Letter to the Editor

Spraying is hurting our health

Thursday, November 19, 2009

It was two months ago that I wrote to you of the ill-health that my family suffered from aerial spraying. The response I received was overwhelming. Forty-plus people contacted me, many strangers, sharing their health problems and frustrations. One woman I met had became ill and lost all her hair from aerial spraying. She has documented medical records showing the specific chemicals in her body. With the weight of my family's health on my shoulders as well as the health of all the people who have contacted me, I have been pouring my time into researching and sharing the information how the chemicals coming from aerial spraying are wrecking havoc on our people.

Aerial spraying regulations are laughable and unenforceable. Example one, an aerial sprayer is to be within ten feet of the canopy when spraying. Example two, you can not drift on to another's property. You all have seen aerial spraying and know that neither of these two regulations are being met or can be met. Common sense is not being applied here. We have only eight field agents for the entire state to see that regulations are being followed. With our state budget woes, we are sure to see cuts in this area as well. The pesticide bureau is already overwhelmed with violations. The department told me, it can take up to a year for fines or warnings to be sent out. None of this fixes the fact that aerial spraying is sickening people.

Aerial spraying used to be popular prior to the 70's. It went out of vogue because the chemicals, such as DDT, they were spraying were banned for their human and environmental toxicity. The 1990's had a low of forty aerial sprayers in Iowa. This number has risen dramatically in the last three years to about 200 in 2009. This is due to the rise in molds in corn and aphids in soybeans as well as the introduction of chemicals similar to DDT to combat these two problems.

Molds and insects attack weak and sickened plants. This is a basic, common knowledge biology fact. So instead of improving the health of our plants and soil, the chemical companies are selling a chemical band-aid. Every year, it worsens as we are seeing and we need stronger chemicals.

The U. of Minnesota research has shown that many aphid species are resistant to insecticides. A local fertilizer company told me that is why they are applying two or more pesticides at a time. That means we, humans, are getting a double dose of pesticide each application. The fungicides being applied to the corn are moderate to acutely toxic to humans. They are acutely (deadly) toxic to bees, all aquatic organisms, ducks, quail, etc. Do not take my word for it. Do your own research. I am willing to share with all the research I have accumulated.

Aerial spraying does not have to be. Farmers, you have a choice. Please choose what is good and right for all in your community. Land owners, you have a choice. You do not have to allow aerial spraying. Everyone who wants to see aerial spraying ended, please, write your local fertilizer plants, county supervisors, your Iowa state representative and senator, and talk to your neighbors. My children, my husband, I, and many others are being sickened by aerial spraying. I alone cannot get things changed. I need all of you to help me. Together, we can make Iowa healthier and safer for all.