Bedbugs infest Trenton Police lockup, city says issue being ‘monitored’

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Trenton police headquarters on North Clinton Avenue.  

TRENTON — By Isaac Avilucea — July 25, 2019

Prisoners at police lockup were given a cruel and unusual punishment.

They endured a bedbug infestation, according to sources who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The city said it has made efforts to eliminate the creepy crawlers which had reportedly taken up residence in some of the cells at Trenton Police lockup, feasting on detainees and city workers.

Employees in lockup brought their concerns to the police administration and the union.

Mayor Reed Gusciora was unaware of the infestation until The Trentonian reached him for comment Thursday.

He reached out to police director Sheilah Coley and then called the newspaper back to assure that the bedbug problem was being handled and under control.

“It’s an unfortunate occurrence of city life,” he said.

The mayor’s spokesman, Connor Ilchert, released a statement later in the day saying, “TPD has been looked over by exterminators and inspectors, and has been sprayed twice to satisfy any complaints. The issue is continuing to be monitored to ensure that city employees are operating in a safe working environment.”

Ilchert said exterminators treated the lockup area July 5 and again July 11. Bedbug infestations can be difficult to eliminate and sometimes require several treatments.

More bedbugs found at Hughes Justice Complex in Trenton
Photo from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of a common bedbug.

Workers complained to brass and union officials fearing the creepy crawlers might tag along on their clothes, causing an infestation at their homes.

City police union president Michael Schiaretti declined to comment on the infestation saying the city appeared to be taking care of the problem. He planned to monitor the issue.

Bedbugs are just one of the issues that have recently hampered deteriorating Trenton infrastructure. Engine 8 firehouse on Stuyvesant Avenue was temporary shuttered due to safety concerns.

Firefighters were relocated to another firehouse for a few days until the city corrected the structural issues with the floor. The firehouse has since reopened.

As far as the critters, the city is hardly alone in dealing with them. They’ve been discovered at several buildings in the Trenton area over the years.

In 2016, the Mercer County Board of Social Services dealt with them in 2016. Officials there fell victim to an urban legend recommending employees use Bounce dryer sheets to wipe down clothing to eradicate the pests.

That prompted Proctor and Gamble, the maker of the Bounce dryer sheets, to release a statement to The Trentonian debunking the myth.

The blood-sucking parasites were also discovered that year in at least three state buildings, including at the Department of Health.

Ann Klein Forensic Center in Trenton also suffered a bedbug invasion in 2015.

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Bed Bug Allegedly Found On Montreal STM Bus (Video)

A brief video submitted to MTL Blog by Instagram user @sssareenak shows what appears to be a bed bug crawling across the seat of an STM bus in Montreal. The video was taken on Friday July 5th on the 968 bus, which runs between the Côte-Vertu orange line metro station and the Gare Roxboro-Pierrefonds.

An exterminator tells MTL Blog that though the video is too low quality to determine with 100% certainty the identity of the bug, a quick assessment suggests it is, indeed, a bed bug.

We reached out to the STM to inquire specifically about bed bugs on this bus line and, more generally, bed bugs on any vehicle in the STM network.

In response, an agency spokesperson explained only that “we regularly evaluate the cleanliness of buses and trains. When such a situation is brought to our attention, we quickly remove the vehicle from service and take the necessary measures.”

They further explain that bus interiors are washed every 42 days.

The short video of the alleged bed bug is below:

If this is, in fact, a bed bug, this would not be the first time the insect was found on public property.

Last year, an infestation of bed bugs at the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) forced officials to remove most upholstered furniture from the enormous complex in downtown Montreal.

Plastic chairs replaced couches until exterminators were able to eradicate the pests.

Bed bugs, according to a page on the government of Canada website, “are small, wingless insects that feed on the blood of people and animals while they sleep.”

“A bedbug bite can take as long as 14 days to appear, depending on the person. While bites can happen anywhere on the skin, they are often found on the face, neck, arms, legs, and chest.”

There is no indication that bed bugs have spread on the STM network. This appears to have been an isolated incident.

Report reveals live cockroaches, ticks, bedbugs as Branson extended-stay motel is shut down

Springfield

June 27, 2019 | by Sara Karnes

A Branson motel was forced to close after officials deigned it an “imminent health hazard” earlier this week, according to the health department.

Residents at Branson Plaza Motel, 1106 W. Missouri 76, had complained several times about the cockroach infestation and bedbug issues but were allegedly told by management not to call the health department, according to a Taney County Health Department inspection report.

Inspectors began investigating some of the unoccupied motel rooms Monday, June 24, said Lisa Marshall, the health department’s public information officer.

By Tuesday, inspectors had access to the occupied rooms. They found that pests weren’t just in one or two of them, Marshall said.

“It was a facility-wide issue,” Marshall said. “With pests carrying diseases, it’s not a safe environment.”

Of the approximately 30 rooms, 19 were occupied by long-term residents, Marshall said.

“In regards to residents, we had to shut down the facility quickly,” she said.

Live cockroaches were found in at least 24 rooms, including the motel’s basement and laundry room, according to the inspection report. Bedbugs were found in about nine rooms, and several dead bedbugs were found on the guest laundry floor.

The health department has received “multiple complaints” of cockroaches, bedbugs, ticks and ants at the Branson Plaza Motel from May 20 to June 24. Both the owner and general manager said they weren’t aware of the issues and the “tenants had not notified anyone of the concerns,” the report stated.

“Only one week of weekly room inspection records were provided for the month of June, and several records were not filled out,” the report stated. “No other records for previous weeks were available.”

Several guests said they told the manager about the cockroaches and bedbugs, and the manager either tried to self treat the room with pesticides or did nothing, the report stated. Residents told inspectors that they have not had a professional treat their room at any point.

“Due to the severity of the cockroach infestation observed throughout the entire building, this is an imminent health hazard for the occupants of the room,” according to the report.

Once the health inspectors found that the complaints were valid, Marshall said the facility has been closed.

“Ultimately, it’s the owner’s obligation that they have a facility that meets code requirements,” Marshall said.

Branson Plaza Motel’s health department permit has been pulled and it has lost its state lodging license, Marshall said.

By losing its state lodging license, Branson Plaza Motel’s business license with the city of Branson is nullified, said Melody Pettit, the city’s communications manager.

The city deployed its relocation team to assist residents in extended-stay motels. Emergency personnel, government agencies and several nonprofits work to help find other places for affected tenants to go, Marshall said.

Salvation Army Social Services Director Becky Gerhart said she has had more than 10 people from the Branson Plaza Motel have come to her office so far for assistance.

“Our project interjection was to replace food and clothing that they needed,” Gerhart said.

Many of the residents’ belongings were spoiled, out-of-date or contaminated by the infestation, Gerhart said.

About six families have also been given lodging assistance through the Salvation Army, Gerhart said.

This is the first time the health department has led the charge because of the health concerns, Pettit said.

As of Thursday, Pettit said she believed about three individuals had slept at Branson Plaza Motel.

“The situation was that because they couldn’t find anywhere to stay, the owner may be cited for the number of people who stayed there,” Pettit said.

Neither Pettit nor Marshall was sure of the exact number of residents who had been staying at the motel.

For Branson Plaza Motel to reopen, it would have to take several steps, according to the inspection report, including:

  • A service contract with a professional pest control company for the monthly preventative maintenance of pests.
  • A written, detailed treatment plan created with their professional pest control technician for how and when all of the rooms will be treated after all rooms have been vacated. Plan must have a list of scheduled treatment dates and a designated person for monitoring pest activity during process. After each treatment, all floors shall be cleaned to remove dead cockroaches.
  • A written integrated pest management plan (IPM) created with their professional pest control technician to ensure the presence of pests is minimized in the future and the facility is taking a proactive approach to ensure any pest concerns are addressed immediately and all adjacent rooms are also inspected for pests.
  • A written plan for who will be responsible for conducting the weekly room inspections, when, who will verify that the inspections are done, and what the corrective action will be if the inspections are not done.
  • Who will be accountable for ensuring all pest plans are followed and weekly room inspections are done.
  • The last 6 months of monthly professional pest control services and the treatment invoices for guest rooms with concerns.

The facility cannot self-treat for cockroaches and is not approved to self-treat for bedbugs by using pesticides or heat, the report stated

“A professional pest control company must be used for all pest services,” the report stated.

Pettit said the city of Branson is willing to work with the motel owner to regain its business license.

“That’s been our main thing — no matter how much money someone makes — everyone deserves a safe and clean place to live,” Pettit said.

A News-Leader reporter attempted to reach the manager or owner of Branson Plaza Motel by phone but was told “we don’t have any comments” before an individual at the facility hung up.

Experts Warn of Bed Bug Encounters Ahead of Busy Travel Season

travel.jpgFAIRFAX, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–May 29, 2019

The National Pest Management Association shares tips to avoid contact with hitchhiking pests during Bed Bug Awareness week.

