Pesticides, Herbicides, Insecticides, and Fertilizers, Oh My!

This is not a cute depiction of Dorothy with “lions, tigers, and bears, Oh My”. This is another side to “these chemicals are OK for the environment, people and wildlife”. The manufactures will add “independent scientific study proving the chemicals in this brew are safe for humans, animals, plants, and the environment”.

My assessment on pesticides, herbicides, insecticides & fertilizers is quite different.

I have allergic reactions to pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, and fertilizers. I once worked in an office atmosphere where carpet was in parts of the office. Carpet is bad for my health as carpet tiny fibers cause breathing problems and coughing. Pesticide treatment was applied once per month with the exclusion of the room that I worked in due to past severe reactions. For two to three days after applications as workers walked across carpet and stirred residual particles into the air where all can breathe it, I became lethargic, experienced breathing difficulties and sometimes developed skin irritations including hives.

While I react fairly quickly to exposure, those who noticed subtle clues that they did not feel quite right did not realize that it was the exposure to pesticides causing their symptoms.

Long term exposure to pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, fertilizers, cleaning agents and general indoor pollutants coupled with outdoor pollutants over the course of one’s lifetime does produce many of the diseases people battle every day. I guess I am lucky in the sense that I remove myself from the cause of my allergies. Most of the time I can find the root cause.

In 2011, I noticed urban lawn applications that made me sick while I was out on walks. I detected a distinct odor that gave me problems many years earlier from a farm area application. This happened in two cities. One city I worked in the other I lived in. I also noticed during 2011 that I had reactions to the same scented smell detected in home improvement and department stores garden sections. The fumes made me dizzy, caused asthma coughing, and caused my lips to be numb. In 2014, the garden center fumes still bothered me but the smell was not as strong and the symptoms were not as severe.

Thankfully indoor pesticides were banned where children are present. This ruling was long over due. What about all of the adults? Are they expendable? Unfortunately, those that work in manufacturing, construction, and many other occupations do not have the option to opt out of the toxic exposure. There are many schools and facilities that house multiple persons either through housing or work that are adjunct to farm fields, “the perfect lawn”, pools of standing water and or landscaped gardens. Long term exposure to a multitude of substances that leach into our air, water and soil are the underlying contributors to cancer, asthma, allergies and a host of other health problems.

Long term exposure also has lasting effects, maybe not immediately as I experience but accumulated over time. The fact that asthma, COPD in children and our elderly is increasing at an alarming rate can be directly attributed to known allergens, chemical irritants, by-product pollution, pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, and fertilizers. There are many natural versions of pest control, weed control, fertilizing, cleaning agents, and alternative green means to protect our earth and its inhabitants. Chemically produced toxic pesticides and other toxic chemically produced products are not among those natural versions.

Pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, and fertilizers may be encountered as residues in food, air and water. People may also be exposed to pesticides used in agriculture, applications for pest control at home or at work, applications to roadside right-of-ways to control weeds and applications of pesticides for public health vector control programs. Urban Mosquito spaying operations were designed to protect against mosquito carrying disease. The chemicals used are so toxic that the warnings come days in advance to alert residents not to allow exposure of children, the elderly and those with respiratory problems. Hmm, it can’t be good for the remaining people not listed, animals or the plants we consume either.

None of the previously mentioned takes into account the multitude of industrial accidents, vehicular accidents, the end-user accidents. For an example there is one accident listed in the next paragraph. These accidents happen several times a year in all corners of the world.

8/20/14 From The Mercury News “Lionville Fire Company” firefighters said the farm tractor pulling the 800-gallon tank full of pesticide turned on to its side and roughly 500 gallons of the pesticide spilled.”

Environmentally friendly to Earth and living things is always a better alternative to use in place of harmful, toxic concoctions. There are many formulas of earth friendly ingredients for pests, weed control, fertilizers, fruit trees and bushes, edible garden plants, and lawn treatments. We need only to utilize the many search engines and find them.

