by Carrie James
June 19, 2004
I attended the 69th Annual Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indians of Alaska General Assembly Convention held in Juneau as a Delegate for the community of Ketchikan. The Ketchikan Chapter brought a resolution that Central Council adopted "opposing Aerial herbicide spraying of Long Island", as well as other communities that brought forth similar resolutions opposing Aerial herbicide spraying. KIC also brought a resolution two years ago opposing Aerial herbicide spraying. The native communities support the opposition of Aerial herbicide spraying in support of our brothers and sisters that subsist off of Long Island.
At the hearing held here in Ketchikan last week the chairperson said that roadside spraying of arsenal and roundup has been taking place on Long Island for the last five or six years without alerting the community of Haidaburg and other communities of Prince of Wales. This was claimed to be totally within their legal rights, but this is a clear violation of morals and ethics not let the communities/IRA's know that the food/medicine practically in their back yard was being poisoned for the over have a decade. There are reports of wildlife running around with big tumors hanging off of the bodies which hunters shot to just put the deer out of their misery and the meat was not used for fear of eating contaminated meat. What is wrong with this picture? Alaska is the last frontier, let's protect our State and say "NO! To aerial herbicide spraying". I read so many articles saying the chemicals in Imazapyr, also known as "Arsenal, Assault, Chopper" and Glyphosate also known as "Round-up, Rodeo, and Accord" is HARMLESS and equivalent to table salt. This is totally false, an out right "LIE!" I would like to see the person who said this to use these toxic chemicals in place of their table salt for a week and see the condition they are in after ingesting these toxic poisons. I have available the real facts of the toxic hazards of these poisonous chemicals that I got from ACAT (Alaska Community Action on Toxics)
Please read further on the next few pages of reports from ACAT (Alaska Community Action on Toxics) to let this be the real eye opener to the dangers that await if this aerial permit is passed.
FACTS ABOUT IMAZAPYR, also known as Arsenal, Assault, Chopper
Imazapyr is a broad-spectrum herbicide manufactured by American Cynamid Co. under the product names Arsenal, Chopper and Assault. It has been registered in the United States since 1984. Imazapyr is toxic to almost every plant it comes in contact with, as it kills by inhibiting the enzyme plants use to synthesize amino acids. Within hours of treatment, the ability to synthesize DNA is obliterated and soon afterward all growth ceases. The complete death of the plant, however, can take as long as a month. The fact that imazapur is so universally toxic to plants makes is uniquely dangerous to non-target plants: as little as 1/50 of a typical application can damage crop plants.
Information Unavailable to the Public
One of the reasons that there is little specific information about direct results of imazapyr-containing herbicides on humans, animals, and ecosystems when compared unadulterated imazapyr is that there are so few studies readily available to public researchers. There are n o publicly available studies on the distance that imazapyr can drift, or the general chronic toxicity, chronic effects on humans, reproductive hazards, carcinogenicity, and chronic effects on fish and birds of imazapur-containing herbicides. His is important, as studies have shown that many chemicals become more potent in toxicity when combined with other ingredients, as herbicides are 47% of Arsenal Applicators Concentrate, the most common imazapyr-containing herbicide, is comprised of ingredients whose identities are not available to the public, as it is not required under law to identify "inert" ingredients. Most of the United States Environmental Protection Agency's assessment of the health hazards posed by Arsenal is based on tests of pure imazapur, not of all ingredients contained in the herbicide.
One of the primary breakdown products of imazapur is quinolinic acid, which is irritating the eyes, skin, and respiratory system. In addition, it is a neurotoxin, and causes nerve lesions and symptoms similar to Huntington's disease.
Although there is limited information
on imazapur herbicides, there have been several studies on the
effects of pure imazapur on animals that can be correlated to
the chemical's potential for affecting human health.
Field studies have shown that imazapyr persists for 60 to 436 days in soil, with most tests showing persistence longer than a year. These are minimum estimates, however, because in almost all studies imazapyr still persisted on the last day.
The length of time a given chemical remains viable in an environment is dependant not only on its own properties but on climate, weather, soil type, and other variables. In the case of imazapyr, it seems that another key aspect of our understanding of its persistence is the method by which we measure its presence in that environment. Studies have given widely varying conclusions on the persistency of imazapyr; half-lives (the time it takes for half of the amount of herbicide applied to break down or move away) have been measured ranging from 21 days to 49 months in field studies. The cause of this discrepancy seems to be whether the researchers were testing for the presence of imazapyr by looking for residue identifiable by lab techniques, or for imazapyr-caused damage to plant life. All studies testing for damage to plants show longer persistence, suggesting that imazapyr can cause damage to plants at concentrations too low to detect in laboratories.
Contamination of Water
Although studies of the effects of imazapyr on water quality are few, research suggests that imazapyr readily causes contamination problems.
Dangers Posed to Non-Target Plants
Imazapyr is deadly to almost
all plants in several ways. However, there are documented examples
of weeds worldwide developing resistance to imazapyr herbicides.
These plants, which include different ryegrass varieties, Russian
thistle, and common chickweed, as well as some algae species,
have developed resistance caused in at least one case by the
single-point mutation of an enzyme. The fact that these plants
can absorb normally lethal doses of the chemical without apparent
harm does not mean the herbicides are less toxic, but that the
plants are now carriers of the residue as they reproduce, move
into new geographical locations and decompose.