As the busy travel season commences and families finalize their vacation plans for summer, experts at the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) are warning vacationers to remain vigilant during Bed Bug Awareness Week, this June 2-8. An annual observance recognized by Chase’s Calendar of Events, Bed Bug Awareness Week serves as an important reminder that bed bugs can wreak havoc if brought home after traveling, making prevention key to staving off an infestation.

Bed bugs are one of the most common pests, and according to NPMA’s 2018 Bugs Without Borders survey, 97 percent of U.S. pest control professionals surveyed reported they treated for bed bugs in 2018, with 68 percent saying they treated hotels specifically. A recent online research study conducted between January 2018 and May 2019 by Advanced Symbolics Inc. using a representative sample of 274,500 Americans revealed a 9 percent increase in people reporting bed bugs from just April to May, 2019, and a 21 percent increase in concerns regarding bed bugs as a potential health and home threat during that same time period.

“Bed bugs can be found anywhere, whether it be a 5-star hotel or a summer camp,” said Cindy Mannes, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. “These pests do not discriminate, and many people usually transport bed bugs with them back to their homes without even knowing they’re doing so. To prevent these freeloaders from hitchhiking back home with your family, it is important to take proper precautions when traveling this summer.”

To help vacationers avoid bringing home any hitchhiking pests this travel season, the NPMA is sharing the following prevention tips:

  • Thoroughly inspect the entire room before unpacking, including behind the headboard, under lights, and inside dressers, drawers, sofas and chairs.
  • Pull back hotel sheets and inspect the mattress seams, particularly at the corners, for telltale stains or spots. If you see anything suspect, change rooms/establishments immediately.
  • Carry a small flashlight to assist you with visual inspections.
  • Vacuum and properly inspect suitcases after returning from a vacation. Do not bring the suitcase into your home until it has been inspected.
  • If you think you may have brought bed bugs home with you, seek professional pest control assistance to address an infestation, as this is not a do-it-yourself pest.

For more information about how to prevent bed bugs visit PestWorld.org.

Bedbugs: What you need to know to avoid bedbugs on vacation

What to do when you check-in a hotel

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) June 10, 2019 – Don Dare – As you head out for your vacation this summer, be vigilant about checking for bedbugs. Pest control professionals report that a majority of their business is treating hotels.

Bedbugs can be found anywhere, from luxury hotels to a summer camp. Imagine you’re on that vacation you have looked forward to, only to wake up your first morning covered in bedbug bites. The insects are so tiny, they’re difficult to see, but the bites are painful.

Bedbugs can be found almost everywhere

Experts say bedbugs like to hide out in mattresses near the bed boards. Dr. Brittany Campbell is an entomologist. She studies insects for the National Pest Management Association.

“We found that 97 percent of pest control professionals were treating for bedbugs in the United States,” Campbell said. “They can be found, I know this is surprising, but almost anywhere. They will bite you. Their bite can cause an allergic reaction. It can cause a skin reaction. Everyone’s immune system is different., but you can have an allergic reaction. In severe cases, those reactions can create blisters.”

Campbell says bedbugs are resilient creatures. They’ve developed resistance to the pesticides we have on the market now.

“They’re very difficult to control yourself, so I really encourage you to reach out to a professional,” she said.

Killing bedbugs isn’t easy

Mark Nadolski with Russell’s Pest Control says bedbugs hide in the smallest places in and around beds and box springs, and killing them isn’t easy.

How to check for bedbugs in a hotel

“I would really encourage you to go to the bed, pull down the sheets. Go all the way down to the mattress. Look in the mattress seams. That’s where bed bugs are going to hide,” she said.

If you find bedbugs in your room while on vacation, take a picture of them to show to the manager and insist on another room. If you think you have brought the bugs home with you from your vacation, it’s best to get professional help to zap an infestation.

Bed bug incident reported at Ansonia Middle School

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ANSONIA, Conn. (WTNH) – June 4, 2019 — There is a bed bug outbreak at a middle school in Ansonia.

A parent contacted News 8 after a recording about the bed bug outbreak was sent out to the school community by the Ansonia Middle School principal on Monday.

The recording advises parents that a letter will be going home with students about a recent incident involving a single insect that was found in one of the exam room’s in the school nurse’s office.

The insect was removed and after an analysis from state officials, it was determined that the insect was common bed bug.

To ensure that the school is free of any bed bugs, an inspection will be conducted by a pest control specialist, as well as a follow up treatment to effective areas.

