Upon landing in Auckland on Hawaiian Airlines, passengers were reminded of New Zealand's commitment to protecting its environment from invasive pests. They were then told to remain seated as the overhead compartments were sprayed with “an aersol” that had been approved by the World Health Organization for use within aircraft.
The word pesticide was never uttered. No one was offered the opportunity to opt-out, or leave the plane before spraying started. No one was given a mask or protective gear. There was no disclosure of the spraying prior to boarding. Only those who were “severely allergic to aerosoles” were invited to make that known to a flight attendant.
And if anyone stood up, or tried to remove an item from the overhead compartment, we were warned, the entire process would need to begin again.
As I felt a gentle mist drift down onto my arms, neck, face and hands, I thought of how the antis would totally freak out if anything like this was attempted in Hawaii, despite its own severe invasive species problem. Yet the returning residents sat quietly, making no complaint, and the spraying does not deter the more than 3 million tourists who visit the island nation each year.
How is that NZ folks can sit in an aircraft getting direct exposure to pesticide without fussing, while some Hawaii residents are absolutely convinced they're being poisoned by agricultural pesticides, even though drift from the fields has never been documented, even by the antis' own studies?
Chalk it up to perceptions of risk – and good old-fashioned fear-mongering, perpetrated for the purpose of raising money for activist groups and destroying the most valuable sector of Hawaii's agriculture.
I was in New Zealand, trying to enjoy time with family and the scenery of that beautiful country, trying to ignore Hawaii and GMOs and the craziness that surrounds that issue, when the Hawaii Department of Agriculture announced plans for increased monitoring and statewide pesticide disclosure, and the EPA proposed a hefty $4.8 million fine against Syngenta as punishment for farmworker safety violations that happened last January.
Though I didn't write about it at the time, I was kept apprised via the emails that flooded my inbox and pushed me over my international data limit.
But now I'm back, so let's start with the press conference, where DOA and the state Department of Health announced they had contracted with the USGS to conduct a two-year comprehensive water monitoring effort:
Furthermore, it was revealed that the seed companies agreed to disclose their restricted use pesticide across the state. The state is going to implement interagency emergency response exercises for pesticide incidents. It's going to educate physicians on how to recognize and treat pesticide exposure, and re-start a program to educate families, since pesticide poisoning most often occurs in the home.
It came up with these plans in response to proposals from the Joint Fact Finding report, and in consulation with the EPA and the Migrant Clinicians Network, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), Western States Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit, Hawaii Poison Control Center, Hawaii Birth Defects Registry, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii School of Nursing, Hawaii Emergency Physicians Association, and Kauai Veteran’s Memorial Hospital, and in light of an extensive California program that found no exposure, despite that state's much greater use of pesticides.
Yet the antis immediately denounced these efforts as insufficient, "ignoring the citizens," failing to “protect the keiki.”
Why? Because their existence, and their fundraising, depends on conflict, so they will do everything in their power to ensure it continues. So they wasted no time in preparing yet another shame meme to use in a call for more cash.
As for the EPA's proposed fine, though some people are treating it as gospel, and proof that every bad thing they ever imagined about the seed companies is true, the fact remains that it is a complaint based on allegations, some of which Syngenta disputes. The matter will now be decided by a judge.
The other facts are this: No one was harmed; it was one incident in one field, not an indictment of the entire company's operations, much less the industry; an HDOA inspector was on-site, and duly reported the incident to EPA, which then conducted an investigation. In other words, there is indeed regulation of pesticides and ag in Hawaii, and this shows the process works.
Here is another fact that wasn't reported: The EPA investigator improperly met with Earthjustice and other anti groups, none of which had actual knowledge of the incident. EPA was in negotiations with Syngenta on the penalty, but was under pressure to get it wrapped up before Trump came in. So the agency pushed ahead, Syngenta resisted and now the matter is going to a judge.
Yes, Syngenta blew it, and they'll likely be punished with a fine. Should the company be tarred and feathered and driven off the island as a result? No. Does it mean that pesticide violations are a regular part of their operations? No.
Because here's another fact: Even though the antis claim the Hawaii seed companies are unregulated, they are in fact subjected to far more scrutiny than farmers on the mainland, primarily because there are so few large farms in Hawaii.
The Hawaii seed companies are inspected at least monthly, or more often, on their USDA regulated crops. They are inspected quarterly on their pesticide use, or more often, if a complaint is made. Compare that to mainland farmers who may see a pesticide inspector only once every five years.
It's time to bring some reality and truth into the discussions around agricultural pesticide use in Hawaii. The antis have framed the dialogue around self-serving lies and fear-mongering. It's time for the Lege and others to stop playing along, and giving credence to their antics.
"I was in New Zealand, trying to enjoy time with family and the scenery of that beautiful country, trying to ignore Hawaii and GMOs "
You are doing a dismal job of it.
And just because other people are perfectly content to be sprayed by unknown "aerosols" doesn't make it okay.
Are you just going to continue ignore the EPA's dispproval of Syngeta's handling over pesticed exposure of their workers? Because while you and Syngenta seem to think they handled things well, the EPA doesn't
Uh, I wrote about it today, in this very post.
And I never said I thought Syngenta handled things well. In fact, I said Syngenta blew it and would be punished with a fine. I also said EPA made allegations, Syngenta disagreed and a judge will decide.
Next time, try read, rather than immediately impose your own view in comments. It just makes you look silly and misinformed. But then, such is the case with so many antis.
It's also good to know you'll never be tarnishing NZ with your presence.
The "aersol" spraying in arriving airplanes in NZ must be a new thing. We flew into the North Island in 2008 (seems only yesterday) and they weren't doing it then. But I do recall as a youngster United Airlines spraying "aersol" in the passenger compartment upon landing when we flew from here to the mainland. I wonder if that's why I lost my hair!!
@8:44 No, it's not a new thing. They were doing it the last time I flew in to NZ, 21 years ago. Perhaps you're losing your memory, along with your hair?
Being sprayed by an aerosol once a lifetime trip to New Zealand and eating food doused in pesticides everyday are two different things.
The people from NZ are tough guys. They go to battle with clubs, spears and weapons that they can make. They don't use guns. They know what is to be free of unwanted pests. While here on the island, we have the rich and weak. Always having someone to paddle their canoe. For a price, we paddle their canoes.
What's your spin on this Joan and @9:52? "There are currently no genetically modified commercial crops in New Zealand, and no fresh produce or meat sold that has been genetically modified. Imported food and ingredients derived from GMOs must be approved by a food safety authority and those that are approved for use must be clearly labeled on food packaging."
As Joan reports, spraying of pesticides on flights is nothing new. And it's not unusual. Back in the day, I used to experience it coming into Hawaii from the mainland. It's a matter of weighing the benefits v. the risk.
Cutting and pasting from USDOT re aircraft disinsection (updated as of September 2016):
Although the Report of the Informal Consultation on Aircraft Disinsection sponsored by the World Health Organization (November 6-10, 1995) concluded that aircraft disinsection, if performed appropriately, would not present a risk to human health, the report also noted that some individuals may experience transient discomfort following aircraft disinsection by aerosol application.
Under the Chicago Convention, which governs international civil aviation, a country could impose a disinsection requirement should they perceive a threat to their public health, agriculture or environment.
Countries requiring the disinsection of all in-bound flights with an aerosolized spray while passengers are on board:
Ecuador (only Galapagos and Interislands)
Trinidad and Tobago
Countries requiring the disinsection of all in-bound flights but allowing, as an alternative to the above approach, either (a) the residual method or (b) the application of an aerosolized spray while passengers are not on board.
Countries that require disinsection of selected flights:
Czech Republic-- flights from areas of contagious diseases
Egypt -- flights from Zika-infected countries
France-- areas of malaria, yellow fever and dengue fever
Indonesia-- flights from infected areas
Italy-- all aircraft coming from areas affected by Zika virus transmission and areas where the Aedes aegypti carrier is present
Mauritius-- Generally, flights coming from African continent, Asia and sub regions, the Middle East and islands of the Indian Ocean, and flights coming from any other country where mosquito borne diseases are prevalent.
Macau-- flights from major infectious disease/Zika-infected countries
Palau-- non-US carriers from Korea, Hong Kong, Macau and Thailand
Peru-- some in-country flights
Republic of Korea-- 30 countries, not including the US
South Africa-- areas of malaria or yellow fever
Switzerland-- intertropical Africa
Taiwan-- incoming flights from areas with arbovirus vectors Aedes aegypti and Ae. albopictus
Thailand-- areas of yellow fever
United Kingdom-- malarial countries and countries with confirmed transmission of Zika (Voluntary)
My understanding when looking at other sites on this matter is that what they are spraying is a pesticide: D-Phenothrin OR Permethrin. It is also sprayed on flights to and from Australia.
For those who want to see what it looks like, there is a youtube video from a China Eastern Flight from Shanghai to Sydney:
What about your spin @ 10:06? Tell the whole story. It's way more complicated and revolves around politics, economics, and image.
The NZ Government says:
"There remains a relatively high level of controversy in New Zealand relating to the development and use of GMOs in the context of crops and farm animals. The debate includes PUBLIC OPINION and POLITICAL STANCES regarding the ECONOMIC benefits of genetic engineering as opposed to those gained from protecting New Zealand’s “clean, green image,” as well as questions about the environmental risks from genetic modification, the impact on human health, and consideration of spiritual and cultural values, particularly the perspectives of Māori.
New Zealand currently imports more than fifty varieties of genetically modified food ingredients, including ingredients derived from GM crops such as corn and soybeans. In order to be sold in the country, each GM food or ingredient must be evaluated by Food Standards Australia New Zealand and determined to be safe for consumption, then approved by the Board and by all Australian and New Zealand ministers responsible for food regulation.
Labeling is not required where “there is no more than 1% (per ingredient) of an approved GM food unintentionally present as an ingredient or processing aid in a non-GM food.” The requirements do not apply to food prepared in restaurants.
Animal feed containing genetically modified ingredients is not subject to the same labeling requirements, and meat and dairy products from animals fed such feed also does not need to be labeled under the food regulations."
Joan. How about asbestos ? Takes about 25 years before mesothelioma to occur ? Perhaps time will reveal various pesticides and/or GMO's are not safe .
@9:38 AM, when you say food doused in pesticides everyday are you referring to the pesticides the plants produce themselves (which account for over 99% of the pesticides you consume) and/or the pesticides used profusely on organic crops?
At 2:31 PM;
Asbestos? Really? Compare apples to apples.
Your logic doesn't hold up. True, the latency period between asbestos exposure and diagnosis is long. The reason for that is because the
asbestos fibers become trapped in the lining of the lungs and cause biological damage that can eventually develop into cancer.
Many people are exposed to asbestos, but as with so many things, the dosage is usually the determining factor. Mesothelioma is a rare cancer diagnosed in only about 3,000 people/year in the U.S., almost exclusively white males, making large studies difficult and extremely uncommon.
Compare that to the widespread, long-term ingestion, across all ethnicities and genders, of many edible products made with genetically engineered foods. Scientists across the U.S. and the rest of the world have rigorously tested and have found that there is no relationship between GMOs and mutations, that organ health and function are not affected by GMOs, that fertility, pregnancy, and offspring are also unaffected by GMOs, and that there is no evidence for gene transfer between GMOs and consumers.
My point is simple. No one knows the long term answer i am not anti GMO or Pesticides Time well tell.
i think all kauai citizens should protest the big supermarkets. hold signs, organize marches, get the message out on media, show up at council meetings and petition the feds and state authorities, get earthjustice and greenpeace to file lawsiuts and put an end to the sale of beans. this insidious legume contributes excessive methane emissions into the environment and should be stopped NOW....for our islands families, the keiki and kupuna, there is no threat worse than bean farts. TY
@2016.12.19-6:34PM. Perhaps. But your fear based argument suggests you do have a thing against rational discourse and evidence based policy making.
