Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Help stop the poisoning of Oregon’s paradise Guest viewpoint
By Amy Pincus Merwin

Appeared in print: Tuesday, April 10, 2012, page A9

I am a survivor of Oregon’s Agent Orange war. I was never in Vietnam, but in 1980 I moved to Deadwood valley and was exposed to Agent Orange (2,4-D and 2,4,5-T) and its mutagenic byproduct, TCDD dioxin. I live with all the health issues of a Vietnam vet.

Agent Orange was used in Oregon’s national forests because Oregon State University professor Mike Newton, the godfather of forestry pesticides, changed the forestry model from clear-cut and slash-burn to clear-cut and spray, spray, spray. Oregon’s forests are no longer slash-burned, yet clear-cuts and intensive, repeated use of poison pesticides is standard practice.

In Lane County from Jan. 1 to March 31 more than 338 spray notices covering thousands of acres were sent to citizen subscribers. This pattern is repeated on corporate forests in every Oregon timber-producing county.

I attended the March 21 meeting of Oregon’s Pesticide Analytical and Response Center because the members, representing different Oregon agencies, were discussing the suspension of the Oregon Health Authority’s Highway 36/Triangle Lake investigation. I learned that after 33 years, PARC has no protocol for investigating Oregonians’ long-term, low-dose exposure to pesticides; has a backlog of many years of complaints about pesticide exposure that never seem to be addressed or resolved, and has never filled a required citizen-at-large position.

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