FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Aerial Spraying of Deadly Pesticides

by MURRAY HUDSON

Five-year-old Joshua Hanks suffered with asthma. Unfortunately, he lived next to a cotton field outside Friendship in Crockett County. After pesticides were dropped on that field by air July 29, 2002, Joshua stopped breathing. Paramedics took him to a hospital in Jackson, but by then, he was brain dead..

Tests were run and doctors asked Joshua’s mother why he has so many chemicals in his blood. The most prominent chemical was, according to the boy’s grandparents, the insecticide used in spraying cotton fields: malathion.

Although this is a worst case scenario, it is not the only death of an asthmatic child or elder with emphysema I have been told of in a six-mile radius of my house.

Scores of people have respiratory problems, including ”chemical pneumonia.” Sure, some of them have ”allergies.” They’re allergic to the poison sprayed around them. Respiratory therapists and doctors tell us they know at once when spraying starts because respiratory problems spike.

According to a 2004 University of Washington spray drift study: ”Even in calm weather, air application tends to drift off-target with potential exposure risks to humans.” The report goes on to discuss ”health impacts and risks to farm workers, their families, and nearby residential communities.”

”Of immediate concern is acute derma contact and inhalation exposure from OP (organophosphate) insecticides to children living in close proximity to agricultural operations,” the public health study reported. ”Children have a higher inhalation rate to body weight ratio than adults and may have comparatively immature detoxification and clearance systems and therefore are at higher risk than adults to adverse effects from airborne toxicants.”

In a recently released poll by the University of Tennessee, 92% of Tennesseans polled statewide wanted more protective laws regulating aerial spraying. Few people believe it is right or acceptable for poisonous spray drift to contaminate someone’s private property, crops, livestock, pets or family.

Ironically, the largest health insurer for rural Tennesseans, the Farm Bureau, is also the most vocal opponent to the Tennessee Aerial Spraying Protection Act of 2005.

Save Our Cumberland Mountains, a statewide grassroots organization of common people standing for their rights, has worked hard for four years with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, which regulates aerial spraying.

We are simply asking for protective laws such as buffer zones of 100 feet around homes and 300 feet around schools, hospitals, churches, etc. where pesticides cannot be sprayed from the air. This doesn’t keep the farmer from using his ground rig.

North Carolina has had buffer zones for more than 20 years, disallowing any chemical application within 100 feet of a house. It hasn’t hurt farmers there, and it won’t hurt farmers here. (I speak as a sixth-generation Tennessee farmer). Alabama and Louisiana also have buffer zones.

Our legislation, in both the Tennessee Senate and House, also asks for crop-dusters to fax a public service announcement (PSA) for radio or newspapers before they spray. They are already required to furnish when, where and what they’re spraying to the local sheriff by the morning before application.

We also want a registry for pesticide-sensitive people, including asthmatic children such as young Joshua Hanks. Aerial applicators would have to let these at-risk people know before they spray nearby. If he’d been warned to leave, maybe Joshua would still be with us.

MURRAY HUDSON is head of the aerial spraying committee for Save Our Cumberland Mountains (SOCM). E-mail: mapman@ecsis.net.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
May 26, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Swamp Politics, Trump Style: “Russiagate” Diverts From the Real White House Scandals
Paul Street
It’s Not Gonna Be Okay: the Nauseating Nothingness of Neoliberal Capitalist and Professional Class Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
The ICEmen Cometh
Ron Jacobs
The Deep State is the State
Pete Dolack
Why Pence Might be Even Worse Than Trump
Patrick Cockburn
We Know What Inspired the Manchester Attack, We Just Won’t Admit It
Thomas Powell
The Dirty Secret of the Korean War
Mark Ashwill
The Fat Lady Finally Sings: Bob Kerrey Quietly Resigns from Fulbright University Vietnam Leadership Position
John Davis
Beyond Hope
Uri Avnery
The Visitation: Trump in Israel
Ralph Nader
The Left/Right Challenge to the Failed “War on Drugs”
Traci Yoder
Free Speech on Campus: a Critical Analysis
Dave Lindorff
Beware the Supporter Scorned: Upstate New York Trump Voters Hit Hard in President’s Proposed 2018 Budget
Daniel Read
“Sickening Cowardice”: Now More Than Ever, Britain’s Theresa May Must be Held to Account on the Plight of Yemen’s Children
Ana Portnoy
Before the Gates: Puerto Rico’s First Bankruptcy Trial
M. Reza Behnam
Rethinking Iran’s Terrorism Designation
Brian Cloughley
Ukraine and the NATO Military Alliance
Josh Hoxie
Pain as a Policy Choice
David Macaray
Stephen Hawking Needs to Keep His Mouth Shut
Ramzy Baroud
Fear as an Obstacle to Peace: Why Are Israelis So Afraid?
Kathleen Wallace
The Bilious Incongruity of Trump’s Toilet
Seth Sandronsky
Temping Now
Alan Barber – Dean Baker
Blue Collar Blues: Manufacturing Falls in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania in April
Jill Richardson
Saving America’s Great Places
Richard Lawless
Are Credit Rating Agencies America’s Secret Fifth Column?
Louis Proyect
Venezuela Reconsidered
Murray Dobbin
The NDP’s Singh and Ashton: Flash Versus Vision
Ron Leighton
Endarkenment: Postmodernism, Identity Politics, and the Attack on Free Speech
Anthony Papa
Drug War Victim: Oklahoma’s Larry Yarbrough to be Freed after 23 Years in Prison
Rev. John Dear
A Call to Mobilize the Nation Over the Next 18 Months
Yves Engler
Why Anti-Zionism and Anti-Jewish Prejudice Have to Do With Each Other
Ish Mishra
Political Underworld and Adventure Journalism
Binoy Kampmark
Roger Moore in Bondage
Rob Seimetz
Measuring Manhoods
Edward Curtin
Sorry, You’re Not Invited
Vern Loomis
Winning the Lottery is a State of Mind
Charles R. Larson
Review: Mary V. Dearborn’s “Ernest Hemingway”
David Yearsley
The Ethos of Mayfest
May 25, 2017
Jennifer Matsui
The Rise of the Alt-Center
Michael Hudson
Another Housing Bubble?
Robert Fisk
Trump Meets the New Leader of the Secular World, Pope Francis
John Laforge
Draft Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapons Unveiled
Benjamin Dangl
Trump’s Budget Expands War on the Backs of America’s Poor
Alice Donovan
US-Led Air Strikes Killed Record Number of Civilians in Syria
Andrew Moss
The Meaning of Trump’s Wall
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail