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Because our very lives depend on ridding the world of toxic pesticides. And because a real community means we don't need to evacuate the chemically sensitive, the old, the young, the immune system-compromised. 

East Bay Pesticide Alert does NOT compromise over health

References
THE U.C. CONNECTION - THE BIG PICTURE

While 2% of U.S.agriculture is certified organic, only 1/10th of 1% of research money goes towards organic farming. Rather than take organics seriously, the State's central brain trust for the war on the GWSS, the GWSS/Pierce's Disease Science Advisory Panel, convened by U.C. President Richard Atkinson, focuses on "solutions" that threaten to choke off any organic alternative to conventional agriculture.

Though U.C. web-pages tout physical barriers and importing parasitic wasps from Mexico, the reality on the ground is usually more and more pesticides. "Lorsban [is] our best integrated pest management tool," attests Beth Grafton-Cardwell, UC Cooperative extension researcher and GWSS Scientific Advisory Panel member, as proudly quoted on the chlorpyrifos.com website. (Dursban, the commercial version of Lorsban, using the same active ingredient, Chlorpyrifos, was banned June 8, 2000 by the EPA due to its extreme toxicity.)

If you don't like U.C.'s short-term solution, pesticides, the Advisory Panel. has a long-term "solution": genetic engineering. "[D]isease resistance ... offers the only sure protection for grapes from the ravages of the X. fastidiosa bacterium. This will require ... the application of genetic engineering and other biotechnology techniques to insert disease-resistant genes into plants. There is insufficient time for conventional plant breeding practices, which could take 20 years or more to breed resistance into grapes."

Researchers in Brazil have already sequenced the genome for this one strain of this bacterium. While European resistance to Frankenfoods stands in the way of such a program, the U.S. may be able to wield the bludgeon of the World Trade Organization to open the door for global consumption of patented g.m. crops -- and for yet new pests, undreamed of by U.C. researchers. It is way past time to learn the lesson of the GWSS.

"Monoculture on the scale of the wine industry is destined to fall before an insect or a pest. In this case, both have arrived. No amount of poison will stop it." Patty Clary, Californians for Alternatives to Toxics (CATs)

EBPA Local Projects:
- Glassy-winged Sharpshooter Rapid Response Team
- Parks, Schools, Hospitals,
- Roadside Spraying Project (in conjunction with CATs),
- Expansion of the East Bay Wine Industry: investigation



REMEMBER MALATHION?

Back when Jerry Brown was governor, helicopters patrolled up and down the cities and counties of the state, spraying malathion to control the dread Mediterranean fruit fly.

Later, testifying before an independent scientific advisory panel, Dr. Brian Dementi, a U.S. EPA toxicologist, confessed that the pesticide, malathion, "was a much greater cancer threat than the EPA publicly acknowleged." He was subsequently reassigned.

Now, with the GWSS, malathion again rears its ugly head. Looking at the possible spread of the "pest" to eucalyptus trees in Kern County, local Ag Commissioner Ted Davis said that landscape plants allow "use of a wider selection of materials to knock down sharpshoter populations. Should the pest move into rangelands, then those areas would be treated with ULV malathion."

By the way, Valentine's Day, 2001, the Kern County Ag commissioner told us that beginning in February or March, under the GWSS umbrella, USDA, CDFA, UC and local growers will cooperate in spraying 13,000 acres in Kern County with Baythroid and Pyrin (Pyrethrin-based); Admire (Imidacloprid); and Lorsban (Chlorpyrifos-based, an organophosphate), a neurotoxin.