A letter from Dr. Carol Merlone, Ansonia Superintendent of Schools, reads:

A single bed bug was found in Ansonia Middle School on Monday, June 3, and a licensed pest control specialist determined today, June 4, that there isn’t any evidence that there are any other bed bugs in the school.

“A letter was sent home with Ansonia Middle School students, notifying parents and guardians about this isolated incident,” Dr. Carol Merlone, Superintendent of Schools, reported this afternoon. She said the school nurse found an insect in one of the exam rooms in her office, and the insect was removed from the exam room and immediately sent for analysis to the Department of Entomology at the Connecticut Agricultural Experimental Station in New Haven.  It was determined that the insect was a “common” bed bug, Dr. Merlone said. She added that the Valley Health Department was also notified.

The parent letter provided information about bed bugs, including that they do not carry diseases but are a nuisance; that they cannot survive out of their own environment; and that schools are not likely to have a major infestation but rather may have a few bugs which are carried by students or adults. Anyone with additional questions about bed bugs may call the Naugatuck Valley Health District at (203) 881-3255.

“We are working with the student and the family,” Dr. Merlone said, adding that the licensed pest control specialist will return to ensure that the school remains free of bed bugs.

The final day of the school year is this Friday, June 7.

Sandals’ management investigates ‘bed bugs’ claim

Observer-Newspaper1May 29, 2019

Front-3-Sandals-reduced-Custom

Management at the Sandals Grande Antigua resort has confirmed receiving a report that two of its guests were allegedly bitten by bed bugs while staying at the hotel.

When contacted, a representative of the resort said an investigation into the matter is ongoing.

“Here at Sandals Grande Antigua we can confirm that we did receive a report from a couple, one of our guests, regarding insect bites and the matter is currently being investigated as we speak,” General Manager of Sandals Grande Antigua, Matthew Cornall said.

He continued: “As we know here in Antigua, it’s a tropical island and it’s known for its beautiful flora and fauna including a number of native insects which are pretty common throughout the region. Our top priority is the safety and comfort of our guests and we maintain a robust environment of health and safety programs geared at ensuring justice.”

The visiting couple told OBSERVER media that they were “devoured” by the bugs while on island for a friend’s wedding.

“After spending one night in room 612, we both noticed several bites on our bodies…we didn’t put things together, until the third day of suffering we looked closer at the bed. We were disgusted to find several large bugs in our bed. I guess they had grown from feasting us,” the husband said while recounting the entire ordeal.

He said that on the first night of their stay, they noticed bites about their bodies which they assumed at the time could have been due to sand flies or mosquitoes.

It was not until the following morning that couple said they noticed blood and a bug in their bed.

The couple alleged that the management of Sandals then imputed that the blood could have been as a result of the woman’s menstrual cycle and the bugs could have been brought in when they checked in.

That explanation, according the couple, was not only bizarre but offensive.

By the third day the visitors reportedly saw several large bugs in the bed and even though the management saw them, they refused to take responsibility.

“They both denied that they had bed bugs and that they didn’t exist in the Caribbean. After a quick google search we found several reports of bed bugs on the resort and in government buildings and the airport. So, it is not true that bed bugs can’t survive here,” the husband added.

According to them, they informed the management about the problem but it was not treated with any urgency. Further, they said the hotel’s management refused to refund them their monies, and asked that the entire experience be kept a secret.

The couple said they are perturbed by the occurrence and will be speaking to legal authorities on the matter.

Bedbug bill leads to eviction, Savannah woman says

May 21, 2019  by Martin Staunton

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – A Savannah woman says a problem with bedbugs and maintenance issues led to her eviction.

The single mother & new grandmother is now looking for a new place to live over a dispute she lost in court with her landlord, Timberland Apartments.

39-year old Juanita Porter says she’s lived in Savannah her entire life, but this is the first time she’s been evicted.

“I’m humiliated,” she said, choking back tears. “It’s really breaking me and if I break, my whole family breaks, because I am all my kids have. And the thing that makes it so bad is I got to put my personal business on the news just to be heard.”

On her final day as a resident, Porter received some of her final guests — a pair of code compliance to investigate her complaints of shoddy maintenance, windows, wall cracks, and bedbugs.

Porter says she should have called long ago when a bad situation grew worse.

“When I moved in Timberland two years ago in A-12, I’d been having problems with mold, plumbing,” she explained, adding that she dealt with flooding and mold. “I’ve lost half of my belongings in A-12. So I got an emergency move in September 2018.”

Once she was moved into the new apartment, Porter said she discovered bedbugs were present.

