Pesticides – Dr. Ferrel, M.D.
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Pesticides, Poison, Mosquitoes, & People
Pesticides, Poison, Mosquitoes, & People
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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 8/28/04. ALMOST ALL MAN-MADE CHEMICALS ARE TOXIC TO SOME PEOPLE!
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!
WHAT IS NEEDED?
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
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 Maricopa.gov 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 http://drrapp.com/westnilecentral.htm
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.
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