[NAFEX] Snake Oil

Bruce Hansen brucedhansen at sbcglobal.net
Fri Jun 10 14:52:57 EDT 2005


Very good and thoughtful piece.


-----Original Message-----
From: nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org]On Behalf Of Heron Breen
Sent: Friday, June 10, 2005 2:12 PM
To: nafex at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: [NAFEX] Snake Oil

 REgarding Phosmet (Imidan), apparently some years back in England there was
an  outbreak of, I believe, Bot-fly, obviously imported, severely infesting
the skin of  cows (and maybe other livestock, but the article I read was
based on a cow study).  Authorization was given to spray a Phosmet product
directly onto the cows. Years  later, evidence suggests (although not proven
by any means) that this event may  have been the trigger for the development
of irregular proteins in the nervous  systems of cows, ie prions and BSE.
The British scientist doing this work were  searching for the cause of BSE.
Sheep 'scrappie' jumping species did not seem to  fit after a few studies,
and the eating of other uninfected cow parts metabolically  leading to this
disease eventually also was non-replicable. The 'clincher' came  when
comparing the health of a herd of 'conventionally' raised cows  to
'organically' raised cows pre- and post- the years ago Phosmet usage. Except
(if  I am getting this right) the conventionally raised cows in question did
not eat  feed with animal protein supplements. Organic cattle were exempt
from the required  phosmet treatment, with another option being used. In
short the conventional cattle  got BSE. The organic cows did not. The
elaborating hypthesis is that these  intitially treated herds then became
part of the food supply and cows eating  infected cow protein were put at
risk. This last bit is/was speculation. This  report was run about 3-4 years
ago as a blurb in the Maine Organic Farmer and  Gardener quarterly paper.
The report did not give an exact scientific explanation  of how the Phosmet
caused the problem, only an overview. Folks may want to look  deeper into
this. Maybe not. Why have no follow-up reports been issued? I figure  either
a long-term study is in progress or worse. I find any research indicating
problems with a profitable food or chemical is usually downplayed or
discouraged.  It would be an economic disaster if this research was
legitimate and folks linked  phosmet and fruit production, even if its usage
on fruit did not have any health  risks. It would most likely cause a
Alar-type scare.      Again, and not in reference to the above
"speculations", snake oils to my mind  are products which do more harm than
good, either in the short or long run. Or  harbor unknown or unacknowledged
(by the seller) side effects. Products that don't  work are called something
else: a waste of time. Weather is perfect, Heron Breen zone 4, Maine
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