Letters to the Editor

Fears based on misinformation

To the Editor,

Re: Chemicals do much more than kill weeds, Letters, May 28.

There is little doubt chemophobia is rampant in today’s society. That does not mean the fears are justified.

The letter by Christel Martin is an excellent example of fear run amok. She starts her letter claiming all matters of ills from glyphosate (Roundup is a trade name).

I suspect the writer has never looked up the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency classification of glyphosate. It is level four, the lowest level of toxicity the EPA has for chemicals.

The story of blinding is pure fantasy, likely from some website that does not like Monsanto. This particular agricultural compound has decades of research and safe use. It has replaced the use of far more toxic compounds. It does not persist in the soil and its breakdown products are non-toxic.

The next target is DDT (referred to as a neurotoxin). It is sad that any person would criticize the safe use of DDT to reduce the terrible impact of malaria in many parts of the developing world.

The spraying of mosquito nets and the inside of huts in malaria endemic areas of the world is saving tens of millions of lives. Reading fantasy scare stories designed to block this safe, effective anti-malaria procedure is offensive.

Then Martin leaves all science behind with her attack on genetically modified food.

There never was a fish gene put into a commercial tomato. This particular anti-GM fear story never goes away, even though it was completely debunked over a decade ago.

Further, genetically modified organisms have as much to do with Creutzfeldt-Jacobs Disease as bubblegum-flavoured ice cream and pogo sticks do.

GMO’s are the most highly regulated foods on the planet and after three trillion meals there is not a single documented case of harm from consuming them. Every single food safety authority in the world agrees with this fact.

Finally, it is a favourite tactic of the ‘anti crowd’ to suggest all manners of incompetence in any government department that regulates. However, almost without exception, there is little science to back up the criticisms.

People have often forgotten what life was like in decades gone by. One hundred years ago, disease took many of the young and 50 was considered old. Infant mortality is a fraction of what it once was and today’s average life expectancy is 80 years old.

Clearly things have dramatically improved. Government regulators have been instrumental in balancing the risk/benefits of modern science. People live longer, healthier lives thanks in part to better food, health care and disease prevention. Chemicals are central to all these improvements.

Low impact pesticides and GM foods are proven safe effective products of modern science.

Robert Wager

Vancouver Island University

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