Friday, January 29, 2016

Yamakawa Quits Pesticide Fact-Finding Group

The Kauai Joint Fact-Finding Group on pesticides has lost a key member, with Roy Yamakawa quitting the appointed panel over disputed methodology.

Roy declined to comment and deferred questions to mediator Peter Adler, whose ACCORD group is overseeing the process.

Roy had differences of opinion on the methods by which we are working to complete the last legs of the effort,” Peter replied in an email confirming Roy's departure.

Roy, now retired from his positions as Kauai extension agent and county administrator for the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Ag, had an understanding of pesticide use and local ag unmatched on the JFFG. And since a majority of panelists hold anti-GMO sentiments, his departure exacerbates that imbalance.

Still, Peter is urging people to wait and see.

I like and respect Roy a lot and am urging he and everyone who contacts us to judge the JFF by the final product,” Peter wrote. “In the meantime, we are revamping our schedule to accommodate discussions on some additional data we have received. We hope to complete the effort by the end of March or as soon as possible after a public comment window and informational briefing inviting proposed factual additions or corrections.”

The JFF report was due out in early January. But it was lacking its crucial health section and the county and state, which are financing the $100,000 exercise, reportedly refused to accept the incomplete document. The health section reportedly is being vetted by an epidemiologist, and the state Attorney General's office is also reviewing the report.

Meanwhile, I've learned that a study on glyphosate in honey — recently submitted to the JFFG — was financed by Surfrider. The advocacy group has joined Earthjustice, Center for Food Safety, Pesticide Action Network and the county in appealing a judge's ruling that overturned Bill 2491/Ordinance 960, a hotly contested pesticide/GMO regulatory measure.

The ruling also invalidated a provision in the law authorizing an environmental and health assessment, prompting the state and county to fund the JFFG instead. The panel was charged with determining what is truly known about agricultural pesticide use on Kauai, and any associated environmental and health concerns.

The group was specifically directed not to conduct its own independent research, though it could make recommendations on studies and monitoring programs that should be pursued.

So it's extremely questionable that an advocacy group like Surfrider was allowed to finance new research — conducted under the guise of a high school science project — and submit the unverified results to the JFFG.

The study tested honey samples – some of them collected by beekeepers with anti-GMO views — and found glyphosate (Roundup) in about 35 percent. Surfrider's Carl Berg, who “mentored” the student who did the science project, said “the detection of glyphosate in honey does mean that it escapes from the point of application under current best management practices.”

However, since it's impossible to know where the bees collected the glyphosate, it's equally impossible to state that it was applied "under current best management practices” — especially since the popular weed killer is regularly sprayed by homeowners untrained in such practices.

Recently, the anti-GMO group US Right to Know made a huge stink about how Monsanto and other agrichemical companies were supposedly corrupting the scientific process simply by giving scientists money to conduct educational outreach programs. 

If one of the seed companies had conducted a study and given the results to the JFFG, the antis would be screaming bloody murder. Yet when it's done by an advocacy group, one with a dog in this particular fight, it's no problem.

Now that's the kind of duplicity and hypocrisy that really grates. 

As I suggested to Carl, if Surfrider is truly concerned about pesticides escaping from the point of application under current best management practices, it should test the air quality around a house undergoing termite treatments. The air should be tested again as the tent is removed. 

After all, pest control applicators use more restricted use pesticides than any other industry in Hawaii — and significantly more than agriculture. Why is the focus solely on farm pesticides, even as activists claim they aren't anti-ag and it's not all about shutting down the GMO crops?

53 comments:

Anonymous said...

Interesting and very unfortunate to hear about Roy's departure from the group. Have any other members quit? What about the project team? Are they reviewing and reporting the results, or is the JFF group authoring the report? Are there any epidemiologists reviewing this process?

Anonymous said...

Sounds like sour grapes. He not getting what he wants wawawawaw so he quits.

Joan Conrow said...

12:20 -- Well, at least he has the backbone to stand up for what he believes, which is far more than can be said about you. Roy is an extremely ethical person, with a lot of integrity, which is why his departure from the group is so troubling.

11:54 -- I haven't heard of anyone else leaving the panel. The health section was supposedly being reviewed by an epidemiologist, but I'm not sure if that's still the case. I don't want the project team is doing. It's all very confidential.

Anonymous said...

12:20 that's one way of looking at it. another is, he's not comfortable with the way the process works (from an educational / researcher's prospective). Or, he was always left out of the loop and left in the dark, and when questioning the main people, he was shunned time and time again.

Or, he's a lame duck not willing to speak his mind like the rest of the fisties are.

or, he's retired and just tired of all the 2491 crap.

Being a pro ag guy. I don't like what he did. quit on the rest of the agricultural guys like me.

we'll fine out in due time.

in the mean time, get ready, Free land for everyone coming soon!

Anonymous said...

A small VICTORY for the RED shirts and the kids and faculty at Waimea canyon that got poisoned years ago.

Where's the Stink Weed excuse Now??


EPA, state investigating after 10 hospitalized due to insecticide exposure on Kauai
Jan 29, 2016 08:23 AM


LIHUE, KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is working with the state Department of Agriculture to investigate an incident in which some Syngenta workers on Kauai were sickened last week after being exposed to an insecticide.

The Garden Island reported that on Jan. 20, 10 employees entered a field too soon after it was sprayed with chlorpyrifos. All were taken to Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital, but were able to return to work the following Monday.

Though the EPA has already banned most of the indoor use of chlorpyrifos, the agency is considering a total ban on the insecticide because of concerns about drinking water and small, vulnerable watersheds.

Anonymous said...

Pete Adler is trying to put lipstick on a pig. This group has turned into a joke and a waste of taxpayer money.

Anonymous said...

EPA says "because of concerns about drinking water and small vulnerable watersheds", yet the Kauai DOW is stalling, stonewalling and refusing to test the drinking water on Kauai's west side.

Joan Conrow said...

As I previously reported, "a model developed by DOH and the University of Hawaii to predict the leaching potential of chlorpyrifos “shows the chance of groundwater contamination by chlorpyrifos on Kauai to be unlikely.”

Maybe Surfrider could pay for the water tests?

Anonymous said...

"Unlikely". Oh, that makes me feel better. Why would not the DOW want to be sure, given the history of this chemical and the stated EPA concerns?

Robin said...

@12:34: There is no logic to your "victory" claim. In fact it is rather perverse. There was no evidence of pesticide exposure (let alone poisoning) at Waimea school so why even bring it up? It would be interesting to know if the 10 workers who went into the field early were actually poisoned, or just taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure as required by regulations in case of exposure. In any case they could not have been too sick if they returned to work on Monday!

Anonymous said...

Joan "Meanwhile, I've learned that a study on glyphosate in honey — recently submitted to the JFFG — was financed by Surfrider. "

Got proof or should we just take your word for it?

Joan Conrow said...

Carl Berg told me, and he ought to know.

Anonymous said...

Joan said "Roy, now retired from his positions as Kauai extension agent and county administrator for the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Ag, had an understanding of pesticide use and local ag unmatched on the JFFG."

"Unmatched"? Really? FYI Styan has a Ph.D. in horticulture and is senior research manager for Global Marker Technologies at the DuPont Pioneer Waimea Research Station and Asquith holds a Ph.D. in entomology and is the Kauai extension specialist for the University of Hawaii Sea Grant College Program. Yamakawa only holds an M.S.

Anonymous said...

That's gonna be covered up using HIPPA laws to protect the GMO companies and not the workers/patients.

Anonymous said...

Canyon prove that there wasn't any pesticide poisoning?

I know a few students that were exposed and told me that they got sick and they recalled that their symptoms were the same as what had recently occurred.

Harold Keyser said...

It is not a good sign that Roy has resigned from this committee, which I know he would only do with sound justification. Roy served the agricultural community for 30 plus years on three different islands and was dedicated to problem solving and improving things. He knows scientific methodology, the difference between hazard and risk, and is very familiar with the practical challenges facing agriculture in Hawaii and Kauai in particular. As a colleague for a number of years, I know from experience that Roy does his homework and would not be rash, but rather logical and principled,in making evaluations and decisions.

I do not know the other members of the committee or their qualifications, but to lose representation of someone with such a wealth of experience, expertise and insight on production agriculture can only weaken the committee, and it is absolutely not a good sign.

Joan Conrow said...

Not to detract from either Sarah or Adam, but neither have the breadth of knowledge of Hawaii AG as Roy, plus he has had an experimental pesticide license, so he knows more about that than anyone on the panel. Degrees alone don't tell the full story.

Anonymous said...

FYI - I don't believe any degree is required to obtain an experimental pesticide license. All that is required is filling out a form.

Anonymous said...

Joan you have detracted from Adam numerous times. Just check your previous blog posts.

Anonymous said...

I believe Roy was the only member of the group born and raised on Kauai. Huge loss of credibility for this thing.

Joan Conrow said...

6:41-- FYI you don't know WTF you're taking about. There's a lot more to it than filling out a form.

6:42 -- Yes, I have. But I do know he holds a PhD, and that he's smart.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 5:45. It's a very bad sign. He was the only impartial one on there.

Anonymous said...

Well, out come of this is rather apparent. I hope someone added the very excessive poisoning of an entire golf course on the North shore.
I wonder where the comments on that have been, certainly not in that ridiculous excuse newspaper we have. I wonder how people who claim to be educated can carry on in such an ignorant fashion devoid of facts. It reminds me of the old story of Henny Penny and that great concern about the sky. Seems the same type scientific investigation involved.

Anonymous said...

Something not right if the JFF cannot produce a complete report following guidelines for DOH. Governor stressed "TRUTHFULNESS" in his State of the State address. This is what is lacking in people. Ask Geronimo and Sitting Bull how it feels to be lied to. Tried googling them. Said story. History repeats itself. Need to make side eye action nowadays. Ha!

Anonymous said...

Joan Conrow said...

As I previously reported, "a model developed by DOH and the University of Hawaii to predict the leaching potential of chlorpyrifos “shows the chance of groundwater contamination by chlorpyrifos on Kauai to be unlikely.”

"shows the chances of the groundwater contamination by lead on Kauai to be unlikely."

Anonymous said...

Kauai has no toxic poisoning, it doesn't have a serial that has been captured, it doesn't have a inept and corrupt county government, KPD doesn't have syndicate pigs, KFD didn't steal gas from the county, a private business wasn't funded by the mayor in the tune of $150,000 for a 3 month scamming scheme, and we definitely don't have any drug problems or meth/heroin dealers on Kauai, in fact we don't have any crime on Kauai because this is paradise and Paradise can't have any of this; can it?

Anonymous said...

The chances of Kauai having lead in its groundwater are zip.

Anonymous said...

Just flown here huh. I don't believe that you know that most of the older homes have old lead pipes because that's what they used back in the 50's to 70's when most homes were built.

Joan Conrow said...

The Department of Water tests for lead, glyphosate, atrazine and many other contaminants. You can see the testing results for areas all around the island at:

http://www.kauaiwater.org/waterqualityrpt_pdf.asp

Anonymous said...

But even though EPA expresses concerns about localized small watersheds where corn is grown and large amounts of chlorpyrifos is used, our own DOW refuses to test. Cause they know best and don't see the value of putting community concerns to rest.

Joan Conrow said...

Again, I ask, why don't Surfrider, HAPA, Earthjustice or Center for Food Safety run the tests? They are the ones who are fanning the fear over chlorpyrifos in the ground water. Shouldn't they want to put community concerns to rest? Or does it work against their interests to have the community reassured, and advance their cause to keep harping that DOW won't test?

It's not that they don't have the money. Surfrider just spent a pretty penny chasing glyphosate in honey. Hawaii SEED and Pesticide Action Network burned through tens of thousands doing pesticide drift tests that turned up nothing. HAPA jets off to Switzerland for a photo opp. CFS spends $80,000 to bring Vandana Shiva here twice. Seems they could run a few tests for chlorpyrifos.

Or did they test and find nothing? Just like we've heard all sort of health claims, but never one blood or urine test has been presented showing pesticide exposure. Keep banging the fear drum, but never present any evidence.

Anonymous said...

Joan if Surfrider or an of the groups you mention tested the water, you would discredit the results like you are doing on the honey/glyphosate issue. The DOW is the entity with most credibility and the responsibility for testing.

Joan Conrow said...

I didn't discredit the results. I questioned why activists think it's OK for advocacy groups to do tests, but any done by industry are suspect. And I questioned Carl's interpretation of the results. Besides, discrediting does not phase these groups. So many of their claims have been discredited, yet they keep spouting them.

If DOW "is the entity with most credibility," why won't you accept its decision, made in conjunction with DOH, that such testing is not needed? You can't have it both ways, trust them to test, but not trust them to determine what to test for.

Anonymous said...

The argument that spraying pesticides is safe because tenting some house for termites is worse, is just silly.

Anonymous said...

