We are putting chemicals originally developed as neuro toxins in the second world war on our food and therefore in our food, our rivers, our soil and our oceans. This affects those who apply the chemicals, and those who consume them as well as those who are nearby when the application is happening or afterwards.

The following information is a copy and paste from Medscape, I have highlighted a few sentences

Authors:

Frances M Dyro, MD  Associate Professor of Neurology, New York Medical College; Neuromuscular Section, Department of Neurology, Westchester Medical Center

Organophosphates (OPs) are chemical substances originally produced by the reaction of alcohols and phosphoric acid. In the 1930s, organophosphates were used as insecticides, but the German military developed these substances as neurotoxins in World War II. They function as cholinesterase inhibitors, thereby affecting neuromuscular transmission.

Organophosphate insecticides, such as diazinon, chlorpyrifos, disulfoton, azinphos-methyl, and fonofos, have been used widely in agriculture and in household applications as pesticides. Over 25,000 brands of pesticides are available in the United States, and their use is monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Diazinon was sold in the United States for 48 years with 14.7 million pounds sold annually. It was the most widely used ingredient in lawn and garden sprays in the United States. Diazinon was found under the brand names Real Kill, Ortho, and Spectracide. In the past decade, the EPA reached an agreement with the pesticide industry to end the production of diazinon by March 2001 for indoor use and June 2003 for lawn and garden use. Chlorpyrifos (Dursban) was involved in a negotiated phaseout in June 2000. These phaseouts resulted from recognition of the special risk that these substances posed for children. Four percent of patients presenting to poison control centers report pesticide exposure. Of those patients, 34% are children younger than 6 years.

Toxic nerve agents used by the military are often of the organophosphate group; an example is sarin, the nerve gas used in a terrorist action in Tokyo in 1995. In anticipation of military use of OP neurotoxins during the Gulf War, the US military was given prophylactic agents which some believe caused some of the symptoms of Gulf War syndrome.

With the emergence of the West Nile virus in the northeastern United States, programs of spraying have been implemented in large urban areas, in particular New York’s Central Park.

Controversy exists regarding the long-term effects of exposure to low levels of potentially neurotoxic substances.

Therapeutic uses of organophosphates

Several organophosphate agents are being tried therapeutically. Cholinesterase inhibition, which in large doses makes these agents effective pesticides, also may be useful in other doses for treating dementia. Metrifonate has been used to treat schistosomiasis and is undergoing trials for the treatment of primary degenerative dementia.

The organophosphates pyridostigmine and physostigmine are carbamate anticholinesterases that have been used for many years for the treatment of myasthenia gravis. Although the short-duration anticholinesterases are generally safe, reports of their abuse are associated with a picture similar to pesticide intoxication.

One of the author’s patients had been diagnosed erroneously as a myasthenic. Long-term “therapeutic” doses of physostigmine chemically altered her neuromuscular junctions to the point where she had to be slowly weaned from the drug.

Sung and others have reported on the ability of these substances to induce nicotinic receptor modulation. This explains the action of these drugs and may result in development of more effective agents.

Historic and new uses of organophosphates

The first organophosphate was synthesized in 1850. Physostigmine was used to treat glaucoma in the 1870s. By the 1930s, synthetic cholinesterase inhibitors were being used for skeletal muscle and autonomic disorders. Some organophosphates were tried in the treatment of parkinsonism.

In 1986, testing began for tacrine, the first cholinesterase inhibitor to be tried for Alzheimer disease; it was released for clinical use in 1993. It is no longer in use. The blood-brain barrier has been the limiting factor in developing a cholinesterase inhibitor for use in dementia. Drugs such as rivastigmine are now widely used. Reported adverse effects are nausea and vomiting, with resultant weight loss because of the increase in cholinergic activity. It has been shown to be useful in mild to moderately severe Alzheimer disease.

Pyridostigmine has been tried for the fatigue of postpolio syndrome but showed no benefit.

 

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1175139-overview

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Dominica is a leading producer of Bay Oil; the West Indian Bay Oil is antiseptic and the scent is heavenly; we export the oil all over the world.

