Thursday, March 10, 2016

Musings: No More Nothing

Here's the gist of the Joint Fact Finding Group's newly released report on pesticide use by Kauai agricultural — though you won't find it until page 52 of a 105-page report:

[T]here is no data from human samples (e.g. concentrations of specific pesticides in blood, urine, or tissue samples) to indicate actual exposure levels to pesticides on Kauaʻi.

Yes, despite all their claims of school children being sickened, and residents being routinely poisoned, the anti-GMO activists could not produce a single medical report or test to show that anyone has even had any actual pesticide exposure, much less been harmed.

Heck, there isn't even “clear causal relationships or strong correlations" to link pesticide use and human/environmental harm, according to the report.

The oft-repeated claim by Councilman Gary Hooser and his followers regarding alarming birth defect rates on the westside is also debunked:

Despite these inconsistencies between individual data sets, none of them indicated significant differences between birth defect rates for the Westside vs. other areas of Kauaʻi.

Similarly, the group did not find any elevated cancer rates on the westside, “nor did the JFF find higher rates for the cancers associated with pesticides in the literature.”

But it did learn Waimea has the highest percentage of adults who smoke, the highest obesity rate, the highest rate of kids receiving assistance and households on food stamps, and the highest percentage of adults without a high school education. Interestingly, Hanalei has the highest rate of heavy drinkers. 

Even the environmental studies conducted to date, albeit limited, have detected only trace amounts of pesticides, well below EPA levels.

Yet the JFFG reports insists “there may still be important signals that suggest associations and warrant concern and investigation.”

Some of those “signals” are studies financed and conducted by Surfrider, which is suing to uphold the anti-GMO/pesticide regulatory Bill 2491, and the anti-GMO Hawaii SEED. Reports from these groups haven't even been written up, much less published, yet the Hawaii SEED drift studies are given the same weight as an air sampling study conducted by a University of Hawaii scientist.

And in the case of the very questionable Surfrider-funded glyphosate-in-honey study, the report notes;

The data has not been formally published but has been mentioned in The Garden Island.

Gee, you couldn't ask for much more validity than that.

The report also sites several constraints in determining the per-acre application rate of pesticides, before concluding:

These factors make it virtually impossible to calculate a reliable and verifiable estimate of the annual volume of pesticides used per acre of corn on Kauaʻi using existing data sources.

Yet the group then proceeds to offer not only its own estimate, but a comparison to mainland states. Given the group's own caveat, it appears its chart is neither reliable nor verifiable. So why did they include it?

Though the group is mandated to examine evidence, its report includes this:

Several local residents on the Westside have reported what they believe may be an unusual number of dead or sick owls but no samples of blood or tissues for pesticide residues appear to have been taken to date.

Again, what is that anecdote even doing in there?

Similarly, the report notes that:

The DuPont lawsuit [filed by Waimea residents] suggested that the amount of non-RUP pesticides such as Roundup may be up to four times the amount of RUPs applied but no evidence was presented. 

So why are they putting it in the report?

Not surprising, given the clear majority of Bill 2491 supporters on the JGGF, the report recommends disclosure and buffer zones similar to those imposed by the bill, as well as more monitoring. And it suggests the Hawaii delegation seek $3 million to help carry these out.

I find it curious that even though folks have decried the state Departments of Health and Agriculture as being in the pocket of the seed industry, corrupt, inept, etc., they want to assign them yet more regulatory and monitoring responsibilities.

Here was something of interest from the report:

Structural fumigator RUP sales have increased steadily over the five-year period, most likely the result of additional housing stock and improved economic conditions.

Given that these structural fumigators account for the bulk of RUP sales on Kauai, you'd think there might be a recommendation related to that. But no, that doesn't fit the anti-GMO agenda.

In short, the state and county spent over $100,000 to confirm what the sane among us already knew.

But hey, it was worth it to prove once and for all that Gary Hooser, Center for Food Safety and the rest of the antis have been lying and fear-mongering all this time .


Anonymous said...

Structural fumigators get a free pass to poison the population because they help the real estate industry, which supports the anti AG agenda so more land becomes available to develop. Doesn't seem like they really care about pesticide use, just pesticide use by the seed companies. Seems a bit bogus.

Anonymous said...

It goes to show you that people get paid well for half ass jobs on Kauai.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful Joan!!!!

By the Way:
"Interestingly, Hanalei has the highest rate of heavy drinkers."

That is because you suffer a lot of stress to make the millions it takes to live/retire in those expensive homes. When the stress ends (after retirement)the addiction does not.

Dave Smith said...

Apparently the authors of this report never heard of an executive summary. But then how would one boil down these Jekyll-Hyde findings, especially when they include as fact a mere "mention" in a local newspaper?

Keith said...

You can't hide from the truth. Perpetuating a lie over and over again even after the truth comes out is the definition of insanity. When the truth comes out they say they are lying.
When their statements are shown to be wrong they remain silent, then spew the same rhetoric again. For the love of God! Help us.