East Bay Pesticide Alert does NOT compromise over health

EBPA UPCOMING EVENTS

EBPA Organizing Meetings on Saturdays
Call by Friday for Time and Place

Talk by Marc Lappe, toxicologist,
who quit State Health Dept. over Medfly cover-up
Time and Place To Be Determined

Call about getting involved.
Help defray the cost of state-wide phoning, mailing, copying.
East Bay Pesticide Alert
510-895-2312
2399 East14th St #24
San Leandro, CA 94577
beneficialbug@netzero.net
www.eastbaypesticidealert.org




WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW CAN KILL YOU


Alarmed that its profits may be nibbled away by a half-inch long insect, the obscenely rich conventional wine industry has goaded the California Dept. of Food and Agriculture into initiating a mandatory pesticide spraying program for the Glassy-winged Sharpshooter (GWSS).

Already, 25% of U.S. pesticide use is in California. ( EPA)

"Pesticides impair children's brain functions as insidiously as lead. When the brain is developing, it lays down connecting pathways. Introducing poisons, such as those contained in pesticides, can fundamentally and irrevocably throw this critical neurological development process off course." Herbert Needleman, M.D., leading U.S. expert on lead toxicity in children.

On a calm day, a drop of pesticide can drift 24 miles.

Synthetic pesticides accumulate in adipose tissues (fat). An intake of one part per million can have the effect of a hundred parts per million.

After a typical one-time application for cockroach control, the body continues to excrete organophosphate metabolites for the next four months.

Exposure to multiple pesticides can exponentially increase risk. Only 1/100 of the lethal dose of each compound may be fatal when the two are combined, say Malathion (of Medfly fame) and another popular organophosphate.

County Ag commissioners have been touting Sevin/Carbaryl as a good choice for residential spraying against the GWSS, "It's safe and effective and has been around for years and years" (Sonoma's John Westoby.) The same thing was said about DDT and the recently banned Chlorpyrifos.

Sevin/Carbaryl kills insects by attacking the nervous system. It affects all animals, including humans. The short-term effects of acute exposure include nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, convulsions, volatility and aggression, coma, and respiratory failure. When people are exposed to pesticide drift, Carbaryl mixes with saliva, and a powerful carcinogen results. Will Sumner, Certified Toxicologist (Oakland), warns, "Relatively speaking [Carbaryl] is less toxic than Chlorpyrifos BUT this is a matter of comparing poisons. Carbaryl still has a level of toxicity over time...Carbaryl as a nerve toxin affects the developing nervous systems of infants and kids.."


THE STATE'S WAR ON THE SHARPSHOOTER

IT'S NOT JUST A RURAL PROBLEM


In California's mandatory spraying program, if 5 adult "vectors" are found within a 300 yard radius within a period of 5 days, an infestation will be declared and mandatory spraying can take place throughout a 1-mile radius.

As late as December 2000, most of the sprayings have taken place in urban areas, around people's homes over 2600 a park, a mall, and nurseries where GWSS have been found.

Everybody within a 1-mile radius of a nursery, a drug store/hardware store carrying nursery stock, a new housing development, or even a private home where a homeowner has planted a new tree in her backyard, is at risk for mandatory spraying.

In Brentwood, Contra Costa County, in October and early November of 2000, spraying was done around 200 homes across from a vineyard. The vineyard itself was not sprayed!

But now Brentwood has become a "hotspot." On February 13, 2001, the Contra Costa County Ag Commissioner told of plans to survey the Brentwood neighborhood weekly. They are prepared to spray as soon as the GWSS shows up. The Commissioner agreed that the reappearance of the bug is basically inevitable. "We expect we'll find GWSS."

No one claims that any amount of spraying will eradicate the GWSS. The insect is already far too entrenched, thrives on too great a variety of host plants. The massive spraying programs that are envisioned will, however, succeed in killing off most of the beneficial insects that live in the fields, throttle the prospects for commercially viable organic agriculture, poison our pets and our kids.

And all for a glass of wine. Made from grapes grown as quickly and thickly as possible. Not what nature had in mind.

GWSS - JUST THE PEST OF THE MONTH

This is not the first time the whine industry has cried "Wolf," thirsting after state and federal subsidies. In the early '90's, the pest was Phylloxera.

