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Environmental fear mongering takes a credibility hit

By Will Verboven

February 25, 2006 -- Environmental groups have had considerable success convincing local municipalities across Canada to ban 2-4D, a herbicide that is used to control weeds in lawns. Their allegation was that 2-4D was carcinogenic and a danger to human health. That claim has now proven to be false and mis-leading.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) an organization that decides on the toxicity of chemicals in the US, in a report states that 2-4D, the popular lawn and agricultural herbicide, is not carcinogenic.

The report was the culmination of a 17 year study to determine whether 2-4D has any adverse effect on humans, wildlife or the environment. The conclusion was it had no detrimental effect and was not found to be carcinogenic when applied properly to agricultural crops or for non-agricultural purposes.

After all those years and over 1,000 submissions from public and private groups and institutions and reviewing every study on 2-4D, the EPA has finally put to disgrace the junk science and fear mongering about 2-4D used by self-appointed environmental and consumer groups.

Clearly it was a serious blow to the credibility of those groups and individuals who have been trying to scare nave citizens into believing that killing weeds with 2-4D was tantamount to inflicting cancer on the human race. It also makes all those municipalities who banned the use of 2-4D for lawn use look really silly if not completely stupid.

But will this stop the deception used by those groups against the use of 2-4D - probably not - these folks need any bogus issue to stay in the news and keep the donations rolling in. Rest assured they will continue to use buzz words like - "linked to" - "believed to be" - or "suspected of" - none of which mean anything but are designed to mislead the gullible..

The reality is herbicides only become dangerous when mis-used, and considering the high cost of those products it is unlikely citizens will be taking any baths in it or feeding it to their kids on their breakfast cereal.

Environmental lobby group credibility also took a hit from a report earlier in the year by the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The report was a scientific analysis of the amounts of chemicals in the blood and urine of a group of Americans. Not surprisingly it reported that the participants did have in their system a number of chemicals.

However, the CDC report concluded, "Just because people have an environmental chemical in their blood or urine does not mean that the chemical causes disease." It went on to say, "The toxicity of the chemical is related to its dose or concentration in addition to a person's individual susceptibility." A common sense perspective being that people are not dropping dead in the streets from chemicals in their blood.

To environmental lobby groups and their spin doctors such scientific common sense is annoying particularly when their fund raising programs are based on scaring citizens into actually believing that even minute amounts of lawn herbicides will kill their children. But lobby groups never seem to shy away from twisting unwelcome facts into moral outrage even though it is bogus.

As expected a group called the Pesticide Action Network North America proclaimed that "the CDC report found that 90% of US residents carry a mixture of pesticides in their bodies chemicals that are linked to cancer, birth defects and neurological problems." As usual they added the sure fire hot button words "Children and breast-feeding mothers could be endangered." All of it is conjecture as the CDC said no such thing.

Twisting and spinning the facts whether it's 2-4D, hormones, antibiotics or genetically-modified food is all in a day's work for self-appointed lobby groups. They have been quite successful over the years mainly because gullible consumers always seem to give those nefarious groups the moral high ground.

What people need to know is that pesticide and herbicide use is down by millions of tons per year; hormone and antibiotic use is down because of more targeted use; and GM foods have absolutely no negative impact on human health. Unfortunately, such news does not keep lobby groups in business but fear mongering about them sure does. The madness continues.


... and of interest

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