I have been using and promoting the use of bay oil as a cleaning agent for over 20 years.

I utilized this oil to make my own cleaning products for Eco Clean, an ecologically friendly cleaning company I owned and operated in Canada people raved about the scent.

Pimenta racemosa. Indigenous to northern South America and the Caribbean, this tropical bay is a sturdy, evergreen tree of the Myrtle family which has been cultivated for commercial purposes for 80-90 years in Dominica. Not to be confused with the bay leaf or laurel (laurus nobilis) native to the Mediterranean area.

To grab a handful of these leaves and steep a tea is truly heavenly and a gift from the earth ….. but that is a whole other post!

Bay oil is used in herbal healing preparations, perfumes and cosmetics of all kinds and also for making Bay Rum.

There are at least 3 kinds of Bay tree grown throughout Dominica but the distilleries I know use the most common bay and are concentrated in the Carib Territories and the south east of the island. As you tour the island you can often smell the distillery before you see it!

The oil is produced in several small distilleries, many of which are run as co-operatives, by distilling the steam from boiling leaves, a traditional process using fire that gives Dominican oil its distinctive dark colour and sweet, spicy, aroma. This oil can be used for many, many things and the agro processing waste is traditionally used as a soil enhancement.

Recently we have been producing a more highly refined bay oil extracted by steam distillation of  the leaves. This is a clear oil that is claimed to be more potent and is a natural product but I love the dark oil made traditionally and I hope efforts are made to keep this knowledge alive.

I clean with bay oil and wrote my first article about bay oil for the Times over 10 years ago. It is a great cleaning agent for almost all surfaces. It may stain a pourous surface so test it out before using if in doubt. It imparts a nice scent which is said to repel cockroaches and some other pests plus it kills bacteria without impinging on the environment.

I would hope other niche markets for tropical bay oil may also evolve as medicinal uses are further investigated.

It is, for instance, an important ingredient, in a herbal supplement promoted for aiding stress associated with the withdrawal symptoms people suffer when quitting smoking.

The bay tree itself is hardy and can even be grown on poor, rocky soils, we could take advantage of this and the fact that unlike some other plant extracts, it is not easy to produce an acceptable synthetic substitute, as bay oil is a particularly complex essential oil with over 20 components. We all know what happened to vanilla when they found a chemical copy.

This oil is easy to store and ship – as most essential oils do, it has a long shelf life. We could truly become the world source for organic bay oil!

Dominica Essential Oils and Spices Co-op right here in Dominica is the best place to get bay oil; you can buy the oil right there in small medium and large bottles. Once in a while they don’t have butafter over 15 years of purchasing there, that has hardly ever happened to me.

Buy Bay Oil add it to your mop water or cleaning water – just a few drops required and a few drops of any liquid soap (liquid soaps are very similar – dish soap and shampoo are not that different and they rarely contain phosphates) to distribute the oil evenly through the water; you will be amazed how easy it is to clean greenly.

Cleaning with Bay Oil means we keep the environment clean too!

“We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.” ~Marion Wright Edelman

I am visualizing a world without such a strong reliance on plastic shopping bags. Slowly but surely an awareness of the environmental consequences of indiscriminate use of plastic bags is growing through out the world.

Dominica has not been using plastic bags like now for long. As little as 10 years ago if you went to the shop in my neighbourhood without your bag they sent you back home to get it! We went to market with baskets and cloth bags to carry our produce home.

Do we really need to receive a bag every time we go to shop? When calculated over a year it adds up rapidly; if we shop on an average of 3 times a week; get 2 plastic bags each time; that adds up to 302 bags a year! Multiply that times 30,000 (guessing that would be the number of active shoppers on island out of 70,000) – now that’s a lot of plastic.

We can recycle our plastic bags and that does happen a lot here. Clean intact plastic bags rarely go in the landfill they are often reused but still ….. imagine if there were none!

Europe’s biggest consumer of plastic bags, Italy, (they use more than 20 billion plastic bags annually) has banned plastic bags as of January 2011.

In 2007 San Francisco was the first city in the US to ban plastic bags and so far, that translates into 5 million fewer plastic bags every month. Long Beach California and  a host of other US cities  have followed suit.

As of January 2011 Malaysia starts the process of banning plastic bags by banning them one day a week.

Dominica has always had a certain eco slant within the traditional culture.

Cycle Superhighways

Barclays Cycle Superhighways (BCS) are cycle routes running from outer London into central London.

As part of the Mayor of London’s cycle revolution the aim is to increase cycling in London by 400 per cent by 2025 (compared to 2000 levels).

http://www.tfl.gov.uk/roadusers/cycling/11901.aspx

It is my deep belief that design is an act of invention. I believe that its real task begins once functional and behavioral needs have been satisfied. It is not hunger, but love and fear, and sometimes wonder, which make us create. Our milieu may change from generation to generation, but the task, I believe, remains the same: to give poetic form to the pragmatic. ~ Emillio Ambasz; Emillio Ambasz Building Consultants and Planners

L'ACROS Fukuoka, côté terrasse
Symphony; Art Gallery; Cultural Information Centre – plus shops, offices and various other facilities.

This building is considered a pioneer in ecological architecture and has become a new landmark of Fukuoka, Japan.

It’s design incorporates a green step garden exterior; their web site claims it stands like a lush green mountain.

This place was built in Japan; designed by an Argentine architect who studied at Princeton; the planners logo is “green over grey”! Their goal ” We at ACROS Fukuoka strive to become an Asian crossroad – a center for cultural exchange crossing over the seas and connecting with the countries of Asia.!

It is likely the best place to breathe deeply in Fukuoka!

http://www.acros.or.jp/english/

Photo: Geothermal power plant in Reykjavik, IcelandI am not for or against the new geothermal energy project being researched in Dominica. I am just sharing information I researched; for your information I list the links below.

Geothermal Power coming to Soufriere

Introduction to Geothermal Energy

Geothermal Power Facts

While cleaner than fossil fuels, man-made steam faces its own environmental concerns, primarily the threat of small, man-made earthquakes. In 2006, a quake shook Basel, Switzerland (map), amid drilling and underground rock-cracking for an enhanced geothermal system there. The quake forced that project to shut down, and its sponsor had to make millions of dollars in payments for damaged buildings.

Geothermal Energy Effects on the Environment

Geothermal Project in California is Shut Down

How does Geothermal Drilling Cause Earthquakes

“Our approach to nature is to beat it into submission. We would stand a better chance of survival if we accommodate ourselves to this planet and viewed it appreciatively instead of skeptically and dictatorially.” ~ E. B. White

Genetically Modified GM Mosquitoes  have been released into the “wild” in the Cayman islands as a biological control for Dengue mosquito; the general public were informed almost a year after the first release; the experiment was considered “successful” less than a year after the 2nd most significant release; 5 similar trials to occur over the following year in other places in the world.

The company who owns the GM mosquito is called  OXITEC; they have developed 2 types of GM dengue mosquitoes; both are effective after the egg hatches; in  one type (used in the Cayman Islands Experiment)  the offspring all die at the larval or pupal stage and in the other female offspring cannot fly or feed and therefore cannot mate……. both of these traits can be overcome if the mosquitoes are given tetracycline in their food source.

This repression of the trait is built in so the company can reproduce the mosquitoes for retail on a large scale.

It seems large quantities of the GM mosquitoes must be released and over and over; for this small project covering just 40 acres/16 hectares it is said over 3 million eggs were sent from England to the Caymans and they are monitoring the land to see what other releases will be needed to keep the populations down. This often effects sustainability of projects like this as smaller countries cannot afford to keep buying the product that keeps the mosquitoes down.

This is an insect control technique called RIDL: Release of Insects carrying a Dominant Lethal. It is a Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) but the SIT programs of the past have mostly irradiated insects to make them infertile.  Shockingly the irradiated mosquitoes were too weak to carry out their job and mate with the females and their lifespan was shortened so scientists looked for another way.

These new introductions to the environment have had a genetic element integrated, into their DNA. The adult mosquito remains healthy and sexually viable. However, the added genetic element is passed to the offspring where it is fatal, thus providing a genetic alternative to radiation-sterilization.

The added genetic element, however, can be neutralized by the administration of tetracycline. This control mechanism is claimed to both allow the GM strain to be reared in sufficient numbers in captivity, and also insure that the same strain cannot replicate in the wild – since without the administration of tetracycline, offspring will die.

Not being an expert but I have to wonder about this cause tetracycline is a common antibiotic and studies have shown for over 10 years that it has contaminated water sources all over the world.  Studies are also showing links between antibiotic contaminated water sources and antibiotic resistance in nearby animal populations. Now how are we going to guarantee that these insects do not come in contact with tetracycline contaminated water? Was tetracycline tested for in the Cayman Islands water systems?

“It’s a self-limiting system, you release sterile males, they mate with wild females and the progeny die before they can bite and transmit disease. If you release them for long enough the wild population will decline and collapse,” says Luke Alphey, research director of Oxitec.

Interesting.

Mosquitoes  are troublesome and need to be controlled but they have been on earth for 210 million years and they exist in virtually every type of habitat in every country. There are 1,000’s of varieties and they do serve some roles in the eco system.

I would always be concerned if the goal of any program is eradication or collapse of a species.

Not being an expert but I would think a proper environmental assessment could not be completed until we checked back in 5 year increments for 20 years and asked the following questions:

There was an 80% immediate reduction rate in one year but what about over longer intervals such as 1, 5, 10, 15 or 20 years? They were not sure in press releases how long it would be before needing to be resprayed; this can greatly effect the sustainability of the project.

How do fish, birds, bats, frogs and other species fare who eat mosquitoes containing an enzyme that multiplies in the body until larvae die unless administered tetracycline?

How do humans who eat fish/birds/reptiles who have eaten these mosquitoes fare?

Have new species stepped into the void created by the eradication of this mosquito?

Have populations of mosquito in the vicinity been effected either showing increases or decreases? Mosquito populations are stabilized by density-dependent effects – in some cases of SIT insufficient release ratios have increased mosquito populations.

What could happen when females with the altered DNA are released and they mate with the wild population or bite and inject saliva into humans or other hosts? According to a research paper from Oxford University published in 2007 there is a rate of < 1% female after filtering processes with as low as 0.1% female if larger males are also discarded.

It has recently been proven in Indonesia that the male can be a vector for dengue in 30% of cases and this is a new tendency in these mosquitoes. Has this been considered?

Has it been shown that a very small percentage of pupae and larva from these GM modified mosquito males do survive even though tetracycline has not been administered? Is the efficiency rates 100%?

Has plant life within the study area and the regions nearby been monitored? Mosquitoes are generally nectar feeders therefore potential pollinators.  Only the females drink blood and then usually only to develop eggs.

What do the  fish, birds, bats, frogs and other species who eat this species of mosquito do when they are gone? Have measures been set in place to quantify any changes in population or diversity of the creatures that use these mosquitoes as a food source?

Have measures been put into place to verify and ensure that the enzyme cannot escape the DNA of the mosquito and enter the environment as the chemicals inserted into the genes of genetically modified plant genes have escaped to enter the soil and water nearby (even though we were assured this could not happen).

How can we be sure that this same enzyme cannot enter other species as genetically modified crops have produced super weeds?

Finally.

How can we be sure that future scientific discoveries are not being prevented?

Mosquitos and other blood sucking insects produce a “sophisticated salivary cocktail of potent pharmacologic compounds. Recent advances in transcriptome and proteome research allow an unprecedented insight into the complexity of these compounds, indicating that their molecular diversity as well as the diversity of their targets is still larger than previously thought.” – Medical Entomology Section, Laboratory of Malaria and Vector Research, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health,  Maryland.

Check out the press release on Youtube released by Mosquito Research and Control Unit in the Cayman Islands.

This even opens questions in my mind.

They say it has been researched for years and years but I would like to know the length of time this particular genetic modification has been studied.

They say that these males are sterile but they are not; they produce young that die before they become harmful; that is different.

Dengue Transmission Cycle

Mosquito Wars