Previous administrations have worked to protect the environment. We have concerns about the present administration we would like to share.
Chlorpyrifos, an organophosphate pesticide widely used in commercial crops, was going to be banned by the EPA because their own studies showed it slowed brain development in children. When Dow Chemical Company made a one million dollar contribution to Trump’s inaugural fund, the ban was suddenly withdrawn by the head of the EPA.
Neonicotinoid pesticides are used commercially and non-commercially. A single seed, coated with this pesticide, can kill a song bird. This toxin is absorbed by the plant and can be present in the pollen and nectar, making them toxic to bees. The EPA has taken action that banned 12 different neonicotinoids, but it has left 47 of them still on the market. Recently, it was reported that the U.S. has lost 2.9 billion birds since 1970, and agriculture is 48 times more toxic to insects and bees than it was 20 years ago. The current administration is trying to reverse the 2014 Neonicotinoid Ban on use of these toxins on 150 million acres of National Wildlife Refuge land. They are doing this without considering the harm being done to endangered species as required by law.
Roundup (glyphosate), which is named as a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization, and is a known hormone disruptor, is now banned or restricted in 18 countries. With the onset of GMO crops that were made to be glysophate-resistant, our use of Roundup has increased 15 to 20 times. In a university study, 90 percent of the people tested had glyphosate in their urine. Another research study showed highly elevated levels of glyphosate in common foods, such as cereals, often consumed by children. They are even more susceptible to pesticide effects than adults are. Some of these foods had levels above the 310 parts per million level considered safe by the EPA. European safety levels are much lower, yet our EPA continues to take a stand on the side of pesticide companies regarding safety of glyphosate.
If the EPA now feels that all these chemicals are safe enough to be in our food, then why, according to a recent French study, do people who eat organic foods have a 25 percent reduction in certain cancers?
The EPA is also rolling back the Clean Water and Air Act. This act has protected our streams, rivers, wetlands, oceans and air. Studies have shown that this act saves 230,000 lives per year and prevents 2.4 million asthma-related ER visits each year. With every dollar invested in this Act, we receive 30 dollars in health benefits. Also, the EPA has just changed regulations on ambient air near factories that will make it even easier for companies to add pollution to our air.
As a side note, in 2018, the Department of the Interior weakened the Migratory Bird Treaty Act that has been in effect since 1918, and in 2019, this administration wants to weaken the Endangered Species Act of 1973.
How is it that people who support this administration think they are immune to the toxic policies promoted by this administration? Do they think our children and grandchildren are going be protected by magic? We cannot support an administration bent on destroying our environment for the sake of corporations and greed.
Submitted by Stan Ferguson, P.A.-C Emeritus, and Bonnie Ferguson, retired educator.