Robin Clark said...

Totally predictable and an expensive waste of time. Of course the fistee antis will claim the authors were drugged by the big bad chemical companies which explains this blatant act of fact mongering. They will no doubt demand another commission led by the Big Fist to investigate.

Anonymous said...

Joan, "Given that these structural fumigators account for the bulk of RUP sales on Kauai, you'd think there might be a recommendation related to that. But no, that doesn't fit the anti-GMO agenda. In short, the state and county spent over $100,000 to confirm what the sane among us already knew."

May one conclude from the above that the COK itself is anti-GMO since they paid for this bogusness, or were they just hapless dupes? If so this is bigger than a Hooser problem because the COK is colluding with or even in control of the anti-GMO forces.

Joan Conrow said...

The county didn't pick the panel members or write the report. So no, I don't think you could reasonably come to that conclusion.

Anonymous said...

Hey Joan, if you're ever looking to do a primer on what it really means to beg the question, that list of recommendations at the end is full of some really great examples.

Anonymous said...

"It is so, because I say so" mentality pervades the antis. The truth can stare them in their faces but somehow they can justify their position by questioning the means of obtaining the truth. Seems like the fistees have to regroup and plan another strategy.

Anonymous said...

2:09 - Exactly! So don't blame the county for funding a crap study with an anti-at agenda. The County cannot by blamed for wasting taxpayer money.

Anonymous said...

I keep thinking of all the dead owls on the main highway. They must have eaten a mouse or rat poisoned with GMO corn dripping with roundup. Or could they be attracted to the headlights of an automobile and rammed it. Save the owls on the west side. No night/pre-dawn driving.

Anonymous said...
Owl deaths in Hawaii. This was a study 92 to 94 but owls still do die.

Anonymous said...

Think this half ass study is going to shut the anti-GMOers up? Don't bet on it. What did we get for spending $100,000? Not a whole helluva a lot. It's OK, raise the GET before the State beats us to it.

Unknown said...

If pesticide exposure is of such concern, why are the good citizens of Kauai not focusing on the big prizes, termite fumigation and chlorination of drinking water? People are allowed back into houses some 24 hours after fumigation with a lethal gas. And the domestic water supply is treated for microbes by injection of chlorine and related compounds (which are nasty restricted use pesticides)so that people can drink, cook and shower without having a daily barforama (as if they had eaten at Chipotle). Perhaps most people realize that life would be difficult without these RUPs. The same is the case with agricultural pesticides.

Anonymous said...

Why are the elderly in Waimea and Kekaha living so long. A life time of Sugar, Paraquat, Mosquito fume spraying, open ditches, ashes, Chlordane etc etc.
And yet these old folks are strong and vital into their 80s and 90s.

Anonymous said...

The most common cause of death of owls is by rodenticides. But the use of rat poison has markedly decreased with the closure of sugar. Owls are noticeably easier to see in the West side because of the open fields and this may contribute to the sightings of dead birds. However I have not heard any commentary out here by people of such abnormal deaths. And we so love seeing the owls.

Anonymous said...

The JFFG report, and in particular its baseless and 2491-like recommendations (obviously written by the anti-GMO activist JFF group members) is an expensive waste of taxpayer money strategically drafted to encourage government leaders to destroy what's left of Hawaii's farms.

But if you read carefully, there are hidden gems; total confirmation that the Emporer has no clothes.....there's no link between ag pesticide use and harm to Kaua‘i's residents, neither human nor animal.

Anonymous said...

When the seed companies weren't maintaining their fields the mouse population exploded, I literally had mice running across my feet when I was out checking some land after they finally mowed the fields.
We were seeing a lot of pueo's and signs that they were eating well with the mice, but after they started poisoning the mice, within about two weeks I found the remains of about six owls. When I contacted the state they said they were getting calls from other people as well.
With all the wonderful things mentioned about the west side in the 1990's I was on a flight from Kauai sitting next to a doctor from the CDC who told me that she was on the island investigating the high rate of teen pregnancy on the west side, she said amongst the highest in the nation.
They were concerned about the high rate of STD's amongst the girls and when I asked her if this included HIV she nodded.
So sad.
Serious breakdown of so many things.

Anonymous said...

By the way, the JFFG cost $175,000 not $100,000. An additional $75,000 was paid to extend the group and have the report reviewed by some experts an epidemiologist. The State coughed up the additional funding, not the County and not an even split. Still our tax $$.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Think that group exceeded the scope of the study. Wasn't it just a fact finding group? Don't think recommendations were required. The taxpayers were duped into having the antis proclaim their stupid demands, despite the overwhelming evidence contrary. I can see why Roy resigned. Nothing can dissuade this guys. Just wondering who else HCFS will bring bring in for fear - mongering. Seneff and Carman were comedians.