Monday, August 10, 2009

Little yellow signs


Taking a walk around my neighborhood the other day, my nose was assaulted by the sharp scent of lawn chemicals. It seemed that almost every other house had one of those tiny yellow signs sticking out of the grass -- pesticide application, keep off! -- and the smell to prove it. I've always wondering about those signs. If what you are putting on the lawn is poisonous, how will placing a tiny yellow sign on the lawn for a day or two prevent any harm at all? I truly do not understand the logic.

This is not an idle thought for me; rather, something I've been pondering for years. It's become even more salient as I've dealt with my own breast cancer, something I'm certain resulted, in part, from estrogenic compounds in the environment such as pesticides.

Consider this from the Breast Cancer Fund:
A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that exposures to toxic chemicals, including pesticides, in the environment are contributing to high breast cancer rates. Pesticides used in and around the home and in agriculture are used to control pests like weeds (herbicides), fungus (fungicides), insects including fleas and ticks on pets (insecticides) and rodents (rodenticides).

Pesticides are just one of many daily toxic exposures. We can be exposed to unsafe chemicals through the use of pesticides in our yards, on our pets, in public parks or on the food we eat as well as from certain plastics, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.

Even though some pesticides have been banned, they remain in the body and the environment for decades. DDT, perhaps the most studied pesticide, was banned in the U.S. in 1973 but can still be found in household dust samples and in the body fat of humans and animals and in human breast milk and placenta.
Let's just say that I'm not counting on those little yellow signs to protect me from anything anytime soon, okay?

1 comment:

Starchilde said...

Pesticides are a bad thing for a lot of reasons, but one of the major problems is that many of these pesticides (including DDT) are estrogenic in nature - that's a very bad thing. Compounds like this don't break down naturally and are not water soluble. That means they stick around a long time and accumulate the further up the food chain you go. It is affecting the maturation cycle of fish and other animals the live in and around run off areas, culminating by going into our bodies from the foods we eat. If I recall correctly, there have been hypotheses put forward that these chemicals are causing quite a lot of the problems we are seeing in children today. It’s worth looking into and knowing more about.

It should be additionally noted that aside from pesticides and PCBs (and other compounds that go under the heading of “better living through chemistry) that some of estrogenic compounds in run off water comes from birth control pills. These compounds pass through the female body, doing their specified job of controlling cycles, but then pass out and into the water supply. By no means am I saying that birth control pills are bad things, it’s that we human don’t often look at the long term effects of our actions.