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Old 01-03-2002, 08:54 AM
tremor tremor is offline
LawnSite Bronze Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Stratford, CT
Posts: 1,476
Carcinogenic Fungicides

Hey John,

Coffee, Soda/Pop, Cleaning fluids, you name it. In high doses, every element on earth can be made toxic. Sunshine causes cancer. Those 11 members will probably get skin cancer from exposure to the sun long before you can spray them down enough to affect them. Even Oxygen in pure form will kill us.

I think it was in September that a thread was going on titled " Does anyone run an organic lawn care business?" You can use the "SEARCH" button in the upper right corner to find the thread.

It rattled some cages and the posts started to make increasingly radical claims regarding environmental toxicity caused by synthetics in our industry. I about lost it, and researched the matter as thoroughly as I could. This is the only credible reference I could find with respect to the carcinogenic effects of any of the CURRENTLY REGISTERED FUNGICIDES that you can use.

www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/ANSWERS/ANS00113.html

It's not new news that Mancozeb can be converted to a carcinogen when heated (so don't cook unwashed vegetables!), but it is rather benign when used on ornamentals since we don't cook or consume them.

Nor is it news that some of the older (now not in use) fungicides contained active ingredients that were pretty rough. Mercury is known to cause significant brain damage, yet it was once commonly used on cultivated turf. But we don't use these products any more. Can't, they're all banned.

Don't get me wrong. There are thousands of liberal websites out there that have unsubstantiated claims referencing all sorts of self proclaimed experts. They blame pesticides (or some other man made compunds) whenever a human disease pops up that modern medicine can't pinpoint a cause for. Possible genetic health issues are a real stickler because we'll allways look to the environment to blame. Who wants to admit that their parents gave them a ticked gene that they might also have given to their own kids? Pretty tough stuff for most people to accept. It's much easier to place blame elsewhere than it is to accept it.

Who can blame people for having these fears? Asbestos, Lead, Mercury, Cadmium, etc. The list of nasty industrial chemicals that have caused human health issues is long. So why should the liberals believe us now? Industry did lie for a long time, rather than accept responsibilty. So we don't look real credible ourselves in some eyes.

I nearly beat the subject to death because for the entire time that modern Ag Chemicals have been around, Human life expectancy has INCREASED dramatically. Not because we use pesticides. But because we CAN & DO use them to produce more fruits & vegetables. Which has improved our health. Also, it is the same companies utilizing the same technologies, that have brought the world improved medications. Bayer, Monsanto, Aventis, etc.

That said, the most ignorant liberals (ignorant of the scientific and medical truth - not political savvy) will play on the strong human emotion of fear. Not fear of science. Fear of the unknown. Fear of dying. And which of the Golf course members will tolerate US educating THEM, when the course pays guys like us to groom the grounds? It would belittle some of our "customers" to listen to what we have to say. Remember, it is them who have made the bucks to be in the position they are in. This places our "customers" in the position of not comitting much of an opinion to these matters. So the politicians don't listen because it is a non-issue. If the voters don't care - the politicians don't act. Even if the truth is being slayed. It is still political suicide in many parts of the country to NOT endorse laws that are crafted to "protect the environment", even if the outcome is just a few new government jobs and no real impact on the environment. I call it "feel good legislation" but personally, I don't feel good about it at all. I feel sick about it whenever the liberals pass a new law. How many do we need anyway?

So we become the victims of the lies. If you try to educate too many of the members, you may hit one who limits your career goals. If the lawn care applicators try to educate their customers, they may get nervous enough to cancel the service. And who among us are comfortable and educated enough to even approach the subject with conviction? Not enough yet. So we leave the subject alone. If we ignore it, it might go away. Right? Don't bet on it.

I may know the truth. But I don't have the answer to our industries biggest challenge. That challenge is ignorance. If the public remains ignorant we lose, I do know that much. The real challenge is: How do we get the truth out without limiting our careers? It would cost a lot of money to lauch a successful campaign to teach the truth to all who need to know. Who's gonna pay for it?
Supporting companies who are active in RISE helps. Getting involved in local and national trade organizations is helpful too, but they don't seem to collect enough revenue to offer much educational support. Trade shows are not the educational resource I'm thinking about here. But maybe that's our fault. If dues were high enough to support such efforts, we'd probably all drop out!

Perhaps the best we can do is educate ourselves a little bit every day, and fight the good fight whenever our turn is up. Thats how I've done it all along & it doesn't hurt much.

Time for me to get off the stump for today. But thanks for listening!

Steve
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