Following are links to articles of interest regarding the ill effects of pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, and fertilizers.


Effects of Dams on Health

Dams are massive barriers built across rivers and streams in order to impound water. Usually, they are built across valleys.

They are usually constructed because of the numerous benefits derivable from them.

Dams have been used to generate electricity in many parts of the world. The Hoover dam on the Colorado river supplies much of the electricity of Las Vegas in the USA while the Kainji and Shiroro dams in Nigeria generate a large volume of electricity which is supplied to a number of cities and villages. The provision of electricity has enhanced productivity in many industries hence improving earning power and thus purchasing power. This enables him to afford basic necessities of life like good nutrition and shelter which in turn promote good health. Electricity itself improves health care provision in the various health care facilities since many modern diagnostic and therapeutic equipments used in hospitals are also dependent on electricity for proper functioning.

Dams are also used for irrigation. By constructing a dam across a river, a large reservoir of water can be held back and later released at any time of the year to feed adjacent farms with resultant increase in food production which enhances nutrition and well-being.

Detention dams are dams which either stop or slow down the flow of water in a river. These help to control flooding. Thus farmlands are protected from flooding and destruction. The increased food production impacts positively on health.

Water is a basic necessity of life. Provision of portable water reduces the morbidity and mortality associated with water-borne diseases. Some dams have been used as sources of portable water supply. For example, the Ikpoba dam in Benin-City, Nigeria supplies 70% of the water supplied to to the city and its environs. Dams can also serve recreational purposes which also promotes good health. They can also be used for debris and silt collection for improved agricultural yield.

In spite of these benefits, dam construction also inadvertently creates some problems.

The downstream areas are deprived of nutrient-rich silt resulting in poor agricultural yield in these areas.

There may be species extinction. Dams have harmful effects on fish and marine mammals. Majority of dams do not include proper bypass systems for these animals, interfering with their life cycles and sometimes forcing species to extinction.

Though dams can be used to control flooding, they can also cause flooding with destruction of vast expanse of farmlands and animals with negative implications on health and nutrition.

Dams can also lead to spread of diseases. The containment of water in the reservoir and the irrigation channels promotes the build-up of water snails which are vectors of schistosoma. There may also be build-up of mosquitoes, since the stagnant water favours the breeding of mosquito larvae and pupae. This will increase the incidence of malaria. The larvae and pupae of the insect vector of onchocerciasis, the black fly thrive in highly oxygenated water attached to submerged vegetation and stones. The upstream area which is fast-flowing and well-oxygenated is thus a favourable breeding area. This may result in increased incidence of onchocerciasis.

Since dams have beneficial and deleterious effects on human existence it is necessary to do a proper evaluation before embarking on dam construction.

Gene Therapy: The Ethical Dilemma

When most people think of DNA, they envision it as the inherited substance that has made them what they are. They also see it as something that’s sacrosanct, written in stone, enduring from cradle to grave.

As it turns out, they could be wrong. Modern science can alter the DNA sequence, and it can do this for one cell, for multiple cells, or for an entire organism. Why would one wish to make the effort, though, and what are the implications?

What Gene Therapy Involves

In human beings, two types of genetic modifications are under investigation: germline and somatic. Each involves the introduction of a gene or gene segment into cells in need of adjustment, and neither is yet out of the experimental stage.

Germline Gene Therapy

Human germline genetic modification, or HGGM, aims to correct a malfunctioning or nonfunctioning genetic component by altering the DNA of human eggs or sperm. This theoretical, untried intervention would permanently affect the genetic makeup of future generations while having no effect whatsoever on the donors.

Somatic Gene Therapy

Somatic genetic modification attempts to treat or cure medical conditions by directly targeting the DNA sequence of diseased organs or tissues at the cellular level. Since somatic genetic modification makes no changes to the patient’s eggs or sperm, these updates will affect only the recipient and not pass on to future generations.

