Sunday, December 13, 2015

Read "Poison Spring"

I spoke recently to Tony Mitra, a Canadian journalist, about the danger of pesticides. The danger is twofold: pesticides are toxic petrochemicals and governments approve them with scant if any evidence of safety. Add the uncertainty of the industry testing its own products and the mixture becomes hazardous. I urge you to inform yourself by listening to the interview (below) and, above all, read my book: "Poison Spring."

Monday, June 8, 2015

It's time to declare a truce in the chemical war on weeds - Seattle GMO |

It's time to declare a truce in the chemical war on weeds - Seattle GMO |

"As the war on weeds gears up for summer, the London-based Institute for Science in Society publishes a Manifesto on Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup®. The Manifesto was published today, June 8, and already 155 scientists and medical professionals have signed, calling on all governments to ban glyphosate-based herbicides. 

The Manifesto states in part:

“We, the undersigned international scientists and medical professionals, call on governments at all levels to ban the spraying of glyphosate herbicides. As professionals who have read the literature on glyphosate herbicides and their effects, we have concluded that they are causing irreparable harm. 

 The World Health Organization’s recent reclassification of glyphosate as a 'probable human carcinogen' is only a small part of the known toxicity of glyphosate herbicides. Chronic exposure to glyphosate herbicides is associated not only with cancers, but also with infertility, impotence, abortions, birth defects, neurotoxicity, hormonal disruption, immune reactions, an unnamed fatal kidney disease, chronic diarrhoea, autism and other ailments.” 

 Signature collection is ongoing. If you are a scientist or medical professional, you may sign the Manifesto here. Non-scientists can sign a separate list in support of the Manifesto. If your local government is spraying toxic herbicides in a war on weeds, you can print out the Manifesto and present it to your officials."

According to Vallianatos (with Jenkins), authors of Poison Spring: The Secret History of Pollution and the EPA, the scientific credibility of the EPA has been damaged due to the history of fraud in the testing of these toxic chemicals that has been going on for decades. Vallianatos quotes the EPA scientist Adrian Gross as saying that EPA scientists don't actually read the studies they get from the chemical companies, but it's a “cut-and-paste business.” According to Vallianatos, “Staff scientists were openly using industry's own in-house (and therefore inherently biased) science in the formal approval process of dangerous chemicals. This was not oversight, it was rubber-stamping” [p. 123]. Chapter 7 gives a hair-raising account of how data is fabricated and falsified in these industry studies. According to Gross, such studies are unreliable “because EPA toxicologists don't really review them. ... Instead, they go straight to the company's summary and lift it word for word and give it as their own evaluation of those studies” [p. 130].

Friday, May 15, 2015

Town Hall Seattle presentation of "Poison Spring," April 13, 2014

The EPA’s Hidden Secret
7:30PM, Sunday, April 13, 2014
EG Vallianatos
Since its inception in 1970, the Environmental Protection Agency has been tasked with keeping our food, rivers, and farms safe from chemicals and other harmful substances. Poison Spring: The Secret History of Pollution and the EPA reveals the unknown side of the EPA, one where pesticides and insecticides are approved substances. According to author E.G. Vallianatos, the EPA allows millions of pounds of synthetic chemicals and substances to be deposited into our water systems and food every day. Drawing on extensive field interviews, as well as his 25 years as an EPA employee, Vallianatos traces the vein of corruption, political pressures, and corporate interests that have transformed the agency into a protector of the “chemical-industrial complex.” With co-author McKay Jenkins, he shows how the EPA not only fails to protect us from harmful chemicals, but betrays its primary mission in the process.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Texas Public Radio Interview, April 8, 2015.

The EPA has a reputation as a liberal, green agency working towards conserving our natural resources. But how true is this assumption?
Author E.G. Vallianatos worked for twenty-five years at the EPA, which he says he loves, but is not afraid to criticize. In his book Poison Spring, Vallianatos asks if the EPA shouldn’t be renamed the “Polluter Protection Agency.” Due to scientific evidence indicating high rates of pollution in today’s world, that criticism raises important questions.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Interview on KPFT Radio Houston, Texas

On March 26, 2015, I was interviewed on the Progressive Forum radio show,  KPFT 90.1 fm Pacifica Radio, Houston, TX. Listen to MP3

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Deleterious Effects of the Pesticides-Government-Industrial Complex in Oregon


The Deleterious Effects of the Pesticides-Government-Industrial Complex in Oregon

