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Re: Pesticides

>Date: Fri, 8 Oct 1999 20:24:39 -0500 (CDT)
>From: Ivanstein at webtv_net (Ivan Trail)
>Subject: Pesticides

 The question of pesticides is of concern to those who don't
>take time to inform themselves from KNOWLEDGABLE sources. 
>My point is,  ask someone who knows.

Good point. What is your particular expertise?

>  Yes, there are some very dangerous
>chemicals that have been dubbed pesticides.  DDT is very deadly.  To
>insects.  It won't hurt a fish or human though.  My father got a large
>dose of DDT thirty years ago. He still enjoys flying and rough-housing
>with his grandkid.

All pesticides are not that bad on humans or the environment. Some of us
feel that they are a necessary evil.  Such is not the case for persistent
ones like DDT. It was banned by the EPA in 1972. Airborne exposure is not
the problem. It is its staying power in soil. I did a quick search (see
http://www.iet.msu.edu/GreatLakes/ddt.htm). This site nicely says:

"DDT in soil lasts for a very long time. Some studies show that half the
DDT present in soil is broken down within 2 years, but other studies show
that this breakdown takes more than 15 years. 
...DDT in soil can be taken up by some growing plants and by the
animals or people that eat those crops....The levels of DDT in animals or
fish can be higher than those found in the
environment because DDT is stored in fat and because the breakdown of DDT
takes a long time."

"Because DDT caused cancer in laboratory animals, it is assumed that DDT
could have this effect in humans. The Department of Health and Human
Services has determined that DDT may reasonably be anticipated to be a
human carcinogen.  EPA has determined that DDT, DDE, and DDD are probable
human carcinogens."  

I am glad that your father did not have any effect. Perhaps he did not eat
many of those crops. Others have not been as fortunate.