FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Aerial Spraying of Deadly Pesticides

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:
August 15, 2018
Jason Hirthler
Russiagate and the Men with Glass Eyes
Paul Street
Omarosa’s Book Tour vs. Forty More Murdered Yemeni Children
Charles Pierson
Is Bankruptcy in Your Future?
George Ochenski
The Absolute Futility of ‘Global Dominance’ in the 21st Century
Gary Olson
Are We Governed by Secondary Psychopaths
Fred Guerin
On News, Fake News and Donald Trump
Arshad Khan
A Rip Van Winkle President Sleeps as Proof of Man’s Hand in Climate Change Multiplies and Disasters Strike
P. Sainath
The Unsung Heroism of Hausabai
Georgina Downs
Landmark Glyphosate Cancer Ruling Sets a Precedent for All Those Affected by Crop Poisons
Rev. William Alberts
United We Kneel, Divided We Stand
Chris Gilbert
How to Reactivate Chavismo
Kim C. Domenico
A Coffeehouse Hallucination: The Anti-American Dream Dream
August 14, 2018
Daniel Falcone
On Taking on the Mobilized Capitalist Class in Elections: an Interview With Noam Chomsky
Karl Grossman
Turning Space Into a War Zone
Jonah Raskin
“Fuck Wine Grapes, Fuck Wines”: the Coming Napafication of the World
Manuel García, Jr.
Climate Change Bites Big Business
Alberto Zuppi - Cesar Chelala
Argentina at a Crossroads
Chris Wright
On “Bullshit Jobs”
Rosita A. Sweetman
Dear Jorge: On the Pope’s Visit to Ireland
Binoy Kampmark
Authoritarian Revocations: Australia, Terrorism and Citizenship
Sara Johnson
The Incredible Benefits of Sagebrush and Juniper in the West
Martin Billheimer
White & Red Aunts, Capital Gains and Anarchy
Walter Clemens
Enough Already! Donald J. Trump Resignation Speech
August 13, 2018
Michael Colby
Migrant Injustice: Ben & Jerry’s Farmworker Exploitation
John Davis
California: Waging War on Wildfire
Alex Strauss
Chasing Shadows: Socialism Won’t Go Away Because It is Capitalism’s Antithesis 
Kathy Kelly
U.S. is Complicit in Child Slaughter in Yemen
Fran Shor
The Distemper of White Spite
Chad Hanson
We Know How to Protect Homes From Wildfires. Logging Isn’t the Way to Do It
Faisal Khan
Nawaz Sharif: Has Pakistan’s Houdini Finally Met his End?
Binoy Kampmark
Trump Versus Journalism: the Travails of Fourth Estate
Wim Laven
Honestly Looking at Family Values
Fred Gardner
Exploiting Styron’s Ghost
Dean Baker
Fact-Checking the Fact-Checker on Medicare-for-All
Weekend Edition
August 10, 2018
Friday - Sunday
David Price
Militarizing Space: Starship Troopers, Same As It Ever Was
Andrew Levine
No Attack on Iran, Yet
Melvin Goodman
The CIA’s Double Standard Revisited
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: The Grifter’s Lament
Aidan O'Brien
In Italy, There are 12,000 American Soldiers and 500,000 African Refugees: Connect the Dots 
Robert Fantina
Pity the Democrats and Republicans
Ishmael Reed
Am I More Nordic Than Members of the Alt Right?
Kristine Mattis
Dying of Consumption While Guzzling Snake Oil: a Realist’s Perspective on the Environmental Crisis
James Munson
The Upside of Defeat
Brian Cloughley
Pentagon Spending Funds the Politicians
Pavel Kozhevnikov
Cold War in the Sauna: Notes From a Russian American
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail