TOXICS INFORMATION PROJECT (TIP)
Tel. 401-351-9193, E-Mail: TIP@toxicsinfo.org
(Sharing Information on Toxics in Everyday Life
& Providing Healthier Alternatives)
A MOTHER’S STORY OF PESTICIDE POISONING,
AS TOLD TO AN ON-LINE GROUP
I'm bursting and would like to share this with the group. For those who don't know, I was a pharmacologist before I had children - 17 years ago. Then, 10 years ago my son was diagnosed with severe organophosphate poisoning from exposure to Dursban at school. Turned out that, like many schools and buildings, the school was sprayed routinely with this organophosphate insecticide, which works like Sarin nerve gas. Michael, his classmates and teacher had been suffering for a long time before we figured out what it was. For many years, I worked on this issue in PA and CT.
Then I moved back to PA, to a different area. Many people here use and love chemicals. I have been told to keep quiet about the subject on several occasions. Some people seem to 'shun' me. In the community, it seemed my organizing efforts were futile. So I laid down the leading, especially since family obligations grew.
However, I must relate what I have been experiencing recently. I have, since my son's poisoning, networked with hundreds of people who have been poisoned with pesticides. I have found that my education, history and spiritual leadings have led me to a place where I receive calls from all over the country on a regular basis from people who have been poisoned with pesticides. These people are sick, many have lost their homes and everything in them from irreversible pesticide contamination. They go from doctor to doctor, each one prescribing medicine that makes them worse. Many doctors send them to a psychiatrist and tell them their sickness is their imagination. I help them find medical care that works.
Many are stuck in toxic homes with no money and no place to go. Some are living in their cars or traveling from relative to friends house, seeking their lives back. Some have children who are poisoned. Some had children or spouses who have died. No government agency helps them and, finally, few lawyers will take their case, no matter how obvious and well documented the poisoning. But lately, I just take the calls that come in and answer questions, not motivated to move on my own. But I have noticed that each time I fast, a new person in distress from the poisoning will call me.
As I write, young children in San Diego are being poisoned with Dursban at their school. Yes, we did get it off the market for residential use, but the school officials don't care. There are bugs and there are stashes of Dursban to be used up. These children are being brain damaged, in our own schools, in our own country - and no one cares. No one wants to fight for them, for it would mean fighting our precious chemical industry. People see the commercials on TV - bugs are the enemy, chemicals are our friends!
Finally, this Wed I received a call from Joe, a man I had talked to years earlier, but this call
was different. He was at the end of his rope and his words of despair sank deep within me.
I know now that my calling is still the violence that is occurring to children and adults in this country and elsewhere from exposure to the intentional poisons, pesticides. As I said, on Wednesday afternoon, during the world wide and family wide peace fast, I received a call from Joe. He lives in Canada. For a brief time, he and his wife, both engineers, worked in Arizona. They have a 10 year old son who was 4 at the time they moved into a house in Arizona to begin a new life in what they had been told was the “home of the free“. He remembers his son being excited to be moving to the 'greatest nation on earth'.
They seemed to have it all, both brilliant and healthy with a bright energetic four year old, a new home and good careers. In Canada, they had learned the work ethic: work hard, be kind and just, and you will be rewarded. Soon they would learn a harsher reality. They bought a house and became sick. They saw the pattern: sick in the house, feeling better out of the house. So they started looking for the reason. They soon discovered that the previous owners had health problems and the wife had died from something 'unusual'. The inspection had revealed previous termite problems, but nothing current. Soon they discovered that the house had had several termite treatments over the past 3 years, including Dursban treatments. Being well-educated people, they started have medical testing and environmental testing of their home done. Soil levels of Dursban were 13 times the level required to be declared a Superfund site.
They had to move out, but they could not recover. The damage to their nervous
and immune systems had already been done. They became extremely sensitive to chemicals. Their son has suffered the most. They both lost their jobs, their health and everything they owned. They couldn't get rid of the contaminated house, and they survived by living off of credit card debt, thinking that they could get reimbursed for their losses and, once their health returned, they could work again. The wife did manage to find work in Canada again, but still suffers physical disabilities.
I have never known a man to work so hard at trying to survive. He has begged every government official, over 200 lawyers in AZ, and experienced environmental lawyers in other states. The regional director of the EPA has told him that he has the best documented case of pesticide poisoning he has ever seen. Joe has put together a 220 page document of the poisoning, including diagnosis and environmental testing results. Still, not a single lawyer will take his case. He has moved back to Canada, hating what the people, industry and government of the United States has done to his family.
I can no longer take a back seat and be intimidated by people who brush this off as 'a price to pay for progress' or a minor problem. This is big. The chemicals that are now being pumped into our homes and schools and onto every square inch of suburbia are damaging our children, both in big and small ways. They are causing children to get brain cancer and leukemia, giving them brain damage and disrupting the function of their reproductive system and other endocrine functions.
Just look at the epidemic of brain cancer and leukemia in children, climbing at more than 1% per year. But it's not in every area. In San Diego, where they receive a larger dose of pesticides both in and out of the schools, a school of 2800 children presently has 15 cases of brain cancer and leukemia. This is murder, it's violence, and it's our responsibility.