How Gene Therapy Is Performed

The practice of gene therapy involves transmitting genetic material into the cells in question. Since direct insertion has proven ineffective, researchers must employ a vector for this purpose. Some of the most effective carriers have proven to be modified viruses that work by infecting the cell to make it more receptive by weakening its resistance.

The means of delivery can also vary. Some methods introduce the vector directly to the patient’s body either intravenously or through inoculation. Others involve removing a patient’s cells and exposing them to the vector in a test tube environment before returning them to the body.

The Future of Gene Therapy

Although still in its infancy, successful somatic gene therapy could conceivably treat or even cure such diseases as:

– Cancer.

– Chronic granulomatous disease.

– Cystic fibrosis.

– Huntington’s disease.

– Parkinson’s disease.

– Severe combined immune deficiency.

– Sickle-cell anemia.

– Thalassemia.

If successful, the introduced gene will generate a working protein that alters the structure of the DNA to correct the genetic malfunction that’s causing the problem.

Ethical Considerations

While somatic gene therapy may someday routinely cure disease and rectify inherited defects, the ability of germline gene therapy to alter the DNA of future generations raises some ethical questions. The prospect of custom ordering a red-haired, brown-eyed child with an IQ of 165 might entice some future parents, but potential legal and moral objections could halt such creativity before it ever gets off the ground.

Disease Infections – 5 Secrets to Lifelong Health

Infectious diseases are maladies caused by living organisms that are vectors like parasites, viruses, bacteria, fungi. Many of these organisms are normally harmless, and they can even be living on the human body. However, under certain conditions, some of these living creatures can cause disease.

Infectious diseases are a direct result of inappropriate relationships that people have with their environment. The way we live directly affects health, well-being, vitality and our immune system.

AIDS, Sexual Transmitted Infections, Heart disease, cancer, and degenerative diseases like diabetes, cirrhosis, kidney failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and many others accounted for more deaths than everything else combined.

Degenerative diseases, which are some of the major lifestyle diseases, accounted for 60 percent of all deaths since the late 1990s. Follow these five basic principles and watch the results.

1. Eat “good” fats in the proper ratio – Because of processed foods, conventionally-raised meats and the abundance of vegetable oil in our diet, most of us consume far too many omega-6 fats (bad fat) and far too few omega-3s (good fat).

The latest scientific research not only continues to validate the important roles of EPA and DHA in human health, but it also shows that there is a whole family of omega-3 fatty acids, a total of eight in all, that contribute to optimal human nutrition.

2. Keep your blood sugar normal and stable – Chronically high blood sugar and insulin levels dramatically speed up the aging process and are primary risk factors for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, reduced immunity and more. Control your sweet taste and stay away from added sugars.

3. Vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are most crucial in our daily diet – Oxidation within the body is a primary cause of physical aging and diseases infections. It can be controlled by consuming a diet that is rich in antioxidants phytonutrients.

These are plant-based nutrients which support a strong immune system, normal cell growth, and long-term health of the heart, lungs, and eyes. But less than 9% of us are getting the recommended optimal servings of fruits and vegetables each day!

4. Exposure to sunlight for vitamin D – The benefits of vitamin D are so many, it’s impossible to list them all here. It is a powerful protector against cancer, heart disease and diabetes and is necessary for hundreds of functions within our body. Most of us don’t spend enough time in the sun. If you’re not able to enjoy the sun several times a week, then you should take at least 1,000 IU of vitamin D3 each day.

5. Exercise several times daily – Your body is meant to be active. It will quickly deteriorate if it’s not. Physical activity should be as high a priority as eating and sleeping. Be sure to engage in some form of exercise at least five days a week. Clean the house or wash the car.

Do some gardening for health – it gives multiple benefits against disease infections. At work, replace a coffee break with a brisk 10-minute walk. Ask a friend or colleague to join you. Most important, do the things you enjoy – have fun while being active.