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Congress "protects" kids into the path of disease

By Alan Caruba
web posted July 2, 2001

Bad news, America. As our nation's schools close down for the summer, two US Senators have seen to it that, when your kids return in September, every nook and cranny will be safe harborage for a wide range of insect and rodent pests.

Sen. Robert Torricelli

While you weren't looking, Sen. Robert Torricelli of New Jersey and Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, both Democrats, ushered a bill through the US Senate that will guarantee America's schools will be safe for cockroaches, ants, spiders, wasps, flies, fleas, ticks, rats and mice.

Pest control industry insiders who met with Torricelli's legislative staff and the representatives of environmental groups who are behind the bill tell me the original bill "was much worse."

The pest control industry's representatives were a bit at a disadvantage negotiating for something-anything--with which they could live. For one thing, they had no real clout. They didn't have the money or the machinery the Greens have to influence votes in Congress. They have only two very overworked government relations specialists to head off bad legislation. They have no public relations to tell the public just how idiotic this legislation is. The mainstream media will always quote some Green, but when was the last time you read or heard anything a pest control professional had to say?

If you don't think our schools don't have pest problems, just ask any pest control company that has the contract for your local schools. Theirs is a fulltime job keeping schools pest-free.

No longer "Control", it's "Management" now

Oh, wait, pardon me. They are no longer "exterminators." They are no longer "pest controllers." They are "pest management" professionals. That's what the folks to whom we turn to kill insect and rodent pests have taken to calling themselves. It sounds like they are now just a bunch of pest wranglers, herding the nasty little creatures out of the building, instead of doing everything in their power to kill them before they spread every awful disease possible or, in the case of termites and carpenter ants, eating their way through some very expensive public property.

If the Torricelli-Murray bill becomes law, it will effectively prohibit the use of pesticides in areas where your children gather, whether it's in the classrooms, in the cafeterias, or in the gymnasiums. I'm told the bill will prohibit some pesticides from being used in areas within 24 hours of the presence of any child and require every school to develop pest management plans that don't involve the use of pesticides.

This is complete and utter insanity. It literally makes it impossible to provide a level of protection for every single school child in America against a whole range of diseases spread by insect and rodent pests.

Managing cockroaches?
Managing cockroaches?

You don't "manage" pests, you kill them because, if you don't, their ability to replicate in huge numbers insures that they will totally infest a structure within weeks.

There is no scientific evidence that the use of pesticides in schools represents any health threat whatever to the children and teachers in any school. None!

Why do I know this? Beginning the 1970's I worked for some twenty years with various elements of the pest control industry to get out the truth concerning the role of pesticides to protect health and property. I haven't done public relations for the industry for a long time.

Simply said, the industry and the manufacturers of pesticides long ago stopped fighting the lies of the Greens bent on depriving Americans of the protection the pesticides provide. The pest control industry has long been targeted for extinction by the Greens. I am reminded that at the gates of Auschwitz, the Nazi death camp, those about to be killed could read a sign that said "Work will make you free."

The Truth about Pesticides

For the record, pesticides are registered for use by the Environmental Protection Agency only after manufacturers spend millions of dollars to meet the EPA's testing mandates for the introduction of a single new pesticide.

Furthermore, the label is the law. They can only be applied according to the label, further limiting how and where they can be used and against which specific pest specie. These mandates exist as well for products already in use.

Rather than re-register the most widely used pesticide in America, Dursban, the manufacturer decided to let its use in more than 800 household and commercial products lapse. The product had been safely in use for three decades! Other manufacturers have made comparable decisions. We now have less protection against pests because the Greens want it that way.

Pesticides are used by members of the pest management profession, all of whom must be licensed and certified by the state in which they work. This means they have to pass tests to determine they know how to properly use them or work under the supervision of those that do. Pest "management" professionals have to demonstrate to the state that they have had annual training with assigned credits to maintain their knowledge and skills. These are hard working, decent people.

In the face of the Green juggernaut of lies, however, the pest control industry quit fighting the loss of pesticides. They let one pesticide after another be banned and removed from use. They failed to fight ordinances and laws that made them look like the threat, not the pests. The manufacturers of pesticides also chose this route.

