APPENDIX II-AB: Pesticides Dr. Ferrel, M.D.


This article is from:


Email to a friend  |  Print version  |  PDF version 

Apr 26,2005

Home : Ask-Doctor : Pesticides, Poison, Mosquitoes, & People

Pesticides, Poison, Mosquitoes, & People

by James A. Ferrel M.D.

by James A. Ferrel M.D, CNC

Question: What is your opinion about the spraying of pesticides for the West
Nile Virus in
Phoenix, Arizona?

Answer: I applaud the Maricopa Co. Board of Supervisors for their decision
to limit spraying for the
West Nile virus. The supervisors demonstrated
wisdom and courage to resist pressures from the CDC and the pesticide
promoters and profiteers.

The WN virus challenge we now face can be effectively dealt with by a more
appropriate and measured response, if the citizens are informed of the

1) The WN virus is a low virility organism. Let's get this "epidemic" into
perspective! As is typical when the virus first appears in a community whose
residents have no immunity through prior infection, in 2004 we saw 8 deaths
in the approximately 2400 valley residents truly infected. Of this group,
only about one in four even knew they were ill. We are not dealing with
plague or Ebola virus here folks. The seriously ill victims of WN virus are,
as usual, elders. The key reason we see most deaths from this virus in the
elderly is the obvious waning of the immune system with aging. One certain
way to make this weak virus more lethal is to further weaken the immune
systems of the entire population at risk by exposing them to toxic chemicals. Spraying chemicals also encourages organisms involved to mutate. It was recently announced in the Wall Street Journal News Service (
Oct. 14, 2004) that researcher David Beasley found that the New York virus has a mutation thought to boost its virulence. New York is where pesticide spraying was most intensely applied, in the attempt to irradicate the WNV. The current pesticide spray contains two specific, synergistic chemicals designed to damage nerve and brain cells, as well as a multiple chemical (trade secret) dispersal solvent. All of these chemicals have to be detoxified by us humans THAT CAN. This weakens our immune systems, by tying up enzymes and energy that could be used to keep infectious disease, cancer, and other cellular challenges in check. Has the AIDS epidemic not taught the infectious disease doctors anything about the importance of the immune system in fighting all infectious diseases?

2) Pesticides are toxic, in varying degrees, to all people exposed. . The two pesticides in use have only been properly safety tested in mice, and only to the end points of tumor development and death. The white mice tested were all of a greatly genetically similar strain. It is absurd to extrapolate and project the results of such studies onto the human species, which is not only vastly different but has so much genetic diversity within our species. The most we could possibly assume by such scientific fallacy of logic is that those humans that bear the genetic resemblance to a very specific genetic variation of rats will not die or get cancer from the spray, MAYBE. Remember, the pesticides kill brain and nerve cells. If the rodents so tested could talk, they might tell us how bad they feel. If we could give them an IQ test, we might get some idea of just how much brain damage they sustained. The valley's children are already having to struggle to pass AIMS. We know their bodies have bioaccumulated dozens of environmentally acquired toxic chemicals. Do you think they'll have a better chance to pass AIMS if we dose them up with a few more neurotoxins? The valley of the sun people want to keep all their brain and nerve cells, thank you.

3) Serious toxic effects from chemicals are most often not acutely recognized. Gulf War Syndrome, Vioxx toxicity, and Agent Orange toxicity are typical examples of damage by chemicals that may take decades for us to understand. Most of us have a relative degree of protection from healthy enzyme systems that detoxify toxic chemicals, as well as intact and healthy blood/brain barriers. Nevertheless, most of the chemicals we take into our body, often unknowingly or without our permission, are bioaccumulated. They build up to cause us harm too late for us to establish a direct cause-effect relationship. We are essentially "date raped," and later deliver the diseased "products of conception" after an unpredictable gestation. Some pesticide exposed people will undoubtedly have "idiosyncratic" reactions. Because of their unique genetics they will have first time exposure reactions, not dose related or requiring bioaccumulation of toxin. This type of reaction (usually bizarre) can present with anything from seizure to sudden death from an irregular heart beat. Of course, no cause and effect would be established in these pesticide-related cases because no one really knows who is getting the chemical exposure and when. When this type reaction occurs with patients on pharmaceuticals it's easier to recognize a drug cause, because the doctor knows who got what, and in what temporal relationship. Even if pesticide was suspected as causing the event, the pesticide promoters would deny any relationship based upon irrelavant safety studies.
Those of us with weaker immune systems, or who have less healthy blood/brain
barrier protection, will be more at risk for brain/nerve damage from the pesticides now being used. Most elders will be at highest risk. Death of a few million brain cells in the elderly would be erroneously "chalked up" to the increasing senility of aging.

Infant, toddler, and fetal risk is great because the blood/brain barrier is not yet fully developed in them. Damage to the developing fetal brain may be noticed about 2-3 years later and attributed to autism. Autism has become one of many unexplained epidemics (obesity, type 2 diabetes, ADHD, depression, Alzheimer's, etc.) in our "quick to poison the environment for any reason" society. The rate of AUTISM has gone from about 2/10,000 in the 1981-1990 periods to somewhere between 17 and 67/10,000 in the 2002 studies. Most recent statistics put it's rate of occurrence at 1 in every 166 children born this day. Nobody seems to know why. In my opinion, toxic environmental chemicals (possibly even food-chain introduced ones) that damage the developing fetal/infant brain, which has limited blood/brain barrier protection, most likely cause it. I wonder what the occurrence rate needs to be and what price we have to pay, before "those in charge" finally "get it."

