Let Us Spray

As further exposed in Monday’s TV3 Let Us Spray documentary, the clear links between 2-4 5 T and 2-4-D manufacture and use, and spina bifida and other tragic deformities, show a need for a quick conversion by mainstream agriculture to organic production.

Tomorrow Food Safety Minister Annette King considers, with her Australian counterparts, another chemical approach to a minimal solution for spina bifidas often resulting from widespread toxins in food and environment and New Zealand’s deteriorating nutritional health status.

For many decades a persistent head in the sand approach to the chemical tools of the day has been taken, and those standing up for the environment and health have been ridiculed.

Soil & Health can recall Dows PR magazine, with then Prime Minister Keith Holyoake parading through Dow Chemicals New Plymouth factory extolling its virtues. Elsewhere in the magazine was a parody of Silent Spring author Rachel Carson.

Rachel Carson, an early advocate against agrichemical use and its effects on the environment was ridiculed at the time, but her particular focus and that of Dows, DDT, was soon to be proven as a persistent deadly pollutant.

“Now with dioxin laced 2-4-5-T and 2-4D clearly identified as a mutagen, other chemicals such as the fungicide benlate, also identified as a mutagen, should be withdrawn from use and cover ups surrounding adverse effects need to stop”, said Soil & Health spokesperson Steffan Browning.

Embracing a vision of truly sustainable primary production and more natural health care solutions will reduce such tragedies as experienced throughout New Zealand through the use of 2-4-5-T, 2-4D, DDT, benlate and other current agrichemicals.

Soil & Health calls for urgent assistance for primary producers to find alternatives to the widespread use of agrichemicals. Current agrichemicals include many with known mutagenic, endocrine disrupting and carcinogenic properties.

“This is not sustainable when the health effects, often carried by future generations, are taken into account. Nor is it sustainable as our markets look for cleaner and cleaner products”, said Steffan Browning

The Soil & Health Association sees a cruel link between intended mass medication of 4 million people with folic acid (synthetic folate) to reduce the effects of only 8 spina bifida pregnancies and the plight of those others exposed to dioxin contaminated herbicides.

Synthetic folic acid is intended to be added to all bread as a partial remedy to New Zealand’s Neural Tube Defect (NTD) plight. NTDs mostly present as spina bifida as shown on TV3’s documentary.

Spina bifida occurrence is greatly reduced by adequate folate levels around conception and early pregnancy.

The use of the chemical folic acid as an alternative to good diet with good natural folate levels is a poor sop to the advocates for spina bifida sufferers who have for many years called for Government intervention to the spina bifida scourge.

Rather than educate of the risks of agrichemical exposure and how to get spina bifida limiting natural folate, through a good diet, the market sensitive producers, agrichemical suppliers and Government have decided on a keep it quiet approach and instead the whole population is to be consuming another synthetic compound, folic acid.

This government, that has been complicit with cover-ups of the link between the widespread use of toxins in Godzone and human health, is now considering mass medication with synthetic folic acid, as some form of sop to those affected by previous widespread agrichemical use.

An average of only 8 out of ~70 NTD pregnancies will benefit from the mass medication of 4 million, and yet an educational program in Western Australia that included nutritional information and voluntary supplements achieved a 30% reduction in NTDs.

A program similar to that tried in Western Australia would mean 21 NTD pregnancies benefiting here in New Zealand, and would have widespread other health benefits, as such a program could also cover broader nutritional issues, and allow personal responsibility and consumer choice.

Synthetic folic acid is not likely to be on the same health scale as dioxin contaminated herbicides, yet, as with the supposed benefit and repeated assurances of safety of those earlier herbicides, a mass medication is now intended without even the more obvious health uncertainties of high folic acid intakes being deeply explored.

This economic decision to only benefit 8 pregnancies, while protecting bad industrial and agricultural practice and in turn using mass medication with synthetics, shows a more of the same approach. A blind faith in chemical solutions to environmental and human health. It is time for a better vision for New Zealand, according to Soil & Health.

Soil & Health has long campaigned against toxins in the environment and food chain and is seeking an exemption for organic producers and consumers from any mass chemical fortification.

“Clean Green New Zealand needs an urgent vision of an Organic 2020, not the current chemical patches to chemical misadventure approach”, said Steffan Browning.

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