A spokesman for the National Pest Management Association called the Torricelli-Murray legislation, "responsible and workable." It's not. It's totally irresponsible and unworkable. It deprives schools of a level of protection necessary to protect children and staff; something the pest control industry has provided for decades.

This is what happens when you let Greens determine life and death issues. Every child with an asthma problem will see it worsen because one of the triggers of this disease are the dissicated skeletons of dead cockroaches and the airborne residues cast off by the billions of live ones crawling around in the walls of schools.

The Naming of the Diseases

They're going to get sick from Salmonella, a disease spread by pests as they sample the food served daily in thousands of school cafeterias. Rats and mice routinely invade such food service areas, leaving a trail of rodent urine and droppings, plus pathogens of every description as they eat the food stored for the next day's lunch. The cockroaches perform the same function.

Here's a short list of just some of the diseases the pests will spread among our nation's children: human granulocytic ehrlichiosis and Lyme disease spread by blacklegged ticks who hitchhike a ride into the school on the bodies of rodents; leptospirosis, spread by rodents; rat-bite fever, relapsing fever, spread by fever ticks and body lice; Rickettsial pox spread by house mouse mites; Rocky Mountain spotted fever, brought in by rodents, Salmonellosis spread by house flies, blow flies, German cockroaches, and rodents; Tetanus spread by mice and rats; Tularemia, spread by ticks and their host rodents; Typhus, spread by the oriental rat flea, the cat flea, and rodents.

The Big Lie about Pesticides

At a press conference to announce the bill when it was first introduced in 1999, Steve Milloy, who runs the great Internet site, Junkscience.Com, asked Dr. Philip Landrigan of the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, a well-known anti-pesticide activist, to cite proof that pesticides were a worse danger than the diseases spread by insect and rodent pests.

Milloy recalled that, "In the aftermath of the 1993 National Research Council report on children and pesticides, Dr. Landrigan publicly admitted that 'no disease has ever been documented that stems from legal applications of pesticides.'" Milloy then asked him if anything had changed? Sen. Torricelli stepped in to help the dumbstruck activist by making reference to some non-existent study. As always, the Greens and their political hacks lie and they lie over and over again to fulfill their deadly agenda.

Milloy did find a study published in Environmental Health Perspectives, a journal published by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. The study reviewed 31 studies about pesticides use and childhood cancer conducted between 1970 and 1996. It found "a causal relationship between pesticide exposure and childhood cancer is far from proven." That's another way of saying there is no evidence of any pesticide health threat, if they are properly applied.

The Greens, through a campaign of eco-terrorist lies about pesticides, have not only managed to make the protection of schools incredibly more difficult, but incredibly more costly.

"We're totally in an IPM mode", said a friend in the industry. The way most pest control is provided these days is called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). These are techniques that depend heavily on intensive inspections to identify ways to keep pests out. If an infestation occurs, the IPM approach tends toward using pesticide baits and gels, rather than spraying.

Now, thanks to the many laws affecting the conduct of pest control in schools, there are mountains of paperwork imposed on the process. This costs every school district in the nation thousands of dollars more. That's money diverted from educating students to the bureaucracy imposed by the illusion of "protecting" the students against, not the pests, but the pesticides!

While parents worry about some kid with a gun coming in to shoot up their classmates, they should begin to worry-if this bill is passed and signed into law-about the increase of insect and rodent pests that will be found in every school in the nation. Mother Nature doesn't care whether your child or a cockroach dies, so it's up to you to let the President know this is a good time to exercise his veto power.

Alan Caruba writes a weekly column, Warning Signs, posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center, a clearinghouse for information about scare campaigns designed to influence public opinion and policy. (c) 2001, Alan Caruba

Other related articles: (open in a new window)

  • Spare the pests. Kill the people! by Alan Caruba (June 12, 2000)
    Millions around the world die because of pests every year, yet the EPA announces a recall of Dursban. Alan Caruba wants to know the scientific reason for the move

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