(ACAT researcher Katie Bryson based this report on a scientific article written by Caroline Cox and published by the Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides in the Journal of Pesticide Reform vol.16, no.3, fall 1996 you may request a copy of the full article and further information by contacting Alaska Community Action on Toxic at (907) 222-7714. ACAT e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org ACAT website: www.akaction.net)
Facts about GLYPHOSATE, Round-Up, Rodeo, Accord
The second chemical proposed for aerial spraying
Glyphosate is the main chemical component in many non-selective herbicides used to kill broad-leaved, grass and sedge species. It has been registered for use in the United States since 1974, and is manufactured largely by Monsanto Co. under the trade names Round-Up, Rodeo, and Accord.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), glyphosate is the "most used conventional pesticide in the United States." Estimated annual use rose to over 100 millions pounds per year in 2001, and glyphosate is recognized as the second most commonly used pesticide in both agricultural and non-agricultural applications (industrial, commercial, forestry, and privately-owned lands) in the U.S.; twenty-give million widely debated within the scientific community.
The EPA has twice caught scientists deliberately falsifying results at research laboratories hired by Monsanto to study glyphosate.
In 1983, the EPA revealed that Industrial Biotest Laboratories (IBL) routinely falsified results of their 1971 research performed on glyphosate. Tests performed at IBL included eleven out of nineteen total chronic toxicology studies on glyphosate; studies instrumental in its retaining registration in 1974.
In 1991, the EPA alleged that Craven Laboratories, another lab hired by Monsanto to study the effects of glyphosate, had falsified test results. Several methods were used, including manipulation of equipment and notebook entries.
Monsanto has twice been caught breaking the national pesticide law against false advertising.
In 1996, the New York Attorney General required the company to stop making patently false claims about glyphosate in advertisements. Monsanto had marketed their products as being" "safer than table salt", and degrading "soon after application." In fact, glyphosate herbicides were the eighth most common cause of pesticide illness in agricultural workers in California between 1998 and 2000.
In 1998, the EPA made a similar determination about these advertisements, but no action was taken against the company, as it had taken the Environmental Protection Agency two years to classify the ads.
Lasting Effects on Human Health
Contrary to the claims of the manufacturer, both independent and governmental research has shown that glyphosate takes a serious toll on human and animal health. These studies suggest Rodeo, Round-Up, Accord, and other products containing glyphosate are linked to cancer, reproductive problems such as reduced sperm counts, increased numbers of dead or abnormal sperm and miscarriages, harmful changes in blood chemistry, and genetic mutations. Despite these research results, governmental regulating agencies have failed to remove these products from the market, and Monsanto continues to market their herbicides as benign.
Glyphosate is also poisonous
to humans and animals in an immediate sense. When people swallow
glyphosate, breathe it, bathe in or drink contaminated water,
or get glyphosate on their skin, they can experience a wide range
of reactions, including those that can complicate existing conditions:
are more toxic to animals and humans than pure glyphosate, likely
because of the combinations of additional toxic components, such
as surfactants and both active and inert ingredients. Despite
this, there are no publicly available laboratory studies of the
carcinogenity of glyphosate herbicides in comparison to pure
Critical Effects of Glyphosate on Fish
Alaska has an economic and cultural dependence on the welfare of salmon and other fish species, so it is particularly vital for Alaskans to know that glyphosate, and even more so glyphosate herbicides, are acutely toxic to fish.
The toxicity of glyphosate, which is most potently dangerous to younger fish, increases as water temperature rises. Ironically, the use of glyphosate causes water temperatures to increase for several years following treatment, as the herbicide kills shading vegetation. This is significant in more than one way for salmon, as juvenile salmon require cold water to thrive under even normal environmental circumstances.
The effects of glyphosate on fish have been documented using rainbow trout, which exhibited erratic swimming and labored breathing, effects which can increase the risk that fish will be eaten, as well as affecting ability to feed, migrate, and reproduce.
Effects of Glyphosate on Non-Target Plants
Many living things cannot
process nitrogen, a basic element of life on earth, in its common
form. Instead they use rare nitrogen compounds created processes
called nitrogen fixation and nitrification, carried out by bacteria
on nodules on the roots of plants like alder, clover, and legumes.
At a concentration corresponding to typical application rates,
glyphosate reduced by 70% the nitrogen-fixing nodules on clover
planted 120 days after treatment.
(ACAT researcher Katie Bryson based this report largely on a 15-page scientific article written by Caroline Cox and published b y the Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides in the Journal of Pesticide Reform vol.18, no.3, fall 1998 (updated 2002). You may request a copy of the full article and other sources by contacting Alaska Community Action on Toxic at (907) 222-7714.
Please carefully think about what the State of Alaska is considering as far as giving the requested permit to Klukwan Inc. Submit your letters of concern and demand the State of Alaska not to hand out this permit. If the State of Alaska does give this permit for Aerial herbicide spraying than it would set precedence for S.E. Alaska and this would cause the "domino effect". Let's hold the State of Alaska accountable if this goes through. The research speaks for itself. Please speak out to protect our home Alaska.
This is my opinion based on the facts.
Carrie L. James
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.