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:
Weekend Edition
January 19, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Dr. King’s Long Assassination
David Roediger
A House is Not a Hole: (Not) Caring about What Trump Says
George Burchett
How the CIA Tried to Bribe Wilfred Burchett
Mike Whitney
Trump’s Plan B for Syria: Occupation and Intimidation
Michael Hudson – Charles Goodhart
Could/Should Jubilee Debt Cancellations be Reintroduced Today?
Marshall Auerback – Franklin C. Spinney
Boss Tweet’s Generals Already Run the Show
Andrew Levine
Remember, Democrats are Awful Too
James Bovard
Why Ruby Ridge Still Matters
Wilfred Burchett
The Bug Offensive
Brian Cloughley
Now Trump Menaces Pakistan
Ron Jacobs
Whiteness and Working Folks
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Keeper of Crazy Beats: Charlie Haden and Music as a Force of Liberation
Robert Fantina
Palestine and Israeli Recognition
Jan Oberg
The New US Syria “Strategy”, a Recipe For Continued Disaster
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
The Return of the Repressed
Mel Gurtov
Dubious Partnership: The US and Saudi Arabia
Robert Fisk
The Next Kurdish War Looms on the Horizon
Lawrence Davidson
Contextualizing Sexual Harassment
Jeff Berg
Approaching Day Zero
Karl Grossman
Disaster Island
Thomas S. Harrington
What Nerve! In Catalonia They are Once Again Trying to Swear in the Coalition that Won the Most Votes
Pepe Escobar
Rome: A Eulogy
Robert Hunziker
Will Aliens Save Humanity?
Jonah Raskin
“Can’t Put the Pot Genie Back in the Bottle”: An Interview with CAL NORML’s Dale Gieringer
Stepan Hobza
Beckett, Ionesco, and Trump
Joseph Natoli
The ‘Worlding’ of the Party-less
Julia Stein
The Myths of Housing Policy
George Ochenski
Zinke’s Purge at Interior
Christopher Brauchli
How Trump Killed the Asterisk
Rosemary Mason - Colin Todhunter
Corporate Monopolies Will Accelerate the Globalisation of Bad Food, Poor Health and Environmental Catastrophe
Michael J. Sainato
U.S Prisons Are Ending In-Person Visits, Cutting Down On Reading Books
Michael Barker
Blame Game: Carillion or Capitalism?
Binoy Kampmark
The War on Plastic
Cindy Sheehan – Rick Sterling
Peace Should Be Integral to the Women’s March
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
No Foreign Bases!
Matthew Stevenson
Into Africa: Across the Boer Heartland to Pretoria
Joe Emersberger
What’s Going On in Ecuador? An Interview With Wladimir Iza
Clark T. Scott
1918, 1968, 2018: From Debs to Trump
Cesar Chelala
Women Pay a Grievous Price in Congo’s Conflict
Michael Welton
Secondly
Robert Koehler
The Wisdom of Mass Salvation
Seth Sandronsky
Misreading Edu-Reform 
Ann Garrison
Full-Spectrum Arrogance: US Bases Span the Globe
Louis Proyect
Morality Tales on the American Malaise: the Films of Rick Alverson
David Yearsley
Winston and Paddington: Marianelli’s Musical Bears
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail