Dow Chemical Has Been Poisoning Us For Years!

Dow Chemical Has Been Poisoning Us For Years!


So, Sharon, let’s start with the history of
chlorpyrifos. You may have to actually help me pronounce
it. Chlorpyrifos. First off, tell us what it’s history has been
in terms of it’s usage. Why do we have this compound? Yeah. It was first developed actually in a Nazi
lab in the 1930s. That’s when organophosphates, a group of organophosphates
which is the class of chemicals that it’s in, were discovered by a German chemist named
Gerhard Schrader. He was initially looking into actually a pesticide. His initial assignment was to preserve the
food supply for the German people, but in the process of working with these chemicals
he realized that they were very, very toxic to humans and a couple of them were fashioned
into chemical weapons and were actually, Sarin is an organophosphate, and Schrader and others
ended up spending the war years making them or some of them in his lab. These are developed at first as pesticides
and their efficacy in killing human beings was noted at that point? Yep. But their usage as pesticides never ceased? Well, yeah. US scientists began working on them after
the war in the United States and chlorpyrifos was first registered in 1965 for use as a
pesticide, but it didn’t really take off until after that. The reason it ended up taking off was because
DDT fell out of use and was ultimately banned. So DDT you may remember is the pesticide that
Rachel Carson focused on mostly in Silent Spring. Though interestingly she also wrote about
organophosphates like chlorpyrifos. There’s some irony there. What happened was we realized that DDT was
not good for humans and actually for animals and wildlife and that was banned and now we
have chlorpyrifos and we’re going through a somewhat similar process and as Rachel Carson
noted in her book DDT itself was actually replacement for another pesticide that was
dangerous to humans and animals and that was taken off the market. So yes we’re in a bit of a cycle. Chlorpyrifos has now been in use for more
than 50 years. It’s incredibly widely used. Over 50 crops in the US. Over 100 countries around the world. It’s made by Dow. Well, it was first patented by Dow. It’s now off patent and used by a number of
countries, but a lot of it is still produced by Dow. Okay. Dow discovered I guess this particular pesticide. They began to produce it. Tell us some of the history in which involves
Dow and the incredibly long process this cycle takes to determine once a pesticide like this
replaces a lethal pesticide that the replacement is in fact if not as lethal maybe more lethal
than what it replaced. Give us a sense of that history. As I said, it came on to the market in ’65. It began to really take off and be used in
the 80s and 90s. It eventually had more than 10 million pounds
used each year. In the 90s, to talk about sort of the long
process, as it’s use took off so did poisoning incidents, the number of times that people
would be exposed to too much of it and find themselves very sick. Sometimes they’d die. Sometimes they’d have a seizures and have
sort of these immediate illnesses. Sometimes, as one of the kids I wrote about
in the piece that took place in the 90s was over a child who was exposed and became paralyzed
really soon thereafter and ultimately died. In the really extreme poisoning cases you
could get very sick. The EPA noticed and was tracking these poisoning
cases in the 80s and 90s and in the year 2000 would up coming to the decision that it would
ban it’s use, most uses, of this pesticide in the home. Let me just say that at the time it was used
in Raid and other products to kill roaches, termites, really widely used in homes. Sharon, let me stop you in the year 2000. Yep. And go back a little bit to that case of Joshua
Herb. He was born in 1990. You write that he was healthy. He was exposed to this compound by a I guess
somebody came in to spray pesticides in the house. Yes. The suit that they brought against Dow, what
was discovered in that suit? So many times we see this story. You and I have spoken on multiple occasions
about other compounds that have been developed by different, Dow or DuPont, where there’s
an awareness of the danger of these things. Yep. The EPA has reports of these things, but the
process to go through this cycle of finding out over the course of 50 years that we have
been in some measure or another poisoning ourselves. But that this information’s been out there
is I think shocking to people. Just what was revealed in that case? In Joshua Herb’s case, and he had this sort
of immediate reaction from which he really never recovered, he had this paralysis. In the process the lawyers really came up
and discovered a bunch of things. One was that the attorney, whose name was
Stuart Calwell, wound up asking Dow for the reports of adverse effects of their chemical
and which was supposed to be filed with the EPA and Dow’s attorney said okay well go get
them with the EPA and Calwell said actually no I want them from you. His intention he told me when we spoke on
the phone was that he wanted to see if there was a difference between what the EPA had
and what they had. A judge backed him, the judge in the case. Dow was forced to turn over, I can’t remember
the exact number, but definitely more than a hundred reports that they hadn’t wanted
to share and they wound up getting fined for it. Whatever the fine was, you know, more than
$100,000 I think, is nothing to them really. That was part of what came out in that suit. Also, Dow had argued that it was impossible
that he was poisoned. Of course, they thought it was unrelated and
is an injury. Part of what the case showed was that these
pesticides in fact can be incredibly toxic particularly to young children and actually
particularly to a subset of kids because out of everyone there is some of us who are genetically
more vulnerable than others.

13 thoughts on “Dow Chemical Has Been Poisoning Us For Years!”

  1. Oh so this is wtf is wrong with america decades of different types of poisonings. between the unsafe drinking water drugs and violence america is becoming what people thought of mexico

  2. Look people, don't want to get sick from this shit, go strict veg and clean your plant foods really well. even without these insecticides/pesticides – a lot of carcinogens (via particulates) land on the food animals (the animals YOU eat) consume and bioaccumulate in the flesh. it's been common knowledge for about as long as I've been strict veg (20+ years ago).
    It was even well reported on the EPA website pre-Bush but the politicians that have many shares in the agriculture businesses don't want people to know. it's not unique to republicans either. democrats have been just as bad on this front.

  3. There's a ton of American food that's illegal in the EU because the chemicals used have been proved to be harmful, eg American beef is illegal because some of the steroids used have been linked to miscarriages, but the US doesn't seem to care because you get more beef per cow and it only affects a couple dozen thousand people a year.

  4. You may think your children are eating a healthy diet eating a lot of fruits and vegetables but what they are eating is Durspan a deadly pesticide made by Dow.

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