Holly’s Comments: As I blog this I hear the sounds of my children’s hacking coughs upstairs. I have been coughing so much at times i was scared i might not be able to catch another breath. We have all been very weak for a couple of days. What’s more this happened to me just before Christmas too. The point is that I have always been extremely healthy. And most of the time I and my children still are. We go from strength to strength. AND since ‘going raw’ several years ago I used to be able to report that we NEVER GOT ILL. My young children just have not been prey to the usual childhoood illness, coughs, colds and sneezes. It is not normal for them to be lying in bed too weak to play. I think if this wasn’t the case i would just put it down to the usual run of flu, colds etc that people tend to. I am of course wondering what is going on. Of course i am wondering if this is caused by pathogens in the aerial spraying that we seem to get almost constantly here around Totnes (Devon, UK).
Monday, December 31, 2007 by: Rami Nagel
Now, nine months later, this dream has come true. In an emergency, I relinquished my rental contract and moved my pregnant partner and three and a half year old daughter out of Santa Cruz, CA, to avoid being exposed to potentially deadly chemicals.
The chemicals, known by their trade names as Checkmate OLR-F and Checkmate LBAM-F, have been sprayed via state owned airplanes in September and October in Monterey County California. These same aerial chemicals, despite their known health risks, were sprayed on two nights (11-8, 11-9) over the people of Santa Cruz County. The purpose of this spray is to control the mating habits of the light brown apple moth (LBAM). The reason the moth needs to be controlled is due to the possibility of 100 million dollars of damage (Realize that this figure is not a fact, but based on a government guess).
Government’s Pesticide Experiment Program
The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s own doctor acknowledges, in court documents, that aerial application of this chemical has not been tested. Let me repeat this so you understand, chemicals are being sprayed on young children, nursing mother’s, people with asthma, lung problems, heart problems, the elderly, the disabled, the homeless and the chemically sensitive - and this chemical formulation has NEVER been tested on even a piece of dirt, let alone, humans. The newly designed Faroes Statement, the consensus of over 200 scientists, calls for a precautionary approach with respect to exposure of fetuses and children to environmental toxins. The consensus is that exposure of fetuses or children to chemicals can cause increased susceptibility to disease and disability later in life. In addition, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has specific directives and codes that state that they should not experiment with pesticides on pregnant women, or infants. It is a fact, since this aerial pesticide has not been proven to control the moth’s mating habits and has not been proven safe to animals or humans, that this is an experiment.
In Monterey, approximately 100,000 residents were exposed to untested chemicals to control the mating habits of less than 750 moths. In Santa Cruz County, over 100,000 residents will be exposed between 11/06/07 – 11/09/07 to untested chemicals to control the mating habits of less than 9,000 moths. This is not a one time application, but will continue monthly beginning again in February, for nine months, and then repeated for up to a total of three years. Again, this program designed to eradicate the moth at best will only control the moth’s mating habits; it will not eliminate the moth. At worst, the program will be ineffective, cost tax payers millions of dollars, and cause permanent disability to residents and their pets. All this harm is over a little moth that has yet to cause even $1 of damage in California.
Did you know that each aerial application of Checkmate OLR-F and Checkmate LBAM-F costs approximately $3.5 million and that $3 million is paid directly to the manufacturer Suterra, LLC of Bend, Oregon?
The projected expense of this eradication “attempt” will cost tax payers over $70 million dollars just to spray Monterey and Santa Cruz counties the proposed 9 times. These monthly sprays are already scheduled for next year to begin in March. The California Department of Food and Agriculture has created a map which shows the spray area to grow and encompass various portions of the entire San Francisco Bay Area, click on the Central Coast ( www.cdfa.ca.gov/phpps/PDEP/lbam/maps.html ) . The United States EPA has authorized an emergency permit which could allow the CDFA to aerially spray the state of California until the year 2010. This Light Brown Apple Moth Eradication could cost California tax payers more than $500 million dollars when all is said and done, which is five times the projected amount of losses to the agricultural industry if the moth were to infest the state. Ridiculous and frivolous spending on untested, unproven and toxic methods of “attempted” pest eradication are unacceptable actions taken by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and the California Department of Food and Agriculture. This is not a state plan, but is a plan that is sponsored, endorsed, and largely funded by the EPA and the USDA.
Documented and Undocumented Pesticide Damage to Humans
While the moth may cause an estimated $100 million of crop damage, one cannot put a price tag on the damage that Checkmate’s chemicals cause to humans. In Monterey County, the first county in California to be sprayed with Checkmate OLR-F and Checkmate LBAM-F, documented affidavits show that citizens got sick, ill or suffered life threatening reactions to the toxic spray. One infant in the City of Monterey nearly died from inhalation of the experimental biochemical, and now has permanent lung damage. Dozens of women in cities throughout the Monterey Peninsula are reporting problems with their reproductive systems after exposure to the pesticide, including: sudden, severe and irregular menstrual cycles, extreme cases of tender and swollen breasts, and the recurrence of menopause symptoms in older women. Other side effects of both Checkmate OLR-F and Checkmate LBAM-F include: asthma and sudden breathing difficulties, chest pain, vomiting, lethargy, fatigue, and extreme mood swings. Some people have coughed up blood and have gotten bloody noses from Checkmate exposure.
If you are familiar with chemical exposure, then there is something to note which is of great alarm. If you have ever smelled paint, bleach, or something toxic like that, it takes a significant and potent amount of the chemical to make one sick. It is not typical that such small and minute amounts of chemicals can cause such severe damage as described above. The explanation for the severe side effects, is that the chemicals are in miniature balls of volatile plastic called microcapsules; thus chemicals can be introduced deeply into the body through swallowing or inhalation of the micro-sized particles. It is as if this “agricultural” product acted more like a drug on humans, than as a pesticide on moths.
Thousands of residents, including myself, have undocumented pesticide damage. I lived forty miles from the October-Monterey spray zone, and on the last day of aerial spraying, my entire family became ill. My daughter vomited. I had severe intestinal distress and could not eat for several days. I felt nervous and anxious, as if I had the caffeine equivalent of 10 cups of coffee. And for the first time in my life, I had yellow/red colored urine (I am now mostly recovered). I did not link these symptoms to pesticide exposure until days later upon talking and hearing about dozens of other Santa Cruz residents who were experiencing the same or similar symptoms, on or near the same day. Their symptoms included severe vomiting and yellow/red colored urine. Recently I learned that this exposure may not have been from pesticide drift, but a rogue plane releasing chemicals where it was not supposed to. Witnesses have recently linked the red color to the Checkmate formulations, seeing small red droplets where the Checkmate has contacted metallic objects.
The questions I ask myself are: What type of chemical, in such small doses, causes such profound harm? Why does a chemical claimed to be harmless to humans by the EPA, the CDFA and Governor Schwarzenegger have a significant and severe effect on the female reproductive system?
Microcapsules = Microwarfare
The aerial application of Checkmate OLR-F and Checkmate LBAM-F is designed out of the concept of miniature plastic sphere-like particles, generally the same size as the width of a human hair. They are called microcapsules. Each capsule is a biologically “loaded gun” due to its own chemical make-up and that of the pheromones held inside. Research indicates that the capsules are likely made out of a urea-formaldehyde polymer, the industry standard. This is an extremely volatile plastic which, under UV rays, degrades over a time period estimated to be anywhere from 30-70 days. These “agricultural” microcapsules have never been tested safe for humans. Thus, the life of these microcapsules inside our bodies is truly unknown as are the health risks of inhaling or swallowing them. Preliminary research on the microcapsules have revealed that they are made of a new technology, and that the large capsules are made up of a cluster of smaller 3-4 micron size capsules - a size of capsule that can be deadly to humans over the long term.
Many of the chemicals used to make the Checkmate OLR-F and Checkmate LBAM-F products have been deemed harmful for human consumption, like butelated hydroxyl tolune (BHT). For example: on the label for BHT it says (in big letters) “Do not inhale this product. Dangerous to respiratory health.” The symptoms documented by Monterey County residents can be directly correlated to the warning labels of BHT, and several other chemicals. BHT, is also known as DBPC, a dangerous pesticide known to cause sterility in men. Recently, Dole Food Company lost a lawsuit in which Nicaraguan Banana farmers were exposed to DBPC. In pending lawsuits, thousands of South American Farmers are claiming that they were harmed by exposure to DBPC.
Within these microcapsules is an endocrine disrupter which attaches itself to estrogen receptors and forces the activation and constant production of estrogen to occur in the human body. This happens for men, women and children. This chemical is called 2 hydroxy 4n octyloxybenzophenone. The warnings surrounding the exposure to this toxic chemical can be directly correlated to the documented symptoms of women living within the spray zone in Monterey County. These are health concerns which CANNOT be overlooked or swept under the carpet. The entire state of California and its residents are at risk for severe short term reactions to this aerial spraying. The projected long term effects of exposure to Checkmate OLR-F and Checkmate LBAM-F are unknown, undocumented and until now - not even a thought in the minds of those who are authorizing the spraying, and manufacturing the chemical.
In addition to the horrible documented health effects of coming into contact with Checkmate OLR-F and Checkmate LBAM-F, there is a great chance that it will not even prove to be an effective investment. The EPA’s own documents state that such a microcapsule cannot successfully release pheromone, and that “The studies show that only a small proportion of the microcapsules actually release any pheromone or only a portion of the total pheromone loaded into the capsule is capable of ever being released.” Science and competent intelligence does not seem to be the methodology of this spray program; in light of such statements made, the technology cannot work.
The EPA masks their “emergency approval” of Checkmate OLR-F and Checkmate LBAM-F behind the assertion that the pheromones in the products are safe. They then make the scientific leap and pronounce the entire pesticide is safe to be sprayed on residential neighborhoods, schools and water ways. This arrogant assertion by the CDFA and the EPA comes, again, without ANY LEGITIMATE TESTING. Under the “emergency exemption” (also known as Section 18), regulations allow the EPA to disregard the important 3% of “inert” ingredients. The “emergency exemption” allows this disregard even though many of those ingredients are not even inert, and are actually part of the “active” ingredients. The EPA then reaches the conclusion, “EPA believes use of these pheromone products, including aerial application over residential areas, presents negligible risks to human health and the environment.” This is another case of ridiculous, frivolous and blatant disregard for human health by Governor Schwarzenegger, the CDFA and the EPA.
In addition to the aerial application which focuses on the agriculture industry, microcapsules are used in medical and military technology. In medical technology, microcapsules are used to time-release drugs into the body. The medical capsules are made out of a bio-compatible material that the body can easily absorb. In military technology, they can be used for chemical shields, or for experimental “non-lethal” weapons (That means the weapon does not cause immediate death). These thoughts do not leave one with a pleasant taste about how these microcapsules are being used in our neighborhoods and communities.
The over 30 billion microcapsules sprayed over Monterey County last month are not bio-compatible; and yet children are playing in them, dogs are rolling around in them, and people are inhaling them. And the state continues to spray more communities as I write this.
Like pollen, the miniature capsules can float in the air and they can stick to surfaces people touch. Imagine hundreds of synthetic microscopic plastic balls floating in the environment and then entering your nose, mouth, eyes and ears. Is this safe? What happens when those minuscule plastic balls are inhaled? We know what happens. They get lodged in your lungs, you cough profusely to expel them, and you go into respiratory distress. Some Monterey County residents report asthma attacks increasing, others report coughing so hard and for such long durations that they cough up blood. One healthy adult male in the sprayed Salinas area, who jogs five miles daily, now has developed asthma since the last two aerial sprays. For the first time in his life, he must use an inhaler to help him breathe. The local doctor he sees is out of inhaler samples, he’s given them all away.
These and other serious side effects associated with the aerial application of Checkmate OLR-F and Checkmate LBAM-F are being captured by citizen groups daily. Local doctors are refusing to document that their patients’ symptoms have any relation to the aerial spraying. One doctor even told his patient (who was very ill from the spraying) that he would have to consult with this lawyer before discussing the matter further. An attorney representing the CDFA declared to a judge in Monterey County superior court during a hearing where a local environmental organization was suing the CDFA to stop the aerial spraying, that the CDFA has no intention on monitoring or following up on any of the health concerns or complaints that have been or will be filed in association with this aerial application. This is another blatant disregard for the health and well being of citizens. The CDFA can pay $3.5 million dollars to spray the residents of Monterey County, but cannot and will not spend a penny to assure citizens and residents that their health is of consequence to this program. This is repulsive! This is a crime!
Cities Are the Targets!
If you examine the CDFA reports ( www.cdfa.ca.gov/phpps/PDEP/lbam/maps.html ) you will see the cause for grave alarm. The LBAM aerial spraying program does not target agricultural fields with this agricultural technology, but rather targets mostly residential and urban areas that are great distances from crops and fields.
It does not take a rocket scientist to connect the dots:
1) A biochemical never tested before is being sprayed on cities and not agriculture.
2) The chemical has never been tested on moths, animals, or humans for safety or efficacy.
3) An emergency exemption is used for a moth which is not dangerous to humans; nor does it cause significant crop damage, especially in California’s warm climate regions.
4) Minute doses of the chemical causes reproductive effects on women, and likely men.
5) Some of the chemical ingredients have no material safety data sheets regarding human exposure, and samples of the pesticide have never been independently scrutinized except by the EPA.
6) The majority of the funding of this project comes from the USDA and Commodity Credit Corporation funds, these funds are managed by George W. Bush appointees.
7) Plans are being put in place to continue aerial spraying over other populated portions of California, including San Mateo, San Francisco, Oakland, and many regions in Southern California. The moth has a peculiar habit of living in cities.
8) The spray plan does not include all the moth finds, but rather mostly moth finds in cities. For a spray plan to work to control these insects, a buffer zone should be created around all the moths; such that none escape the spray, but this is not what is being done.
