Jane Schultz: It’s high to stop spraying for beetles
To the Editor:
Many have said the worst of the pine beetle epidemic is over, and yet I see the Colorado Forest Service is back on the carbaryl bandwagon. At the same time, the numbers of countries who have banned carbaryl has risen to six: Australia and England have joined Germany, Sweden, Austria and Angola in banning carbaryl.
Also, it is illegal to claim a pesticide is safe, as the Forest Service did in last Friday’s paper. Here is language from the statute which they have violated:
“Claims as to the safety of the pesticide or its ingredients, including statements such as ‘safe,’ ‘nonpoisonous,’ ‘noninjurious,’ ‘harmless’ or ‘nontoxic to humans and pets’ with or without such a qualifying phrase as ‘when used as directed'” constitutes a “false or misleading statement.” This is according to the EPA F.I.F.R.A. regulation 40 C.F.R. § 156.10 (a) (5) (ix). Hefty fines may be levied for making such a claim.
In addition, the criterion for the EPA to allow a pesticide on the market according to the EPA regulation is this: It must not be deadly on immediate (acute) exposure. If it is labeled a probable carcinogen, it is still permissible as long as no one immediately dies from it, according to current EPA allowances. If only a few birds die after immediate exposure, it is considered “practically non-toxic” to birds.
According to a head scientist in the Environmental Chemistry Laboratory at the EPA, no more health or safety tests are actually conducted by the EPA. Instead the pesticide companies now turn in their own studies of their own products. Also, some farmers who use pesticides turn in anecdotal reports of their usage. Further, no long-term health studies are necessarily conducted or required.
Some healthier solutions are used in Grand County. For instance, in Granby in many locations, larvae are used to eliminate mosquitoes instead of using fogging trucks spraying neurotoxins. (Unfortunately, however, at Shorefox mosquito-fogging trucks were used four times this summer and they are considering one more spray.)
All in all, I think the Colorado Forest Service now needs to catch up with the latest healthier solutions which have been applied in our county, and notice the reports that the pine beetle epidemic is mostly passed. And maybe they could brush up on safety-claim regulations so we citizens don’t have to use tax dollars to bail them out of a lawsuit.
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