Nobody is making that argument.

Anonymous said...

The argument is that pesticides are used far closer to residences, in fact right in and next to them, pesticides are used far closer to tourists, in the very units they stay in and pesticides are used far closer to people around golf courses. Urban pesticide uses are higher , that doesn't mean the pesticide use in the corn fields isn't a problem, but why focus only on them and not Mokihana and the termite treatment companies that All use restricted use pesticides in high numbers, unless of course you want to develop that land and want to talk stink to make that happen. It always amazes me how old the sugar workers live to be and I wonder why they didn't drop like flys.

Anonymous said...

12:49 If DOW "is the entity with most credibility," why won't you accept its decision, made in conjunction with DOH, that such testing is not needed? You can't have it both ways, trust them to test, but not trust them to determine what to test for."

Any real scientists knows the scientific method is not based on trust but free inquiry and reproducibility.

Anonymous said...

@1211 never learned how to read huh. Lead pipes in houses has nothing to do with whether there is lead in groundwater.

Anonymous said...

Then let the antis exercise their free will and free inquiry and do all the tests they think should be done instead of making taxpayers pay for their paranoia.

Anonymous said...

I believe that industry has regulations and if so then they have to have QA on the company, federal and or state sides of the industry.

The taxpayers pay for the testing of the tainted toys from China. The tainted dog food from China. The faux Rx drugs and so on. It's called public safety and following industry standards regulated by the acronym dept's.

I don't think fearing your salad is being tainted with listeria is considered paranoia. Do you?

Why shouldn't the seed companies be tested? The 10 workers who got exposed to chlorpyrifos and suffered proves that public safety was ignored by the workers and their supervisors. OSHA should investigate and EPA should test. Prevention was ignored so treatment must take precedence.

Anonymous said...

Workers getting sick does not prove public safety was ignored. It happened on their own property and affected only their own workers. Public safety was not a factor. OSHA and EPA already are investigating. You're not likely to get listeria from a salad. It's typically from lunch meat.

Anonymous said...

Multistate Outbreak of Listeriosis Linked to Packaged Salads Produced at Springfield, Ohio Dole Processing Facility

http://www.cdc.gov/

Anonymous said...

Employee safety is a HIOSH (Hawaii OSHA) concern.

Public safety will come from an EPA investigation.

Manawai said...

"fearing your salad is being tainted with listeria" is definitely paranoia.

Manawai said...

"exposed to chlorpyrifos and suffered" I love how the facts just drop from the skies like chem-trails.

Anonymous said...

Thought that the JFFG was formed to determine the safety of GMOs and not pesticides. If so, has the group expanded their function? Pete Adler stacked the group with antis and pros. Roy was truly an objective-thinking (open-minded) member of that group. He resigned because of frustration with dealing with the subjective-thinking (closed-minded) members. To illustrate what I just said: an objective-thinking person will take no side on an issue initially, gather the facts and then formulate his position; a subjective-thinking person has already formulated his position and will try to gather data to support his position while discounting data contrary to his position. The two panelists who were here last year, sponsored by the CFS (Center for Food Safety), have been totally discredited by the scientific community around the world and represent the latter. As for the glyphosate-tainted honey results, it further reinforces that it is safe because the honey bees did not die and were able to bring their pollen and nectar back to the hive.

Anonymous said...

Why do you defend Roy and Aurther Brun Joan? Check it out Brun was on duty when those poor Mexican workers wandered into that field because they could not read the signs written in English. Why do you let this stuff hide Joan? Oh, I forgot, cause you getting paid. Sad. Real sad.

Anonymous said...

Yo momma should teach me about the birds and the bees but how the fuck do you think ground water is used and flowed in? Ditches bitch!!! Or plastic pipe you donkey. Please you dumb hooh learn to think.

Joan Conrow said...

Boy, 3:22, you're off on all counts. Arthur was working that day, but he does not supervise the field workers. They all speak and read English. And I don't get paid. But you're right; it is sad that you believe this crap, and then try to pass it off as truth. Real sad.

Anonymous said...

how you know so much about Arthur and even his work schedule?! blows my mind!

Joan Conrow said...

It's called making inquiries to check out an allegation. Obviously an unknown concept for the rumor-mongerers.

Anonymous said...

Wait, you didn't rely on rumors? You checked the facts? What kind of internet site is this?

Anonymous said...

Any updates Joan? When will JFF report come out?