Sunday, March 8, 2009

"Most people would sooner die than think, in fact they do so." Bertrand Russell

Hello everybody!

I just received a comment to the my post "Will It Ever End?" that should be instead published as a post.

It comes from Jurgen Shirmarcher's wife. The Shirmarchers are battling since years against the plague of pesticides in Riebeek-Kasteel and thanks to them something has been achieved. I think we all should be grateful to them.

Here it is:

"Hello Barry Duck

I sympathise with you regarding this pesticide matter.

My husband and I live in the Boland and we too are being sprayed, in an unlawful manner, with pesticides, so much so that we have ( including our children) ended up in hospital and have been diagnosed as having been exposed to pesticides and organophosphates.

As I type this to you, my joints and fingers are aching ( I have recently spent 2 weeks in hospital) and the diagnosis is pesticide induced multiple chemical sensitivity.My kidneys, liver and spleen were also affected by the pesticides.

The farmer has said that "nothing he sprays is harmful to man or to the environment" and he probably really either believes this, or is is just a very good liar. We forced him, by means of a High Court Order, to notify us in writing, what he sprays us with and to our horror we discovered that many of the pesticides are 1b highly hazardous chemicals, that many of them have been banned in 52 countries (except South Africa which seems to be decades behind) and that many of them have been found to not only cause damage to ones central nervous system, ones endocrine system, but are also carcinogenic and give one cancer.

The problem is not just endemic to Barrydale, but also to most rural towns in the Western Cape and other parts of South Africa. Similar complaints have come in from Stellenbosch, Paarl, Villiersdorp,Franschoek, Grabouw, Riebeek-Kasteel,Groblersdal ... the list is long.

The hardest part about raising public awareness, is that the farmers will say that they were here first and that if you dont want to be sprayed with toxic pesticides then go back to the city. What they dont seem to understand is that if they allow their pesticides to get blown out of their vineyards/orchards then they are actually breaking the law and are guilty of a criminal offence. They may also then say that because they have Eurepgap Certification (if they export ) they have to adhere to strict standards. But do they really? and who keeps a tab on the way that they spray?

It may take years for some people to get cancer as a result of the pesticides. For others they may have almost instantaneous side effects - it varies from person to person.

Nausea,headaches, tingling tongue and metallic taste on lips, ahcing joints, chronic fatique, vertigo, painful joints, heart palpitations are all well documented symptoms of exposure to pesticides and in particular organophosphates. The more serious long term illnesses like cancer, hodgsons lymphoma, parkinsons ..... take a little longer to manifest themselves.

Should we all be concerned ?? YES.

Are our rights, to be able to live in an environment that is not harmful to our health being infringed upon ? YES

The next question is , what are we going to do about it, to protect our health, our rights and the health of our children ?

Those who dont think and or believe that the pesticides will make you ill, should put their money where their mouth is, and allow themselves to be exposed to the spray drift. When they too get ill, they will then believe how serious a situation this is."


Anonymous said...

i think i'm suffering from the same symptoms,
how can i get tested for pesticide symptoms, just a blood sample by our local doctor?

Barry Duck said...

Unfortunately, as far as I know, a blood sample is not enough unless taken within 2/3 days from contamination.
I'll get informed and I'll let you know in another comment, under this very same post, which other possibilities are available.
Thanks for your comment
Barry Duck

Jurgen said...

Hello "Anonymous" and Barry Duck,

Currently, the only pesticide that one can easily test for (in South Africa) is organophosphate. This test is looks at the colinesterase(hormone levels)and needs to be done a few times before exposure so as to ascertain your base level and then within 4-5 days after exposure.

There are other pesticides, far more toxic than organophopshates that are regularly used, that cannot be tested for in SA. The blood samples need to be sent to the USA and the tests are therefore very expensive.

Anonymous - how long have you had the symptoms and did they start after spraying in the area?

Barry Duck said...

Yes, that's more or less what I heard. I'm trying to contact a local lab that does this kind of things and see what they say.
If there are news I'll let you know.
Barry Duck

Jurgen said...

Title: Together, two common pesticides may increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease.
Date: 27.04.09
Source: Environmental Health News

Costello, S, M Cockburn, J Bronstein, X Zhang and B Ritz. 2009. Parkinson's disease and residential exposure to maneb and paraquat from agricultural applications in the Central Valley of California. American Journal of Epidemiology 169: 919-926.
Synopsis by Jonathan Chevrier, Ph.D.

The risk of Parkinson's disease increases in people who live near farm fields sprayed with a combination of pesticides.

A recent study conducted in California’s Central Valley found that people who lived near fields sprayed with a combination of pesticides used on crops such as potatoes, dry beans and tomatoes had an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease.

This is the first study to evaluate associations between exposure to a combination of pesticides and the risk of Parkinson’s disease.

These results add to the growing literature suggesting that exposure to multiple chemicals may be more harmful than exposure to individual chemicals and contribute to the debate of evaluating chemical safety one at a time rather than in combination.

The cause of Parkinson’s disease is still a mystery to scientists but reports of higher risks of this ailment in farmers and in rural populations have lead some to hypothesize that exposure to pesticide mixtures may be a contributor.

The scientists found that people who live within 500 meters of a field sprayed with the pesticides maneb and paraquat in combination, but not individually, had a 75 percent higher risk of Parkinson’s disease relative to controls. Being exposed to the mixture at a younger age resulted in an even higher risk. Individuals potentially exposed to these pesticides when they were 60 years old or younger were 5 times more likely to be diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

These results are predicted by studies which showed that exposing rodents to maneb and paraquat together resulted in reduced motor activity, nerve cell loss and decreased levels the neurotransmitter dopamine in certain areas of the brain as observed in Parkinson's patients. Animal studies also predicted Costello's finding that effects of these pesticides would be more important when exposure occured at a younger age.

Researchers obtained these results after comparing potential exposure to pesticides in 368 people with Parkinson’s diseases and 341 people without living in an agricultural area. Exposure was estimated using land-use maps and data from the California Pesticide Use Report, a program which requires that the precise date, chemical and location of spraying be reported to the State.

However, biological markers, such as pesticide concentrations in urine and blood, were not measured. Other factors associated with living close to certain fields may explain the reported association.