APPENDIX II-BZ:  “An Open Letter by Concerned Physicians and Scientists: Stop the Indiscriminate Spraying of ‘Friendly Fire’ Pesticides.”


This appendix is copied from:



























We, the undersigned physicians and scientists, have a particular

interest in the impact of chemical pesticides on human health, and in

ensuring that there is a proper widespread awareness about this


We want to alert everyone to the little known data published in

peer reviewed scientific journals which has far reaching

public health and legal consequences.

Our grave concern lies with the fact that resorting to a mass

spraying program to protect the population against mosquitoes

carrying the West Nile virus exposes millions of people to "friendly

fire" pesticides. The health impact of such spraying affects not only

those living in the area, but may potentially affect visitors as well. It

has been recognized that even a single exposure can trigger

manifestation of clinical symptoms in predisposed individuals. These

include those living in the area as well as transient visitors passing

through. This program poses much more danger to human

health than the extremely small health risk presented by the

West Nile virus itself. Even people bitten by an infected female

mosquito, the carrier of this virus, run very little risk of serious


·  According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

Atlanta, the chances of a mosquito bite resulting in

West Nile virus infection and serious illness are

extremely low (1).

·  The New York City Department of Health Question and

Answer Bulletin advises that, "very few mosquitoes --

perhaps only one out of 1,000 -- are infected. Even

if you are bitten by an infected female mosquito,

your chances of developing illness are roughly

one in 300" (2).

If symptoms do develop, they are usually mild and include headaches, muscle

aches, skin rashes and swollen lymph glands. More serious infections may

cause headaches with high fever. It is extremely rare for a person to develop

encephalitis (1,2). Almost all people who developed West Nile virus

encephalitis in New York City and the surrounding areas in 1999 (62 people,

seven died) and 2000 (11 people, one died) were elderly and


Furthermore, even in those cases where death was attributed to

West Nile virus infection, the cause of death in these cases

may not be West Nile virus. West Nile virus positively could be a

coincidental finding. In other words, the cause of death may have

been some disease process unrelated to the West Nile virus.

Hundreds of individuals who had no symptoms tested positive

for West Nile virus antibodies, proving that they were exposed

to the virus. They never became ill; and until they were tested,

they did not even know that they had been exposed to the virus (3).

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Compared to thousands of people who die each year of the flu

(approximately 2,500 in the New York City metropolitan area

alone), or the number of children who die of asthma, the

number of people who tested positive for West Nile virus and

died of encephalitis -- eight people in the last two years

combined -- is extremely small.



West Nile virus is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes, not

from person to person. Female mosquitoes acquire the virus

when biting an infected bird. The virus must be repeatedly

transferred back and forth between infected mosquitoes and animal

reservoirs (usually birds) before it poses a risk to humans.


Indiscriminate pesticide spraying over an urban area is an ineffective

and very dangerous attempt at controlling mosquitoes, and thereby

controlling the West Nile virus (4-29). Not only will repeated

spraying fail to eradicate the mosquitoes, the spray program

leads to the survival of those mosquitoes resistant to pesticides.

This resistance is passed on to new generations, leading to endless

cycles of increased pesticide spraying each year. Health

officials in New York have already announced that they are

planning to continue the spraying repeatedly in future years.



Ironically, these "friendly fire" pesticides are most dangerous

to the same group of people for whose protection the

spraying is being conducted: those with weakened immune

systems, small children, and the elderly. Additionally, the impact

of spraying is especially harmful to chemically sensitive people,

those suffering from asthma and other allergies, and to the offspring

of pregnant women.

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Even the recommended mosquito repellent D.E.E.T. can have

serious repercussions. In 1998, D.E.E.T. was found to cause

seizures and even death in children (3,30).

There are safer, more effective ways than using chemical pesticide

use to control mosquitoes. These methods include disrupting

mosquito breeding cycles by removing stagnant water, etc., as

recommended by New York City Department of Health; safe natural

mosquito repellents, etc.

Among natural mosquito repellent products containing herbal

extracts and oils is Nature 99 Herbal Extract, a natural repellant

containing essential oils from the twigs and leaves of the Eucalyptus

Citriodora plant which has an extraordinarily high content of citronella.

Other natural products include Royal Neem (a blend of herbs,

essential oils and aloe), Nature's Body Guard, and Zetastop.

Combining these approaches will not only avoid damage to

human health and the ecosystem, but it will also avert

litigation and the economic consequences brought about by

the current program.


To properly assess the impact of pesticides on human health, it is

not enough to view the aerial and truck spraying in isolation. It is

necessary to take into account all other sources of pesticide

exposure as well. The combined effect of these various exposures

and their interactions (known as "synergistic effects") can strongly

increase the harmful consequences of spraying (9).

Pesticide residues are found everywhere -- in air, water, soil, rain,

fog, snow, food, livestock, wildlife, and human beings. Chemical

pesticides and other pollutants are constantly being woven into our

bodies. They have been detected in the body tissues of everyone

tested, regardless of country, place of origin, residence, occupation,

age, sex or social class.

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A United States/Canadian study has detected pesticides in the

amniotic fluid surrounding the fetus in one third of human

pregnancies (31). Pesticides and other pollutants have also been

detected in the body tissues of children even before their birth

and in the fluid surrounding the eggs of infertile Canadian

women (9). The long term and future impact of such exposure is not

fully known because throughout the millions of years of our

existence, humanity had never been exposed to chemical pesticides

until recently.

However it is known that exposure to chemical pesticide residues,

especially chronic exposure, even at low levels, can cause:

genetic damage

birth defects

disruption of hormone regulation

defective sexual development

brain damage

Parkinson's Disease

multiple sclerosis


exacerbation of asthma


and many other health problems.

Especially disturbing is the finding that cancer, genetic damage

and other health problems related to pesticide exposure may be

transmitted by affected individuals not only to their offspring, but

also to further generations (9).

Even a single exposure to pesticides can trigger:

latent environmental sensitivities


chronic fatigue syndrome

behavioral changes such as irritability, anxiety, depression,

aggressiveness and personality changes

concentration difficulties, memory and learning problems

hormone disruption

erectile dysfunction

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loss of libido

other health problems (4-29).

New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani stated that "Sometimes you've got

to make tough choices and people get angry at you. ... The reality is

that danger to human life is more important than birds, fish and

insects." What has not been taken into account is that the danger to

human health caused by the indiscriminate spraying of pesticides is

far greater than the danger of acquiring viral encephalitis from


In their book, Chemical Eposures -- Low Levels and High Stakes

(4), Nicholas Ashford, Ph.D., J.D., associate professor of technology

and policy at the Massachussetts Institute of Technology, and

Claudia Miller, M.D., state:

"In a survey of 6,800 persons claiming to be

chemically sensitive, 80 percent asserted they knew

'when, where, with what, and how they were made ill.'

Of the 80 percent, 60 percent -- almost half of those

who replied -- blamed pesticides."


Although some pesticides have been banned or restricted because

they were recognized as posing serious threats to human health, so

far little attention has been given to what may be the greatest

danger of pesticides -- impairment of the human immune

system (32).

The World Resources Institute's report "Pesticides and the

Immune System: The Public Health Risks," (32) documents the

impact of widely used chemical pesticides on the immunity of

animals as well as humans. Their conclusion, based on an extensive

body of experimental and epidemiological research from around the

world is that: Impairment of the immune system by chemical

pesticides can lead to allergies, autoimmune disorders such

as lupus and cancer. It may also lead to infections to which

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one may be normally resistant (9,32). In other words exposure

to spraying with chemical pesticides may actually increase the

risk of developing West Nile virus encephalitis.

The World Resources Institute presents scientific evidence that

pesticide-related health problems are much more serious than

what is generally acknowledged, and that the steps now

underway to resolve this issue are far from adequate (32).

In 1999, to quell mosquitoes thought to be carrying West Nile

virus, New York City aerially sprayed Fyfanon ULV (malathion),

a potential cancer-triggering pesticide. The NY State

Department of Environmental Conservation has attributed a

1999 die-off of thousands of fish in Staten Island to Malathion

poisoning. The spraying campaign subsequently affected the

Hudson River area, the Long Island Sound and the Great

South Bay, and has been blamed for causing the largest mass

extermination of lobsters in history. Roughly eleven million

lobsters, 90 per cent of the full population, perished.

Connecticut and New York lobstermen plan to file suit against

the companies that manufacture and apply the pesticides used

in spraying. Seventy five million dollars is being sought in

compensatory damages. The lawsuit is the culmination of nine

months of research conducted by a group of scientists.

Last year, the pesticides Anvil 10+10 (10 percent Sumithrin, 10

percent piperonyl butoxide, and 80 percent "inert" ingredients) and

Scourge (Resmethrin) were used. Both of these pesticides are Type

I synthethic pyrethroids, manufactured in the laboratory to mimic the

natural anti-insect pyrethrins extracted from chrysanthemum flowers.

Anvil 10+10 is a relatively new pesticide. There have been few tests of any kind on

this product on either animal or human subjects. Although both Anvil 10+10 and

Scourge have been approved for sale, this approval does not mean they are

harmless. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, neither Anvil

10+10 nor Scourge has ever been tested for their impact on the immune

system because "it has not been required to test for immunity" (33).

Recent research on pyrethroids has found that they have a mode of

action similar to chlorinated pesticides such as cyclodienes

Page 8

(chlordane, aldrin, etc.). These pesticides were banned in the United

States in the 1980's due to their dangerous impact on human health

and the environment.

A 1998 study by Drs. Joan Garey and Mary S. Wolff of Mount Sinai

School of Medicine, New York, found that the chemical Sumithrin,

the main pesticide in Anvil 10+10, disrupts human hormone

balance and has been shown to increase the growth of breast

cancer cells in test tubes (34).

The study concluded: "Overall, our studies imply that each pyrethroid

compound is unique in its ability to influence several cellular

pathways. These findings suggest that pyrethroids should be

considered to be hormone disruptors, and their potential to affect

endocrine function in humans and wildlife should be investigated"



Once pesticides and other chemicals are released into the

environment, their spread cannot be controlled. For example,

radioactively traced pesticides sprayed over the UK were detected

five to seven days later in the southern USA; traces of insecticides

used in tropical areas were detected in Arctic trees (35). Global air

currents, hurricanes, etc., can transport pesticides and other

chemicals even to other hemisphere (6,32).

The inability to contain the impact of chemical weapons to a desired

geographical area was recognized already during World War I and

was the main reason why, after World War I, the use of chemical

weapons was banned by international agreement. (This fact has

been subsequently forgotten.)

It is estimated that 6 to 15 per cent of the population is

chemically sensitive. If only 10 per cent of an 8 million

population would be chemically sensitive, the number of

people potentially affected by chemical pesticides, such as

Anvil 10+10 and Scourge, which have a tendency to cause

allergies and neurological problems, could reach eight

hundred thousand people.

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To these eight hundred thousand potentially affected people

must be added an additional unknown number of children as

well as the offspring of pregnant women who may be negatively

affected by residual traces of pesticides while in the womb. Both

these groups may become sensitized and may develop adverse

reactions ranging from mild to life threatening.

Considering the cumulative multigenerational destructive

impact of pesticides, especially on children's development

and behavior, it is frightening to imagine the delayed

consequences of repeated pesticide spraying for those who

have allergies or weakened immune systems, for those who

are chemically sensitive, as well as for our children and future




Cells are the basic structural unit of plants, insects, animals and

human beings. Despite the large differences in function and shape

of our cells, we share the same basic cell blueprint, including the

same basic biochemical metabolic processes, with other living

organisms, including mosquitoes.

Each cell – whether from a plant or an insect or an animal -

is a microscopic bag with a nucleus (apart from red cells),

containing chromosomes in the form of DNA, and a fluid

material called cytoplasm. The cell is surrounded by a

membrane -- an "outer skin" -- and contains additional

specialized structures such as mitochondria for the

generation of energy.

Children's special susceptibility to pesticides was first widely

publicized by the National Research Council (NRC) in their 1993

report Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children. The NRC

concluded that children are not adequately protected from


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·  Children are exposed to pesticides early during

their prenatal development when the pesticides and

other pollutants are shifted from the bodies of their

mothers through placenta to their body tissues.

·  They then receive an additional load through breast milk

and later through the food.

·  On average, children receive greater exposure to

pesticides because they consume, for their size, more

calories, drink more water (frequently contaminated by

pesticides) and eat more fruit and vegetables (which

are commonly sprayed), and breathe more air than


·  Children's metabolic systems are still immature,

their enzymes, livers and kidneys have difficulties

eliminating toxic substances.

The NRC recommended changes in the regulation of pesticides.

Many of these changes were included in a 1996 law (the Food

Quality Protection Act (FQPA)), but have yet to be fully implemented.


An effort must be made to develop and rediscover the safe

approaches to the control of pests including mosquitoes. There are

safer, more effective ways than pesticide use to control

mosquitoes, such as disrupting mosquito breeding cycles by

removing stagnant water; the use of products such as Mosquito

Magnet, safe natural mosquito repellents, (or less ideally, BTI

approach - Bacillus thuringiensis v. israelis which should not be

sprayed in the cities due to potential impact on human health). Such

approaches will not only avoid damage to human health and

ecosystem, but will also avert litigation.

The use of chemical pesticides started about fifty years ago. The

chemical pesticides that were once touted as being a "wonderful,

safe approach" to pest control are now known to contaminate our

bodies and the bodies of our children, even before their birth. They

are destroying our ecosystem -- and us.

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Chemical pesticides are deliberately made to be poisonous in

order to kill or slowly destroy undesirable forms of life.

However, because we share the common basic cellular and

biochemical blueprint with other life forms, chemical

pesticides produce "toxic broad spectrum" impacts,

damaging or killing various useful insects, animals, and plants

as well as damaging human health.

If we do not stop the indiscriminate use of pesticides, we will

continue to endanger the quality of our own health and more

crucially, the healthy physical and mental development of our

children and future generations.

As stated by Agriculture Canada “Pesticides are designed to

kill… All chemical pesticides are harmful to humans.

For this reason, the indiscriminate and unnecessary use

of chemical pesticides needs to be abandoned and



(Please see next page)

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Prof. Emer. William Rea, M.D.

First World Professioral Chair of

Environmental Medicine,

University of Surrey, UK

Director of Environmental Health Unit

Dallas, Texas, U.S.A.

Ed Napke, B.Sc., M.D., DPH.

Former Medical Officer in Charge of the

Canadian Drug Adverse Reaction

Reporting Program and Canadian

Poison Control Program (1965-1989)

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Prof. Emer. Joseph Cummins, Ph.D.

Department of Genetics

University of Western Ontario

London, Ontario, Canada

Prof. Samuel Epstein

Professor of Environmental and Occupational

Medicine, School of Public Health,

University of Illinois at Chicago

Chairman, Cancer Prevention Coalition


Libuse Gilka, M.D.

Physicians and Scientists for a

Healthy World

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Sheldon Krimsky, Ph.D.

Department of Urban & Environmental

Policy, Tufts University

Melford, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

Rosalie Bertell, Ph.D., G.N.S.U.

International Institute of Concern for Public


Toronto, Ontario, Canada

E. Angelopoulos, Ph.D.

Professor of Biology Parantology and


Dalhousie University

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Prof. Emer. Ross H. Hall, Ph.D.

Former Chairperson, Department of

Biology McMaster University Health

Science Faculty and Ministry

Environmental Priority Substance Panel

Former Chairperson Health Committee

Dr. K.J. Kerr

110 Manor Road E.

Toronto On l M5S 1P0

Page 13

International Joint Committee

Hamilton, Ontario, Canada


1. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

2. New York City Department of Health, Question and Answer

Bulletin, 2000.

3. Clem, J.R. et al, Insect Repellent Hazard, Ann Pharmacother, 289

293, (Reprinted from Medical Sciences Bulletin, published by

Pharmaceutical Information Associates Ltd., 1993.

