FACT networks with many organizations that are working fervently to reduce dependence on pesticides, many of which are carcinogenic and/or hormone disrupting . The following article, reprinted from a publication called Solutions, was sent by one of these groups. It lifted our spirits to know that a political figure, in this case, New York State Attorney General Dennis C. Vacco, is concerned about the use of these toxic chemicals in our environment. You may want to write to commend him for his action (NY State Dept. of Law, The Capitol, Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY 12224).
At the end of this article we have printed the names of several organizations that are in the forefront of this long-running battle to reduce pesticides and other toxic chemicals in our food, air and water. You may want to add your support to this herculean effort.
Attorney General Dennis C. Vacco issued the results of a first-ever survey of pesticide use at hospitals in NY State, and urged hospitals to kick or curb their pesticide habits.
Ninety-eight percent of the 192 hospitals that responded to the survey use pesticides. Many respondents indicated that they apply pesticides throughout their facilities, including areas inhabited by patients. Only 52% of respondents notify their medical staff, and only 32% notify patients when applying pesticides.
Vacco encouraged hospitals to adopt Integrated Pest Management (IPM) policies to dramatically reduce or eliminate their reliance on pesticides. IPM emphasizes controlling pests through mechanical, physical, and biological practices, and, as a last resort, the judicious use of the least-toxic pesticides available. Vacco notes in the report that hospitals currently practicing IPM report that pests are better controlled with IPM than with chemical treatments and that practicing IPM is more economical.
According to the report, hospital patients, especially the young, old, or sick, are particularly susceptible to pesticides’ negative effects. The pesticides used by the hospitals surveyed can cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, skin, and respiratory irritation, dizziness, vision problems, lack of coordination, and behavioral disturbances. In people who are already ill, these symptoms may not be recognized as pesticide exposure. Some of the pesticides used may cause cancer and reproductive disorders years after the exposure.
The hospital survey was conducted with the assistance of Dr. Philip Landrigan, chairman of the Department of Community Medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. In the report’s preface, Dr. Landrigan stated, “This is a landmark report. It deserves wide and careful attention. Its findings and recommendations will benefit the health of all New Yorkers.”
Food and Water, Inc.,
RR1 Box 68D, Walden, VT 05873
1- (800) – EAT SAFE or (802) -563-3310
Cornell Cooperative Extension – (914) 285-4640
New York Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides
Mothers and Others for Pesticide Limits, 40 West 20th Street, New York, NY 10011,212-727-2700. A project of the Natural Resources Defense Counsel (NRDC)
Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides, P.O. Box 1393, Eugene, OR 97440, (503) 344-5044.
Environmental Health Network, P.O. Box 1155, Larkspur, CA 94977.
Natural Food Associates, Renee Dolfinger, 31 Forbus Street #B1, Poughkeepsie, N. Y. 12601.