Organophosphates

Emily A. Noble guinep at theriver.com
Fri Jun 2 09:43:41 EDT 2000


Here might be an Opportunity for permaculture people to offer alternatives
to organophosphate pesticides, and herbicides....to their neighbors,
friends, relatives, doctor, dentist, lawyer, barber, neighborhood gardening
shop owner, etc.    You decide, but another recent (6 May 2000, pages 46-7)
NEW SCIENTIST  (www.newscientist.com) has article on "Getting your idea
across is simpler than you think--whether it's a fashion statement, a social
reform or, maybe, a scientific paper. Paul Marsden finds a manual for
changing minds entertaining but faintly sinister." in a book titled THE
TIPPING POINT by Malcolm Gladwell, Little Brown,  ISBN 0316648523.  
Reviewer Marsden reports that the book recommends: "do not waste time
marketing your idea to the masses: focus your energies on the trendsetters,
the socially promiscuous and those with the power to influence.  Place your
idea or product with these people and, by the force of word of mouth added
to an innate human tendency to keep up with the Joneses, your epidemic will
snowball through society.  Tweaking your idea or product to make it more
infectious or "sticky" (Gladwell's preference) is the second step.  This
does not mean major surgery to transform a mediocre idea into a brilliant
idea--a cosmetic makeover will work wonders, so just "tweak and test" with a
view to involving your target audience, telling a story, somehow make it
relevant to them."  And, of course, if you have the health of the planet
backing your effort, that makes it a whole lot less sinister than if you are
trying to sell candy or pesticides!
"Identifying victims of pesticide poisoning"  in NEW SCIENTIST 
www.newscientist.com  29 April 2000    page 13  (hard-copy at Science
library at University of Arizona
A Simple way to diagnose organophosphate poisoning in Gulf War veterans and
farmers may be just around the corner, claims a US scientist.     Mohamed
Abou-Donia of Duke University Medical Center in Durham has found antibodies
to nerve proteins in the blood of a 5-year-old boy exposed to the OP
pesticide chlorpyrifos.  The antibodies indicate damage to the nervous
system consistent with OP poisoning.     Groups campaigning for the British
and US authorities to acknowledge the illness caused by OPs have seized on
the development as a possible way of identifying affected people.  "This is
a significant breakthrough," says Elizabeth Sigmund of Britain's OP
Information Network.  Abou-Donia told NEW SCIENTIST: "If these biomarkers
are validated...they would have very useful applications for identifying
OP-exposed individuals both in the developed & developing world."      
   Abou-Donia has several other controlled studies ready for publication
which also suggest that exposed people make antibodies against nerve
proteins.  He's going to need this extra evidence, says OP researcher David
Ray of Leicester University, who advises the British government's Veterinary
Products Committee.  Ray says the child's symptoms, initially diarrhea and
rashes, followed by spasticity, also fits illnesses other than OP poisoning,
and he doubts whether the child was exposed to enough chlorpyrifos to cause
such serious symptoms.  But if current tests on sick Gulf veterans by
Abou-Donia again reveal these biomarkers, Ray concedes, antibodies could in
theory be a "pretty good system" for identifying OP illness.   Michael Day.
Source: ENVIRONMENTAL EPIDEMIOLOGY AND TOXICOLOGY (vol. 2, p.37)

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