4. Ashford, N.A. and Miller, Claudia, "Chemical Exposures Low

Levels and High Stakes", Published by Van Nostrant Reinhold, New

York 1991.

5. Canadian Public Health Association, "A Public Health Approach to

Pesticides use in Canada", Submission to the House of Commons

Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development,

October 1999.

6. Ordin, DL: "Surveillance For Pesticide Related Illness -- Lessons

From California", [editorial] Am J Public Health 85:762-763, 1995

7. Health Canada, New Study to look at the Exposure of Ontario's

Farm Familes to Pesticides. Farm Family Health 4(1):1-4 1996.

8. Daniels J.L. et al. Pesticides and Childhood Cancers.

Environmental Health Perspectives 105:1068-77, 1997.

9. The Cumulative Multigenerational Degenerative Impacts of

Pesticides on Health Especially the Physical, Emotional and Mental

Development of Children and Future Generations: Canadian

Government Responsibilities and Opportunities, A Submission to the

House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and

Sustainable Development by Physicians and Scientists for a Healthy

World, February, 2000.

10. English, B.K., and S.B. Wilson, "Neonate as an

Immunocompromised Host," In: C.C. Patrick, ed., Infections in

Immunocompromised Infants and Children, Churchill Livingstone,

New York: 95-118, 1992.

11. Fleming, L.E., and W. Timmeny, "Aplastic Anemia and

Pesticides," Journal of Occupational Medicine, 35(11): 1106-1116,


Page 14

12. Lewis, D.B., and C.B. Wilson, "Developmental Immunology and

Role of Host Defenses in Neonatal Susceptibility to Infections," In:

J.S. Remington, and J.O. Klien, eds., Diseases of the Fetus and

Newborn Infant, Fourth Edition, W.B. Saunders Company, London,

20-98, 1995.

13. Rea, W.J., Chemical Sensitivity: Sources of Total Body Load, In:

Pesticides Volume 2, Lewis Publishers, Boca Raton, Florida, 837-

939, 1994.

14. Rea, W.J., Pollutants Effects on the Blood and

Reticuloendothelial System (Lymphatic and Immune System), In:

Chemical Sensitivity, Volume 1, Lewis Publishers, Boca Raton,

Florida, 155-219, 1992.

15. Kilburn, K., Is the Human Nervous System Most Sensitive to

Environmental Toxins? Achives of Environmental Health 44(6):343-

344, 1989.

16. Pearce, N., and Reif, J.S., Epidemiologic Studies of Cancer in

Agricultural Worker, Am J Ind Med 18:2, 133-148 1990.

17. Blair, A., Zahm, S.H., Pearch, N.E., Heineman, E.F. and

Fraumeni, J.F.J., Clues to Cancer Etiology from Studies of Farmers,

Scand J Work Environ Health 18:4, 209-215 1992.

18. Blair, A., and Zahm, S.H., Agriculture Exposure and Cancer,

Environ Health Perspect. 103 Suppl 8: 205-208 1995.

19. Nuriminen, T., Maternal Pesticide Exposure and Pregnancy

Outcome, J Occup Environ Med 37:8, 935-940 1995.

20. Anwar, W.A., Biomarkers of Human Exposure to Pesticides,

Environ Health Perspect 105 Suppl 4: 801-806 1997.

21. Daniels, J.L., Olshan, A.F. and Savitz, D.A., Pesticides and

Childhood Cancer, Environ Health Perspect 105:10, 1068-1077


22. Dich, J., Zahm, S.H., Hanberg, A., and Adami, H.O., Pesticides

and Cancer, Cancer Causes Control 8:3, 420-443 1997.

23. Zahm, S.H., Ward, M.H., Pesticides and Childhood Cancer,

Environ Health Perspect. 106 Suppl 3: 893-908 1998.

24. Ward, M.H., Zahm, S.H., and Blair, A., Pesticides and Cancer

Risk: Clues from Epidemiology Studies of Farmers and the General

Population, Pesticides, People and Nature 1:1,25-32 1-1-1999.

25. Jaga, K., and Brosius, D., Pesticides Exposure: Human Cancers

on the Horizon, Rev Environ Health: 14(1): 39-50 1999.

Page 15

26. Epstein, S.S., The Politics of Cancer Revisited, East Ridge

Press, 1998.

27. Pogoda, J.M. and Preston Martin, S., Household Pesticides and

Risk of Pediatric Brain Tumors, Environ Health Perspect 105:11,

1214-1220, 1997.

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28. Freed, V.H., Pesticides: Global Use and Concerns, Pp. 145-158

In: G.J. Marco, R.M. Hollingworth, and W. Durham, Eds In: Silent

Spring Revisited. Washington D.C., American Chemistry Society,


29. Sever, L.E., Arbuckle, T.E., and Sweeney, A., Reproductive and

Developmental Effects of Occupational Pesticide Exposure: the

Epidemiologic Evidence, Occup Med 12:2, 305-325, 1997.

30. Seizures Temporally Associated with Use of D.E.E.T. Insect

Repellent -- New York and Connecticut, MMWR, Vol. 38/No. 39,

October 6, 1989.

31. Swift, D., Pesticide Contaminants in Amniotic Fluid Pose

Development Risk Medical Post 35:25, 1999.

32. World Resources Institute, Pesticide and the Immune System:

The Public Health Risk, 1998.

33. Environment Protection Agency, Telephone communication,

August 2000.

34. Garey, Joan and Wolff, Mary S., Estrogenic and

Antiprogestagenic Activities of Pyrethroid Insecticides, Biochemical

and Biophysical Research Communications 251, 855-859, 1998.

35. Steingraber, S., Living Downstream: An Ecologist Looks at

Cancer and the Environment, Publishers, Addision Wesley, 1997.

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pages 173 177.

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- A study done by the Roger Williams General Hospital,

Brown University: This study on pyrethroids concludes:

"Chronic exposure of humans or animals to pesticides

containing these compounds may result in disturbances in

endocrine effects." [Journal of Steroid Biochemistry, March

1990, volume 35, issue 3-4, pages 409-414];

- Cambridge University: A report issued in June 2000 by the

Royal Society in England and written by a group from

Cambridge University called for international cooperation to

deal with the dangers posed by endocrine disrupting

chemicals, including pyrethroids, and recommends reducing

human exposure to these chemicals. There are also links

between insecticides and reduction of testosterone levels in


- University of Greifswald: Several pesticides used as

herbicides, insecticides and fungicides known to be

endocrine disrupting chemicals were examined in this series

of German studies. Acute and chronic pesticide exposure

led to changes in sex hormone concentrations, with

concentrations of testosterone decreasing one day after

acute exposure. These studies found "a hormonal and

immune suppression after acute exposure." ["Disruption of

male sex hormones with regard to pesticides," Toxicology

Letters, June 30, 1999; 107(1 3):225-31]; Also, see links

between pyrethroids and childhood brain cancers:

- A study of pesticides and childhood brain cancers has

revealed a strong relationship between brain cancers and

compounds used to kill fleas and ticks, according to a report

published in Environmental Health Perspectives. The study

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concludes "The specific chemicals associated with

children's brain cancers were pyrethrins and pyrethroids

(which are synthetic pyrethrins, such as permethrin,

tetramethrin, allethrin, resmethrin and fenvalerate) and

chlorpyrifos (trade name: Dursban)." [Janice M. Pogoda and

Susan Preston Martin, "Household Pesticides and Risk of

Pediatric Brain Tumors," Environmental Health

Perspectives, vol. 105, no. 11 (November 1997), pages

1214-1220.] The EPA, in June 2000, halted sales of

Dursban. And, links between pyrethroids and neurological


- Several studies have indicated neurological damage

resulting from exposure to pyrethroids, and some of the

damages have been found to be long term. Ludwig

Maximilians University: This study, conducted by the

Physiological Institute at Ludwig Maximilians University in

Munich, Germany, found that although "a majority of

complaints following an acute pyrethroid intoxication

disappeared after the end of exposure," several effects

were still seen in patients after more than two years. Among

these long term symptoms were "(1) cerebro organic

disorders (reduced intellectual performance with 20%-30%

reduction of endurance during mental work, personality

disorder), visual disturbances, dysacousia, tinnitus; (2)

sensomotor polyneuropathy, most frequently in the lower

legs; (3) vegetative nervous disorders," including increased

heat sensitivity and reduced exercise tolerance due to

circulatory disorder. The study concludes "Many of these

patients exhibit pathological autoimmune diagnostical

findings and developed autoimmune diseases." [Toxicology

Letters, 1999 June 30;107(1 3):161-76.];