1992. "[T]he scene across the Napa Valley was desolate. In what had been some of the most beautiful vineyards in the world, piles of dead vines pulled from the soil were being burned...."

In the mid '90's, the pest was the Blue-green Sharpshooter. The Glassy-winged Sharpshooter is only the latest pest. Soon there will be another pest BECAUSE the primarily conventional wine grape growers, heavy users of pesticides, have created unhealthy soil. Their practices welcome "pests" and endanger neighboring organic farmers with pesticide drift and groundwater contamination.

IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY

By 1999,"The phylloxera epidemic has run its course. The insect surfaces occasionally, and old vines must still be burned, but fresh plantings are everywhere. What's more, the new grapes are better than ever, and most California winemakers are convinced that the wines will be, too." (New York Times)

The Glasssy-winged Sharpshooter has been called a messenger which has come to shake us out of passive ways, the ways which have allowed these insidious practices to dominate the landscape of our lives. This little insect is but a vector for disease. Plants, like humans and other animals, become susceptible to disease when their immune systems are depressed. Our orchards, vineyards and fields are in distress.

Any organic farmer will point out that healthy soil allows for healthy plants. When a human is exposed to a virus or bacteria but does not get ill, it is because the body's immune system has kicked in and tackled the unwelcome visitor. Plant systems, like human bodies, carry inherent wisdom which is intact unless we fiddle with it as we have by using pesticides which kill off natural predators of undesirable guests as well as killing the life forms in soil which support plants' immunological systems.


We do not have to accept the use of pesticides (including herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, rodenticides) as a way of life. We have been a living laboratory for chemical companies for the last 50 some years.

We can refuse to allow pesticide use in agriculture, in our homes, our hospitals, our schools, our workplaces, our parks, and along streets, roads, and highways.





Genetic Engineering Toxic Pesticides

THINK GLOBALLY

Just as the energy companies offer us a "choice" between fossil fuel pollution and "clean" nuclear power, so the biochemical industry tells us we must choose between old-fashioned pesticides (insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, rodenticides) and the brave new wonders of genetic engineering.

In reality, genetic engineering and toxic pesticide production turn out to be two claws on the same crab. Despite a decade of ballyhoo, genetic engineering has not been able to produce a tomato that tastes better or is more nutritious. The Flavr Savr tomato cannot beat nature. However, Monsanto technology has been able to devise a soybean that can stand up to the company's own herbicide.

For years, Monsanto's Roundup has been the company's best-selling product, accounting for 60% of the world's broad spectrum herbicide sales (1994). Is it any surprise that the world's most popular genetically engineered crop is Monsanto's Roundup Ready Soya? By 1997, 40% of the world's soy crop was genetically modified. (Vandana Shiva, Tomorrow's Biodiversity, p. 69, 71)

Genetic drift follows pesticide drift. Wind and water know no property lines. Like genetically modified pollen, borne by breeze and bees, herbicide blows from one farmer's fields to another's, then to uncultivated lands beyond, killing most unmodified plant life it finds. Thus, "Pesticide-drift-caused crop destruction increases the pressure for non-users ... to get on the Roundup ready band wagon." (Dr. Ford Baldwin, University of Kansas weed researcher, quoted Shiva, p.70.) Meanwhile, herbicide drift inflicts other forms of collateral damage, destroying fish, worms, and the very micro-organisms that make untreated soil fertile.

Even more promiscuously, pollen from genetically modified plants flows with the wind and fertilizes non-modified plants, whose offspring become, in the crazed logic of American and Canadian law, the intellectual property of Monsanto, subject to licensing fees aggressively pursued by corporate lawyers. In just four years, the number of acres planted with genetically modified crops has increased 2500%, now reaching 100 million acres (New York Times, June 10, 2001).

But, we are told, the spread of g.m. is a great good. Monsanto, Novartis, and Dow's genetically modified corn, cotton and potatoes contain their own "natural" insecticide, Bt, which, in another form, has been used by organic farmers for decades, and might reduce the need for synthetic pesticides. But it's one thing for a careful farmer to apply, when called for, the Bacillus thuringiensis bacterium to specific plants intermixed with cover crops; quite another to convert crops into little Bt factories, wherein every part of the plant contains the toxin month in and month out. It is a law of biology that "universal and continuous exposure to [a] toxin will apply tremendous selection and adaptation pressure on the pests; the population of those that are naturally resistant will expand and others will find ways to adapt their organisms to the new climate." (Brewster Kneen, Farmageddon: Food and the Culture of Biotechology, p. 107) Used this way, as part of modern industrial farming, genetically engineered Bt is a recipe for destroying the utility of Bt toxin as an organic insecticide.

In order to offset increased pest resistance to Bt, agrochemical corporations find themselves requiring farmers to grow conventional crops next to genetically modified crops, regular corn next to Frankencorn, etc. The idea is that such refugia would allow resistant pests to interbreed with non-resistant pests, thereby postponing the creation of superpests. But this is wishful thinking. Already eight species of insect have developed resistance to Bt. It has been estimated that even with refugia, "insect resistance will evolve in as little as three to four years."(Shiva, p.8) Be assured that synthetic pesticides will still be part of the picture, and the same corporations that sold you the Bt seed will be prepared to sell you their latest and greatest synthetic pesticide .

So far from reducing the amount of poison poured onto the land, after introducing Roundup ready soya, Monsanto successfully lobbied the EPA to triple the legally acceptable level of herbicide contamination of food crops, up to 20 parts per million. (Shiva, p. 70) And now Monsanto and other corporations eye the third world as a vast new market for the double whammy of pesticides and genetically engineered seed: destroy traditional biodiversity; replace agricultural self-sufficiency with the toxic treadmill of chemical-dependent industrial farming. The only thing green about this second green revolution is the money, third world farmers' shouldering more and more of biotechnology's research and marketing costs.

Not only with pests does concentration breed resistance. In November 1998, farmers in Kharnataka, India, initiated operation "Cremate Monsanto," uprooting experimental genetically engineered cotton and then igniting it. This was all done publicly, non-violently, with an invitation to the whole peasant community to participate. (Kneen, pp. 188-189) And such communal resistance is not restricted to the third world. In Devon, England, in 1998, a field of Frankencorn, "within pollination distance of the country's largest organic farm was destroyed by approximately twenty people on a ...summer evening." When two activists were arrested, 2,000 locals signed a petition supporting the action. Elsewhere, test fields were squatted in occupations that would last weeks, eventually leading to local landlords backing down, not wishing to be caught in the middle. (Kneen, pp. 185-186).

ACT LOCALLY

On May 16, 2001, anti-biotech activists destroyed transgenic strawberry, tomato, and onion plants at a research facility in the Bay Area town of Brentwood, California. Older activists may recall that Brentwood was the site of the first-ever direct action against genetic engineering, when back in 1987, the Strawberry Liberation Front uprooted strawberries that were about to be dusted with g.m. ice-minus bacteria. Both actions partook of a particular American direct action tradition. They were swift, surreptitious, and physicially effective. But the question arises: how do we involve the larger community? How do we get people to see and remember the big picture, so that resistance is ingrained, and not just a matter of teams of activists hitting one site and then another?

The greatest psychological obstacle to seeing the big picture is despair. The New York Times proclaims that biotech products have extended to the "far corners of the global food supply -- perhaps irreversibly..." The organic food supply has been contaminated. "There's no wall high enough to keep that stuff contained." The article concludes by quoting Jeanne Romero-Severson, a professor of agriculture at Purdue University, "Zero tolerance ... is simply not realistic. 'If your standard is 100 percent pure ... you better stop eating right now.'" Therefore, we are supposed to give up on labeling laws and import ban?

But then a light goes on. It is the essence of capitalist ideology to proclaim the current state of affairs a fact of nature, immutable, to which there is no alternative -- when in reality, the current state of affairs has come about through human action and indeed requires continuing human action to keep it in existence. Nature can restore herself. If we give her a chance...

Sometimes it seems like we keep running and running and running, but don't get anywhere. If we'd only look down, we'd see we're on a treadmill, and we need to jump off.



THE WAR ON THE GLASSY-WINGED SHARPSHOOTER

While recombinant DNA research occurring in university/private sector joint venture laboratories is the current darling of the media, most of the day-to-day machinations of the agroindustrial-educational complex are much more mundane, executed by seed salesmen, pesticide applicators, and field agents of agricultural extensions. ("U.C. research. We see cancer.") Sometimes particular commercial sectors join forces to get the state to intervene and give the toxic treadmill a great big push, much to the detriment of the organic sector.

Alarmed that its profits may be nibbled away by a half-inch long insect, the obscenely rich conventional wine industry has goaded the California Dept. of Food and Agriculture into initiating a mandatory pesticide spraying program for the Glassy-winged Sharpshooter (GWSS).

Already, 25% of U.S. pesticide use is in California. "Pesticides impair children's brain functions as insidiously as lead. When the brain is developing, it lays down connecting pathways. Introducing poisons, such as those contained in pesticides, can fundamentally and irrevocably throw this critical neurological development process off course." Herbert Needleman, M.D., leading U.S. expert on lead toxicity in children.

On a calm day, a drop of pesticide can drift 24 miles.

Synthetic pesticides accumulate in adipose tissues (fat). An intake of one part per million can have the effect of a hundred parts per million.

After a typical one-time application for cockroach control, the body continues to excrete organophosphate metabolites for the next four months.

THE U.C. CONNECTION THE BIG PICTURE

While 2% of U.S.agriculture is certified organic, only 1/10th of 1% of research money goes towards organic farming. Rather than take organics seriously, the State's central brain trust for the war on the GWSS, the GWSS/Pierce's Disease Science Advisory Panel, convened by U.C. President Richard Atkinson, focuses on "solutions" that threaten to choke off any organic alternative to conventional agriculture.

Though U.C. web-pages tout physical barriers and importing parasitic wasps from Mexico, the reality on the ground is usually more and more pesticides. "Lorsban [is] our best integrated pest management tool," attests Beth Grafton-Cardwell, UC Cooperative extension researcher and GWSS Scientific Advisory Panel member, as proudly quoted on the chlorpyrifos.com website. (Dursban, the commercial version of Lorsban, using the same active ingredient, Chlorpyrifos, was banned June 8, 2000 by the EPA due to its extreme toxicity.)

If you don't like U.C.'s short-term solution, pesticides, the Advisory Panel has a long-term "solution": genetic engineering. "[D]isease resistance ... offers the only sure protection for grapes from the ravages of the X. fastidiosa bacterium. This will require ... the application of genetic engineering and other biotechnology techniques to insert disease-resistant genes into plants. There is insufficient time for conventional plant breeding practices, which could take 20 years or more to breed resistance into grapes."

Researchers in Brazil have already sequenced the genome for one strain of this bacterium, and American grape growers are chipping in to fund research on the North American strain. In Hughson, California, America's largest permanent crops nursery, Duarte, has teamed up with Dry Creek Laboratories to develop genetically modified grapevine rootstock as a "solution" to the sharpshooter.

ACT LOCALLY

In November 2000, the state-directed, federal and state-funded, UC-assisted GWSS control program initiated mandatory pesticide spraying in the East Bay, beginning with 200 homes in Brentwood. In April 2000, more pesticide was applied, this time by drenching. Activists are needed to educate local communities on the dangers of pesticides and genetic engineering, canvass spraying victims about health effects, conduct non-violence preps, and support direct action.

East Bay Pesticide Alert does NOT compromise over health


East Bay Pesticide Alert
510-895-2312
2399 East14th St #24
San Leandro, CA 94577
beneficialbug@netzero.net
www.eastbaypesticidealert.org