9) People who have been sprayed feel significantly impacted, physically and emotionally.
10) People who understand the situation respond to it, as if they are being attacked.
11) Preliminary research shows the microcapsule particles to be of a dangerous size.
12) Microcapsules are used to deliver drugs deep into the human body.
For me, I felt like the airplanes spraying chemicals were attacking my very right to exist and be here. What do you conclude?
Is the Government Negligent, Or Sinister?
The urgent question that I must bring your attention to, is this: Is the government just the biggest, dumbest entity on the planet; where they haphazardly declare an emergency, which this is not one, and then over eagerly dose whole cities with untested chemicals?
Is what we are experiencing part of a sinister plan to poison (or worse) a large populace, who more and more, is choosing an alternative and chemical free lifestyle? It is unclear how much the government is aware of this plan, but it is clear that the government goes out of their way to deny and hide all serious reported health claims.
These may be scary questions to consider or you may find them amusing and absurd. But if you lived in the spray zone and experienced what we have, you might be asking yourself the same questions too.
It is likely that both of these statements are true, that the government is acting in a negligent, and sinister way.
A Time for Mourning
Even if we do not know for sure the intention of the aerial spray, we must begin to acknowledge the great human tragedy that is now playing out before us.
Over 200,000 fellow residents of California, USA, are being exposed, needlessly, to biologically active time-release chemicals. Pregnant women, infants, and the sick will be the most effected, because we know that even the most minute dose of the chemical can find its way into fetuses and affect them, and can find its way into human breast milk. These residents are being exposed to chemicals against their will. Some of them have had to rush to the emergency room for treatment. Others, like myself, have literally fled to protect their lives. Many businesses are and will be devastated as owners decide to move out if their business is affected. Many children’s hopes will be dashed when their parents decide to leave the area and the only homes they’ve ever known, and many sick and elderly people will be torn from their own homes to avoid becoming gravely ill.
There is a war happening right here, on our own soil; as citizens try desperately to assert their right to survive, to exist, and to do so without this obscene government intrusion.
Today is a day to mourn. A day to mourn the ignorance and the violence perpetuated on our own soil. Today is a day to acknowledge the profound and sad fact that our government seems hell bent on turning this world into a war zone. Today is a day to mourn for the children whose growing bodies are being affected by this spray and for the countless people who were not even informed about what the spray means or when it will take place. Today is a day to mourn the liars in the government, who use our tax money to test chemicals on the public and then use our money, again, to pay lawyers to defend their negligent actions in court case after court case.
Today is not a good day, but a day when we are being called upon to surrender our greater reality that includes all of our feelings and experiences, good ones and bad ones. We must look now on what we have become as a nation, and what we have allowed to happen.
I sincerely believe that only through looking at the outer and inner experience and through accepting our own feelings, can we find a way to both make peace within and to take effectual action in the world to stop this violence once and for all.
The Earth is in mourning. She wants to protect her children from harm so badly.
Recent Checkmate Aerial Spray Research Confirms Its Harm
A recently released study about Checkmate LBAM-F by the Aquatic Toxicology Laboratory at
Microcapsules circa the 10 micron size range fall under the category of “particle pollution” according to the American Lung Association (ALA). On the ALA’s website they state, “”Particle pollution, called particulate matter or PM, is a combination of fine solids and aerosols that are suspended in the air we breathe… The ones of most concern are small enough to lodge deep in the lungs where they can do serious damage. They are measured in microns. The largest of concern are 10 microns in diameter.”
Particle pollution has well documented short and long term health effects, including: death from respiratory and cardiovascular causes, including strokes; inflammation of lung tissue in young, healthy adults; increased severity of asthma attacks in children; slowed lung function growth in children and teenagers; significant damage to the small airways of the lungs; and increased risk of dying from lung cancer. Children under 18 and adults over the age of 65 will be the ones most harmed by this chemical assault.
A Call to Action
Aerial application of chemicals, whether supposed safe or not, violates the very roots of our democracy and the free will of the people of the United States of America. What choices will residents of this democracy have left if they choose to not be sprayed with potentially deadly chemicals and are then denied that right? If you continue to stand by and let this happen, do you think your city and your county will be immune from the next senseless government incursion? Now there are court cases and legal presidents being set, which our government can use, to justify further hostile actions against its own people.
You cannot continue to sit around and think that you will not be affected by the actions that our government is taking today. You must act because the people here need your help. Every action you take has the potential to help. Your friends and family need you. Your country needs you. This world needs everyone of you to stand up and say loudly and clearly that you have had enough and you will not take this governmental bullying anymore!