Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California on June 3, 1979 · Page 6
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Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California · Page 6

Ukiah, California
Issue Date:
Sunday, June 3, 1979
Page 6
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2 -4Jklah Dally Journal, Ukiah, Calif. Sunday, June 3, 1979 (CMUpMiffMBPif9l) All herbicides derived from *,4> IMchlaropbeno - induing and aivex (but not 1,4-D) contain • chemical contaminant farmed In the manufacturing process known as a ^J^etrachtorodlbenaoiHitoadn (TCDD). TCDQ has been cited as the most lethal substance known to man. It appears is an unavoidable contaminant in commercial supplies of 2 ,4 ,5-T and Silvex. A group of scientists in a report for the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) have stated that present 2 ,4 ,5-T and Silves formulations are not strong enough to endanger human health or to affect plants or animals in the environment. Opponents, however, refute these claims. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 8PRING BAN The Environmental Protection Agency this spring issued an emergency suspension of 2 ,4 ,5-T and Silvex for some uses, Including on forests, because of studies linking the herbicide's use with human incidences of illness, miscarriages and birth defects. 2,4 -D is not included in the ban. Chemical companies challenged that ban in the courts and lost. In its research the EPA found that the herbicide 2 ,4 ,5-T and its dioxin contaminant have killed fetuses or caused birth defects, such as cleft palate, among laboratory mice, rats, hamsters and birds In tests by the National Institutes of Health and other researchers. Additionally, 2,4,5 -T and dioxin have caused leukemia or lung, liver or other tumors among mice and rats in studies conducted by the National Institute of Health, Dow Chemical and others. Moreover, EPA calculations show that an "ample margin of safety may not exist" for persons applying the pesticide or people exposed to aircraft spraying it. 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D attracted national attention after they were used in Vietnam to defoliate forests. Reports of human illness, miscarriages, birth defects and increased incidences of liver and kidney damage followed their use. ) The Department of Defense dropped the use of these chemicals following a public outcry in 1970. The CAST report argues, however, that the yearly application rates in Vietnam were often "30-fold greater than commercial usage and that the concentration of the controversial dtoxln contaminant in 2,4,5 -T was 1001,000 -fold greater than it is in currently manufactured materials." The report adds that dioxin application rates were "3,000 to 30,000 times greater per acre than for current applications." CHKONUUOGY OF EVENTS IN MENDOCINO COUNTY LEADING TO INITIATIVE In Mendocino County, the controversy over the use of the phenoxy herbicides began in August, 1973. At that time, 461 people signed a petition asking for an end to roadside herbicide spraying by the county public works department. The then county Health Officer Holtzer issued a news release warning roadside vegetation should not be eaten because sprays could not be washed off and because vehicle exhaust contamination was dangerous. The protest culminated in a July 3. 1974 opinion by former Attorney General Eveile Younger that Mendocino County had to prepare an environmental impact report before using phenoxies on roadsides. In October 1974, 36 Branscomb residents signed a petition asking for an investigation of the spraying there which, they claimed, caused them to suffer flu symptoms.^ The Environmental Protection Center in Fort Bragg, in March, 1975, petitioned the California Department of Food and Agriculture to ban phenoxy herbicides and the aerial application of all pesticides. Over 1,850 people signed the petition. In April, 1977 a state team found evidence of 2,4.5-T and 2,4 -D on vegetation one-half mile to three miles from a Masonite aerial spraying site after Greenwood Ridge residents near Navarro complained of unusual flu-like symptoms following the spraying. A state-appointed Phenoxy Herbicide Investigative team in July, 1977 concluded in a majority report that "no human Illnesses, animal deaths or deformities, plant damage, or environmental damage, could be attributed to or associated with spraying of phenoxy herbicides." However, a minority report concluded that dosages of pbenoxys may be cumulative (stored in the fatty tissues) and that "it may be wise not to conduct many repeated spray applications over large areas at short intervals." It further stated that aerial application of phenoxies threatens public health because it is "impossible to confine herbicides to the target area during aerial application on rugged terrain, and because contamination of air and water is unavoidable because drift ts inevitable " Hit two public members of the 10- wrote the minority In March, 1971 county Agricultural Commissioner Tad Erikaen announced that be would not Issue permits for aerial spraying of pbenoxys lor the* 1978 season because the long term effects of the herbicides were unknown. The timber companies appealed this decision and won the right to spray after the county counsel and timber company representatives settled out of court. During August, 1978 eight county doctors published a notice of intent to circulate initiative petitions to ban all aerial application of phenoxy herbicides and any substance containing dioxin. Among those were Dr. Mark Apfel, chief of staff at Mendocino Community Hospital. By February, 1979, some 7,189 signatures, 5,100 of which were verified, were presented to the county elections clerk for an ordinance to ban aerial spraying of phenoxy herbicides. On March 6, county supervisors held a special public hearing on the proposed herbicide initiative and decided to put it to a vote of the people rather than enact an ordinance implementing the ban. Supervisors had stated their decision partially was based on an attorney 'general 's opinion that the county could not supersede the state in attempts to regulate phenoxy herbicides. MULTI -TECH FINDS SLIGHT TRACES OF HERBICIDES In an attempt to learn bow pervasive traces of 2,4,5-T, 2,4-D and Silvex are in the county, The Journal contacted Bob Harris of Multi -Tech laboratories in Ukiah. Multi-Tech monitors for traces of pesticides following spray operations by timber companies. The company also does bacteria, chemical and pesticide testing for the public health department. According to Harris, "Hundreds of parts per million (ppm). like about 05 ppm, have been found over all of the county. 2,4,5-T, 2,4,-D and Silvex traces have shown up in county ground water but never in a public water system, said Harris. Harris said these fractional traces do not warrent concern. In December, 1978, the California North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board ruled that there should be zero discharge of 2.4.5-T into watersheds. Before delving into the pro and con arguments of the initiative question. The Journal interviewed county public health officer, Craig McMillan, on the public health aspect of the herbtddes, and county agriculture commission Ted Eriksen to determine how these materials are regulated. HEALTH DIRECTOR NOT OPPOSED TO AERIAL BAN McMillan stated that be does not feel "there is any immediate scientific proof of the' effects of herbicides on people as they are currently used "Basically, I feel if and when the dangers of herbicides comes, it will take forever to ban them and the issue will end up in court," said McMillan However, McMillan said he is not opposed to the ordinance which deals with aerial application because it has been demonstrated it "is almost impossible to control drift to adjacent property " McMillan added that he thinks the question of aerial spraying deals with a property right. The county's public health officer was a member of the state's Phenoxy Herbicide Investigation Team He said that he sent some of his staff out to Greenwood Ridge to investigate the complaints of flu-like symptoms residents associated with the spraying, but that "the department did not find anything " "We were trying to find some legitimate evidence of human contamination, but could not get the cooperation of the residents," said McMillan. He confirmed that dioxin does accumulate in the body but added there is no evidence yet to say whether it can be transmitted to one's offsprings. PESTICIDE USE RESTRICTIONS Persons wanting to purchase more than one pint of 2,4,5-T, 2,4-D and Silvex must first obtain a permit from the county agriculture department, Eriksen explained. The applicant must state what material be wishes to buy, where it is to be used, including the township, range and base and meridian, how it is to be applied, and for what purpose. That permit then is presented to the pesticide supplier who must keep a record of it in his books. Seven days after the pesticide has been applied, the applicant must file a pesticide use report with the county agriculture department. Ironically, however, Jerry Fetzer, owner of the farm supply, notes that people can go to some large chain stares or nurseries and buy more than one pint without a permit." 2,4.5-T and Silvex pesticides have been yanked from the store shelves as a result of the EPA ban, however, there are several types of weed and brush killers containing 2,4-D available to the consumer. The amateur can spray bis lawn, poison oak or blackberry bushes without worrying about government regulations He is merely advised to, follow directions on the label. STANDING FIRM — Ukiah firemen get a firm grip on the hose during the Firemen's Muster competition Saturday hosted by the local department. The second day of competition starts this morning at 10 on S. School Street. RIDING HIGH You can't afford nosebleeds when you're riding high on. an old bicycle, as this young lady, a member of The Wheelmen, was doing in Saturday's parade Warnings on a recently EPA suspended AMCHK.M 2.4.5-TF weed and woody plant herbicide caution the user "DO NOT graze dairy animals on treated areas within six weeks after application DO NOT slaughter meat animals grazing on treated areas within two weeks after, application Avoid spray drift to susceptible plants as this product may injure cotton, beans, tomatoes, tobacco, ornamentals Do not use same spray equipment for other purposes Under very high temperatures of use, vapors from this product may injure susceptible plants in the immediate vicinity This product is TOXIC to fish KEEP OUT of lakes, streams or ponds DO NOT apply when weather conditions favor drift from treated areas. Dispose of liquid wastes in a pit in non-crop lands away from water supplies and not accessible to livestock DO NOT reuse empty containers DESTROY in a safe place. DO NOT BURN. PRO AND CON Supporters of the herbicide spray initiative have pinned most of their arguments in favor of the ban on the possible health hazards to human, animal and fish life Moreover, they have raised the issue of private property rights Core, movement leaders, such as Caspar resident Betty Lou Whaley, cite concerns that the herbicides cause cancer as a main argument for a ban A 32 year old medical technologist from Fort Bragg, who said she was diagnosed as having cancer, said she has been trying to fight the disease by strengthening her immune system She said she fears the pesticide contamination would only hamper her efforts Kathy Bailey, a Greenwood Ridge resident who claims she, her son and her neighbors were poisoned by Masonile's spraying of 2,4,5-T in 1977, claims "It's the women of this county who want this law It's the people who care about the safety of their families who will vote yes on Proposition A." Local Attorney Barry Vogel, a legal representative of the Citizens Against the Aerial Application of Phenoxy Herbicides, has stated that the issue is health, safety and property rights —not economics. He has said that one concern is that airplanes loaded with herbicides can crash to the ground, spewing their contents every which way Medical doctors, such as Dr Mark Apfel, have stated fears that not enough' is known about long term effects of herbicides. They look with guarded alarm on reports of high rates of miscarriages and birth defects, such as was reported in Alsea, Oregon and which led to the EPA ban, following spray operations Opponents of the measure, such as the county farm bureau and a hastily organized group called (he No on Proposition A Committee, have attacked the working of the ordinance as being 'lawyer's language' and loo > v 5«5 , a** : , a** '-V •' • .c Journal photos by Dale Kalkm DOIBI.K IMAGKS Balloons gripped tightly in little hands or tied to wrist project their shadows on the pavement as youngsters line the streets during the parade loosely written Marsha Johnson, who took time off from her job with the Cattlemen's Association in Sacramento to campaign against the measure, said that the term "aerial" is unclear She has stated it could be applied to more than just spraying from airplanes Phil Peterson, a Lousiana-Pacific representative, has said that the proposed ordinance could touch off a whole new chain of regulations — something he contends the industry already has enough ot. Peterson contends the enacment of the ordinance would diminish further the chance of this county maintaining its agricultural economic base. Sterling Norgard, a rancher and "No On A" member, has argued that there are far more chances of people being poisoned by products in their medicine chests or household cleansers. "The amount of dioxin spread over 5,000 acres is equivalent only to one ounce," argued Norgard Ken Stroh, a Potter Valley rancher, who has used the herbicide, said he is opposed to the ban because he does not have many other alternatives. Georgia-Pacific's chief forester in Fort Bragg, Jere L. Melo, predicts that without the ability to control brush, timber production will fall quickly by about 30 percent per year "That 1Q percent-plus reduction translates to about 380 direct employment jobs and about $4 6 million in direct payrolls,'' he forecast. "I estimate that the loss of county revenue due to lost wood production will be in the neighborhood of $300,000 to $500,000 per year from GP alone, he added. LP has not sprayed so far. Masonite; however, also predicts economic doom, if the initiative passes in terms of lost revenue and production Ukiah man charged with mayhem A Ukiah man bit off the fingertip of a friend ip the course of a fight in the parking lot of Denny's Friday night, Ukiah police said Angel G Fuentes, 30, of Redemeycr (toad was arrested and charged with felony mayhem after he bit off about half-inch of Delgado Flores Darto \ right ring finger, according to police Darlo, 39, of Ukiah, was taken to Ukiah General Hospital, where he wa* treated and released • According to police, the two men, who' were acquainted, began arguing in the! Denny's parking lot shortly after ll p m Friday The argument repor-; tedly led to the fight in which Fuentes; allegedly bit Dario Fuentes was reported in city jail Saturday on $3,000 ball

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