Monday, 26 January 2015 14:51By Evaggelos VallianatosSpeakOut | Op-Ed
(Photo: Eron King)Clearcut forest, Highway 36 Corridor, Lane County, Oregon. (Photo: Eron King)
It was with heavy heart I started reading a recent report of Oregon Health Authority, an agency of the state of Oregon. This report finalized a state and federal investigation into the 2011 poisoning of Oregonians by timber companies.
The poisoned victims live near private forests in the Highway 36 corridor in western Lane County. Ninety-five percent or 173,152 acres of the land in the scene of the crime is forest, almost equally divided between federal and private owners.
I suspected the Oregon report would not be revealing the truth. I read hundreds of such reports during my 25-year tenure at the US Environmental Protection Agency. My suspicion had nothing to do with my personal revulsion to the crime of poisoning. Rather, I followed the link to pesticides and their toxic history.
Chemical companies, large users of pesticides like timber companies and large farmers and state and federal agencies consider pesticides essential for industrialized farming and forestry. They have created a model of deception for the protection of pesticides that easily compares to the corruption, secrecy and security of the agencies protecting nuclear power plants and nuclear weapons.
Clearcut, McMullen Creek Road, Selma, Oregon. (Photo: Steve Kirkland.)Clearcut, McMullen Creek Road, Selma, Oregon. (Photo: Steve Kirkland.)
Clearcut, Highway 36 Corridor, western Lane County, Oregon. (Photo: Evaggelos Vallianatos)Clearcut, Highway 36 Corridor, western Lane County, Oregon. (Photo: Evaggelos Vallianatos)
No citizen or ethical scientist can easily take a look and understand the historical, bureaucratic and corporate black hole protecting pesticides.
Pesticides kill more than pests. They are biocides by design. Chemical industry lobbyists rather than lawgivers drafted the pesticide law. The legal text of this "law" is technical and exceedingly ambiguous - facilitating the cause of polluters.
Each major pesticide earns 10 to 20 million dollars per year for around 20 years.
(Photo: Eron King)Clearcut forest, Highway 36 Corridor, Lane County, Oregon. (Photo: Eron King)One of the first anchors of pesticide protection came from the fraudulent testing of these lucrative chemicals. Fraudulent tests allowed the US Department of Agriculture and, since December 1970, the EPA to approve or register pesticides for use in farming, forestry, lawns and other uses.
The EPA has been facing fraudulent pesticide labs for most of its life. The pressure on EPA (from the industry, the White House, and Congress) not to discover more fraudulent labs has been such that EPA outsourced its responsibility for examining pesticide "safety" data.
As if fraudulent testing of pesticides was not a serious enough crime, the pesticide law added another giant loophole for even more crimes. The tested pesticide is never used alone. It is always mixed with several other toxic chemicals, which the EPA calls "inerts." These inerts, of course, are anything but inerts. They include carcinogenic petroleum distillates and other hazardous substances.
EPA's perverse definition of inerts conveniently covers-up science and enables the farmer or the timber company to spray a mixture of chemicals that, together, are many times more deleterious than the "tested" "active" ingredient (pesticide). In addition, this sophisticated, nay criminal, use of pesticides blurs the toxicity of the key pesticide, making it next to impossible to pinpoint its effects.
It's this criminality, carefully blended with ambiguous science and government regulation, which explain the survival of farm and timber biocides for so many decades. After all, organic farming makes them entirely unnecessary for producing food. We see the effects of their poisoning all over the natural world and in rapidly increasing human disease and death.
(Photo: Eron King)Destruction of forest around a rural school, Highway 36 Corridor, Lane County, Oregon. (Photo: Eron King)
The defenders of pesticides, a cabal of private and government agencies, bamboozle anyone daring to challenge the safety of pesticides.
The Oregon poisoning incident illustrates this process of bad science and corruption. Oregonians living in the midst or borders of private forests have been ceaselessly sprayed with powerful weed killers. Most of the time, the victims get sick and move away from Oregon or get sick and possibly die silently in Oregon.
In the spring of 2011, however, a small group of the timber company victims decided to fight back. They collected urine samples and had them tested in a laboratory in Georgia. The lab found 2,4-D and atrazine in the urine. These are toxic herbicides or weed killers.
In fact, 2,4-D is also a chemical warfare agent. The US military used 2,4-D and its sibling, 2,4,5-T, in the form of Agent Orange in the Vietnam War.
We don't know whether the present-day 2,4-D is also contaminated by dioxin. But even without dioxin, 2,4-D is a potent killer.
Once the sprayed Oregonians presented the results of their tested urine samples to Oregon authorities, the government of Oregon sought the assistance of two federal agencies: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Environmental Protection Agency. Three years later, the government of Oregon concluded the sprayed Oregonians had nothing to fear. The sprays (2,4-D and atrazine and other toxins) hit them at levels that could not hurt them.
The official 130-page report (Public Health Assessment: Highway 36 Corridor Exposure Investigation, October 2014) is full of acronyms and repetitive assertions. The dense text is full of questionable conclusions.
But the real purpose of the report is to protect both pesticides and their owners. In the toxic strategy of protecting pesticides, the report is the second phase of using bad science to cover-up the truth of the deleterious effects of pesticides.
The mighty government consortium, speaking with the presumed authority of science, is telling fearful victims not to worry, promising more research on their behalf.
One of the victims of timber spraying, Audrey Moore, reached her own conclusion about the Oregon report. She told me she loathed the "investigation." She attended town hall meetings and listened to what she described as "politically correct BS." Moore dismissed the report of an "investigation that never was."
Moore is paying the ultimate price. She has cancer. She is wise enough to direct her anger not only at the companies that spray pesticides but at the "void" and the "silence"… "from those who know." This means you and me. She asks: Why are we not up in arms protesting and resisting poisoned sprays and the undermining of life on Earth?
Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.


Evaggelos Vallianatos is the author of several books, including Poison Spring, published in April 2014 by Bloomsbury Press.


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