Joan, do you know how many of us start each day looking to see if you've written a new blog post and checking older ones for new comments?
Thank you. What a great way to begin the day!
We should be thankful that our Markets provide a whole bunch of "food" for us. It is our choice to buy certain fruits, vegetables, canned goods, meats.....Our world has been about choices. People choose to live here on Kauai for many reasons. This island is different from the other islands. Keep us, us. We don't want to be like them.
Interesting Joan you have gone from being a darling of the green/left to a now champion of the industrial/right. All because of hooser. Ha!
That may be your perception, 8:12, but it's not my reality.
And thank you, 7:11. It's always so nice to hear some words of appreciation.
8:12AM Joan is a leader, not a follower. She doesn't follow wild goose chases of lies like the Anti-Gmo crowd. She doesn't listen to arrogant Haoles like Hooser, Barca, or Felicia who act like they care about the westside when they don't even know the locals on that side of the island. She separates fact from fiction. Evidence before lies and innuendo. Get real, the whole State is under siege by these newbie Haoles who want Hawaii to look and act like the Mainland. Go back, we don't need your bullshit here! To all the Locals, have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year. To all you Anti-Gmo and Pesticide clowns, may you all be convinced to move back where you came from. Kauai is not the place for you and your bullshit.
But 7:32 - With no beans, how am I to make compressed gas tents in bed? Where's the fiber?
At 8:31 AM:
GMO's have been in widespread use for more than 30 years. There was a study at UC Davis that looked at livestock health 15 years before and 15 years after the introduction of GMO feed. Absolutely no difference in livestock health indicators throughout the entire period.
8;38 for a real good fiber fart try broccoli or cauliflower then follow up with a six pack of beer and some peanuts to give it that sweet tinge. but be forewarned, farts can be dangerous to people in your immediate vicinity who may suffer from anaphalaxis or phonophobia
Yes it's a daily routine that's better than reader TGI, Honolulu Advetiser and the New York Times.
Did anyone notice that when TGI wants to get rid of comments, they update the article. Slick and Sly garbage paper bastards.
8:31 Run for Mayor! Let's go!
Thank you Joan for watching over us...and keeping track of assholes, jackasses, P's & C's. Some people say, "If you are not with us, you are against us." Huh? We all have our reasons for doing things a certain way. To all the bloggers, Merry Christmas. It is so delightful.....
Joan, I don't know what it is in you, but I truly believe that you enjoy bullying and shaming anyone who has the audacity to question the motivation, practices and integrity of giant chemical corporations like Syngenta. You throw us together in one big heap labeling us as ignorant, uneducated rabblerousers intent upon destroying our island community. I will continue to educate myself and look beyond your one-sided campaign to prove yourself right and anyone who disagrees with you as wrong. Wishing you Peace in this Season of Joy.
When speaking of health in relation to GMOʻs, we must not forget the health of the environment. Humans, animals and plants need a healthy environment to thrive. Here is an interesting article which questions corporations like Monsanto who often engage in actions which pose a direct threat to the health of the environment. Escape of GMOʻs into the wild and the effect they will have is an important health issue. And there are absolutely no studies proving the safety to the ecosystem of such spreading of GMOʻs such as modified creeping bentgrass. Here is the article- http://www.alternet.org/environment/sordid-tale-monsantos-genetically-engineered-bentgrass-dangerous-grass-never-dies#.WFY4agz5aQQ.twitter
@1:44/2:03 -- Bullying and shaming? Like so many other antis it appears you have a taste for hyperbole. I have no problem with people questioning the actions and activities of Syngenta or any other "giant chemical corporation." But they arent questioning. There asserting falsehoods as facts. And even as you chafe at being lumped in with the other "ignorant, uneducated rabble-rousers," you view all the companies and all their many divisions as one, drawing conclusions about what the Kauai seed farm is doing on based on a report of Syngenta's paraquat plant in North England.
