreading around the nation; especially for the lowest income groups and their children, they are now potentially creating a situation where this same group will not be able to defend their children from rats and mice easily, effectively or inexpensively.
As for claims that this will cause the Black Death to return; well, right now, at this moment in time, a statement such as that might be viewed as overkill, but it isn’t irrational nor is it unreasonable to state it. We have cases of the plague every year in the American Southwest. There is a difference between the bubonic plague and the Black Death. The Black Death is a more virulent strain of the bubonic plague. Is it possible for this less virulent strain to become more virulent? Yes. About twenty years ago or so researchers noted that there was only a slight genetic difference between these two strains, and it was possible to induce the more virulent Black Death strain in the modern strain. Did they believe it was possible for the plague to become more virulent on its own? Yes…they did! Rodenticides and their extensive use have been one of the great success stories for humanity.
Let’s hope that the EPA stops doing things “for the children”, because much of what they have done hasn’t been so much “for the children” as it has been “to the children”, because it has been the children who have suffered the most.