Dangerous Pesticide Scares

Alan Caruba of the National Anxiety Center gives quite a scolding to environmental scaremongers in his latest column (reprinted with permission):

Endless Environmental Lies

by Alan Caruba

In the interest of full disclosure, I need to tell you that, years ago in the 1980s, I worked for a producer of a particularly effective pesticide that was applied with nothing more toxic than water. It is now, like so many other pesticides, not available to pest control professionals because it was literally forced off the market by the Environmental Protection Agency that insisted millions of dollars of testing be repeated for its continued registration. The company decided it just wasn’t worth it.

I have served as the public relations counselor to a state pest management association that began in 1941 when its founding members decided they needed to better understand the science involved with combating one of the most ancient vectors of disease and property damage, the billions of insect and rodent pests that besiege us to this day. Over the years since then, they have invited scientists to educate their members to better serve their customers.

So, when I read yet another anti-pesticide news story in my daily newspaper, my first reaction was to heave a sigh of disgust and turn the page. My next reaction was the same one that caused me to create The National Anxiety Center to dispute the endless environmental lies designed to influence public opinion and policy. I got angry.

“The nation’s streams and rivers, from the Midwestern corn belt to the Hawaiian Islands to the suburbs of New Jersey are infused with dangerous pesticides, the U.S. Geological Survey reported yesterday.” If you read no further than that first paragraph you would, like millions of other Americans, conclude that your health was endangered. You would be wrong.

Like all such newspaper and other media stories that sound the warning claxon, you have to read further to discover there is no danger. Further into the story, you would learn that, “To what degree the findings represent a threat to human health is not certain. Most concentrations detected did not exceed federal human-health benchmarks.” That was paragraph eight. In the next paragraph, the article notes that, “How the compounds may interact in the human body is poorly understood.”

And, if you read still further, you would find a quote from Jay Vroom, president of Croplife America, that “Normal water purification procedures used by municipalities… would remove most traces of pesticides.” The key word here is “traces” because the measurements trumpeted in the first paragraph reflect a million parts per gallon and even a billion parts per gallon. Translation? So little presence of pesticides as to constitute no health threat whatever. Moreover, your local water company removes those trace elements before you ever drink them.

So why then is the sidebar to the article titled “drink at your own risk”? To scare you.

That is the single operational mode of all environmental organizations and the data they serve up to the mainstream media that cleverly puts the scare in the first paragraph, confident that you are not likely to read to the end of the story, nor even understand that the threat they are describing is non-existent.

In a similar fashion, the nation’s leading science magazines have become so debased by their alliance with environmentalists that one can no longer trust their latest “news.” A case in point is a recent issue of Science magazine that reported Antarctica is melting. Two weeks earlier, it reported that Greenland was also losing big chunks of ice. Run for your life, the sea level is about to swamp all the coastal cities of the world.

As Dr. Patrick Michaels noted on Tech Central Station, however, “Natural variability is sufficiently large on yearly and multidecadal time scales that it is simply impossible to conclude that anything other than natural variability is at play in either of those two stories.” In other words, a study based on the last three years of ice mass cannot possibly be taken seriously. Unless, of course, you are an editor for Science magazine.

If you are a scientist who follows such variations, you would know that over the course of the past several decades, the ocean-land system of Antarctica has been experiencing a growth in the amount of snow and ice.

The lies the environmental movement has put forth over the last few decades can and does fill entire libraries. They have been aided and abetted by the mainstream media that knows that scary news sells newspapers and attracts viewers and listeners.

Spring is right around the corner as I write and I guarantee you that billions of insect and rodent pests are about to debut once more to plague homeowners, apartment dwellers, and everyone else. It’s a good time to keep the phone number of your local pest management firm on the speed dial.

Click here (PDF file) to read a profile of Alan.

The National Center for Public Policy Research is a communications and research foundation supportive of a strong national defense and dedicated to providing free market solutions to today’s public policy problems. We believe that the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility provide the greatest hope for meeting the challenges facing America in the 21st century.