Dave Stancliff/For the Times-Standard
Posted: 11/06/2011 02:39:41 AM PST
Pesticides threaten our health, yet we still use them in America today. In the Vietnam War, herbicides (a subclass of pesticides) and their deadly effects created a dark legacy that still lingers.
Many Americans have heard about Agent Orange and are aware that the Veterans Administration has recognized numerous ill effects it had on people who were exposed to it. Not so well known is that nine of the 12 most dangerous and persistent organic chemicals are pesticides, according to the 2001 Stockholm Convention findings (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stockholm_Convention) on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs).
The result of the convention was an international environmental treaty, which went into effect in May 2004. The aim was to eliminate or restrict the production and use of POPs, defined as “chemical substances that persist in the environment, bio-accumulate through the food web, and pose a risk of causing adverse effects to human health and the environment.”
In the early 1960s, we sprayed Agent Orange in Vietnam as a defoliant. It contained dioxin, but the chemical companies assured everyone that dioxin occurred naturally in the environment and was not harmful to humans. They knew better.
In March 1965, Dow official V.K. Rowe convened a meeting of executives of Monsanto, Hooker Chemical, which operated the
Love Canal dump, Diamond Alkali, the forerunner of Diamond-Shamrock, and the Hercules Powder Co., which later became Hercules Inc.
According to documents uncovered years later, the purpose of this meeting was “to discuss the toxicological problems caused by the presence of certain highly toxic impurities” in samples of 2,4,5-T. The primary “highly toxic impurity” was 2,3,7,8 TCDD, one of 75 dioxin compounds.
READ MORE: http://www.times-standard.com/guest_opinion/ci_19276804