- Uppsala University: This study, conducted by the

Department of Environmental Toxicology at Uppsala

University in Sweden studied mice, not humans, but found

that "low dose exposure" to pyrethroids "resulted in

irreversible changes in adult brain function in the mouse"

when exposed during the growth period. This occurred at

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levels of exposure less than what was found to affect adult

mice. The study also found "neonatal exposure to a low

dose of a neurotoxic agent can lead to an increased

susceptibility in adults to an agent having a similar

neurotoxic action, resulting in additional behavioral

disturbances and learning disabilities." [Neurotoxicology,


- Northwestern University Medical School: A series of

investigations conducted at Northwestern's Department of

Molecular Pharmacology and Biological Chemistry in

Chicago, has found neurological damage from pyrethroids.

One study, conducted by international expert Toshio

Narahashi, finds nervous system damage from pyrethroids

to be comparable to DDT. This study found that "Detailed

voltage clamp and patch clamp analyses have revealed that

pyrethroids and DDT modify the sodium channel to remain

open for an extended period of time." The result of this

damage is "potent effects on the nervous system." ["Nerve

membrane ion channels as the target site of environmental

toxicants," Environmental Health Perspectives, 1987


- A separate study found that pyrethroids cause "membrane

depolarization, repetitive discharges and synaptic

disturbances leading to hyperexcitatory symptoms of

poisoning in animals." This study found that only 1% "of

sodium channel population is required to be modified by

pyrethroids to produce severe hyperexcitatory symptoms."

["Neuronal ion channels as the target sites of insecticides,"

Pharmacol Toxicology, 1996 July;79(1):1-14.];

- Links between pyrethroids and thyroid damage: A study

conducted by four scientists on a variety of pesticides found

a connection to thyroid damage, although this study was

conducted on rats and not on humans. The study

concludes "exposure to organochlorine, organophosphorus,

and pyrethroid insecticides for a relatively short time can

suppress thyroid secretory activity in young adult rats." The

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study also said a decrease in body weight seen "suggests

that pyrethroid insecticides can inhibit growth rate." [Journal

of Applied Toxicology, vol. 16, no. 5, pages 397-400, 26

references, 1996.] For comprehensive review of

information on Malathion, see Loretta Brenner, Journal of

Pesticide Reform, Volume 12, Number 4, Winter 1992.

Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides, Eugene,

OR. Also, J Exp Zool 1999 Aug 1;284(3):355-9,

"Morphological alterations in mouse testis by a single dose

of malathion." Contreras HR, Bustos Obregon E Physiology

and Biophysical Program, Institute of Biomedical Sciences,

University of Chile, Santiago 7, Chile; and J Wildl Dis 1999

Jul;35(3):536 41, "Effects of malathion on disease

susceptibility in Woodhouse's toads." Taylor SK, Williams

ES, Mills KW, Department of Veterinary Sciences,

University of Wyoming, Laramie 82070, USA. In these two

1999 animal studies (which were done subsequent to

Brenner's review), one shows that a single dose of

malathion impaired the resistance of frogs to infection. The

other shows that a single dose of malathion damaged

sperm and other cells of the male reproductive system in

mice. Studies like these raise a red flag with regard to

human exposure -- even one time exposure.

This Open Letter is distributed by

The Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides (CAP),

Staten Island Citizens for Healthy Alternatives (SICHA),

the No Spray Coalition, and


Refer all questions and comments to:

Édith Smeesters (CAP president)

(450) 441-3899

Katherine Barbera, (SICHA) (718) 273-5489

Louis Blois, (SICHA)

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