I'm dealing only with their agricultural activities here on Kauai, and striving to separate fact from fiction.
Oh, and just a tip -- you're never going to successfully educate yourself so long as you keep reading articles by George Kimbrell published on Alternet and accepting them as truth.
Wishing you discernment and critical thinking -- in the holidays and all through the year.
"Oh, and just a tip -- you're never going to successfully educate yourself so long as you keep reading articles by George Kimbrell published on Alternet and accepting them as truth."
Funny, I've never considered The New York Times to be an Alternet publication, but then you might want to shoot them down for being part of the "Mainstream Media". And Danny Hakim is hardly a Alternet journalist. He is a Pulitzer Prize finalist and investigative reporter for The New York Times’s London bureau.
I was referencing your citation on creeping bentgrass, though Hakim has certainly shown his true (anti) colors with his dubious piece on GM crop yields.
When we all got sprayed with DDT during WWII, we also thought that was good for us, and wouldn't harm the planet. History repeats itself.
Joan, Instead of putting down Alternet and the author of the article, wouldnʻt it be way more useful to provide corrections of any statements you find misleading or false, and actually address the issue of cross-contamination? Since you think that this article fails to educate its readers with the truth, shouldnʻt you, as an investigative journalist, provide your readers with the truth? Or even, heaven forbid, share with us the scientific studies which confirm the safety to our ecological system when GMOʻs such as creeping grass escape into the wild? After all, that is the whole point of the article- the ignoring and downplaying of potential harm to our environment posed by GMOʻs escaping into the wild by companies such as Monsanto. You could even do a some blogs on this issue which so many wish to avoid. Help separate the truth from the lies and propaganda?
Many of my blog posts do separate the truth from the lies and propaganda and attempt to set the record straight. But I could spend my every waking moment on that and still barely scratch the surface because the antis are prolific. It's not my responsibility to counter every lie that Kimbrell and Center for Food Safety are paid to put out. I focus on what interests me and has relevance for Hawaii, and at the moment, that does not include bent-grass.
Plenty Haole nutcases out there always writing letters to the editor and TGI is always printing these bullshit pieces of crap. Today it's Kelly Ball from Kapaa, who the hell is Kelly Ball? What proof do you have that Mitch Milan from Waimea got sick from pesticide drift while surfing at Polihale? Who the hell is Mitch Milan? I've lived Waimea all my life, never heard of a Milan before? All you damn Haoles who came to Kauai looking for trouble, trouble will find you! Karma's a bitch! Move back to the mainland all you Hippie Haoles! All you locals, Wake Up! No help them, no give them nothing, make them suffer, buy local, take care locals!
12/20 @ 5:36 PM, false equivalence. With modern analytical techniques, technology and statistical modeling, we can predict and test for any potential problem in a new compound, etc. I am far more concerned about the impact of pesticides used in organic agriculture upon non-target species, compared to the modern compounds used in conventional agriculture. Not to mention, the thousands of acres of farmland in Africa that are devoted to the production of chrysanthemums which then have their pyrethrum extracted for use in organic agriculture in the First World countries. This takes away tons of food from people who desperately need it, plus pyrethrum is so broad-spectrum in its activities it kills beneficial insects and non-target species.
Another local that thinks they are above everyone else.
There are those that intentionally distort the truth to satisfy their means...To me they are "liars". The consistently lie to get their way. From the early days you had people who told the truth and those that could not tell the truth. They never knew what the truth is. Like everywhere else we have our share of "liars". You need to let them be. They are lights on nobody home kinda thing. You feel sorry for these people until they catch you head....Then what?
On Kauai all you have to do is dig a hole, plant a seed, watch it grow. It's not rocket science.
12:24 you're describing the Transplant Haole who just moved here
If you cook your Portuguese Sausage in the plastic wrapper, you are not qualified to comment on what is safe and what is not.
I'm haole and I agree 100% with December 21 @ 8:10 AM remarking on haole nutcases. They're an impossible breed.
@1:26 you one haole the plastic hold da flavor
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