Breast cancer patients are at double risk. Not only are their immune systems already compromised, but also the pyrethroids (in the spray) have been shown to act on the estrogen receptors. Of course, in this scenario, as usual, the additional mortality and morbidity driven by the pesticide would not be recognized. It would just be attributed to the variable course of breast cancer. The pesticide spray contains EDC's (endocrine disrupting chemicals). EDC's interfere with hormone messengers. Many bizarre things happen to us when the proper hormone messages are not transmitted! Patients with ANY type of cancer, as well as anyone on chemotherapy or with chronic illness will be at added risk for health damage from exposure to the spray.

Also at high risk are the ever increasing numbers of people (currently estimated to be approximately 15% of our population) who have sustained significant damage by chemicals. Environmental medicine physicians term them MCS patients (for Multiple Chemical Sensitive). These "chemically sensitive" people are often misdiagnosed with psychiatric labels or "etiology undetermined" illness, such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, etc. Doris Rapp M.D., the well-known
Scottsdale environmental medicine author, would simply explain that these unfortunate people have their "detoxification barrels" full. More chemicals poured into their barrels simply spill over
and result in more symptoms immediately. Most of the time, like a "date rape" victim, they will not know what hit them, for example, unless they see the spray truck. MOST doctors have little training or understanding of the special needs of these patients. The environmental specialist doctors who treat the worst of these patients already appreciate the adverse impact of the spraying on their patients, and they have voiced their disgust at a press conference held

4) Killing every adult mosquito in the valley will not stop the WN virus. What will eventually contain it will be, future developed, immunization and heard immunity. The 2392 infected human survivors, as well as infected surviving birds and horses, as well as all people and horses that get immunity through vaccination (if one is developed)*, will act to protect the remaining 2,000,000 valley residents at risk.

*A human vaccine for WNV will probably never come to fruition as WNV is NOT
such a relatively significant public health threat, as to warrant its development and use. If the virus mutates into a more virulent form that predominates, it could become so. The one thing that would be most likely to encourage it to mutate is PESTICIDE INTERVENTIONS!

5) Aerial spraining violates the public health tenant of informed consent. Such spraying is the equivalent of giving many of our 2,000,000 valley residents a varying dose of a chemotherapy agent, that has never adequately been tested on humans, without their informed consent. It is appalling to those of us that understand the damaging effects of chemicals on our health to be subjected to such risk, without choice. Naive and unnecessary decisions forced upon the community are an outrageous violation of public trust. WE MUST SEVERELY RESTRICT WNV SPRAYING NOW!

Larvaciding can be a much more effective and safer intervention than spraying pesticides into the air. Bti, a natural soil bacterium is harmless to mammals, birds, and fish. Bti spores are eaten by mosquito larvae and release toxins killing the mosquito larvae. Also, a safer, more effective, and cheaper strategy is to inform the people of the challenge and get them involved. We have seen how the community
responded recently when informed of the potential crisis of rolling blackouts. People will work together if they understand their role in countering the challenge. IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT PEOPLE BE IMFORMED PRIOR TO BEING SUBJECTED TO ANY PESTICIDE SPRAYING!

People need to learn how they can best protect themselves and their charge
from both the WN virus and the toxic spray. People need to know that their immune system is their best defense for most infectious disease (and other) challenges. They need to understand that proper immunization, excellent nutrition, safe behaviors, healthy emotions, positive human interaction, exercise, rest, management of stress, avoidance of unnecessary toxic chemicals such as alcohol, cigarette smoke, mosquito pesticides, etc., and many other strategies will augment their immune system. It is smart and cheap and does not poison the earth. This is called prevention.

Churches and other groups can help reduce the risk of our vulnerable elderly by efforts to insure that their screens are in good repair, and more importantly that their immune systems are healthy, as per above. This is called love.

Everyone needs to police areas of their control and eliminate standing water, which fosters mosquito population growth. "Green" swimming pools resulting from inadequate chlorination represent a common valley of the sun breeding ground for the mosquitoes. These need to be reported to the authorities and action taken.
People need to get their immune systems, as well as their door and window screens into good condition. Mosquito eating fish should be stocked in the many valley golf course ponds. These high-risk areas provide all the ingredients to proliferate the WN virus. There is standing water, migratory birds, mosquitoes, and many hot humans blowing CO2 signals and exposing a lot of their flesh. These pesticides are also toxic to fish, by the way.

Pesticide spraying for WN virus, in any form, is of no proven public health benefit. It will only weaken the immune systems of those exposed. Unfortunately, this idea is very difficult to get the people in charge of public health politics to understand. I HOPE THAT THE DECISION- MAKERS DO THE RIGHT THING FOR THE CITIZENS OF
ARIZONA: SEVERELY LIMIT THE TOXIC SPRAYING NOW! Fortunately, the county has a phone number at which you can register as MCS to theoretically avoid spraying at your residence (602-506-0700). Calling may help. In addition, the website will tell you the spraying schedule for your area. This information, known ahead of time, will allow you to plan to reduce your family's exposure to the
toxic spray. The best things to do are stay inside and turn off the air units that draw in outside contaminated air during and after the spraying process. Plan ahead. Further information on what you can do to protect from the virus and the toxic spray is available at

Dr. Ferrel is a board certified family physician and a certified nutritional consultant who specializes in preventative and environmental medicine. He currently resides in Phoenix, Arizona.

1099 times read


This article is from: