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In The Matter of Legislative Briefing On Malathion and Medfly Issues
May 10, 1995
Monterey Park City Council Chambers
Transcript of Proceedings
Coalition to End Aerial Spraying Through Education (CEASE)
PO BOX 605
Corona, CA 91718-0605
e-mail: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Clinical Professor, University of Southern California
Topic: "Health Effects of Low-Dose Exposure"
Dr. Brautbar is a Toxicologist, Internist and Nephrologist. He holds a Diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine, American Board of Nephrology. He is Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Medicine and Toxicology, and author of over 150 scientific papers which include toxicity of insecticides and pesticides. Dr. Brautbar serves on the editorial board of several national and international medical journals, and is an advisor to various national and international bodies in the field of toxicology.
Professor, University of California, Berkeley
Topic: "Is the Medfly Established in California?"
Dr. Dahlsten holds a Ph.D. in Entomology from the University of California, Berkeley. He has served as Chair, Division of Biological Control and has authored 117 papers dealing with biological controls. He has been Mellon Visiting Lecturer in Entomology for Yale University, and served on the Forest Technology Management Exchange Team to the People's Republic of China for integrated pest management, as well as serving on the Integrated Pest Management in Forestry Team which visited the People's Republic in 1982.
Author: California's original Health Risk Assessment of Malathion
Topic: "Department of Health Services: Science vs. Politics"
Dr. Lappe holds a Ph.D. in Experimental Pathology from the University of Pennsylvania, and is a founding associate of the Hasting Center. He has also served as a Professor of Health Policy and Ethics at the University of Illinois. Dr. Lappe developed the Hazard Evaluation System for the State of California, Department of Health Services, and is the author of the State of California's original health risk assessment of the aerial spraying program.
Professor, University of California, Berkeley
Topic: "Economic Risk Posed to Agriculture by the Medfly"
Dr. LeVeen holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Chicago. Dr. LeVeen has expertise in agricultural economics and policy with concentrations on agrarian structural change, farm income and commodity policies, environmental resource impacts of agricultural technology, consumer impact of agricultural policy; pest management, including urban pest management. He has served as a consultant for the EPA, the US Department of the Interior, and the National Academy of Sciences.
Neurobiologist UCLA Medical Center
Topic: "Necessity for Physicians to Diagnose Malathion-Related Illness"
Dr. Mancillas is a Professor with the UCLA School of Medicine, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology & Brain Research, and was formerly on the staff of the Salk Institute. He was affiliated with the Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge University, and was called upon to give expert testimony before the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors regarding the aerial use of Malathion.
Topic: "Medfly Program: History and FIFRA Background"
Applied Molecular Biologist Paul Mc Clain has worked at NASA during Projects Gemini and Mercury, and has an extensive fifteen-year background in medical research including. Department of Experimental Anesthesiology & Surgery University of Texas, MD Andersen Hospital Cancer Institute, and cystic fibrosis research with Texas Institute of Rehabilitation and Research. Mr. Mc Clain holds a Diplomate in Preventive Medicine.
Consultant: Scientific Accuracy of Health and Safety Research
Topic: "Latest EPA Health Findings on Malathion Exposure"
Dr. Reuber is an internationally renown pathologist and the former Director of Experimental Pathology Laboratory at the Frederick Cancer Research Center and consultant to the Environmental Protection Agency. The Office of Pesticide Programs for the EPA charged Doctor Reuber with determining the accuracy of health and safety research which the EPA relies upon for the regulation of thousands of pesticides.
Dr. Reuber was unable to attend the panel presentation in person, due to last-minute scheduling difficulties. His topic material was, however, divided among the other participants.
Good morning. I'm Charlotte Wagner one of the founding members of CEASE. It is the goal of CEASE to make the aerial spraying of Malathion the hot topic across the State with a concerted educational effort, by providing a forum for the independent doctors and scientists to address every aspect of the Medfly Eradication Program.
This briefing is an unprecedented event, bringing together independent experts representing the fields of toxicology, entomology, economics and law. In 15 years the state has never provided a forum for you to hear from the independent scientific community. The panelists are here to present information today in opposition to the State's Malathion Spraying Program; not only the latest medical and scientific studies but evidence that the State is consistently misrepresenting, overstating the danger to agriculture, and downplaying and minimizing human health effects and in fact is actually breaking the law.
Dr. Marc Lappe holds a Ph.D. in Experimental Pathology from the University of Pennsylvania and is a founding associate of the Hasting Center. He has also been a Professor of Health Policy and Ethics at the University of Illinois. Dr Lappe is currently the Director of the Center for Ethics and Toxic Substances. Dr Lappe developed the Hazard Evaluation System for the State of California, Department of Health Services, and is the author of the State of California's original health risk assessment of the aerial spraying program. You were seeing him on the "60 minutes" video piece just played.
Dr. Lappe was called away to a trial out-of-state. He cannot be here in person today, however he has graciously arranged to talk with us by phone from the airport.
So, I'm going to have Doctor Lappe address you.
Good morning, Doctor Lappe.
Good morning. thank you. I am very, very appreciative of the opportunity to talk to you this morning. I apologize profusely for not being able to be there in person because I know how valuable it is to be able to make eye contact and interact with you.
I have been asked to give some brief comments about my involvement with the Malathion issue and to raise some of the lingering concerns which I continue to have 15 years after my involvement.
In 1980 I was in charge of the Hazard Evaluation System in the State of California and, by default, the agricultural division I was in charge of making analysis refused to - we were appointed the job of making an analysis of the risks associated with spraying for the Medfly in ten working days.
I recall receiving 1800 references on Malathion at that time, and we did a yeoman's job with my staff, taking the principal roles of assembling this data and writing an initial analysis.
There are two key points that may have been lost in the veils of history over time: one was that we insisted and were granted the right - ethically the right to do what we call the worst-case analysis. We were very uncomfortable writing this analysis. We had grave concerns about the idea of exposing a very, very heterogeneous group of individuals with different health status and different needs for protection to a composite analysis. For that reason, we had come to an agreement that we could do a worst-case analysis.
The second point is that we were asked to make certain assumptions in that analysis, which were made and which still hold today; and which are equally erroneous today, I should add.
We were asked to assume that the spray would be exclusively for Malathion. We were not told at that time about any contaminants. We suspect those contaminants would be present and we said so, as you will hear in the covering letter that went with the report and on the first page of the report.
In summary, we did an analysis of the neurologic, the cancer, the birth defects and the acute health defect consequences of exposure. It's interesting that people from whom we got the assignment, particularly Doctor Ephrain Kahn, told us - told me directly that he didn't expect there to be in any adverse health effects.
We tried to avoid any presumptions in that regard, but we were well aware that doses that were going to be received, given an assumption of about 2.4 ounces per acre, which is about twice what is currently used, would probably be so low that you wouldn't see any immediate adverse effects in terms of lowering of the critical blood enzymes associated with response to the neuromuscular junction, cholinesterase depression.
The analysis, therefore, included, after it was done, that there weren't likely to be acute health effects from exposure to Malathion.
But analysis also said that there were concerns about long-term health effects; that we were concerned about contaminants; we were concerned about susceptible people in the population and we were profoundly concerned about uncertainties that were involved in our analysis.
That first analysis, which was not a draft, our final report in December of 1980, said that our analysis of a worst-case situation computed about a 5.5 per million risk of cancer in the exposed population. Those numbers were changed without my consent as the head of the unit. They reflect a 1 in a million risk of cancer for a child exposed to just six sprays. We were not told that they were planning 17 sprays, not six, so that was an additional multiplier of almost 3.
This led to our being concerned enough for my staff and I to write a memo to the head of the Department of Health just before the spraying, a memo saying that we were concerned that there had been a gross oversimplification; in fact, white wash where Malathion was given a clean bill of health from the Department of Food and Agriculture, and their analysis was substituted for ours.
Our analysis was reduced to a single paragraph which was excerpted and which was - the first paragraph said we didn't expect acute health effects, and the key caveats were unfortunately left out.
While we wrote this memo of concern, no changes were made in the plans, except weather-related postponements in the spraying. San Jose was sprayed a few months thereafter, and the rest of the history I think is clear to most of the participants.
The issues that you're faced with today - and I've reviewed as much of the current literature as I could - seem to boil down to at least three substantive questions: one is a legalistic issue and a ethics issue; 2, does the public have the same right to know that workers have when they're exposed to chemicals which is a full disclosure of potential risks? Does the public have a right to consent to this exposure, whether it's declared an emergency, in quotes, or not just as patients or subjects of experimental exposures always have? And finally, are we doing the wrong cost benefit analysis here by equating economic benefits which are undoubted from the spray operation from as yet un-tabulated health -
Now, let me make clear I'm not a flaming radical-radical that thinks that the world's going to end with Medfly spraying in terms of the people succumbing to birth defects which I don't think have proven to be an issue. I don't think there are neurologic effects that are immediate or evident.
But there are delayed effects that have never been satisfactorily studied, particularly those that affect eyes of individuals who might be directly exposed to spray.
I had written as head of this unit Dick Stratton asking that we establish in 1981 - in early 1981 monitoring programs that would record and measure the occurrence of any adverse effects that may be associated with exposure to Malathion, specifically allergic reactions. Respiratory and neurologic reactions to it should be reported and centralized such that we would have an early warning system in place if people were being adversely affected from the spraying. That was never instituted to my knowledge.
Finally, the concerns that we had in 1981 are the concerns that EPA continues to discover today. We were concerned about allergic reaction to Malathion, particularly because, albeit in larger doses, workers had a history of exposure and allergic reactions to the diethylfumarate. The EPA, in its most recent risk assessment, gives no clean bill of health. We are also gravely concerned -
I remain gravely concerned that, in the name of economic expediency, they were using an impure preparation that is laced through with toxic chemicals like thioates that change the risk estimation, and when incorporated into the risk calculations, the EPA has concluded that you have to watch for adverse effects from thioates.
That's not a sufficient degree of protection of the public from my viewpoint as somebody who's been concerned about public health effects, perhaps more than the economic effects of the Medfly.
Finally, I think that what you're facing is a belated public relations campaign with the same problems that existed 15 years ago. The public doesn't trust you. Rightly so, the public has an absolute right to refuse exposure to toxic chemicals in almost any other situation in this country but not to compulsory spraying, and they have the impression that dollars are being placed over the protection of the health of themselves and, more particularly, their children.
And as irrational as some of those concerns may appear to you scientifically, they are absolutely bona fide. And the psychological impacts of an uncontrolled spray program that does, in fact, bring these considerations of the public welfare is potentially the greatest health consequence of all as it affects communities' infrastructure, it affects trust in government
Thank you for the opportunity. I will welcome any questions that you might have.
Doctor Linda Bowman, the Department of Pathology at UCLA, and I represent the Leukemia Society of America. The 5.5 per million risk of cancer, was that over the general population ...?
That risk was calculated for a child that might have been exposed to sprays, made assumptions of about 10% dermal absorption. It assumed that exposure would take place in a 6ft. by 5ft.play size area and that the child would have been exposed on each of the six occasions to toxins from the spray. Doesn't assume that any ingestion would occur, as I recall. Principal exposure was inhalation and dermal.
It was a worst-case analysis for a child, not the whole population
And what Doctor Lappe had said, that his figures, as far as the crawl space, was altered to bring the cancer risk within a more acceptable limit by his boss, Ephrain Kahn.
In the risk assessment did they worry about the breakdown products of Malathion?
You know, our risk assessment was definitely worried about that outcome, but we couldn't compute it. We mentioned that we were - that our risk assessment was limited assumption that there wouldn't be any breakdown from malaoxon or from Malathion, and it didn't incorporate thioate contamination. Those would change the risk calculation today somewhat, and I think the EPA's current risk assessment incorporates those other contaminants.
Outrageous, frankly, that they have not used our recommendation which at the time was stated clearly that only pure pharmaceutical grade Malathion should be used in the spray operation. I do not understand why that was ever done.
I have a question to him. May I ask?
Doctor Brautbar has a question. Doctor Brautbar is a clinical professor at USC, he's a toxicologist, internist, he is a kidney specialist.
I wanted to ask you mentioned allergies. And you know that some people attack this issue by saying it's really not allergy and it's not allergy-related. Would you consider allergy as a general symptom for chemical sensitivity as well as allergic reactions?
The question was, if I understood it, did we consider allergies as a reaction to the chemicals of sensitive individuals in our calculation? Is that the question?
Yes. Other than just the specific I.G.E.-mediated process. rather than the specific immunoglobulin - I.G.E.-mediated process? Because, you know, a lot of people come and say that if you don't have the specific I.G.E.-mediated process, that there really is not an allergy.
We didn't incorporate any assessment of allergies that acknowledge the work of Thomas Milby and others that are done on occupational exposures. We didn't incorporate allergic in our risk assessment, but we cited those as adverse effects by writing Doctor Stratton to ask that allergic reactions, including sensitization, contact hypersensitivity and asthma-like reactions be recorded. That was 1981.
I frankly remain convinced that that is the single most important adverse effect that has been found likely to occur in high prevalence than the county assessments that have been made. That is an issue that remains a profound issue of concern. As repeated sprays are done, more people are going to be sensitized to this material. And I think that that has never been effectively incorporated into the risk assessment.
Charlotte, I have a question.
Richard Sigler, Attorney at Law, U.S.C.
Hi, Doctor Lappe. I became involved in this issue because I believe that my wife was severely injured by the 89-90 spraying in Los Angeles, including -and primarily neurological damage, and I heard you says that you did not believe there were neurological consequences to the aerial spraying. Since Malathion is a neurotoxin and that's how it operates, can you explain why you do not believe there 's any neurological risks to the population?
Yes. I can say that what we - I'll reiterate what my team said, including pharmacologists and specialists in that area, which is that theoretically the exposure levels in terms of dose response relationships were not going to be sufficient to see any immediate acute effect from the exposure.
But I also stated in my earlier remarks that we were concerned about what are called delayed neurotoxic effects from either cumulative exposures at a low level or from a single large exposure that led to delayed neurotoxicity which organophosphates are known to be able to produce. So I did not intend to imply that I vouchsafe for neurologic consequence.
Your name, please.
Harvey Karp. I'm a pediatrician in Santa Monica and I was a member of the Health Effects Committee report back a few years ago. Just one clarification: in terms of the cancer studies that were done, were not the impurities factored in to the risk assessment?
Yes, I believe we were aware that the original NCI bio assays used technical grade Malathion. I am not sure that it is identical in all forms to the one that's currently or was being used in the spray operation 'cause there's all sorts of grades bearing from that.
And I frankly - I do not want to raise a red flag about cancer risks as the message to take place by my talk. I do not think there is going to be any detectable increases in the population exposed unless there are multiple susceptible individuals in the population, and there are. There are people in the exposed population who have genetic deficiencies which may be itemized in subsequent correspondence like (transpony's) anemia or xeroderma pigmentosum that might make them ultra-sensitive to chemical exposures of this sort.
The big issue is the notion of exposing a full gamut of hyper susceptible and resistant individuals to a chemical in a mass experiment without public participation in deciding that this is the best thing to do. This has always bothered me.
So if I can understand this, Doctor Lappe - as far as the formulation of the Malathion, you said that originally when you did the risk assessment, that you were told that they were going to use a pure Malathion in the spray program. And what had happened in actuality is that what they're using now in the spray program, they're using a technical grade Malathion that is full of all types of unknown impurities. Am I correct?
Not exactly. We certainly knew that pure Malathion wasn't being used, but most of our risk assessment had to rely on studies that used, both technical and pure Malathion. We indicated that our risk assessment only applied to pure Malathion. We didn't have the wherewithal to break out or to separate the allergic chemicals that are present like fumerates. We didn't have any data at that point about immunotoxicity of thioates which have been developed.
It would have been an extremely salubrious step that would have assured much higher public confidence to have said, "We'll pay the extra price and use the product that's been approved by the FDA for limited use as a insecticide for our spray operations to assure a higher degree of public safety." That was something that still should be done.
Doctor, this is Frances Wagner I wanted to mention to you that that was raised with Cheminova, the manufacturer of Malathion when Corona was sprayed. They stated that they did not have the resources to create that much pure Malathion for that type of spray program.
What her comment was, is that the manufacturer of Malathion, Cheminova, when contacted about why they're not using the pure Malathion, as Doctor Lappe indicated they should, the president of Cheminova said, They do not have the ability to make that much pure Malathion. So it's not feasible.
Then they shouldn't do the spray. That's frankly my bottom line. It's always been my position that represents the minority view, but it is - it's certainly choosing a more harmful chemical over a less harmful chemical that would have achieved the same result.
I have to leave at this point. Is there one final question?
Thank you very much, Doctor Lappe. We know this has been a trying circumstance and you've been really gracious to participate.
Thank you so much for your forbearance for this poor means of communication. I appreciate your time. Thank you.
This is kind of changing our format a little bit because of this situation, but it's always good for us to be flexible in life.
I'd like to introduce the former Mayor of Monterey Park, Pat Reichenberger. She was one of the original people that were opposed to just spraying, very consistent, courageous person, and Councilman Joel Wachs has written a letter. He was unable to be here today because of his city business, but he wants everybody to know that the City of Los Angeles is opposed categorically to the aerial spraying of urban populations. So I want her to come up and read his letter.
Thank you and welcome.
I am very glad that you could be here because I have, along with all of you and many, many other people, been involved in this. And two years ago this past April I had brain surgery and - with a tumor and I was sprayed 16 times here in the City of Monterey Park while I was on city council. And one of the people I went to at the time and asked for help is LA City's Councilman Joel Wachs. So I will read his letter at this time.
"Dear friends: City business prevents me from joining you this morning. Nevertheless, I want to assure you that the City of Los Angeles still strongly opposes the aerial spraying of Malathion. I am also pleased that other cities like Monterey Park, Corona have followed and found their own formal opposition to the spray.
"Contrary to the beliefs of the state and federal government, there still has not been one independent scientific study that conclusively determines that the repeated spray of Malathion over an urban population is safe.
"Our city urges the Department of Health Services to stop minimizing the adverse health effects and disseminate all the information that is available, especially in relation to sensitive sub-populations.
"I was appalled to recently learn of a new pilot program from the California Foundation For Agriculture being tried out in Camarillo elementary schools. I am told that the curriculum uses the Medfly to teach about science, math and geography as well as our agriculture's importance in the food supply.
"Instead of teaching our children about the possible adverse health effects from spray, the program portrays fruit as the innocent victim. In reality, it is our children who are the innocent victims. We must insist that this pilot program be stopped.
"Please know that Los Angeles will continue to use its resources to fight the aerial spraying of Malathion. We urge all cities to join together to ensure that sound policy decisions are made, particularly in regard to research and funding. It is time for agriculture to start paying its own way.
"I commend you for your efforts and urge all of you to continue your good fight.
"Sincerely, Joel Wachs, Councilman, Second District."
Now I'd like to introduce the Mayor of Monterey Park, Rita Valenzuela.
Good morning. On behalf of the City of Monterey Park, I would like to welcome you to our city. A critical issue for our city's residents for nearly a decade has been the topic of today's meeting, the continued use of Malathion by the State of California to eradicate the Medfly. We have seen the effects of the use of Malathion upon numerous individuals and property. We also know that this toxic chemical has failed to achieve the goal of eradication. In fact, the Medfly has continued to flourish and expand its territory.
The City of Monterey Park continues to oppose the use of Malathion spraying due to its health risks. We are very pleased to play a role in assisting you in getting the facts and information out to the public on this issue and the legislative efforts to stop its continued use.
An event like this would not be possible without a very wide base of community support, not only the community of Monterey Park, but the greater community of citizens in this great state of California. So many have contributed time and resources, made donations of services. I thank them all, but especially the Days Inn of Monterey Park and its wonderful staff that donated accommodations for panelists who came in from different areas of the state for today's event. to the Luminari's Restaurant; especially to Randy Ishino, our channel 55 television technician who is going to televise this event and broadcast it to our community.
But my special - my special thanks goes to you, everyone that is here today. You fight - your passion for what you believe in what we all believe in is helping us to bring a better quality of life to all of our communities. I thank you.
Just briefly, the City of Corona was sprayed eight times for one Medfly. The City of Corona spent $100,000 contesting this in the courts. And Mayor Jeff Bennett is one of the voices in Corona that has been outspoken and is against this program and continues to be, but we wanted to give more time for your questions, so the mayor has very graciously given his position for this.
I'd like to thank a couple of other people that have donated services, We're having this entire proceeding transcribed today, the courtesy of this wonderful lady here, Karen Peckham with Shirley Krause Court Reporting. And also we have the National Health Federation to thank as a co-sponsor who shares our goals as far as an informed electorate.
Now I'd like to introduce our first panelist. this is Paul Mc Clain. Paul Mc Clain has an extensive background as far as research. He has worked at NASA during the Gemini and Mercury projects. He has an extensive 15-year background in medical research, including the Department of Experimental Anesthesiology and Surgery, The University of Texas, M.D. Andersen Hospital and Cystic Fibrosis Research With Texas Institute of Rehabilitation and Research, and he also holds a Diplomate in Preventive Medicine.
Paul Mc Clain is going to talk about the history of the Medfly program and FIFRA -the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, Rodenticide Act.
Good morning. I have to tell you that I've been involved in this since the original hearings in 1990 with Joel Wachs. When you really understand the medical literature and you see what the State of California and the Department of Health Services has told the people of California, it just absolutely makes me so mad, it's hard to talk about it.
As a Diplomate of preventive medicine, my concern is not the gross picture of pathology anybody walking down the street would obviously recognize, but those subtle cellular disruptions and pathologies that none of the majority of the information addresses.
Also the degree of which the State and the Department of Health has gone to misinform you and give you absolutely erroneous data as to the possible health effects is just unconscionable.
Now, they've given me 20 minutes to tell you about basically a 15-year history of the use of Malathion in aerial spraying.
We talked a lot about the medical issues, and yet there's a primary issue or two other basic issues: one is, is this program legal? And the answer is absolutely no.
One of the blanket statements the State has made is that under the "emergency exemption", Section 18, they are exempt from FIFRA, the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide And Rodenticide Act established in 1947 to protect people from pesticides.
That is absolutely not true, absolutely unequivocally not true. Also, the Special Local Need Exemption, 24-C, states from federal law that any pesticide registered under special local need now comes under the same jurisdiction as any other federally registered pesticide, including the ability to withdraw its registration if any adverse effects are seen on man or the environment.
And this is a very key phrase, "adverse effects to man or the environment." That will shut down this entire program. None of the emergency exemptions exempt the state from producing adverse effects on man or the environment with the use of these pesticides. Now, one of the things that in filing for, the emergency exemption, or the 24-C, Local Need, is there's a certain requirements to submit the application. One of those is that you must provide the data, not opinion, but the data supporting the conclusion that no adverse effects will occur from the use of pesticide.
That data doesn't exist. Most of the scientific data is highly suggestive that Malathion causes a number of pathologies. There is no data that says Malathion is safe. And I'll read to you from the state's own documents. They're same conclusion. So let's take the state's own documents. Let's use their own words which acknowledge these issues, but they never tell the public about it.
So first of all, they are not exempt. They must submit the data. Doesn't exist. The other is the environmental impact studies. Have never or were never done. This is one of the requirements that EPA must review the Environmental Impact Study before issuing the exemption.
Those studies weren't done until 1992. So from 1980 to 1992 this was illegal. Now, we had threatened a Writ of Mandamus which is a law that says government officials must do the job they're hired to do. They get paid for nothing otherwise. And we were in the process of filing this writ against the EPA to tell the President of The United States to tell the Director of the EPA, simply ask him the question: did you review these documents before you issued the emergency exemption?
The answer is no. He hadn't done his job because those documents don't exist.
The other thing it says is that accompanying the application must be all the information about other federal or state agencies involved in this spraying. This would include the FAA and you must send letters that you sent to them and their comments and replies about your concerns.
Well, the FAA has never issued the exemptions to deviate from the Federal Aviation Regulations as far as flying at the altitudes and speeds and et cetera. One of the things the FAA requires is that you have a disaster plan in case of a crash. No such document exists. And, in fact, if you look at the history of Evergreen, they've had three crashes with pesticides on board that totaled their helicopters. The state said, "well, it's really not our responsibility to look at the safety record of the pilots of the aircraft that we hire to spray your cities."
This is the status from the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide And Rodenticide Act that they have never complied with, and we have to assume either they didn't know, which means they haven't bothered to read the regulations, or they willfully ignored them.
So they are illegal in a sense, in telling you that they are exempt from federal regulation. And it just doesn't make sense to me, as a scientist, that Malathion, being a poison, is no longer a poison when you spray urban populations to control an agricultural pest.
Now, is the Medfly in California?
Yes. One of the other things that FIFRA says is that to get the emergency exemption this pest must be heretofore unknown. Well, we had a 1927 Medfly panel in California to investigate the Medfly. So I would say that really 70 years of knowledge about a pest that shows up virtually every year is not exactly heretofore unknown of widely distributed.
So there are a number of issues about the fact that these emergency exemptions were ever issued.
Now, why do we need them? Because this pesticide or any pesticide registered before 1984 are undergoing what's called a re-registration. And what that means is there are a number of biological tests that must be performed on pesticides to see exactly how toxic they are before they can be registered, and you cannot use a pesticide which has essentially not been tested or registered.
So Malathion is currently undergoing a re-registration like a lot of other pesticides. It's not unique.
Well, one of the things that you should also be aware of, think about, who's running the pesticide programs in California? Go back and look at the history of pesticide use in California. It's kind of interesting. And this actually came out of the UCLA Journal of Environmental Law, "Pest Control in the Public Interest" (Vol. 8:31,1988) and I'll just very quickly tell you a few things.
In the effort to control pink boll worm, they used - well, first of all, the entomologists said, "don't spray." They ignored that, and they sprayed with chlordimeform which later was found to be a carcinogen and was pulled from registration. California also pulled it from registration, but when nothing else was effective, they reregistered it in 1981 and continue to use a known carcinogen.
In the Medfly crisis in Santa Clara, they also requested an exemption for Malathion for the Medfly but also fenthion as well. Fenthion is an avicide used to kill birds
When the Japanese beetle showed up in 1983, no hearings, no environmental impact, no nothing. They started spraying carbaryl, diazinon and oftanol. Well, guess what, folks? Oftanol turns out to cause cancer also.
This is all out of state documents; Apple maggot shows up 1983. The first panel decides eradication was neither feasible nor advisable. So C.D.F.A. fired that panel, put in another pro-spraying panel and also convinced the State Legislature to exempt the State from the California Environmental Quality Act.
Do you think these people have any mentality other than to use poisons to spray and that they have any concern about its effect?
I would say from these documents it doesn't appear that they know how to do anything except spray poisons.
That's who you're dealing with. This is the mentality in Sacramento that you're dealing with when it comes to agriculture.
Now, it's interesting that at the same time the pink boll worm was a problem here, it was a problem in other states who use biological control for it. And ultimately here in California what controlled it was biological control.
And if we look around the world at populations going into what's called LISA or Low Impact Sustainable Agriculture without the use of pesticides, it takes about three years to turn around a field from pesticide to no pesticide, but the crop yield's almost double. So we aren't pursuing anything in California in the terms of agriculture that really is progressive.
I have yet to run into any of the city attorneys that have read FIFRA. These are the laws that control pesticides, and yet nobody's read them. It's not a wonder to me that the state gets away with what they get away with. Nobody's read the laws to challenge it.
Now, the state tells you that Malathion is safe and they have two studies to prove it. And one of the first hearings that Joel Wachs, City Council, convened, Sacramento didn't take it serious. People were getting sick. They called a special council meeting to discuss health effects. So Sacramento sent us Issi Siddiqui an entomologist. And when Joel Wachs said to him "Sir, you've told us there are thousands of studies that you looked at which said that Malathion is safe. Could you show us some of those?"
And Mr. Siddiqui finally said, "Well, you know, sir, there are no scientific studies that say Malathion is safe." Well, you could have heard a pin drop.
He said, "well, what we do have are some studies conducted by the state in Santa Clara." And he presented - his total support was a two-page document.
Now, what they say is they did extensive studies after the Santa Clara spraying in 1980-81. But, in fact, if you look at the state's own documents about what actually occurred, they sprayed six times and then they continued to spray for another year, but they did their study after only six sprayings. So they represent to you that this document includes the one-year spray. It includes six weeks. And you know what? They didn't find anything.
But what you look at in the state's document entitled "A Characterization of Sequential Aerial Malathion Applications in the Santa Clara Valley of California, 1981" (Calif. Dept. of Food and Agriculture, Division of Pest Management, Environmental Protection and Worker Safety, Unit of Environmental Monitoring and Pest Management, April 1982), as I said, the spray lasted over a year and covered 13,000 square miles. They did their study after six weeks, 250 miles. and they say they did extensive monitoring.
Well, in fact, for air quality they estimated there were 400,000 individual residences exposed. They surveyed 30, .007 percent of the exposed population. 476 schools were included in that area. They surveyed 11. 78 hospitals were included in the area. They surveyed two. and, in fact, they found Malathion in the air inside the hospitals.
This is their intensive study: six weeks and virtually none by - by statistical analysis, almost none of the area that was sprayed they actually surveyed in their intensive study.
What they said in the introduction to this document is that - and this is what Dr. Marc Lappe was saying when he did his risk assessment - there was no data, no existing data really of any kind. The introduction to the state's documents says the scientific literature contains little and, in fact, no information describing the environmental impact of aerial Malathion bait application.
"The scientific literature does not contain the quantitative characterization of spray needed to evaluate potential adverse effects on humans and non-target organisms. These inadequacies represent serious gaps in the literature and prevent attempts to evaluate the long-term exposure to a series of low-dose Malathion exposures."
They admit there is no data, and yet they try to tell people in California it's safe. While federal law prevents using the word "safe" when referring to a pesticide, it also says you cannot use any numerical or analogies such as "safer than" or "the least toxic."
These are forbidden, and yet whenever the County of LA sent out their basically bogus information to the public, they used the word "safe." They assured the public that it was safe. Okay? Forbidden by federal law.
What they found, though, in their evaluation of the spraying was that the deposition of Malathion bait proved to be highly variable for each spraying, and the deposition ranged anywhere from none to 6.4 milligrams per square foot. That's three times the allowable level.
Deposition in areas flagged for exclusion were significant despite efforts to isolate them. They assured us there was no drift. There would be no duplicates and that it was controllable. This says its not.
Malathion bait droplets range from 35 microns to 1750 with a mean droplet size between 200 and 300 microns. Well, in Los Angeles County the letters we got from the Department of Health and the Toxic Epidemiology Program was that, in fact, these would be 800 microns or larger, impossible to inhale. Their data says 200 to 300 was the mean range and some of them as low as 35 microns.
Significant inhalation. of course the, LA County also assured us there was no dermal exposure or no dermal absorption. Well, all the data shows that the dermal route of exposure is the highest and most likely route of exposure, and yet the LA County assured us no dermal absorption was possible.
This is an absolute bare-faced lie. This is in the medical literature. They also assured us that children, pregnant women and the elderly were not at any special risk. Any first-year medical student learns that there is a population of people defined as the very young, the very elderly and pregnant women that constitute a known high-risk group. It's just when I hear that coming from a medical man, it just makes me so livid.
They also said the extraction, removal of high levels of Malathion and malaoxon from rainwater creates a justifiable concern for aquatic life, both fresh and saltwater.
Now, that's what they said in the opening preface, to this characterization of the state says is worthy of review. What they find is that they only analyze live births in the hospital, and although there were six significant associations for birth defects, they didn't mean anything.
They don't account for the fact, though, by this chart anything to do with spontaneous abortion or stillbirth and, in fact, what you find is in the highly sprayed areas there's a 50% reduction among the black population in live births. There's a 25% reduction among other populations and a 12% reductions in the total number of live births compared to the unsprayed in the white population.
They don't account for these. Although I find it very interesting they hired Dr. Thomas to do an independent review which they never published and he says the most significant finding to deal with spontaneous abortion was abortion during the week of spraying.
Now, there's a whole lot of new data that has to do with an area I'm very familiar with in terms of free radical pathologies which would highly account for these kind of findings, but yet the state writes these off as being statistically not significant or due to some artifact.
This is what they showed us to prove Malathion is safe.
Well, first of all, let me say that all the references you see about Malathion being safe from two environmental studies - those are the two studies I just told you. That's it. There are no studies.
Now, when they convene this independent panel, more or less, and did the "Health Risk Assessment of Aerial Application of Malathion Bait in 1991", (State of California Department of Health Services) very interesting that the preface to those findings by Ken Keiser, who's the Director of California Department of Public Health, says: "Because of the concerns set forth in this document, specifically the small margin of safety for certain groups in the population, we recommend that aerial application of Malathion bait in urban areas to eradicate agricultural pests be reconsidered" in one statement and another "Considered only after all other safer, less intrusive alternatives have been exhausted."
That's not what they've said to the people of California. They've never said they were concerned. Another document says, "We have severe concerns about the immunotoxicology."
Now, these are all new areas that aren't part of the registration profiles. We're so far behind in how we evaluate pesticides compared to current technology, we're still in the dark ages as to how we test pesticides.
I think it's also interesting that during the basically 1990 sprayings here in LA the Toxic Epidemiology Program (T.E.P.) set up their hotline, and every time we'd be at someplace, say, "Well, if you people are having all of these complaints and all these problems, why aren't you calling us? We are not receiving any calls from anybody with any exposures to Malathion. We aren't receiving any calls."
Well, interesting, in their own document they say they received 1,178 calls of people complaining of exposure to Malathion., Because an individual cannot report adverse effects to EPA, it must come through a doctor. Well, it's very interesting that 38 doctors presented complaints to T.E.P. documented in their literature, and of those, 18 were confirmed to be the result of exposure to Malathion.
Now, federal law requires that those be submitted as adverse effects because that's what the EPA is interested in monitoring about the exposure effects. And I think we could ask Dr. Papanek who happens to be here today why those results were not reported to the EPA in compliance with FIFRA. And maybe after this is over he will have an answer for that since he was in charge of that program, or why he denies the fact that he got any phone calls when, in fact, their own documents says they got almost 1200. Different issue.
Let's look at what the Health Risk Assessment says.
We've already seen that Ken Kizer is concerned and says that aerial spraying should be a last resort, which is also what the emergency exemption says; that it will be used as a last resort and it will only be used - basically they assume twice, two sprayings is what EPA assumes in their "Emergency Exemption" to reduce the population to the point where sterile flies can be introduced at the level of 100 to 1 ratio. That's it. For control, not eradication. They did not give them permission to eradicate under the "Emergency Exemption".
Well, the new guidelines for the State are if one fly, one pregnant female is found, they're going to spray Malathion for two life cycles over a 16-square mile area period. That's the adopted protocol for the State at this point: one pregnant fly, 16 square miles of spraying, basically eight sprayings. That is also not in compliance with FIFRA, or the Emergency Exemption.
Let's go back to the Health Risk Assessment. The population as defined as high risk: the very young, the elderly, pregnant women, individuals with certain preexisting medical or psychiatric conditions, especially liver and kidney, individuals taking medication for hypertension, glaucoma or those with Parkinson's disease, the homeless and the nutritionally deficient. Protein plays a big part in protecting people from Malathion.
These they identified as high risks, yet the original data given to us from the LA Department of Health said nobody's at risk; no problems.
Their conclusions and recommendations are under neurological effects. The current regulatory requirements for neurotoxicity testing are inadequate. Aacetylcholinesterase inhibition, which is the major marker that they use which is totally useless, we find clinical presentation when the levels are high, are normal. We find lack of clinical presentation when the levels of acetylcholinesterase are extremely low.
This is almost a useless marker. In fact, it is a useless marker for what we're talking about. And they acknowledge that acetylcholinesterase inhibition appears neither to be the most sensitive indicator of neurotoxicological end point associated with organophosphate poisoning, and yet that's how the state justifies all of the medical data is no acetylcholinesterase inhibition.
Behavioral and neurological parameters such as learning ability, memory retention and electroencephalogram measurements seem to be more sensitive indicators than the commonly used cholinesterase activity. Malathion has been shown to effect both serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain. These are the major, other than acetylcholine, neurotransmitters that work in the brain. These levels are altered.
Also, in terms of the free radicals, what we find for Malathion, and especially the contaminants and the breakdown product malaoxon, is the generation of lipid peroxides. This is basically peroxide and it just chews up fats of which your brain is composed primarily of fat. So is there any wonder that lipid peroxidation would cause problems in destroying brain tissue, much less the alterations in and even neurotransmitters?
This is known data.
Then they say there is no evidence that Malathion has the potential to cause organophosphate induced delayed neuropathy. Well, I guess they aren't aware of the World Health Organization studies and the EPA studies in thousands of people in populations that absolutely document delayed neuropathies after exposure to low-level organophosphates.
Also, "Advances In Neurobehavioral Toxicology: Applications in Environmental and Occupational Medicine" - this is a textbook, the authors say, "Humans are the most susceptible species to organophosphate-induced delayed neuropathy." The cardinal features have to do with degeneration of the nerve tracts. They also in their findings say that numerous studies indicate that Malathion causes adverse effects on the liver and kidneys. And this is documented by biochemical assays that we typically use for evaluating these organs.
Malathion has been shown to effect the immune system at nontoxic, noncholinergic levels. It's not what they tell you. There is evidence for developmental toxicity of Malathion in mammals. The critical effect is post-natal developmental retardation.
The available evidence indicates that Malathion has the potential to produce genetic damage. Several studies indicate that male reproductive toxicology may be affected by Malathion in specific testicular atrophy and some damage to sperm cells.
Now, in fairness, these studies are highly suggestive, and a word the state likes the use is "significant." There is no significant adverse effect. well, are there any adverse effects?
Well, innocent people might be suffering from something. When you talk about allergies, again, you're talking about free radicals which are generated which basically cause atherosclerosis and a number of other issues, not just sneezing and coughing. We aren't talking about that as an allergy. We're talking about parts of the immune system which are stimulated like interlukins.
That the compliment cascade, which are highly destructive to the body, highly destructive, nobody's looking at this stuff. A few researchers have demonstrated lipid peroxides and other free radical damage. these are not the typical IGE-mediated responses. They're from other mechanisms that are unknown. And what the State says is we don't know what this means. So, therefore, we aren't going to consider it in talking about safety.
These don't reach statistical levels of significance so, therefore, they're not conclusive. You cannot conclusively conclude that this is bad. And that's exactly what Issi Siddiqui said to Joel Wachs. He said to him verbatim "It is not the responsibility of the State to prove that Malathion is safe. It is up to you to prove that it's unsafe."
That's the state's position.
Okay. So the fact is we have enormous amounts of scientific literature that are highly suggestive that Malathion can cause and in some cases does cause adverse effects to man and the environment. And this is the big issue that will shut down the aerial spraying program.
So you have to ask yourself three questions: No. 1, Why are we spraying urban populations to control an agricultural pest, No. 2, has this pest ever caused any damage? Is it likely to? And No. 3, is it established here? Most entomologists say it is. If, in fact, that's true, again, you cannot ask for "emergency exemptions" and you can't spray urban populations for an established pest.
So I think those are some of the things to think about. And the fact that, in my opinion as a scientist, having looked at the literature and having gotten into this, living in North Hollywood, being around spray and thinking in my mind, my experience with the medical profession is this couldn't be happening if it weren't safe. And then I look at all the data and I said, "My god. These people have actually blatantly lied to the people of California, distorted the information, and this is the biggest whitewash fraud I've ever seen perpetuated under the guise of good medicine."
I'll leave that to you to decide if you want to look at the data. Thank you.
That was Paul Mc Clain. He's an applied molecular biologist.
I also want to acknowledge the councilwoman from Monterey Park who has been very helpful in this situation, and that's Judy Chu. I also wanted to acknowledge Mr. Eugene Gonzalez of the State Legislative Committee of the A.A.R.P. they had a very short notice and they came. Thank you so much.
Speaking about health effects of Malathion and the studies, our next panelist is doctor Nachman Brautbar. He is a Medical Doctor. He's also a Toxicologist, he's an Internist, he's a kidney specialist and he is a Clinical Professor at the University of Southern California. He holds a Diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine, American Board of Nephrology. He is Editor In Chief International Journal of Medicine and Toxicology. He has authored over 150 scientific papers, including "Toxicity of Insecticides And Pesticides". Doctor Brautbar serves on the editorial board of several national and international medical journals and he is also an adviser to various national and international bodies in the field of toxicology.
Thank you. I'm coming to you from a position of a practicing physician who sees patients, treats patients, as well as a scientist and a teacher teaching at the medical school. I have no political agenda, and I'm just going to talk about scientific and medical data.
First of all, in order to understand this issue, I believe that, from a medical toxicological point of view, one needs to understand several basics, and one is that regulatory and safety standards are based on normal populations; in other words, if someone comes and tells you that it's okay to be exposed to "x" amount of milligrams of a substance, that is really a regulatory issue. That is from a regulatory point of view. It covers only the normal population, covers only 56 % of the population, and it does not address the various heterogeneous population of genetically predisposed, medically predisposed, elderly, children, and all the others that we have heard about.
So that's a very important topic when you get this smokescreen that, well, the regulatory level is this and this and it's okay. Then you have to immediately ask yourself "Well, what is this regulatory level based on? How was that derived?
It was derived from looking at 56% of the healthy normal population. It was not derived at looking at children, pregnant women, elderly patients, patients with emphysema, patients with medications, patients with congestive heart failure. So that's one principle.
The second principle; almost all chemicals which have been shown to be cancer-causing or carcinogenic, if you want, in animals later on down the line, almost all of them, except very few, have been shown to be carcinogenic in humans. By today, there is a list of at least 38 of those chemicals.
So, therefore, the International Agency On Cancer Research has adopted a policy stating that if an agent is cancer-causing in animals, it is the burden of proof on us to show that it's safe to humans. It's not enough to say, "Well, it's just an animal so, therefore, it's okay to use on humans. And I can mention to you just a few like benzene. Up to 20 years ago, 15 years ago, benzene exposure was shown to be carcinogenic in animals. We know for the last five to ten years it's carcinogenic to humans.
And there are many others.
The third principle is that in this country we are lucky, in this country to introduce a drug, a medication, which you can be prescribed to by a doctor takes very vigorous studies, sometimes up to five, ten years in order to expose you to these kind of medications.
My concern is how come you're going to be exposed? You are exposed to an agent Malathion, and the breakdown of Malathion -malaoxon which is mentioned in the P.D.R. the Physicians Desk Reference as a synergistic, meaning a co-actor, a co-factor of many medications.
How come you are exposed to this without rigorous studies?
Yes, you're right. That's not a prescribed medication. Yet your exposed to it. So I have great concern about that as a physician.
Finally, from a point of view of principle, you keep hearing this smoke screen, I call it a smoke screen of "risk assessment". Risk assessment really doesn't mean much if you really look - boil it down to a specific population of patients. It really doesn't mean much. If Malathion is reported to be carcinogenic carcinogenic in animals, only specific studies in humans are going to give you an answer. And all this risk assessment stuff is a smoke screen from a medical point of view.
Yes, it's been used. It can be integrated in a general overview. But by itself, it does not give clearance to anything just from risk assessment point of view. And I believe that has been used as a smoke screen not only in this issue, but I see it on and on and on in toxicology all the time. More people come to you and say, "Well, risk assessment shows this and this and that."
So what? I see the patients coming into my office with problems. They're health related to x, y or z.
Now I'm going to present to you the scientific issues in regards to low-level toxicological exposure. That's a concept which has been developed in the last five to ten years, high-level meaning when one is exposed to major amount of chemicals, gets knocked off immediately; and there is a low-level exposure where patient may not initially feel much, but later on some complications can develop. That's exactly what we're talking about, low-level toxicological exposure.
My presentation today is based on peer reviewed scientific studies, and I'll be happy to quote to you every single point which is taken from the peer reviewed literature. I'll be happy to provide that.
The first point is the exposure assessment. Assessment of human exposure was based on measurements of Malathion in the environment, or at least one of the assessments. It's very clear today from recently published scientific data - and one of the senior authors is Mark A. Brown from the California Department of Health Services Hazard Materials Laboratory, in Berkeley and was published in Environmental Science and Technology, 1993, ("Monitoring of Malathion and Its Impurities and Environmental Transformation Products on Surfaces and in Air Following an Aerial Application") showing that Malathion, once exposed to the environment, changes immediately to, or breaks down to malaoxon. Now, malaoxon is much more toxic than Malathion. That's a very important point to remember because if you are measuring "x" and you say, "well, x is really not toxic and the levels are really not toxic" and you're not looking at "y", which is extremely toxic, you're missing the whole point in your assessment.
And that's exactly what's been done here.
The paper by Brown concludes that "Accurate human exposure assessment during Malathion spraying must consider environmental breakdown", meaning the change from Malathion to malaoxon. Furthermore, the paper discusses the values impurities, and that's a very important point which was mentioned by Dr. Lappe and by the previous speaker. The impurities, which are sprayed together with the Malathion, are of extreme danger, as you'll see a little bit later, as far as potentiating. We call it synergistic effect with Malathion and all malaoxon.
"This study showed that extensive transformation occurs in the Malathion impurities bait mixture following its aerial application" And further implies that the relative concentrations of Malathion and its impurities in the tank mixture (before the spraying) are a poor predictors of what will happen later in the environment and is a poor predictor of risk assessment. You're really not looking at the actual data.
Malaoxon levels increase from its initial concentration in the tank mixture up to 45-fold, increases after nine days. Knowing that malaoxon is much more toxic than Malathion, if one does not measure the malaoxon nine days - remember nine days - it stays in the environment. And also, rightly so, mention also inside your homes, not just outside. So if one doesn't address the issue of malaoxon levels nine days after, then all these studies have no scientific meaning whatsoever.
Remember also that malaoxon is extremely toxic and the levels are almost 45 times more than what the initial levels from day 1. So that's an extremely important point to remember. It's not been addressed.
The second point is the populations at risk, and as a physician, it's important to remember that patients who take adult medications, the patients who are nutritionally deficient, the patients who may have liver disease, liver dysfunction because the liver is a major organ to detoxify this chemical in our body, the very young children, pregnant women and populations with genetic diseases - these people are predisposed. How are you going to protect them?
How are they going to be isolated from the community which is being sprayed? How is this 44 % of the population which is at high risk going to be separated from the, quote, unquote, 56 % normal population? Are you going to give them special tickets? Special flags? Get them out of the city? What are you going to do with that?
That's impossible. But we do have to know about it.
As far as the neurological effects, I'm not going to talk about it. We have a distinguished speaker who is going to address the issue of neurological issues and toxicity, especially delayed neurological effects, and I'm going to leave it for Dr. Mancillas to discuss. And I'm going to go directly into the genetic toxicity.
Additional questions as far as to wisdom of using Malathion aerial spraying come to mind after recent publication by Peter Flessel in the Journal of Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis, 1993, entitled "Genetic Toxicity of Malathion: A Review"
The authors concluded that there is evidence of Malathion and its component to have a genetic toxicity effect, and this has not been studied adequately in human populations. The authors further conclude that agents such as Malathion, which caused genetic changes in experimental systems, are not regulated by health agencies as other human hazards are, and they should. They have the potential to cause cancer or reproductive problems.
And I'm going to read you from the actual paper - I have a copy of the paper here. In the conclusion the authors state "Workers who apply technical-grade Malathion and other pesticides have higher levels of chromosomal damage than unexposed individuals.
Because of the inactivity of Malathion mixtures in gene mutation assays, Malathion has been thought to be of little genotoxic concern; however, the pattern of chromosome damage in animals and mammalian cells in culture, including humans, indicates the technical-grade Malathion and its components have not been adequately studied for genotoxic potential in humans
What that means to me is that before spraying it and exposing patients to it, one needs to check it's indeed safe and it doesn't cause any genetic genotoxic or potential carcinogenic cancer-causing effects. That's how I was trained.
I was about to get into Dr. Lappe, but we had him on the phone. I do, however, want to reiterate his conclusion. And he stated "I conclude that, there is a significant danger to chronic toxicity and possibly genetic damage to the following categories of persons if directly exposed to commercial-grade Malathion aerial spraying: one, elderly persons; two, people with genetic defects of the liver; three, children; four, malnourished persons and sick individuals; five, overexposed individuals.
The next point is interaction with other medications and toxic chemicals. The most disturbing aspect of this issue is the knowledge that there is toxicological interaction between organophosphate insecticides, in this case Malathion and malaoxon, and medications or other chemicals. This means that even administering a low nontoxic dose of Malathion can generally or greatly alter the toxicity of other compounds.
That's a very important point for patients who take medications; for instance, patients who take medications which may affect the liver. And we know that Malathion, malaoxon affect the liver. Or patients who take medications which have anything to do with the enzymes that Malathion, malaoxon effect. For instance, beta blockers for heart patients or neurological medications. So, yeah, you can expose these patients to low dose, but for these patients, these are toxic doses because they're taking medications which interacts with that system. So it's toxic. It can be very harmful. That's a very disturbing point which has not been addressed in exposing large populations.
This scenario is of extreme importance in our case to populations who take medications which can magnify and amplify the toxicity of low-dose Malathion to something which becomes suddenly toxic.
How do we know who these people are?
Is it humanly possible to go out there, register them, then evacuate them and do all this? No, it's not. I don't think it is.
Finally, I'm going to address the issue of Malathion being a carcinogenic agent.
Recent evidence in animals indicated that Malathion is carcinogenic and, therefore, cannot be considered safe unless proven safe in humans. And I'm going to read you just a conclusion. I'm reading you from the paper - anyone who wants later to look at that - published in Experimental Hematology in 1987, by Gallicchio et. al "Inhibition of Human Bone Marrow Derived Stem Cell Colony Formation Following In Vitro Exposure To Organophosphates"( meaning Malathion/malaoxon)." The final paragraph states "Our results provide the rationale for assessing hematological parameters in occupationally exposed individual and indicate the need to determine both the mechanism and the environmental health consequence of observed hematopoietic effects, "(hematopoietic" meaning the effects on the blood system.)
And the second paper is "Carcinogenicity and Toxicity of Malathion And Malaoxon" published in Environmental Research 1985," by Dr. Melvin Reuber. I'm just going to read you one of the last paragraphs. It's a long statement: "Malathion increased the incidence of neoplasms, (meaning tumors) of the liver in male mice. Male mice also have atrophy of the testes. Benign and malignant neoplasms at all sites, in the endocranial organs were increased in Fischer male and female rats" and it goes on and on.
Very clearly, it is carcinogenic in animals unless proven non-carcinogenic in humans. I don't believe that humans should be exposed to it."
I'd like to close with a statement that, in my opinion and from my experience, I don't believe there is a safe level of exposure to Malathion for a certain percentage of the population. And, therefore, if the decision is to go ahead with such spraying, one should prepare the population at risk, go and find them, prepare an informed consent, explain to them what the risks are, have them signed an informed consent, train the physicians in the community and the community to provide the medical care and document these problems when and if they develop.
Thank you very much.
Thank you, Dr. Brautbar. Our next panelist is Dr. Jorge Mancillas. He is, as Dr. Brautbar stated, a Neurobiologist at UCLA and Dr. Mancillas, in addition to being a professor with the UCLA School of Medicine, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology and Brain Research, was formerly on the staff of the Salk Institute. He is also affiliated with the Laboratory of Molecular Biology In Cambridge University, and he has also been called upon to give expert testimony before the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors regarding the aerial use of Malathion. This is very interesting because when Dr. Mancillas was originally approached about aerial Malathion they were going to spray in Los Angeles, he was approached to do a video to calm people's fears that Malathion was not a danger to people. And the good scientist that he is, he looked into it, and he came up with an entirely different conclusion.
Help me welcome Dr. Mancillas
Malathion is a poison. The only reason Malathion was developed, synthesized and is manufactured is for its ability to inflict damage to biological tissues. I know of no other reason Malathion is synthesized anywhere in the world.
Obviously, its intended targets are those living organisms which we consider pests, but the main reason Malathion has such widespread use is because, like other organophosphates, it has a broad spectrum of applicability; that is, that it affects many species.
And the explanation for that is that it affects, again like other organophosphates, those entire targets, those living organisms by a common mechanism, a mechanism that is applicable, that is found both in the simple organisms which we treat as agricultural pests as well as humans. That is through the, inhibition of an enzyme called cholinesterase. Inhibition of this enzyme cholinesterase causes buildup of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine.
Many of our nerve cells, cells that communicate with one another to process information, nerve cells that are used to communicate information to the brain from the outside world, nerves that control muscles, glands and other organs, communicate with one another by releasing, by squirting a very minute amount of a chemical neurotransmitter,(acetylcholine) a chemical that activates those muscles, those other nerve cells, those glands.
But as a system of communication, that message has to be brief as in a telegraph key; that has a spring that makes it go back. The way these systems regulates the length of the message is that the cell response to acetylcholine released by nerve cells have, among other things, an enzyme called cholinesterase which degrades acetylcholine, thus, mopping it up, removing it. It is like this the enzyme cholinesterase works, if you wish as the spring that sends the telegraph key up again and makes the message be very well defined in time.
What Malathion does is it inhibits cholinesterase. And the effect is as if the telegraph key got stuck, it's a continued message. And, therefore, the distribution - the widespread distribution of acetylcholine throughout organs controlled by the brain explains the very ubiquitous effects, the well-documented effects of Malathion in the clinical and scientific literature.
At low levels of exposure - and most of the studies are based on accidental exposure either in agricultural fields or more likely in manufacturing plants. At low-dose exposures the symptoms include dizziness, headaches, loss of coordination, lack of balance, all of which have to do with inability of the brain or the cells in the brain to have a defined message because of the inhibition of cholinesterase by Malathion. It also includes nausea, vomiting and diarrhea because the muscles controlled by nerve cells which reaches the colon continue to contract over a period of time. They hyper-contract and cause a disturbance and excess in intestinal movements.
At higher doses it may impair respiration and affect the cardiac rhythm, again because instead of the contraction of muscles under the influence of nerve cells that contain acetylcholine is no longer rhythmic and patterned, but it is overextended because of the inhibition of cholinesterase.
At high-enough doses Malathion can cause convulsions, respiratory failure, cardiac arrest, and there are documented cases of Malathion-caused death.
In addition to the immediate acute effects of exposure to Malathion, significant repeated exposure to low levels of Malathion over a period of time can lead to delayed long-term neurotoxic effects, permanent irreversible damage to the nervous system. I will expound on that in a few minutes.
Malathion also, again, depending on the dose, causes damage to genetic material, to DNA if the level of exposures are high enough, this could potentially lead to the development of cancer, and there's very suggestive evidence in experiments with animals.
If it occurs during pregnancy, damage to genetic material occurs in pregnancy and if the levels of exposure are high enough, this can lead to myocongenital abnormalities, birth defects or stillbirths.
The level of risk, the likelihood that any of these immediate or long-term negative effects will be observed, depends on the dose. That is the amount absorbed by the skin, through the skin, by inhalation from Malathion in the air (after it dries out from the ground) because the sun does come out the next day even if the droplets are sticking to the ground, Malathion has been measured in the air by CDFA technicians.
It also depends on the presence of other factors that also affect the cholinergic system, the group of nerve cells that use acetylcholine to communicate within the brain. Such factors are not very rare. They include alcohol, nicotine, cigarette smoke containing nicotine and a number of medications, some of which have already been mentioned by Dr. Brautbar
It also depends, of course, on the state of health of the individual. What I mentioned so far is the potential risks based on analysis of the clinical and experimental data published in peer-reviewed literature. But spraying over urban areas, densely populated areas like Los Angeles, like those communities in Northern California that have been sprayed, like Corona, like Camarillo, present special risks.
First, in those areas there's the presence of pollutants which may lead to synergistic interactions or undesirable reactions. And these are not always those pollutants that we already identified as having adverse effects on our health. There's also factors which may have unexpected effects on the Malathion -or on any substance that is already sprayed; for example, in 1975 there was an accident in Pakistan which led to five deaths and 2800 cases of severe poisoning which is believed to have been caused by an unexpected reaction with Malathion turning it into iso-malathion which is more toxic.
The second reason that spraying of urban areas poses special risk is because the larger the population, certainly in dense-populated areas as opposed to agricultural fields, there is a higher number of people that we categorize as being at special risk, susceptible populations. I want to emphasize that among those that are considered susceptible we have to include the aged or children because of their diminished ability of their livers to process Malathion leading to Malathion circulating in their bloodstream for a prolonged - for a longer period of time.
When you spray a substance like Malathion over an area like that which is sprayed 1989-1990 in Los Angeles with a population of 1.6 million people, even 1% amounts to 16,000 people. Even if the especially susceptible population was just 1%, you are talking about 16,000 people.
In addition, as Dr. Lappe pointed out, there are increased concerns because of the use of technical-grade Malathion, 5 % of which consists of at least 16 impurities. This practice is inexplicable not only because some of them may be toxic, but because there's a well-documented series of reports on synergistic effects which are not just simply additive, but they potentiate exponentially the effect of one another.
But still the question remains: if the risk posed by a substance depends on the dosage to which you're exposed, what are the risks for the normal person?
Well, the EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, as it does with other substances, other poisons, has set an acceptable daily intake level for Malathion extrapolated from animal studies of .02 milligrams per kilogram. This is based on a no observable effect level of 0.2 milligrams per kilogram;(the amount below which no effects will be observed) that is, if you are exposed to 0.2,(two-tenths of a milligram) per your body weight, you will display adverse health effects. This is a normal adult.
When residents of the area have been sprayed are informed of the levels sprayed - of Malathion spraying in the areas where they live, they are told that the amounts are very small. And it is true. In Los Angeles it amounted to 1.4 milligrams per square foot. In Corona and Norco it is claimed that it was 1 milligram per square foot.
If we take those figures and put them together with EPA's acceptable (PADI) and no Observable Effects level (NOEL), using those figures, a 50-pound child, a 22.7 kilogram child, would have to be exposed to the Malathion in .45 square foot: one half a square foot, (the Malathion deposited on the surface smaller than this page) to exceed the EPA's acceptable daily intake level. They would have to be exposed to the Malathion deposited on the surface of four and a half square feet, about the surface of the front of this podium, in order to exceed the EPA's observable/no observable effect level.
The fact is that when the C.D.F.A. technicians measured the rate of deposition, not the predicted, but the actual rate of deposition of Malathion in the spray areas in Los Angeles, they found that the average concentration was 40 % higher. That is not 1.4, but 1.96 milligrams per square foot. And in some areas the concentrations were over 3 and a half times the predicted concentration; that is, 4.988 milligrams per square foot.
What does this mean?
This means that in those areas that 50-pound child would have to be exposed to the Malathion on that surface equivalent to that of a dollar bill in order to exceed the EPA's acceptable daily intake level.
Was it surprising, then, that thousands of people reported adverse health effects during the period which Malathion was sprayed over Los Angeles?
What we really need to know is the circumstances in which Malathion was sprayed in the air in which it was sprayed, what was the amount that got into people's bloodstream?
And it's not terribly difficult. It is very difficult for individuals such as ourselves, but it's not terribly difficult for Department of Health Services to conduct a monitoring program. Examine the presence of metabolites; Malathion metabolites in the urine or Malathion in the bloodstream of persons and residents of the sprayed areas as well as the levels of cholinesterase, the levels of that particular enzyme in the blood of people in the sprayed areas.
No such programs have systematically been carried out.
At best - at best, over the last few years an experiment has been carried out in California with the residents of California and no one is collecting the data. But such studies have been performed even if they have been maligned by the propaganda of CDFA.
In the 1960s and seventies a team headed by Dr. Satoshi Ishikawa of Kitasato University in Japan carried very thorough systematic studies in the Saku region of Japan, an agricultural region, with a population which was exposed to aerial spraying of Malathion. They took blood samples of the residents, they took urine samples, they used control groups. They compared them with control groups in areas that had not been sprayed and found very alarmingly and documented in peer review journals that Malathion exposure was associated with optic neuropathy, a number of disturbances of the visual system. And these studies only add to a literature that existed before. The article by Parker published in 1955 that document after exposure to Malathion long-term toxic effects, weakness of muscle, sensory disturbances. Goldman in 1958 published after exposure to Malathion, specifically weakness of muscle, sensory disturbances. Healey's group in 1959, "Ascending Paralysis Following Malathion Intoxication" chronic exposure leading to ascending paralysis.
This is referring to the existing literature, documented adverse effects to the nervous system, long-term delayed neurotoxicity, symptoms that begin to manifest themselves a long time after exposure to Malathion. And as far as we know, those effects are irreversible because examination of animals - after animal experiments carried on by a number of researchers trying to replicate the doses that people in Saku region of Japan were exposed to - this is now known as the Saku Syndrome - examination of their tissue showed degeneration of the optic nerve and other peripheral nerves.
Now, this is no secret for neurotoxicologists. In April 1990 the Office of Technology Assessment of the U.S. Congress issued this report. It's a very timely report prepared by twelve of the most authoritative neuroscientists in the country and six of the foremost neurotoxicologists.
Under the heading of "Neurotoxic Pesticide" this report states that carbonates and organophosphates, the class of pesticide to which Malathion belongs, are, quote, "The most neurotoxic classes of pesticides used in the United States and are the most common causes of agricultural poisoning." Again, I'm quoting from that report. "A number of researchers have observed persistent alteration of brain function after exposure to organophosphates which can produce delayed and persistent neuropathy by damaging certain nerves of the spinal cord and peripheral nervous system, end of quote.
The report also discusses reports that after poisoning with parathion and mevinphos and Malathion which, quote, "Indicate that 4 to 9 % of the acutely poisoned individuals experience delayed or persistent neurological and psychiatric effects such as agitation, insomnia, weakness, nervousness, irritability, forgetfulness and confusion and depression." Persistent mental disturbance is reported as delirium, combativeness, hallucinations and psychosis.
Now, this is why the aerial spraying of neurotoxics - neurotoxic substances over urban areas is so insidious. It's that individuals who are affected and experienced insomnia, psychiatric effects, or subtle loss of coordination in their movements do not associate them with exposure to Malathion. Their doctors may not make a connection unless there is a record of what amounts of substances like Malathion they were exposed to during the aerial spraying.
The C.D.F.A. and D.H.S. in 1990 tried to discredit doctor Ishikawa and the other scientists (whose results were published in peer-reviewed journals) by carrying out a pr campaign; assembling a committee of designated, quote, unquote, experts to discredit the studies. The way the scientists resolve differences of opinion is by replicating those studies. If they're going to spray, at least they could have conducted those studies, but they didn't, for obvious reasons.
Let me add one thing which Dr. Brautbar referred to. As I mentioned, at best, an experiment has been carried out on the population of California, and I hope it will not be continued to be performed. Whenever a substance or a particular medical procedure is offered to a patient for his or her own benefit, as long as there's any uncertainty or any type of experimental edge to the treatment or medication - I'm talking about medication, let alone substances that are known to be toxic - a doctor, physician must - must obtain from them their informed consent.
In the case of the aerial spraying of Malathion, not only have residents of those communities sprayed - and as far as I know, every single city council or elected body has expressed their lack of consent - their opposition repeatedly overruled by declaration of "state of emergency" by the governor of the State of California.
Informed consent is not an issue in a totalitarian society. I would like to believe that I live in a democracy.
Thank you, Dr. Mancillas.
I would like to mention that the City of Corona has passed a resolution declaring Corona an "Aerial Malathion Free Spray Zone", and I would like to encourage any of the other representatives of the other cities in California to do likewise. Even though this is only a symbolic gesture, it sends a message to the State as to the opposition of this. And you can get copy of the resolution. A lot of other cities have passed similar type resolutions stating their opposition to the Malathion spraying.
Our next panelist was going to be Dr. Melvin Reuber who was formerly head of the Frederick Cancer Research Laboratory of The National Cancer Institute. He had a family emergency in Denver. But I did want to have his - there's a study that has just been released by the EPA. The EPA is requiring certain studies because Malathion is undergoing re-registration. Originally as one of the panelists mentioned, Dr. Reuber had stated that Malathion is a carcinogen in the laboratory. This was a very controversial finding. So the EPA had that study replicated again, and those findings are in, and this is the actual documentation from that study on oncogenicity.
And do you have that, Dr. Mancillas? Will you read that, the conclusions on the EPA study? I guess it's Paul Mc Clain.
This is a document from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (Aug. 1994) from Brian Dementi who is one of the chiefs of the Toxicology Branch, Health Effects Division.
And after looking at this replicated study - and I won't go into all the details of the numbers and the findings and so on, in the conclusion part of this paper he states: "If there was any question as to the oncogenicity (or the ability to cause cancer) of Malathion in the mouse as manifested in the National Cancer institute study (and again, we're talking about the previous ones that were suggestive) - there is little doubt that this was so in the current IRDC study."
What this means is that they did replicate the study and, in fact, did again find that Malathion causes cancer. That's the bottom line.
There is another document that goes into melanomas and adenomas and talks about some of the types of cancer and especially, again, it affects the liver. And as Doctor, or both of the doctors pointed out, the major organ in the body that has to metabolize, break down, degrade to get rid of Malathion and its by-products is the liver. So when you have a compromise in the liver, you've severely compromised the body's ability to deal with any kind of a foreign substance, much less a toxic substance.
And this is where the majority of the cancers - different types of cancers showed up. So the study was again replicated and, again, the findings were conclusive that Malathion is a cancer causing agent.
Now, I will point out one thing - and this again is part of the smoke screen of the state. They'll go back to a document or any kind of scientific research and say, "But look at the dose. These are high doses."
But again, as the doctors pointed out, when you have compromised individuals, we don't know what the toxic doses are. And a label that Dr. Mancillas has mentioned which you never hear from the state is called NOEL: No Observable Effect Level.
That's basically, depending on the individual, anywhere from 10 to a 100 times lower than the established doses that don't result in any observable effect. So we're seeing that all this data always talks about acetylcholinesterase which, as we said, it's a lousy marker for anything. And we're talking about levels that will absolutely create clinically diagnosed conditions. But the non-observable effect levels is what we need to be concerned about and even lower levels, and those are never discussed.
So that's just, again, part of the smoke screen, but the document From EPA does conclude, again, that it is a carcinogen, which again puts it up for special review before the pesticide can be used, part of FIFRA.
Thank you. Any of the documentation that has been mentioned as far as these studies you can get copies of this. Please let me know. And there's also a book out there called "What the Government Won't Tell About Malathion" that's put together by Frances Wagner, and everything is substantiated with the documentation.
If your elected officials aren't represented today, you need to ask them why not because this is the first forum that elected officials have ever had to hear from the independent scientific community.
This is essential information because what's happening is that currently in the LA and in the Orange County area they are using the sterile flies. This is an experiment. This program is over next year, and the California Department of Food and Agriculture has indicated that not only for the Medfly, but for 15 other species of fly the preferred option is Malathion. This is - this is a defining point. We all have to join together to demand accountability. And as the doctors were saying, it's not that these studies are not known; that these health effects to children and to the aged are not known, but the Department of Health Service is not doing their job because they are not disseminating this information to the County Health Directors and to the physicians and to the hospitals. They are not monitoring.
And as far as that latest EPA study that shows that there is a marked increase in the melanomas and adenomas in the laboratory from Malathion. So this is a real concern. And the only way that this is going to stop is that every single one goes back to your city, goes back to your group, goes back to the elected representative that you are here in attendance for and make this an issue because this is something that is affecting all Californians.
And I think also - is Morgan Stains here? Thank you very much. Mr. Stains is representing Assemblywoman Dorris Allen from Huntington Beach in Orange County, Chair of the Health Committee.
Okay Before we continue, I wanted to give you an opportunity if you had some questions about the first segment which was the health effects. So if you have any questions for any of our participants up to this point, please state your name and your affiliation and ask your question.
Christopher Childs of Greenpeace. This is for anyone on the panel. I was looking over some material in my computer memory last night and found a piece that noted that Malathion has been used in combination with ground-applied pesticides, other organophosphates. I'm sorry, I don't remember the list.
I'm very interested in your comments not only about the potentiality for combination effects with those chemicals, but also, since nine out of ten of us are carrying around one or another of the family of dioxins in our body tissue and a lot of other stuff, any of your thoughts on this subject of possible combinations with other chemicals?
I think one of the interesting issues, not only - if we get away from aerial spraying, we're still probably going to endure the fruit stripping and the local spraying of Malathion and diazinon around the infected or infested trees. And if you look at the toxicity of diazinon which is substantially greater by a 100 fold, at least, than Malathion - and this is sprayed under the trees. I think it's 15-foot diameter or something. And you look at the rate of dermal absorption through the skin, which is quite high; and again, who's going to be exposed to this is typically children. They're out in the yard playing three, four to eight hours a day, in California typically in shorts with high dermal exposure areas. Their likelihood of exposure to a tree in their yards that's been treated with diazinon is astronomically high.
Now, again, we were assured by the Los Angeles Department of Health this wasn't so. Individuals have even made the most ludicrous statement that you could lick up all the Malathion on an entire football field before you were affected.
Absolutely - I cannot imagine anybody with half a brain making that statement, much less telling it to the public in California. So when you look at not only the interaction of Malathion with diazinon, with existing environmentally accumulated toxins, all of which have to go through the liver and kidney, I think we can say there are no studies that have ever addressed that. But the studies that have looked at a number of the environmental issues all conclude that the additions of additional burdens almost exponentially, or logarithmically increase your susceptibility to the pathology that's going to eventuate from it.
But I think Dr. Feldman made this point in the lobby that the most impressive thing right now about this issue isn't the data itself but the lack of data, and yet we're going full bore as if we had good positive self-assured statements that there is no consequence to this. That simply is not true. So your question do we have data? I'm not aware of any.
I agree with you, but I think the studies of Cohen in Pharmacology literature show very clearly No. I Any organophosphorous materials are going to be extremely synergistic with any level of Malathion, and malaoxon, No.2 Any materials which work on esterases, which are a group of enzymes, are going to be a synergistic chemical working with Malathion.
So I think those data are available. And if one looks at those data, it's very clear that pharmacologically it is there. It's very clear.
And as well, as other agents, medications that - in the liver there's a cytochrome, P-450 system, which is very much involved here. Anything that affects that is going to affect the ability of the body to deal with these burdens.
Medications which increase or decrease the ability of the liver to convert Malathion to malaoxon (which is one thousand to 10,000 times more toxic than the Malathion). So in one sense as a chemical agent, Malathion per se, you might even say although it's toxic, it is not near - not near as disastrous as the breakdown products which is required for excreta. That is malaoxon and a lot of other things which are - as I say, in the thousands of times more toxic and more destructive to the body in terms, again, of free radical initiation Khan the Malathion.
So if we keep asking about Malathion, we're only talking about one of the least toxic of the products that you're exposed to when you're exposed to Malathion.
I'd like to make a little more of a statement than ask a question. I'm a pediatrician and I'm on the American Academy of Pediatrics committee on Environmental Health, And I was further a member of the Medical Effects committee that came out with a report saying that we felt that the Malathion spraying was of inconsequential or minimal risk to the community. So before you applaud, you should know that as well.
Let me say we're all here speaking in service of science and trying to get the best information out possible and that I hope you hear what I have to say knowing that my goal as a scientist is to review this information as well and give you the best possible information to help guide the public.
I think that Malathion spraying is a stupid thing to do. As has been discussed earlier, it is a gigantic experiment that is not being adequately controlled. We have not, both the Department of Health and Department of Food and Agriculture and the EPA have not at all earned the ball in terms of doing the studies that need to be done.
Having said all of that, I think you have to be very careful how you interpret the information that you're hearing today. If I could give a couple examples: the cancer study that just came out of the EPA you commented, Dr. Mc Clain, on a preliminary report. I have here the final report of that study that I just got from the EPA yesterday, and it definitely shows an association with cancer.
And you hear that and you go "Oh, my God, I'm being sprayed with a carcinogenic chemical." But you have to understand something: that cancer is only demonstrated in the very highest doses. You basically would have to eat two quarter-pounders of pure Malathion each day to be able to have - to be exposed to these quantities. Now -
Now, let me ask one question in that regard. Does that also hold true for those high-risk environmentally or medically compromised patients that we're talking about? This other 44% of the population that's at risk, does that statement about those high doses in healthy mammals also hold true for the pathologically compromised individuals?
It absolutely does because there are two ways that cancers can form. as you doctors are well aware. There are cancers that can form by genotoxicity; in other words, some chemicals are poisonous right to the chromosomes, and they turn the chromosomes into cancer-causing cells. There are other chemicals that are only dangerous in gigantic amounts and they really stress the body. And what's evident in this study from EPA is that when you look at mice that are exposed to small amounts of this chemical, there is an insignificant change in terms of the amount of cancer that they're having. It's only when you get to these gigantic doses that you see cancer forming.
And I think that that's really important. My only concern is for my patients, and I want my patients who are afraid of being exposed to carcinogens to have a realistic expectation of what the risk is, and I think that the risk of a ton to Malathion, be it on your Brussels sprouts or be it on - in the sandbox after spraying is not the type of exposure that causes cancer, and that is imminently clear from the study.
Let me respond to this. I think -
If I could just finish my comments.
You are making your point -
May I finish my comments, please.
I disagree with what you say from a toxicological point of view.
This is the problem. The State never offers an opportunity for the independent doctors and scientists to speak. That's what this forum is today. This is for the independent doctors and scientists to speak. If you want to ask a question, that is fine. I'm not going to have somebody in here continuing the propaganda of "at this dose", "It is only the high dose as far as the laboratory". This is the stuff we've been hearing for 15 years.
The California Department of Food and Agriculture has just allocated $240,000 of your tax money to convince elected officials that Malathion is as safe as toothpaste and that the Medfly is going to wipe out agriculture. That's the reason we have this forum today, so you have an opportunity to hear Doctor Brautbar, you have an opportunity to hear him because he is a Toxicologist, he is an Internist and he is a Clinical Professor.
And in all deference to you, Doctor Karp, you are parroting the State position, and I would like to have the independent doctors and scientists speak because the state -
I will just give you a scientific response to what you have kind of portrayed here. From a toxicological point of view, I think your totally erroneous. We know from many studies that once an agent is shown as a carcinogen in high doses in experimental animals, years down the line it is shown as a carcinogen in low levels in humans.
That's why the IARC which is the International Agency for Research on Cancer and C. Maltoni - if you are familiar with environmental medicine, you know who the IARC and C. Maltoni is -You have the people who discovered asbestos and cancer, benzene and cancer and others come out with a statement in writing that there is no safe level of exposure to benzene or safe level of exposure to asbestos. So that issue of high doses in animals is totally irrelevant, and I will quote you papers from the peer- reviewed literature who will show you very clearly -
Then let me ask a question. It's a question. Has there ever been a study - ever been a study where low-dose exposure to Malathion causes chronic permanent long-term necrologic abnormalities? Has there ever been a study demonstrating that low-dose exposure causes -
Yes, there are a number of studies by Dr. Ishikawa in Japan documenting these. I have a letter to Dr. Sadun from Dr. Ishikawa sent in 1990 where he compares the doses of, Malathion spraying - in Saku and doses sprayed in Los Angeles. There were some significant differences. The CDFA will tell us at that time, you see in Japan it was sprayed as a mist. Here it's sprayed as a droplet. Absolutely, there's a question of judgment, which is more dangerous? Because the droplets that fall on the ground presumably it's less because you're not breathing it. Well, the mist is blown away by the wind. But, the droplets do evaporate. That's why the CDFA technicians measure, you know, high levels.
It's a question of what do you mean by high and low? But definitely the detectable levels - what I would call significant levels of Malathion and increasing levels of malaoxon as Malathion levels fall down in the air because it makes sense, you know - the sun comes out, the stuff evaporates.
So I would argue that the droplets of bait spray pose more of a risk than the mist in Japan because the mist used in Japan was blown away by the air. It was generally inhaled in a few hours but was gone. You were not exposed to it anymore; whereas for the stuff deposited here you're going to be inhaling it, maybe at lower amounts, but you're still going to be exposed to it longer.
Now, I would like to make a comment about your general point because I think it's a point that merits responding.
May I just say I'm going to yield the floor here, but let me just hope for the future to have one side - the state just presenting its side is incorrect and to have an unopposed presentation like this. Neither one of those serves a purpose. I think to have a dialogue and have some opportunity to get into an exchange, which we never have an opportunity to do, would really best serve informing our Legislature. Thank you.
I think that's an excellent suggestion. For 15 years the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the California Department of Health Services had unlimited access to elected officials, to the media to continue the information that there are no health effects from Malathion This briefing, though, the focus - the format of this briefing is to give a forum to the independent doctors and scientists. It is a legislative briefing. That is the reason that we are doing this. And certainly there would be an appropriate time to have, a dialogue.
Drs. Mancillas and Mc Clain have debated Dr. Papanek. That's not the focus of this. The people came here specifically to hear independent doctors and scientists. If you want to hear the State position, all you have to do is, turn on the TV. Ask anybody in here. They've all heard it, "There's no effects of Malathion." Never mind, that everybody's having the effects. The doctors continue to say that the state says there are no health effects. So that's why we're addressing this.
Do we have any legal recourse, can we actually sue CDFA, can we sue our board of supervisors or our health department and administrators personally? It looks like they're - I don't know what the right legal term is. Is this malfeasance in office?
I'll answer that question as a lawyer on the panel who knows nothing about science, and the answer is no
You can't do anything?
I'll speak a little more about the kinds of lawsuits that are theoretically available and I'll explain why big agriculture has managed to stymie those avenues. And as a result, the desired debate which Doctor Karp refers to does not exist in a forum where people testify under oath and where they can be cross-examined, where evidence can be introduced that each side wants to introduce.
Instead, we are left with these two forums what don't speak to each other, the State with all the power that puts forth its propaganda, and forums like this with people volunteering to try to convey the other side of it.
I want to make a brief point. In the years of participating in this public discussion, I participated in a number of debates, and I always welcome the opportunity to debate the other side because I thought it was very effective. But I can understand why the organizers of this forum felt what there was a need to have more time to express the other point of view which doesn't get expressed. I want to point out, though this event today involved a lot of work of people like Charlotte and Frances and a number of others here who volunteered their time and effort - expenses, again, were volunteered. Whereas, when we hear the other side, then we are overwhelmed with the other point of view it is financed by my tax money. And I don't see the other point of view on those materials the CDFA distributes never have the other point of view. They only have one point of view.
Now, I want to also address just very briefly, you know, the point that Doctor Karp mentioned, and I hope That in spite of our disagreements on this issue, we continue to work on other issues as Doctor Karp mentioned.
Look, if anybody thinks that I am here - I think this applies to others - trying to tell you that if Malathion is sprayed over an area where you live, you're all going to get cancer next year, Then you're really not listening. Absolutely. You don't see people in these areas fall like flies the next day.
What we are claiming is that we believe, based on the data that usually comes to us through animal studies or through long-term epidemiological data that has not been collected in this case, that this is comparable to our awareness which took decades to acquire all the risks of, for example, cigarette smoking, exposure to asbestos and other substances.
At the time you didn't see people falling dead the next day. It took years for people to realize that cigarette smoking was a serious health risk. That is the kind of risk some of us believe is involved here and we believe it is an unacceptable risk.
So for someone to try to misrepresent what we're saying - and I don't think that's what you're trying to do, but we - I am not, at least, saying that the doses are enough with the amounts sprayed that every single person would be at risk of getting cancer or to go blind.
But Johnnie Macillas - in 1990 he was 14 years old when he went out the night his neighborhood was being sprayed to cover the blue pickup truck that his father had promised him he was going to get when he turned 16 and was exposed to Malathion. He developed a few months later complete blindness. He was diagnosed by Dr. Sadun, a professor at USC, a Neuro-ophthalmologist, to the best of his abilities as being the result of exposure to Malathion. The suit is now in the courts. He was planning to become a UCLA student. He could have been my student. He's almost 20 now. I don't want to see any more Johnnie Macillases, even if it's just one person.
The thing that we're really upset about is the fact that when you look at the State's position on that, they say you cannot, even though it's highly suggestive, even though it's highly probable, you cannot with a hundred percent certainty say it was Malathion.
So that 1% of possible other cause is what the state relies on. They don't tell you the whole story. And that's the main thing that I was objecting about in 1990 is we weren't being told the truth. When you can't believe or depend on the health officers to protect your health, as I've said before, we're lucky - we're lucky it's only Malathion at this point. What would they do to cover up anything else to terms of agriculture or any other agenda and not tell us the whole truth?
We have a right to know the truth, and we're not being told the truth and it's being defended on the slimmest of statistical inferences that you can't prove it.
Let me here state even if we here are wrong - and I can't point it out anymore than a young man did in 1990 in a debate in San Bernardino between Dr. Kurtz and myself He got up in the question and answer period and held up a spray bottle, looked at Dr. Kurtz and said - He said, "Dr. Kurtz, I have here a mixture of Malathion and corn syrup in the same proportions of that which you are using to spray over us. May I spray you."
Dr. Kurtz said, "No." The young man said, "Well, at least I asked."
Thank you. But Doctor Karp, I would really like to ask you if you could arrange it, I think that would be terrific. Is it the National Academy of Pediatrics that you are affiliated with?
Thank you. If you could get the American Academy of Pediatrics to sponsor this type of a forum for elected officials so they have an opportunity, so the County Health Directors like Dr Feldman have an opportunity to hear both. But what happens, as Dr. Mancillas was saying, is that our tax dollars, thousands and thousands and thousands of our tax dollars, are used to put out the state position. There is never a forum for the independent doctors and scientists. And when they go into a community to spray like they did in Corona, they brought in everybody from the state and our money is paying for this.
We are open to hearing the other side, but the point is that the people that need to hear this, the people that are making the laws and making the policy decisions in this country need to hear the independent doctors and scientists. They need to hear the state's position, then they can make sound policy decisions. They have never heard the other side.
So I would welcome, if the Academy of Pediatrics could do that because that would be such a service. And I'm sure that any of these good doctors would volunteer their time to do that.
I will say speaking to the situation in Ventura County, when they sprayed in Corona - and this is for all of you elected officials, representatives. Our elected officials were told there were no significant health effects from the Malathion. And the elected officials in Corona were totally against the spraying. They spent 100,000 dollars fighting it. In Corona the CDFA believed that the problem was that the elected officials were not informed in a timely manner. So they decided that, when they went into Camarillo, or the next area, They would make sure that they would let the elected officials know before the citizens knew. And by the time that the average citizen in Ventura knew that they were going to spray Malathion, the elected officials were completely sold because they had been fed all the propaganda from the State.
The officials in Ventura, like Dr. Feldman, who are caring, concerned people, should have been able to hear this type of a forum in addition to the state forum. Then you could have made your own decision. Then you could have told the physicians in Camarillo if somebody comes in with vomiting, diarrhea, blurry vision, then the physicians would have known. In this case they don't know.
In fact, they were told it's probably not Malathion, to look for other issues. I would agree with Doctor Karp, but I would also ask - let's take cancer. This is a big red herring and a big cloud. Let's take cancer out of the potential effects of aerial spraying Malathion. What are we left with? Still high risk. Eliminate cancer from the discussion if it's unresolved. There's still enough data to suggest this is not a good idea. And as you pointed out, this is stupid, absolutely regardless of the cancer data.
We really need to move this along because - in deference to our other speakers, but we have a special guest here that has come in for this. He is somebody that's been very outspoken as far as the issue of Malathion spraying, and this is Senator Art Torres.
When I served in the Senate, I was Chair first of the Senate Toxics committee and then the Senate Committee on insurance. I believe the first step - and I'll be very brief: No. I, Thank you, doctors, for being here today; No.2, urge Senator Jack O'Connell, D-Santa Barbara, Chair of the Toxics committee in The Senate, to hold a hearing. Hold it either in Los Angeles, which would be preferable and they have the budget to do that, or hold it in Sacramento - they have the budget to do that - so the people have an informational hearing on this issue. What people fail to recognize is the cumulative effect of the air in Southern California in addition to Malathion.
And that's one of the issues that we didn't really concentrate enough on, especially sensitive populations like the children, the chronologically gifted and anyone with respiratory ailments.
It's not just Malathion. It's the combination of Malathion with everything else we have to breathe in the air in Southern California. We know what they have to breathe in Sacramento.
Keep in mind that the Department of Agriculture works for the growers. And so rather Khan calling this a controlled element, it is always called an emergency, and there's a reason for that. That means that you pay for the spraying and they don't.
You have paid as of this date with the General Fund of California from total cost through the budget year $260 million. We have helped subsidize the number one industry in California. Keep in mind we live in Los Angeles, but the number 1 industry in California is agri-business. And we've subsidized it to the tune of $260 million just for Malathion spraying, just for Malathion spraying since 1987. Since 1987.
The Department of Food and Agriculture also needs to be told and be brought to the forefront to answer questions by this Senate committee, and the Senate committee is empowered to do that.
Lastly, the hearings that we held on Malathion were very similar to the hearings we held on the cancer clusters in McFarland and in Fowler. We could never prove that children were dying of cancer related to some petroleum by-product or pesticide within that environment because it is extremely difficult to prove. Ask any widow of a firefighter who dies of cancer to prove that there was a causal relationship between exposure to toxic chemicals and exposure in the general population.
So when you look at these causal effects, we did change the law because I wrote it for firefighters and for police officers. And why is that?
As Amie Peters, who is now one of the consultants to the Senate Committee on Toxics, knows, we changed the law because it was wrong to put the burden on the widow and children to prove the causal relationship of why a firefighter or police officer died. Because why? They were usually the first people on the scene of toxic spills.
So we changed the law so the burden of proof is on the city to prove that it wasn't caused by the relationship of exposure to toxic chemicals.
So the issue that we have to concentrate on as activists and people involved in this issue is to get beyond scare tactics, to deal with the facts, and the only way you can do that is by putting Department of Food and Agriculture people under oath before Mr. Peters and Mr. O'Connell's committee and ask them Q & A on the specifics and also to work to the budget process which is ongoing as we speak. Revises will be issued May 15 to the budget of California. It will be issued again which means the language can be submitted in that budget process to make sure that Department of Food and Agriculture is accountable.
We know that many times the Director of the Food and Agriculture Department does not feel he should be accountable, which is why he resigned. But the fact of the maker is you have a power to do that, and that's the message I wanted to bring to you today, to get the legislature to hold hearings on this issue so that activists like yourself don't have to continue to pay for the expense of bringing this issue to the forefront. It is a public issue and it should be brought forth publicly.
I cannot talk to members of the Legislature about any act because the law is that once you retire from the Legislature, you cannot communicate with other members of the Legislature for a year regarding any issue. And that was to make sure that people don't use their power as a lobbyist, then go back and lobby their friends. It's a good law, but I'm saying I cannot talk to members of the Legislature and I'm not and I am urging you to do that as public citizens.
Thank you very much.
Thank you Senator Torres. I would also like to thank Patsy Shin from Senator Tom Hayden's office who is here. And if I have not recognized the specific legislator that you're representing, please let me know because it's important. This videotape is going to be mass distributed across the State of California, and we want the electorate to know just who of their elected officials care enough about this issue to have sent somebody here to represent them.
Okay. Moving right along, one of the most interesting components of this is issue is what is the damage the Medfly does and exactly what type of a danger is it to the agriculture of California? One of the most Important issues that we're going to be covering today in conjunction with the health effects - and dealing specifically with that is going to be Dr. Dahlsten. Dr. Dahlsten holds a Ph.D. in Entomology from the University of California Berkeley. He has served as the Chair, Division of Biological Control. He has authored over 117 papers dealing with biological controls. He has been the visiting lecturer in Entomology for Yale University and served on the Forest Technology Management Exchange Team to the People's Republic of China for integrated Pest Management. As well, he has served on the integrated Pest Management in Forestry Team which visited the People's Republic in 1982: Doctor Don Dahlsten.
Well, this is going to be a bit of a change of pace after hearing all the medical effects, and I'm certainly concerned about them myself. All of my research has been with the side effects of chemical insecticides No. 1, on the environment; and No.2, working with biological controls or alternatives to chemical approaches.
But, I think I need to put this in some context because it was 1973 that I first testified in an Eradication Hearing in Seattle, Washington, or Portland, Oregon, whether or not to eradicate the gypsy moth. And as a maker of fact, my interests in eradication and invasion of exotic pests really stems from that first encounter, but I cannot believe that it is 1995 and I'm still here talking about the eradication concept which is probably one of the most crude methods of pest management in existence.
Now, I need to put this into a little bit of cultural framework. I thought about this, and the Wagners asked me, said, "Well, is the Medfly established in California? That's the title of your talk."
I said, "Yes; fine. That's easy to answer." Myself, along with a group of population biologists and a growing group of entomologists, say "Yes, it probably is." So that's the end of my talk.
But what I really wanted to do is put this in a more generic framework just to give you some idea for someone who's been frustrated by people using eradication approaches over a period of now over 20 - 20 years.
It boils down to a couple of items which John Perkins in his book "Insects: Experts in the Insecticide Crisis" refers to the humanistic approach and the naturalistic approach.
I'm not sure if I like those particular terms. I have other terms I would prefer to use, but the humanistic approach is one that humans can master the biosphere; that the biosphere can be manipulated to their own benefit.
That sounds familiar, doesn't it?
And it's also the existence of the reason why, the framework why, the philosophy why a lot of people are doing the things they do, and I'm referring specifically to pest management, although the same generality can be made to other types of activities in the environment.
The naturalistic approach: are humans part of the biosphere and that humans cannot master - cannot be masters of it.
In other words, you walk on a soft path.
I prefer technological versus ecological. Pest control has been fought with a number of technological approaches: DDT, the Magic Bullet, Green Revolution. Genetic Engineering now we're told is going to solve our problems. And basically pest control is a biological and ecological issue and nothing else. You're dealing with living plants and living organisms and you must understand the principles of biology and ecology to approach it.
And that's where the controversy begins.
With respect to exotic organisms, exotic organisms are coming in all the time. There's a whole group now working on invasion biology, and that's an interesting science. But organisms, pathogens. microorganisms, insects, vertebrates, weeds are coming into this country all the time. Very few of them make it. It takes a very special type of organism to be able to invade, and these are called "invaders", and there is a book called "The Ecology of Invading Species."
In pest control we tend to concentrate on those invaders, but really the whole pest management industry revolves around insects that are established. of the 444 some odd insects that are established, 39% of them are exotics, are foreign. And the well-established invaders are treated just like any other pest control approach.
We use biological control, which is my discipline, and occasionally eradication efforts are attempted with those species that have a wide distribution such as the cotton boll weevil and the fire ant.
So basically, when you come down to it, you're dealing with two different strategies to deal with invaders: we have an eradication concept with a humanistic or technological approach and we have the naturalist or ecological approach, biological control.
They're very, very different, and I'll explain that in a minute.
In most cases the biology and ecology of invading species is not understood and it's particularly not understood in its new environment. I can attest to What. I worked on a bark beetle species that invaded in Australia Radiata Pine. Pinus Radiata - Monterey Pine Prom the coast of California, and the bark beetle that was introduced Ips Grandicollis came from the Southeastern United States. The two species married in Australia and created a totally different problem, but the Australians didn't go for eradication. They went for understanding, and they eventually went into a biological control program, which in the case of the bark beetle might not have been the best choice; but, nevertheless, there was some thought that went into handling that particular invading species.
By and large, all approaches to handling invading species and the control efforts that go with it are poorly conceived, and eradication programs are right at the top of the list as far as poorly conceived pest management programs.
Now, it's appropriate to talk about eradication here because California is the Eradication State; gypsy mouth, Medfly, apple maggot, European fruit fly, Oriental fruit fly, Mexican fruit fly, Japanese beetle, cotton boll weevil, et cetera. In 1984 we had seven eradication programs going at one time.
Huge sums of money are being spent, as has been pointed out by Senator Torres. They are taxpayer dollars and I'm not sure we're getting any benefit from it. In other words, who is being protected from all of these vicious beasts without any understanding of their biology and without any understanding of the ecology in California and whether they might even be a pest or not?
Now, eradication occurs naturally; we call that extinction. It's not unusual for a species to become extinct. In fact, there's lists and list and lists of them. And because of this, I think that was part of the charm of the eradication concept. And by the way, the eradication concept goes back to the early 1900s. That's 95 years ago it was debated as to whether or not the Europe in corn borer should be eradicated or not. And I'm sure a lot of the discussions, albeit probably not so much from the medical side, but a lot of the discussions as to whether or not this species should be eradicated or not based on biological, ecological principles or lack thereof; those things were discussed years and years ago.
So I, I guess, represent a lineage - a long lineage of entomologists and population biologists that have looked at these issues and have come to differing conclusions. As you can see, some of our medical colleagues have different conclusions. The same is true in the entomological world.
The pivotal concept underlying eradication policy, however, unlike any other control strategy, is reducing the target pests to population zero. And attendant with that are all types of problems. With biological control we must have host material there in order for our natural enemies to exist.
Chemical control - integrated Pest Management we talk about economic threshold. So there is some tolerance of low-level populations. In fact, this is where they should exist. And then you try to force that to population zero. What goes along with that in pushing this population to zero that each insect what you kill as you keep going down, down, down, it's costing you more and more and more. It leads to overuse, misuse, and abuse of chemical pesticides, and that's what you people are faced with these aerial spray programs. And it's -
I don't like people to be exposed, but the question I'm asking as an entomologist, is there any need for them to really be exposed at all? And I think that's where we come down to.
Well, we did get a study of eradication projects all around the world, and I said "California is the Eradication State", and that's true. But that's been tried in a lot of other areas as well. And there are some patterns that really emerge from this that I think you should know about.
All eradication projects are operated by large governmental agencies that are, by and large, insensitive to the public. They are usually operated administratively from a distance from the project so that the biology and ecology of the system is already slipping away. It becomes an end in itself, it becomes a supervisory thing, it becomes an administrative thing to handle an eradication project. They all go along like this.
The importance of understanding the distribution and abundance of the insect becomes a secondary importance; vis-a-vis, Dr. Carey's work that's been done on the population biology, just analyzing the trap catches. And by the way, the traps are totally inefficient. Maybe 1 in a 100 medflys are trapped in the traps. So you have inefficient trapping technology, and yet you have a population biologist begin to look at this and look at some patterns, and that is being totally ignored.
Many of the important invading or potential invading species are not receiving research dollars, although there is considerable amount of money going to Medfly. But let me point out something: is it more important to develop a better dispenser, a better lure for Medfly, or is it better to fund someone like Dr. Carey who understands the population biology of the Medfly so we understand what we're doing? And what exactly it means when we're trying to control or eradicate something?
Suffice it to say, Dr. Carey's work was not funded. By looking for better lures, what this is leading us to, it's leading us to crisis management. which leads us to the use of chemical pesticides, and so you go around and around and around. You look at any other projects that have been done - and by the way, most of them have not received the research money that Medfly has; but you look and look and you see the same type of thing. We all operate with incomplete knowledge but, my God, there's a limit to the amount of incomplete knowledge that we can operate with when you are dealing with invading species.
Next, there's been little effort to evaluate side effects on eradication or chemical control for that matter. Side effects are never looked at. Large spray projects that I have been involved with on the other side of the coin, they never look. This "No Observable Effect" thing works in entomology also. The way the entomologists do it, however, and biologists do it is after a spray project, they walk out into the forest and look around. They don't see any dead birds, they don't see any dead lizards, no dead snakes; therefore, there are no observable effects.
And so I have been fighting this now for over 30 years, and it's still not changed. And I was just talking to Phil here at the stand, it's like testifying in the Legislature, testifying in Portland, testifying in Seattle. And after a while, I guess you just get tired of it because not many people really pay attention to what you have to say.
1980-'82 - I believe Jerry Brown was still in office - CDFA did fund a side effects study in the Santa Clara Eradication Project; albeit, it was funded after the spraying had started. It's always nice to do a before-and-after study. Right, study before, after the spraying had started.
I have some results That I'll present to you very briefly. But suffice it to say, based on that study - and I heard one of the doctors talk - it was Dr. Mancillas. Dr. Mancillas talks about the importance of replication. And yet when I proposed that something be done down here with the side effects, what might be the effects on other beneficial insects, for example, in the Los Angeles basin.
They said, "Well, you already did a study." Done in Santa Clara in 1981 and '82, never repeated again. And yet "Yes, Don, we know what the effects are of using these chemical insecticides with the side effects; therefore, we don't have to do anything more."
Just based on what we found, l would take the economist aside, Dr. LeVeen, and say, "Okay, let's look at this and what it's really costing the citizens of the state in terms of induced outbreaks of other pests."
And now another thing I wonder is that cost is not really an issue in eradication projects, is it? You just heard the figure 200 and so many million dollars since 1987. I think there was something like 250 million bucks spent in Santa Clara alone on the Medfly Eradication Project in the '81 -'82 era, so you're talking about big bucks.
Advice from the scientific community, this is interesting. l was enjoying the little repartee that took place. But really advice; from the agencies, advice is only really sought if you're going to agree with them. it's kind of like the old boys clubs in the south - the old women's clubs, too, where you are treated as a minority opinion. l was on a couple of Science Advisory Panels at the time Jerry Brown was governor. Since that time, I've not served on one.
The information on eradication projects provided to the general public has historically been presented only as a viewpoint of the administrative agency. You all know that. That viewpoint is often justified by playing on public fears and relying on a very narrow evaluation of the impact that overestimates the consequences of the establishment of the target pest but totally underestimates the cost and the side effects of the eradication program.
Individuals who question the eradication strategy, scientists and citizens are often treated with suspicion or ignored, and I'm sure that sounds very familiar to all of us.
And finally, once the eradication programs have gotten into place, they really lack the appropriate mechanisms for determining what the effect is. There is a lack of understanding in biology and ecology, the insect trapping technology is poor and, therefore, they're never able to get to the point to say whether the eradication is going to work or not or to make a final evaluation.
Now, there's some definite things That we need to know about -such as conflicting interests or side effects. And let me just tell you a little bit about what we found in 1980-'82. There were increased white fly parasite mortality, increased garden white fly aphid and mite outbreaks, walnut aphid and olive scale parasitoid intoxication, increased ice plant scale parasite mortality, ice plant scale outbreaks, olive, black and brown scale outbreaks, increased honey bee mortality, significant fish kills, particularly mosquito fish.
So what? And we've only just touched a few of the organisms that were sprayed in that area. There were some positive effects and some area ice plant scale was reduced and latania scale on olives was suppressed.
I recently released a parasitoid (Tamarixia) here in Southern California to control Eugenia Psyllid. It's been very successful except right now this is the big psyllid-time and people are a little bit upset, but what's Malathion going to do to that and who's going to pay for it? Disneyland's not going to pay for it to see what the side effects are. The state should pay for it.
What about the relative potential danger of the introduced pests?
The Medfly is susceptible to cold? This has been talked about since the 1940s. There was a tremendous cold period here in December of 1990 which probably knocked the population back, and limited population sampling was done. It shows what.
In the Central Valley is the Medfly ever going to be a pest? Why are we even worried about it? People have talked about this since 1940. This is not new stuff.
The same went on with what is the relative potential of the danger of the gypsy moth, which is primarily an oak feeder. We have one oak species in our forest. It's not going to be that important to wildlife, the gypsy moth is not going to take that out. So with any one of these insects you can go through the same thing.
What about the ease of eradication? There are no really successful eradication programs where the insect exists widespread. That has been looked at a lot.
I want to finish up, though, with Carey's work. There have been Medfly trappings now in the Los Angeles Basin since 1986. And as he has predicted, the fly has moved along the basin down into Oceanside where there's been a trapping and up into Camarillo.
He has a very good paper "The Mediterranean Fruit Fly invasion of Southern California" in the book that was published from the seminar out at UC Riverside ("The Mediterranean Fruit Fly in California: Defining Critical Research" University of California Center for Exotic Pest Research, 1995) where I believe both sides were represented, by the way. And that would be very interesting for you to read.
At any rate, what probably has happened - the Medfly was probably introduced in the 1920, '25, '30, sometime then. There's a long colonization period. That varies with different species. The elm leaf beetle in Australia had one time frame, gypsy moth has another, and so on. Then there is the naturalization period where the insect becomes accustomed to the area and then there's a spread phase which is I think where we are now.
So 1975 to '86 there were intermediate trappings, medium-size outbreaks '87 and '88 and widespread '89 to '93. This fits in completely with the Population Biology Theory.
Next, some other aspects that should be considered by all agencies; ease of re-colonization, ease of reintroduction and availability of alternate control strategies.
I remember at one time testifying on the proposed gypsy moth eradication in Santa Cruz where Bacillus thuringiensis - a narrow spectrum killer, was available, carbaryl, a broad spectrum with lots of side effects, was available. And the State said, "Well, carbaryl is the most effective." Where's the data?
I said, "It's the most effective. Here's some data that shows it works sometimes and sometimes it doesn't. Here's some data on carbaryl that shows it works - sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. So which one do you chose?" The State chooses carbaryl and so, to me, they play their hand on that. You could have gone a softer path, and the we chose not to.
Just in summary, all future programs, there should be anticipatory studies of exotic pests. They've done it in Canada and Australia, so the format is there.
And this includes the development of the biological data necessary for estimating the impact on agricultural hosts in the context of the current market conditions and available control technologies. You don't do these things off in some dream world and say, "Now we're going to load up the plane with Malathion and eradicate."
Studies during eradication programs should learn. We argued with the State constantly about this that you should be studying the Medfly while you're trying to eradicate it here in California.
You should be studying the gypsy moth, you should be studying the Japanese beetle, doing some biological and ecological evaluation on these insects in their foreign country. This is a foreign country for them. And that's not done and that should be done.
There should be research aimed explicitly at developing less chemically intensive methods. This is Motherhood, Fatherhood, Country, God, Flag. I mean, for God's sake, this is 1995 and we're still going around and around the bush, and I'm still sitting here listening to aerial spraying of Malathion.
But there is another way to do business, and the other way to do business is to walk a softer path in this planet; otherwise, none of us are going to be here.
And finally, there has got to be some ongoing monitoring of the impact of eradication strategies on non-target organisms because in the long run, that's going to come out of your pocket, too.
Thank you Dr. Dahlsten. Now, one of the big issues has always been That the agricultural community continues to tell elected officials that the Medfly is going to devastate agriculture. We are very privileged to have Dr. Phillip LeVeen. Dr. LeVeen holds a Ph.D. in Economics From the University of Chicago. He also has expertise in agriculture economics and policy with concentrations on agrarian structural change, farm income and commodity policies, environmental resource impacts of agriculture technology, consumer impact of agriculture policy, pest management, including urban pest management. Dr. LeVeen has served as a consultant for the EPA, the US Department of the interior and the National Academy of Sciences.
And Dr. LeVeen is going to address the issue as to what is actually the economic impact of Medfly in the agriculture community: Doctor LeVeen.
I got involved in the issues of the Medfly indirectly. In the mid-1980s my colleague at Berkeley, Don Dahlsten, asked me if I would give a lecture to a seminar he was teaching on eradication. It was a concept I really hadn't thought much about, although I had been interested in the Medfly experience from the early 1980's in the Santa Clara Valley near us up in Northern California.
And so in preparation for that presentation, I did some thinking about eradication and what it means; how I would approach this problem as an economist who is interested in trying to figure out what's the right kind of public policy choice and, in particular, what would - what could I say about eradication Don?
Eventually I wrote a paper on that same topic, which got included in the book that Don Dahlsten just showed you, and that was the last of it. But then in 1990, when the issues in Los Angeles cropped up, various environmental activists found that article and then found me and wanted me to become involved, not just in eradication issues in a general conceptual way, but on the Medfly issue to particular.
So in the 1990s I got more involved in looking at Medfly - the specifics of the Medfly problem in California and, in particular, the state's analysis of why Medfly eradication was Important. And I eventually was invited to attend, I think along with Don. We had an invited presentation to the California State Legislature which convened as a whole, invited 24 of us to come and talk about medflys, and they got both points of view there.
Let me just say that after looking at the state's analysis of why the Medfly Eradication Program is important to California agriculture, I came away amazed that the lack of analysis that underlies the large numbers that are frequently used to justify these kind of programs.
No self-respecting economist, even in the employ of the University of California, would put their name on these documents. I promise you they aren't worth the weight of the paper that they're printed on. They have almost no intellectual content, and yet these are the basis for making the judgments that the State of California should expose millions of people to a chemical of unknown, uncertain consequences.
But I think the State's position has always been that the costs of eradication are relatively light, are light and small, especially when we look at the issue in terms of the potential impacts that it would have on agriculture.
Because those impacts have been argued to be so large, this justifies extreme measures, imposing potentially very high but unknown costs to preserve these other known economic costs.
Well, let me just go through some of this benefit/cost analysis that I looked at back in 1990 which remains the basis for the state's case. Actually, the state never did a benefit/cost analysis. They simply did an analysis of what they thought the effect of an established population of Medfly would mean for California agriculture. And the numbers changed a little but I think the high numbers that I've seen suggest that the Medfly established in California would reduce agricultural sales by upwards of a billion dollars.
I'll come back and discuss that billion dollar number in more detail. There's two sides of the equation: clearly, we're trying to balance the billion dollar potential cost, which is on the quote, benefit side - let's say cost averted with the cost of the program itself. Well, the costs of the program itself you already heard are substantial.
Over the last 15 years, that we have spent upwards of a half a billion dollars to eradicate the Medfly over the last 15 years. One of the main advantages that's claimed for eradication is it's a once-and-for all deal. You know - Invest now so that you have this future secure no longer threatened by the Medfly, but eradication has become an annual policy. This really is a strange notion of eradication when we have to spend each year substantial sums of money to eradicate this thing.
Assuming that it is simply a new population that's arising each year, the point is that eradication is not a once-and-for-all deal so that the costs in any one year are probably not an accurate portrayal of what the program costs. One has to think now in terms of eradication being a series of costs extending into the indefinite future. Very significant cost. This is the simple out-of-pocket costs to the State (to the taxpayers).
There are other costs, however, which we don't necessarily see included in this list. Among other things, for example, other agencies of the State, when we have undertaken the eradication program have to participate with providing resources. The costs to these agencies of the additional work necessitated by the programs rarely are included in any of these cost estimates.
There are certainly significant risks presented by these programs as well. And as an economist, I would say we ought to include something for these risks. What is the risk of a helicopter crashing that's full of Malathion in a crowded urban neighborhood? There's some possibility of that. it's not a zero possibility. The fact that it doesn't happen or hasn't happened yet doesn't mean it won't happen.
And normally, one has to factor in some sort of a risk possibility that this kind of action could take place and figure out what those costs would be.
I suspect the State could not buy an insurance policy to protect against this. I think it would be too expensive. I don't think any insurance company would sell them. Maybe they would; but if they would, that would be an indication of what we should be including because that's one of the costs that we're potentially incurring.
And, of course, there's a whole variety of private costs which are not included in these numbers. The private costs are in some cases considered mere inconveniences by the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Those are the inconveniences of having to buy a tarp and cover your automobile so that the paint doesn't get destroyed or cleaning up afterwards so that your paint on your house isn't compromised or whatever. In any individual case, these costs may be relatively small; but add them up over a million people, and you got a lot of money.
What about the people who feel they have to relocate temporarily while the helicopters are overhead either because they simply are terrified by the prospect of five helicopters flying overhead or by the fear that they may be adversely affected by the chemical?
These costs of those people leaving their homes for a period of time, renting a motel room someplace or staying with friends - these are costs, and nominally we include those kind of costs in any kind of a calculation of what this policy is costing us. Add it up over significant numbers of people, these costs become themselves significant.
In addition, of course, there are health costs. Now, we know that there's uncertainty as to what these health costs are. I would assert, however, at some level there are costs, whether it's simply in terms of allergies or flu-like symptoms that some people who are sensitive to chemicals experience or whether there are longer-term chronic problems that we don't really fully understand but which will become - may become apparent in the long term.
These costs are going to be paid by someone. The economists generally convert these kinds of health costs into dollars by measuring the lost work time or the medical costs that the people experience as a result of having to cope with these illnesses that have been induced by Malathion. We don't know what these costs are clearly. They could be a lot. And in the long term they could be a real lot if some of these longer-term predictions turn out to be true - that there are possible cancer implications, or blindness, or whatever.
The point is that these are costs and they could be in one way or another quantified. They haven't been quantified.
Whether you can quantify the value of a life is an issue that economists debate endlessly. My impression is that most citizens find those kind of debates silly; if one could show that life was at stake - a significant number of lives at stake, my guess is that the programs would be stopped immediately.
At any rate, these are costs that are significant. They could be added on, and I suspect that they would more than double the overall public costs if we did an accurate job trying to figure out what those costs are.
So in other words, the attempt to eradicate the Medfly is expensive both to the public sector and to the private sector. These costs are not always apparent because they haven't been clearly accounted for. That doesn't mean they don't exist; that somebody isn't paying them.
Now, because these costs are higher, we have got to really be able to prove that agriculture is benefited by the eradication program. No longer can we assume the costs of eradicating the Medfly are low and don't have to really be considered because the benefits of eradicating the pests are so great that they more than dwarf the costs. Well, the costs are higher than anybody's going to admit. That means the justification for the program has to be even stronger.
All right. So let's look at the justification for the program. Essentially identifying the costs of the Medfly on California agriculture is only as good as the basic science that underlies the analysis and the economist doesn't do the science. The economist is depending on Don Dahlsten if, he was adequately funded, and others like him to provide us the kind of information we would need to know what will happen if the State doesn't try to eradicate the fruit fly. instead, if we simply allow nature to take its course. And we allow agriculture to respond however it wishes to, but we would need to know something about the basic underlying biology of the pests. Is it going to get into the Central Valley? Is it going to take over the State of California if not controlled in Los Angeles?
Those questions the economist can't answer. They need the entomologists to answer those questions. And I submit to you that we haven't done the research so, therefore, the full analysis isn't available. However, there's certainly some pretty good preliminary stuff that suggests that the Medfly does not pose a threat to the entire state. Rather to the warm coastal regions where winters are mild, where it perhaps can exist in relative low levels, especially if knocked down by cold winters occasionally. In those regions perhaps the Medfly will, in some sense, quote, "take over" at least in the sense that it becomes established.
But is it going to take over King and Kern and Fresno and all those counties up there where the real farming takes place? I'm not an entomologist, but I think that at least significant number of entomologists don't think that's possible.
However, when the State of California did its report and estimated the consequences of not controlling the Medfly, they assumed the Medfly would take over the state; that is to say, from San Diego to Humboldt County or further north, everywhere. All farming all over the state would be affected.
And what they did was then they went out and selected all the potential host crops that the Medfly might attack, not distinguishing between those crops that Medfly really likes versus those crops the Medfly might take a look at if it was so hungry it had nothing else to eat. In other words, every crop that the Medfly might possibly attack was included in a list, and then they simply made assumptions. They said, "Well, we'll assume that the Medfly will destroy 7.5% of the crop before it's harvested in the fields." And that is the crop of those commodities that the Medfly has been known to attack.
Seven point 5 percent sounds like a small amount, but typically insects all combined, all other insects, all other pests in California, maybe they kill off, at most, 13% of the typical crop yield. So what this report is saying is that the additional 7.5% of yield loss attributed to the Medfly is going to be equivalent to 60% of all the other pest damage from all other pests in agriculture.
It's totally unrealistic. Totally unrealistic. It also assumes that farmers literally sit by and watch the Medfly eat their crops and don't do anything about it. This is crazy. Farmers will do something about it, assuming it costs less to do something about it than the gains they get from preserving. Any rational entrepreneur will make those kind of investments.
Okay. So after you take 7.5% of all these crops from all over the state you can come up with some pretty high numbers.
And especially if you make your judgment that California hammers no adjustments to this menace; that they don't adjust their pest control strategies; that we make no greater effort in the future after the pest is established to team something about its biology so we can more effectively control it. All of those assumptions not made, we come up with these large numbers of loss.
Those losses then are compounded further by something called the quarantine, which is something that, if any of you are associated with Medfly you have probably heard about. Because of the strange quirks of politics, when nations and states, for that matter, trade with each other, we sometimes develop various conventions that deal with these kinds of trade.
One of the trade partners of the United States is Japan. Japan is a reluctant trader. They would just as soon they don't have to buy anything from us and that all we would do is buy from them.
But unfortunately, that's not the way the world works, or at least it doesn't work very well that way. So they have to make concessions to this international community: in order to sell their stuff, they have to buy stuff. And over the years they've reluctantly allowed a few agricultural commodities from California like citrus to be imported.
Japan says that if California has a Medfly, it won't allow the importation of California fruit to Japan without it first being fumigated in such a way that guarantees there won't be any medflys on it when they get it. I might just add, it isn't just Japan that makes these kind of statements. States like Texas and Florida, competitors of California I might point out, also say that they won't allow California to export fruit to them in the event that we have an established Medfly population here unless we go through this complex, expensive fumigation process.
So the assumption, then, in this analysis that the State has done is that all of the fruit and vegetables of these potentially affected crops will have to be fumigated in order to be sold, marketed, except for the small percentage that might be marketed domestically, internally. So that making no distinctions between regions, or whether some crops will be attacked and not other crops, all crops will have to be subject to these kind of treatments. This creates another very high number.
Interestingly, I might just point out that when we do ship citrus to Japan, it goes in a ship, it sits in the ship for several days in cold storage. Cold storage kills all the medflys. Japan doesn't accept that. They want it fumigated first. Israel has established medflys. They export citrus all over the world. No one has much trouble with Israeli fruit.
So it's clearly - this is a sort of fictional thing. I mean, I'm not suggesting that these are not real problems, but these are problems for the politicians to settle reasonably through negotiation and not through poisoning a million people.
My guess is, were California forced to recognize that its Medfly population is established, then we would have to move to a totally different phase which is called a "negotiation" phase. Then we try to undo all the brainwashing we've done and try to convince everyone in the world that the Medfly is not the pest in the world. That it isn't really the scourge of existence; if you have a piece of fruit with some Medfly larvae that isn't going to end the world anymore than this might occur from some other pest.
In other words, we need to put California into a mode where they, from self-interest, have to negotiate with other states in the country and other places in the world to renegotiate so that this - this sort of political constraint won't be binding. So California will continue to be able to export its fruit.
I don't have any question that the California agriculture will solve the Medfly problem if it has to do it privately. Let's be clear about what we're talking about here: eradication and why eradication is so important.
The definition of eradication means that by declaring the current efforts eradication - and this is really critical - we're basically allowing the State to do things that it could not do if it was called pest control or pest management.
As you've already heard, declaring this eradication means the State picks up the cost. That means the farmers don't have to and, of course, that gives them a very strong incentive to continue an eradication program because that means they don't have to pay for it. But even more important to this is that the definition of eradication allows for the declaration of a "State of Emergency" whereby all of our public legislators who made the decisions to conduct these programs are held not accountable. That is to say they cannot be liable - the State is not liable for any effects that take place. Consequently, one can make bad decisions and not be accountable.
Those kind of bad decisions would not be possible were it not for this "State of Emergency" that supposedly exists with eradication. In other words, what we have is a situation where we are very much like my favorite metaphor - when dealing with many issues in California agriculture - is the "emperor's new clothes." We are pretending the world is one way when it's another. We are pretending to eradicate a fly that's established. The reason we're pretending to eradicate a fly that's established is to admit that it's established means we'd have to give up all the benefits that now exist to the State; limited liability or no liability, and the benefits to agriculture from picking up the cost of controlling the fly.
In the long term, more than likely, the Medfly will have to be acknowledged to be established in certain regions of the state, but certainly major parts of the state will continue to be free. It might make sense for California to reconstitute itself into several states. You know, California is a thousand miles long. If you put California on the East Coast, you would have ten states in it. One of those states could be called "Southern California", it could have a Medfly problem. The rest of us would be free of it because we wouldn't be part of that legal definition of that state. It's strange because California is included in this big thing where LA and this area down here has a few medflys, the whole state's included. That's crazy; that's nuts.
So, we're dealing with, I think, not so much a real economic problem as a series of sort of political problems that have to be overcome. California agriculture will do just fine if they have to live with the Medfly. They don't want you to know that because they'd like you to keep paying their costs.
They have tremendous incentives to do this, to keep pushing this way. And their friends at the CDFA don't represent you. They represent the growers. I'm finished.
I'm impressed. As I stated, it's important for the people who are going to be seeing this video to know which one of their representatives cared enough to be represented at the forum here. And Assemblyman Horcher, Assemblywoman Diane Martinez, we thank her for having a representative show up. The Mayor of Bell Gardens, Senator Rob Hurt, Assemblyman Villaraigosa - that was actually her birthday - the came here today. Congresswoman Lucille Royball Allard, Assemblyman Bill Morrow, Assemblywoman Martha Escutia, Assemblyman Martin Gallegos, Senator Richard Mountjoy.
Make sure you sign up if you want a transcript or you want a video or audio tape of these proceedings.
One of the things I wanted to address before Mr. Sigler, our attorney, is what's happening now. You've heard all these different issues as far as health effects of Malathion and Medfly is not that much of a danger to agriculture, you should know that the agriculture community is trying to use your children to get across their propaganda. That's what Councilman Joel Wachs was speaking about in his letter.
Currently, in Camarillo in the second grade a teacher is teaching the kids a game called "Medfly Jeopardy" where the kids are supposed to be answering questions as to how many eggs does the Medfly lay and how many crops does it destroy, etc.? And in the "Invaders" the kids are detectives trying to stop the criminal Medfly and they're teaching the children that the fruit is the innocent victim This is unconscionable. This is a pilot program that they want to have in every school across the State of California. If you get the young minds, you get everybody else. Everybody needs to vociferously oppose that.
I know there were a bunch of representatives here today from different school boards. And if you are still here, I will give you the documentation as far as this propaganda campaign from the State and I will show you the actual article from the paper. And this is one thing that we can all do right now is to contact the school board and ensure that when the kids go to school, they're learning the basics. They're not being used as propaganda tools for the CDFA and the agriculture interests in this state.
Our final panelist is an attorney. You know, you would think that with all this compelling evidence, all we have to do is go to court and sue them and they would stop. It doesn't work that way. And our final panelist is going to address it. This is Mr. Richard Sigler. He is an attorney in private practice since 1971 and he got his degree from USC and he is currently teaching at USC. He became involved because his wife got so sick from the Malathion. So it's not anecdotal to him. He has had personal experience, and he is going to address why there has been no legal remedy in the courts: Richard Sigler.
Thank you. You talk about studies and disputes over whether the studies show that there are adverse health effects or whether there will be cancer in the future, that sort of thing. I don't need to know any of those studies. I do know what it did to my wife and I know what I now believe it did to me. I wanted to wait a few years to be sure that the asthma that I got in the spring of 1990 did not come back. It has not in the ensuing four years, so I'm reasonably comfortable that that was brought on by the Malathion as well. As my allergist said, his business increased dramatically during that period of time.
I won't go into my wife's story. I'm sure some of the doctors in the audience would dispute it. But basically when you were mentioning the economic costs that are not taken into account of health effects, Dr. LeVeen, I will tell you that on my tax return for 1990 I took $52,000 off from my taxes, and in 1992 where my wife continued to have ill health effects, I took $20,000 off. There's $72,000 of tax deduction. Never mind how I found the money to do it. That was the federal government and the state government losing collectively approximately half that amount just from one family. So it is not an insignificant amount of money. It's not just a deductible on a couple of office visits to your GP. It can be a significant amount of money.
What I wanted to talk to you about, especially since there are a lot of representatives of the public here, is why there's been a failure in the normal mechanisms that we have legally and politically to try to address the problem, resolve this, the questions that have been presented today, and what we might all do about it to try to reverse this.
What we've seen today are a lot of, who are at least to me, esteemed people. I've seen a number of them before. They have lots of initials after their names, they work in prestigious places, their resumes seem to indicate they know what they're talking about on this issue. of course, the CDFA and USDA and a number of opponents of Malathion spraying have an equal number of people with initials after their names and apparent credentials as well.
You know that, of course, those people all work for pay. They all work for Big Agriculture. They come from "Big Agriculture". They go back into "Big Agriculture". We need only to look at the employment history of Henry Voss, for example, who came as the head of CDFA appointed by Governor Dukemejian from the California Farm Bureau. Voss recently, unfortunately, overlooked $450,000 worth of outside income that might have been a conflict of interest for him and became an embarrassment to presidential candidate Wilson and is now going to find his way, I guarantee you, back into Big Agriculture. We just need to wait a little while and find out how that plays itself out.
In any case, compare those people with the people who took a day off from earning their livings and came up here for no compensation - and walked away From income. We're not looking for glory for that. We have a reason for being here. That's because we believe in what we're saying.
Now, compare that with the people on the other side, and perhaps you'll conclude, as I do, about the side that is being more neutral and really believes in what they're saying versus the side that is being paid to come to the conclusions that they're coming to.
Now, there are scientists and there are doctors on the other side, and one presumes they have a measure of integrity, or they wouldn't continue to be able to work in the business. So we have to assume it's a legitimate conflict in the facts here.
Now, in society, in the legal society and political society that we've created for ourselves in this country, we don't all become scientists, we don't all conduct the same research, we don't all find out for ourselves what the answers to these disputes are. We just can't do that. Politicians can't do that, bureaucrats can't do that, concerned citizens who vote can t do that.
We rely on a number of mechanisms that are built into our political and legal system to try to let other people resolve that. These mechanisms include procedural safeguards that call for people to testify under oath, call for all the evidence to be provided, call for a neutral evaluator of the facts, and it is on that basis that we have a mechanism to resolve these disputes.
In particular, I want to focus on several that would apply to this kind of a dispute. One is the separation of powers and checks and balances dichotomy that we've built into our political systems. You have a Legislative Branch which - enacts the policy and does some fact-finding; you have the Executive Branch which comes out the policy and decides where to apply it to a given fact situation; and you have a Judicial Branch which - if there is a person who is aggrieved can bring a lawsuit. A neutral party different from the other branches will make a determination about whether the Legislative Branch enacted something that it could do and whether the Executive Branch enforced it in a proper way given the specific fact situations. That is a mechanism that we have to try to resolve disputes like this.
We also have a regulatory mechanism in this country. We have a lot of agencies that are what we call quasi-administrative, such as the EPA, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, US Department of Agriculture, the FCC, the FAA - these are all agencies that engage in some legislative and policy-making decisions. They also enforce and there's a little bit of judicial behavior that goes on in those agencies as well.
So we have a whole structure where pesticides have to be registered, where environmental laws have to be complied with, and we also have built-in countervailing agency authority; for example, in the federal government the US Department of Agriculture does not have jurisdiction over pesticides. That's a separate government agency called the Food and Drug Administration. And they can have separate interests.
In California; however, we have just one agency that handles all of those, and that's the California Department of Food and Agriculture. It also handles the registration of pesticides, and there is no countervailing agency concept.
And the final area that we have built into our legal and political system is the right of individuals to sue. They can go into court and have their day, prove their case, cross-examine the other side, make the other side prove its case, and a neutral person in theory will make a decision between those competing interests.
The particular areas that are concerned for Malathion spraying are the personal-injury area such as the Macillas case that has been discussed today about the boy who was blinded. We have a concept of the taking of property, there's injury to property, that's eminent domain, and we have constitutional rights of the political minority in this country.
Even though we have majority rule, under our constitutional form of government, you cannot run rough shod over certain fundamental rights of people. Just because 99% of the people would like to spray pesticides on the other 1%, if it cam be established that that's harmful to the other 1%, there are certain rights that restrict you from doing that even in a democracy.
Now, an example of the environmental laws, by the way, are, of course, the California Environmental Quality Act which is known as CEQA and the National Environmental Protection Act known as NEPA. Those are laws that permit lawsuits to be filed, again, that require Environmental Impact Reports and Impact Statements respectively and permit suits to be filed against those.
Now, the question is have these mechanisms failed or somehow been subverted in the process of spraying Malathion, or else why has there not been a resolution of this question? Why are we all here today hearing contrary evidence? Why don't we all know what the answer is?
And I submit to you that, as a result of the influence of Big Agriculture in this country, these mechanisms have been subverted and are not available for the population to pursue the normal avenues of dispute resolution; therefore, we need other avenues of resolution, and I'm going to tell you why I believe they have been subverted.
First of all, as to the separation of powers of checks and balances, I think we all know that in this country there are a handful of extremely powerful interest groups and industries of which Big Agriculture is one. And by "Big Agriculture" I mean to define as those 25% of land owners who cultivate 75% of the land. it's that group of people who have control over the apparatus that regulates the laws relating to agriculture.
You know, amongst some of the other industries were all familiar with - the Military Industrial Complex, Nuclear Energy industry also has this kind of domination over our industry - over our apparatus of government. And there are several others that we have to pay particular attention to being vigilant when it comes to regulating those industries because they are so powerful economically.
One of the facts that came out in Henry Voss's resignation was the major fund-raising ability that he has demonstrated for Pete Wilson and George Dukemegian. I'm sure, since Governor Wilson has announced that he has raised the most money for the presidential campaign among any of the candidates so far, I think we probably have Henry Voss and agribusiness to thank for a fair amount of that income.
Now, so one way in which agribusiness has managed to subvert the mechanisms that we have to resolve disputes is that they are too powerful an entity in our government, especially our state and our county governments. They're major campaign contributors. There is currently pro-business, anti-environment mood in the country. And finally, the aerial spraying of Malathion has never been voted on by the Legislature. And I'm sure the Legislature - those who support it in the Legislature are very happy about this because they can avoid being on record and they can have their way. That's one of the mechanisms that has subverted our legal and political process. The other is the use of administrative agencies, quasi-judicial, quasi-administrative agencies like CDFA.
The Legislature early on at the time of Roosevelt decided that it could not make decisions, did not have the time, or the resources, or the expertise to make decisions regarding specific industries such as the Aviation industry, or the interstate Transportation Agency, or the Farming industry, that sort of thing. So they created these administrative agencies that have some legislative-making power. The Legislature would give a general idea of the kind of law that it wanted and the administrative agency would find facts, would promulgate further regulations and would enforce its own regulations.
In so doing, we created a couple of opportunities that I think Big Agriculture has taken care of No. 1, we eliminated checks and balances. They're all within the same agency. There is now no longer three separate branches to try to compete and where one can lobby and where there are neutral people; No.2, it gave them a much smaller agency that they could get control of And I think that's what's happened in California with CDFA.
Knowing that this was a risk, the legislators enacted a body of law concerning these administrative agencies that required them to behave in certain ways. They had to take evidence, they had to have open hearings, they had to allow people like us to present our points of view. However, once those mechanisms were in place and complied with technically, the agency was free to act. And judicial review is limited only to a 30-day period after the agency takes final action and only as if it were reviewing a trial court decision. You may not introduce under general rules new evidence at these hearings, and there is not what we call a "trial de novo" where evidence can be presented again.
This curtailment of judicial review results in their not being a mechanism if the administrative agency is desirous of achieving a certain result of a neutral evaluation.
The people who give evidence to CDFA in this case and on whom they are relying do not have to testify under oath, are not cross-examined by anyone with a contrary point of view. There is no formal forum where their material can be questioned and where they're forced to stand out in the public and make statements in front of people who might object.
There's no neutral evaluation, there's no judge, there's no jury. It is only the CDFA which, as I hope I've established, is not a neutral agency to evaluate this. And by depriving a meaningful judicial review of this decision, there is, once again, no neutral review of this.
The final area; that is the rights of the individuals to sue under various theories, has also been curtailed and is not available as a practical maker. There have been very few suits by individuals trying to pursue their rights. I think you probably know that every single city that has ever been sprayed has filed suit against the CDFA except, I believe, Camarillo. I'd like to think that's because Camarillo figures its a pointless exercise. Every other lawsuit has been lost.
Perhaps - and I'm aware that the city government of Camarillo appears to support the spraying as well. It is, after all, an agricultural area. Hopefully, that will be kept in mind by the electorate come the next election time.
Now, the use of lawsuits, which would be the normal way we would resolve these issues in the absence of the other two mechanisms that I mentioned, are not available for three distinct reasons: The Doctrine of Sovereign immunity, The Emergency Powers Act and The Supremacy Clause.
The first is the "Doctrine of Sovereign Immunity" - a doctrine that began with the Magna Carta in earlier days when there were totalitarian regimes known as kings and the people eventually wrested little bits of power away from the king in small increments. During that period of time, it was established that you could only sue the king if he allowed you to do so. And, believe it or not, in the first part of our country's history you could not sue the United States Government if they ran over you with a horse and buggy or did something else to you.
Gradually over time, of course, government began to realize that it was a factor on people and had responsibilities just like everybody else, and it waived large areas of its sovereign immunity. If you're run over by a military truck or the government does something to harm you in some other way, you can establish that you do have the right to sue because they waived sovereign immunity for most torts and other actions.
For the spraying of Malathion, they have not waived their sovereign immunity. They are so confident that they're right and that there is no need for the rest of us to be able to have a neutral forum and to be able to cross-examine and to be able to present our own evidence under oath and to examine their evidence under oath that they will not waive sovereign immunity.
This also applies to their subcontractors. Now, there are a couple of suits. There's the Macillas case and another case of personal injury. There's another case - maybe it will come to me in a minute - where cases are proceeding that were filed in 1990 as a result of the 1989-'90 spraying in Los Angeles.
One of them I just learned from esteemed counsel in that case was just recently thrown out on the grounds of sovereign immunity, and I'm happy to say it will taken up on appeal and maybe some new law will be made in this regard.
In addition, you may also sue the manufacturer of toxic substances under certain grounds. The Macillas case, appears to be proceeding against the manufacturer on those grounds even though the State would have you believe that manufacturer was acting in a state capacity and should have the same sovereign immunity that the State has.
There are some recent cases that seem to be taking some chunks out of that sovereign immunity defense. They just came up in the newspaper recently, and I'll provide you with a copy of them in case you haven't seen them. But there was a case where an individual who was injured by a police car during a police chase, a neutral person was able to bring a case against the jurisdiction defendant on the grounds it was A) an emergency; and B) it had sovereign immunity which it had not waived, and the court held that the individual was entitled to recover.
In addition, another case, federal case, there was a controlled burn in the Cleveland National Forest. Another example of a typical emergency that we all think of, not defining the one Medfly in Corona; and during the controlled bum, it got out of hand and burned somebody's property. The State defended the wrongful taking on the grounds of emergency action of sovereign immunity. The court held that wasn't going to wash in that case.
So I think that's breaking down. We may have some more luck in the future with this kind of a case.
The second defense that the Government uses being so confident of the facts of its case that it does not want to bother going into court to have to repeat them is the "Emergency Powers Act." I think you've heard some people talking about how the State routinely declares an emergency. It has done this for over a decade virtually annually and sometimes many more times than annually.
It declares an emergency. And if you know your political history, you know that the use of the emergency power and emergency declaration is the last refuge of the tyrant. That is the way totalitarians and dictators assume power in otherwise democracies. First, they declare some sort of emergency, usually trumped up, then they declare that all the normal mechanisms for dispute resolution and protection of other parties' interests are no longer available to you, and that's exactly what's going on in this case.
In the lawsuit in San Francisco on the Environmental impact Report, we have obtained documents from CDFA's files that indicate they don't care about all the other avenues of redress that we might have. They don't care if they lose on the EIR, they don't care if they lose on sovereign immunity as long as they can keep their emergency powers pabulum they are very happy, thank you.
And right now there is not even a mechanism to determine whether the "Declaration of Emergency" is bogus or not. Simply the Governor signs a requested "Statement of Emergency", which in the recent decade he has done every time requested by CDFA. There is no mechanism to challenge that. That was the one, I believe, Corona's theories in its lawsuit and the court reluctantly agreed it had no authority to question the Governor in that regard.
The final act, even if we could overcome the "Doctrine of Sovereign Immunity" and the "Emergency Powers Act" at the state level or the county level, there is the "Supremacy Clause", and this is a clause that says that the higher order of government controls the lower order of government.
Technically speaking, the eradication operations, as you may know, are carried on by the counties. The County of Los Angeles requests and receives aid from the State. In turn, the State receives aid from USDA which in the end finances the bulk of the eradication, monitors and determines how the eradication will take place.
So no matter if you win against the County and stop them from doing so, the State may say, "Well, under the "Supremacy Clause", we're ordering or we're doing it ourselves." And if you win against the State, you now have to go against the Federal Government.
So you have to win your lawsuits as much as three times in this kind of an environment.
Now, finally, what can we do about this? Remember, this is the Government that is telling you that this program is perfectly safe. it's the same government that brought you DDT, Agent Orange, the "Gulf War Syndrome." They told you there was nothing there. It was probably mass hysteria until, of course, a congressman showed up with it, then all of a sudden it became real. They're the ones who brought you Rocky Mountain Flats where tons more nuclear waste went in than came out. And they purported to explain that they were able to neutralize it in ways that could not be measured coming out. It also did atmospheric nuclear testing in the '50's intentionally exploding bombs in the atmosphere in Nevada that was downwind of Los Angeles so they could do demographic studies on us. But, there's so much pesticide they're using on us, I don't know how they can consider that a control.
Anyway, it's the same government now telling you that Malathion is perfectly safe. So maybe we should question it a little bit.
First thing we should do is we should shine a light on this which is what this kind of forum is all about. Those of you who are in the press, those of you who have constituents of various kinds, including electoral constituencies, should simply be conveying the information, asking the questions, saying there's something you want to find answers about. You don't have to necessarily have an opinion about who's right or who's wrong. You just need to make it known that you want to find an answer to these questions.
Second thing we can all do is we can urge those in power to conduct more research. And the research should not be that controlled by the agricultural and chemical establishment, the people who get their next research grant from these people and who will go into that business when they retire. This research should be done by neutral people and the research should be about health effects, it should be about the efficacy of the program and it should be about alternatives.
Now, the United States Government may have some of these answers, certainly about the health effects. I don't know if many of you know this, but the entire United States chemical arsenal, warfare arsenal, is organophosphates, starting probably with sarin, the humble granddaddy of the same kind of chemical that Malathion is and the one, of course, that was used in Tokyo. They have information about this, but it's confidential. They do not want our enemies apparently to know how you determine that this drug is in use, how to counteract it and that sort of thing.
One of the things we need to do is just get that existing body of information be released to us and made available.
And the final thing we need is a neutral forum where we can have our normal judicial remedies available to us to cross-examine this evidence and present our own evidence. That can be done, as Senator Torres suggested, by Legislative hearing, although they tend to be notoriously shallow and there's not an awful lot of cross-examination done. That would, nevertheless, be a start.
The real remedy would be to allow us into a court of law, waive the sovereign immunity, get rid of the emergency exemption. Let us just go in and have a free-for-all with the State Attorney General making its case and the rest of us would presumably doing our work voluntarily, making our case. Let us cross-examine their witnesses, let them cross-examine our witnesses. And let us apply the existing laws that have been waived such as the pesticide registration laws and the laws that would otherwise prohibit this massive boon doggie from going on.
If, say, a big agricultural combine like Sunkist decided it would be desirable to spray Los Angeles with Malathion to protect its fruit, it would not be allowed to do that. It's against the law. But when the State of California wants to do that on behalf of Sunkist, that's okay. We'll waive everything that's in the way.
Let's just stop the waivers. Let's let the existing legal structure work, and I assure you we'll get the answer to some of these questions.
And finally, the ultimate thing we can do to those in power is plain stop the spraying. Let's just make it illegal. That can be done. The electorate can do that. Electorate can do that by communicating with its elected representatives. There's the "Initiative Process." And that's, you know, probably the hardest thing to do because we're coming up against Big Agriculture, but that certainly would be a direct stopping it.
And let's make it a trade issue. I think you heard that - ultimately it took me a couple years to realize that this was not just big agriculture versus bad science versus, you know, interest groups and whatever. It is a major trade issue and, as such, it can be treated as a trade issue.
You heard Dr. LeVeen state that the method of shipping fruit by itself in refrigerated cargo ships for several days is enough to get rid of the Medfly. It does not have to be sprayed. Even if it is, it can be sprayed as fruit. You do not have to spray people.
So there are lots of other things that can be done, and we can put pressure on the Japanese sources to accept some of these other alternatives.
Thank you very much. Good luck to us all.
We have one final presentation. This gentleman worked for the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and his story is very compelling because he is one of the victims of their program: Mr. Domingo Atkins.
I'm here on behalf of my brothers Andre, Dante and Drago Atkins who all worked for the Department of Food and Agriculture.
Right now I'm very happy to be here and to be alive. I thank God through Jesus Christ that he saved our lives from the hands of the government. This grave injustice has to stop.
I begin to say that I was an inspector, as you call a trapper, placing Medfly traps and taking a count of how many flies are in a trap and going under trees, that's been sprayed with Malathion.
And the State of California told us we cannot wear protective clothing. They said it was harmful for us even to go out there to let you see protective clothing on us because it would alarm the public.
They didn't tell us nothing about the chemicals but they said, "Go to work." So we did. So the very first day we decided to work there, it's the same day we came down with the symptoms that the doctors on the panel was actually talking about: headaches, throwing up, nervousness, dizziness, cramps, diarrhea.
They said, "Oh, nothing's wrong with you" 'cause we went to them and said, "Something's wrong." They said, "Oh, it's nothing."
So we thought it's the flu - so we continued to do the job because that's all we thought. But we kept working and kept working and the symptoms kept growing and increasing.
I have to say to the public that our government is hiding all information from you because they have all these health - health issues out there, but we are the victims, California workers out there. There's more than just me and my brothers. But there's more out there that was absolutely sick. They don't want to tell you that these people was walking around with rashes all over their bodies, over their faces. They don't want to tell you that.
And it led to me and my brothers to be dismissed from the Department of Food and Agriculture because our mouths started being in the way. They fired us because we knew something was wrong, but we knew afterwards. It took us months to find out what was going on and why were these rashes growing on us, on top of our faces, by our eyes. Why are we throwing up? Why are we bleeding?
And I'm talking about bleeding internally. I'm talking about cramps. I'm talking about throwing up. I'm talking about headaches. Why are we going through this? Somebody help us. Somebody, we need - we need some medical attention So what they did, they turned their backs. They said, "This cannot be known by the public."
So we decided to go try to tell the public. We finally got on television, and it led to us being fired. Today I'm standing here after five years and still didn't receive that medical treatment that we was supposed to have. One of my brothers, Andre Atkins, he almost died three times. He lost his colon.
Before we started this job, every single one of us brothers never had a physical problem at all. And the very first day we started, the symptoms - all these doctors up here, they're not talking about nothing. And the State knows it, too.
Oh, what they don't want you to know, that there's victims out there and they're in the State of California, working for the State of California and they're scared to speak out.
But we spoke out, and look what we have now. We have no jobs. Our lives was five years of hell going through Civil Court, also going to our Workman Comp. Court, and we're still fighting on that because the State doesn't want us to win.
And this is not about winning. This is about doing the right thing, But we did not know nothing about these pesticides, but they did. And the State of California turned their backs.
We wrote a lot of senators, even wrote the President of the United States. They didn't want to hear it. They did nothing but pass the buck, pass it down to another senator or to another legislator. They did not want to hear it.
So what they did, they tried to tell me and my brothers we are frauds. But no, there's no fraud about it because we went through the symptoms and we still have the symptoms. And now we have to look people in the face and say, "This is your government, and if we can't stop it now, oh, believe me, it's going to be more than Malathion. It's going to be more."
But they hid it for so long that now they cannot hide, and they said they need evidence. We are the evidence.
I say the war on Malathion is not over. Because of a judgment ruling in Civil Court on the date of February 28, 1994, the State of California has been granted governmental immunity to dismiss all responsibilities for their misconduct by wrongfully subjecting us to a chemical - with a chemical which was not tested and placed in the public's backyards.
People need to wake up. They need to wake up. This is your future. This is your kids' future.
The doctors were talking long-term effects. Well, what happened was a year later my brother ended up losing his colon. I was thinking I was losing mine, too, because the symptoms. I still don't know because the symptoms still show up.
But I thank God that I'm here to tell you this. And my brothers couldn't be here today because they're fed up with this. We've been trying to reach the public, the news media, everything.
I have to say how much control does our government have with the city and all the citizens?
How much control? You know, I have letters from legislators, from Senators of the United States that turned their back on us. See, the problem is it's not just the spraying. It's the people we're putting in office because they're addicted to one thing: money.
And this is not about money. It's about human lives. And I'm here just to say thank you for giving me this chance to get up here and talk about my brothers and myself and what's really going on in the Department of Food and Agriculture and in your government. Thank you.
That pretty well wraps this up. I know this has been a long program, and I really appreciate it. I would like to acknowledge the work of Shirley Chase, she was instrumental in getting a lot of the elected officials here, and also Jean Hinsley and certainly Terry Gaishin up in Camarillo. Certainly we can't thank everybody, but these people have been really pivotal in putting this all together. And Frances Wagner who's also of CEASE.
Are there questions, or is everybody ready to run out? No. There are questions. They're not making you leave just yet.
One of the other questions I wanted to ask is who is the manufacturer of this Malathion? You haven't mentioned the name of the chemical company.
In the Macillas suit, Johnnie Macillas suit, American Cyanamide was named as the manufacturer. I don't know if it is because it's the only manufacturer from which the State is buying the product it is spraying, but that was the one company name in the suit.
There are several. And the actual formulation that we're being sprayed with is a trade secret. They can change it at will. So we actually do not know. What - Doctor Lappe was talking about the ingredients in addition to the Malathion and the thioates and the diethylfumarate. We absolutely don't know what we're being sprayed.
And because this is being on video, I think it's very important for the people in Los Angeles to know that Camarillo is being sprayed right now. Actually, they extended the amount of spraying. And it's incumbent upon all of us to realize that if we don't do something, that they're going to start spraying all over Southern California.
So take a pro-active approach and let your elected officials know that you want Senator O'Cornnell to hold hearings about this.
Legally, can the State Legislature put a referendum on the ballot about executive power, how they can review it?
They can enact a law if they want. The referendum mechanism is almost never used by the legislature except when they raise taxes. That is when they use it to raise, excuse me, bonds. That is another word for taxes. They have authority. If you can get legislators to vote for that, it becomes an active law; otherwise, more realistically, you're going to have to use the initiative mechanism yourself as a citizen.
Let me also address in terms of legal recourse, I can't urge you enough to read 40 CFR part 166, which deals with the emergency exemption. And when you find that the State has not complied with the majority of the requirements to be issued the emergency exemption, including the Environmental impact Studies, if the emergency exemptions are issued within 18 months of each other, you have to show the Environmental impact Study for the previous sprayings which, of course, has never been done.
So again, under the "Writ of Mandamus", we simply ask EPA did you do your job? We don't have to debate any of the issues. There's two answers they can have: one is yes; the other is no.
And if, in fact, they did not do their job, the Administrator, Director of the EPA answers directly to the President of the United States. And you can ask that they be enforced to do the job or be removed from that position of responsibility in order for somebody else to be put in who will do the job. And that's only about three pages under part 166 that defines very specifically what must accompany the application for the "Emergency Exemption".
The second thing, as I said, under 24-c, "Special Local Need", when the State registers that pesticide, it states that it now is the same as any other federally registered pesticide, including the provisions for revocation and the primary consideration is adverse effects to man and the environment.
That's in the federal law and that is not superseded by empowerment or "The Emergency Exemption". it's very, very clear on those issues. If the State came out and said, "We're exempt," nobody ever bothered to read the law.
Is that Title 24?
It's actually Title 7 US Codes, but in the Code of Federal Regulations, CFR - it's 40 and specifically part 166.
Let me ask a quick question if I may: to your knowledge, is there anything in the data on long term neurological effects that would indicate memory loss?
There were a couple studies published in the occupational literature dealing with crop dusters and pesticide workers and so forth; that one of the confounding variables is they looked at people who have been exposed anywhere from six months to five years, but some of the repetitive findings were impairment in memory loss, impairment in tracking skills, a number of things that would indicate mental CNS and peripheral nervous system impairment.
There's some interesting studies in India that the EPA did, looking at something in excess of 5,000 people. And what they found was the children in the homes of workers dealing with organophosphates brought enough home on their clothes that they found, (by the use of an instrument called the Vibratron, which measures - in a sense, the degradation of the peripheral sensory nerves. And this is used in diabetes and a number of things, a well-documented instrument) that these kids showed impairment of peripheral neuropathies from the exposure only of the pesticide on the parents' clothes.
And I've presented this data over and over and suggested it up in the McFarland, especially that, as we say, pre and post harvest season, would be very interesting to measure the vibratory sensation capability of these people and - during the season and at the end of the season to see how much impairment we have.
When you measure the most subtle effect, we see differences. Testing the kids just on a finger, just see if you can tell if this thing is vibrating - that shows impairment. This is the first sign of organophosphate poisoning. This is what we see. This is not decreases in cholinesterase and all these other ridiculous levels that the State tries to use to show us no effect.
I'm a student at Ventura College; but more importantly, I live in Camarillo. I personally almost died to November from a severe respiratory distress. A week prior, a friend of mine died from respiratory distress. I now have this rash that my Doctor, when I brought it up to him, he had no idea what it was, what the cause was. What my question was: are there any programs that have been established or are in the works of educating doctors about what possible effects to look for, especially those of us who are hypersensitive and allergic?
I'm a professor at the UCLA School of Medicine. I don't teach Epidemiology classes, so l talked to my colleagues about it and asked, whether in the Epidemiology courses, whether in the pathology courses, basic science courses. I looked at the curriculum to see to what extent is there any awareness instilled in physicians, you know, trainees, medical students, about these kinds of issues. And it's virtually nonexistent. They are not out there looking for signs of this type poisoning.
I think it's interesting, too - I confronted Dr. Papanek once more. In 1989 and '90 when he was responsible for informing the physicians about this, his letter stated to the physician to look for some other cause other than Malathion. Even though your exposure and your symptoms occurred during a spraying, look for another cause.
Not only did they not inform the doctors, they tried to get them to absolutely not find any reactions to organophosphates even though the symptoms were well known.
I'm curious because the back of the label of a bottle Malathion implies that this is a very, quick organophosphate and that it seems to have a very short half life and that you may eat vegetables and Quit within a very short time, some cases - I mean, one day they suggest after spraying. And what I've learned here today is that there are other products which seem to have a much longer half life and are very toxic. Am I correct in that conclusion?
I think so. And, in fact, I think it's interesting that, again, the Health Department tells us they spray between 9:00 pm and 6:00 am which means now a kid that goes out to play at 8 or 9 o'clock in the morning, it's three hours for that spray to do whatever it's going to do. Field workers are not allowed reentry into a field that's been sprayed with Malathion for a minimum of 24 hours or until the spray has dried, whichever is longer.
My name is Dr. John Crayton. I am a resident of Corona. I live right at Sixth and Main Street, essentially ground zero for the spraying in Corona. I did the normal things: I covered my cars, both of them, I covered my lawn equipment and covered the pool diving board and all this so it wouldn't be damaged by Malathion. By avocation, I'm a mathematician, and I looked at the weight of this plastic material which had pesticides dropped on it and I looked at these square miles which they were spraying in Corona and the population density and the fact that they sprayed eight times. I calculated about three-quarters of a ton of plastic material-laced pesticide was put into the landfill. I don't know if any of you doctors and professors can answer this, but what happens to this pesticide when the plastic goop degenerates into this liquid mush? Does it leach into the groundwater? Or what happens when they build homes over this landfill in ten years?
What's even a better question to that, most people just don't fold up the tarp and throw it away in the trash. They hose it down, where does that go?
Two points: first, in nature, as far as I know, something doesn't disappear into nothing. It turns into something else. That's what we were taught in school, anyway.
So when Malathion degrades, it turns into something else. It turns into several different products, one of which is malaoxon. And CDFA. documents, some of which are here, show that as the levels of Malathion decrease over a period of three days in the spray areas, the levels of malaoxon increase - it is being replenished by Malathion degrading to malaoxon.
Second point, there is a reason why they spray every two weeks when they spray. Remember, the State's objective is to kill flies. Even at the time they tell you it's so harmless, it wouldn't kill a fly. That may be the only thing that's true about it, at least from what we hear from the entomologists.
But the reason they spray every two weeks is that they're counting on that Malathion to remain effective for two weeks. So it is only when those levels have dropped low enough to not be able to kill any flies that they have to replenish the amount of poison there so that they can effectively then wipe out the fly population.
Remember, they are using Malathion because it is - it is poison that kills biological organisms through the same mechanism that affects us; that dose - that they use to kill - in effect can kill a fly will not kill us. But, the question is how much are we getting exposed to and what effect does that have on our health?
Some of our communities were sprayed over and over again: Compton, Sunnymead, Bellflower, nine and ten times. I am concerned about the eyesight of the children in those communities. Has there been a study on deterioration of their vision? Thank you.
To my knowledge, there's no study conducted, no monitoring of any kind of any adverse health effects on the actual children that reside in the area that's sprayed in California.
When CDFA representatives or the Department of Health Services talk about the couple - I think, to my knowledge, there's only two published studies in public health journals. One of them, for example, refers to studies on birth defects. They never looked at a single child, a single baby. They looked at hospital records in the cities that were sprayed in Northern California in '82, I think it was. And they - they relied on hospital records, whatever the Doctor saw fit to put Into the record.
That's the closest to any kind of study in the affected population. So to my knowledge, nobody has looked at any effects of the eyesight of the children in those areas.
And as I mentioned, where such studies have been performed, which is in Japan they did find "adverse effects." The reason there aren't more studies in other parts of the world is because, you know - other nations aren't as foolish to pursue policies like this.
In Japan, for example, after Dr. Ishikawa's studies were published, the use of the aerial spraying of Malathion was banned in Japan. And it's very ironic that one of the arguments that we've been given for us to have to put up with these policies is our exports to Japan would be affected. Whereas, in Japan itself for over 20 years the aerial spraying of Malathion has been completely banned because they do believe the results of the scientific studies.
So then Japan puts its people over profits and California puts profits over people?
Or whether the government that time in Japan was more enlightened or whether it was the result of public pressure of people like you.
After what I've seen here in this country, I now don't necessarily assume that every government and every nation has a strong bond of trust with the people of the nation. I think that there is certainly a harmful effect of the Medfly Eradication Policy through the use of aerial sprayed pesticides in California. Whether or not we have sustained damage to our health - What is clear is that there is a crisis of confidence in the CDFA and the California Department of Health Services. Whether of not if it wasn't going to be implemented, we sustain damage to our agriculture. What has been revealed is that separation - that gulf between those at the top of CDFA and the people they're supposed to serve and protect.