“Last week of March, first week of April I saw bedbug activity. I was bitten up,” she said, adding, “When I reported it to the landlord, they sent the exterminator out, who confirmed it was bedbugs.”

Porter says there was a $750 fee attached to her rent payment for the bedbug treatment.

“I signed the promise to pay before I found out about the infestation. I was trying to do the right thing,” she said. “Never had a problem with rent. There were times they had to credit me because they were overcharging me from Section 8 and I had to go to my caseworker for her to clarify it.”

News 3 went to the leasing office to speak with someone to get answers. The current property manager at Timberland Apartments identified herself as Miss Sunny.

She declined an on-camera interview saying “no comment.” Miss Sunny cited tenant privacy issues as to why she could not talk to News 3 about Porter’s eviction.

Porter says this situation is taking a toll on two fronts.

“They’re not only retaliating, hurting me financially, they’re hurting me and my children emotionally,” she said, adding, “I lost everything and people know I work hard to get everything I had on my own…on my own and now we’re put out.”

Porter is now out of time to find a new home, but while it may be her first eviction, it’s not her first fight for something she believes is right.

“I fought my way through college. Four long years, for that special day to be taken away from me,” she said. “That’s not right and every time I go and talk to them they and they’re always making it like it’s my fault because I don’t know the codes, I don’t know what’s supposed to be what.  I don’t know what they can get away with.”

Porter says she did sign a promissory note to cover the eviction cost and that’s how the landlord won the case against her. She says she’s stepping forward to remind renters to be very mindful of all the language in the lease, or you could find yourself covering an expense you may not believe you’re responsible for.

Once the code compliance inspection is complete, Timberland Apartments will be notified of any violations found and given time to fix them.

 

Bed Bug Infestation Sweeping Metro Denver

FOX31 – July 18, 2017, by Keagan Harsh

DENVER — Tourists are coming to Colorado in droves this summer, and it’s not just visitors of the two-legged kind.  Our state is seeing an infestation of bed bugs.

Christina Thomas experienced it first hand. Thomas was visiting an Extended Stay America in Colorado Springs and says she woke up to find bed bugs all over her pillow.


“I woke up and three inches from my face I see a spot, and I look at it and say ‘no way, is that a bed bug?'” she said.

Christina isn’t the only person dealing with bed bugs in Colorado.

Jacob Marsh is one of several Denver exterminators absolutely overwhelmed with bed bug calls.

“It’s infestation levels over the whole city pretty much,” he said. “Right now we’re working 6 or 7 days a week,” said Marsh.

He says this is the worst time of year for bed bugs. However, Colorado’s infestation actually began several years ago. He estimates more than 3,500 homes are treated for bed bugs in the Denver area every year.


It’s a problem Marsh attributes to both the state’s growing population and Colorado’s popularity as a tourist destination.

“Denver is usually ranked 4th to 6th worst in the nation. We get a lot of good things when things are booming like it is, but unfortunately when people are coming in and traveling you also get a lot of unwanted visitors,” he said.

If you’re staying at a hotel there are things you can do to try and keep the bugs away.

First, store your luggage away from the bed on luggage racks or even in the bathroom.


Also, check the sheets, mattress, and bed frame for signs of the bugs.

One of the biggest misconceptions about bed bugs is that they’re too small to see. Most are actually about the size of an apple seed, and similar in appearance.

As for Christine Thomas, she isn’t taking any chances. She checked out of the hotel and left.

Weed-whacking Herbicide Proves Deadly

By Dr. Mercola

The United States uses about 1.1 billion pounds of pesticides each year.1, 2 Worldwide pesticide use amounts to approximately 5.2 billion pounds annually. There’s little doubt that the current pesticide load is taking a toll, as mounting research has linked pesticides to an array of serious health problems.

Processed foods form the basis of nearly everyone’s diet, as 95 percent of the food Americans buy is processed. If this is you, then you can consider yourself in the highest risk category, as such fare tends to contain the greatest amounts of hidden genetically engineered (GE) ingredients, and hence the highest pesticide load.

Avoiding pesticide exposure – around your home, in your community, and via the food you eat – is important for reducing your risk for a number of chronic and devastating diseases, including Parkinson’s and DNA damage indicative of early-stage cancer.3, 4

Now, with the publication of a new meta-analysis,5 the evidence linking pesticides to cancer is stronger than ever. The analysis, which included 44 papers exploring the impacts of pesticide exposure on non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, concluded there appears to be a strong link between the two.

The study, which was done by a team at the International Agency for Research on Cancer in France, covering nearly three decades’ worth of epidemiologic research, will likely be taken seriously worldwide.

Phenoxy Herbicides Linked to Lymphoma

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), or sometimes simply referred to as lymphoma, is a type of blood cancer that originates in your lymphatic system. It’s the sixth most common type of cancer in the US, with an estimated 69,000 Americans diagnosed each year. Worldwide, NHL accounts for an estimated 37 percent of all cancers.

According to the featured research,6 phenoxy herbicides, including 2,4-D and dicamba, are clearly associated with three distinct types of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Besides cancer, other documented health hazards associated with phenoxy herbicides include developmental and reproductive problems.

This is particularly chilling considering the fact that use of these herbicides have risen several-fold since the early 2000s, and their use will increase even further if 2,4-D and dicamba-tolerant crops are approved.

Carbamate insecticides, organophosphorus insecticides, and the active ingredient lindane—an organochlorine insecticide also used to treat head lice—were also positively associated with NHL. The strongest evidence however, is reported for glyphosate and B cell lymphoma. According to the authors:

“The United States Environmental Protection Agency defines pesticides as substances intended to prevent, destroy, repel, or mitigate a pest. Within this broad category, pesticides are often grouped according to the type of pests that they control; for example, fungicides are used to kill fungi, insecticides to kill insects, and herbicides to kill weeds and plants…

Because pesticides are thought to have different toxicologic and immunologic effects, identifying the chemicals and chemical groups that are most dangerous to humans and non-target living organisms is important. From a research perspective, the decision about what chemicals to investigate has implications for disease prevention…

Despite compelling evidence that NHL is associated with certain chemicals, this review indicates the need for investigations of a larger variety of pesticides….”

The Toxic Legacy of Our Most Widely Used Pesticides

If you’ve been regularly reading this newsletter you’re already aware of the evidence building against glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s broad-spectrum herbicide Roundup, and other formulations.

For example, groundbreaking research7 published just last summer revealed a previously unknown mechanism of harm from glyphosate, prompting its authors to conclude that glyphosate residues—found in most processed foods in the Western diet courtesy of GE sugar beets, corn, and soy8 — “enhance the damaging effects of other food-borne chemical residues and toxins in the environment to disrupt normal body functions and induce disease.”

Evidence also suggests glyphosate may be a key player in Argentina’s growing health problems, where birth defects and cancer rates have skyrocketed among GE corn and soya farming communities.

In the province of Chaco, birth defects have quadrupled in the decade following the introduction of GE crops,9 and in the village of Malvinas Argentinas, which is surrounded by GE soy plantations, the rate of miscarriage is 100 times the national average. According to experts, rates of cancer, infertility and endocrine dysfunction could reach catastrophic levels in Argentina over the next 10-15 years.

A toxic combination of Roundup and fertilizers has also been blamed for tens of thousands of deaths among farmers in Sri Lanka, India, and Central America’s Pacific coastline (El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica).

Modern Agriculture Methods Have Turned Food Into Poison

While nearly one billion pounds of glyphosate alone is doused on both conventional and GE crops worldwide each year, genetically engineered (GE) crops receive the heaviest amounts. Farmers everywhere are also progressively increasing their usage of the chemical due to the proliferation of glyphosate-resistant weeds—a logical side-effect that pesticide makers said would be highly unlikely.

Farmers are also resorting to using multiple chemicals on their fields, and harsher varieties, in an effort to stay ahead of resistant weeds and pests. The phenoxy herbicide 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) is one of them. This chemical, which Dow touts as a solution to the glyphosate-resistant weed problem, was actually one of the active ingredients in the now infamous Agent Orange, used during the Vietnam War.

Many veterans suffered permanent side effects from their exposure to this potent defoliant, and hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese children have been born with serious birth defects as a result of its use during the war. Despite that, 2,4-D is still one of the most widely used herbicides in the world, and 2,4-D-resistant crops are now under development, which would increase its use even further. If that’s not a frightening proposition, I don’t know what is.

Part of the original rationale for using GE crops was that they could be sprayed with less toxic herbicides, such as Roundup—which was falsely marketed as “harmless” and “biodegradable.”

Now, mounting research reveals that Roundup may actually be one of the most toxic chemicals ever to enter our food supply! Some scientists, like Dr. Don Huber, believe it may be even more toxic than DDT. Mounting research also reveals how glyphosate and other pesticides destroy soil microbes, thereby inhibiting the fertility of the soil. This in turn means fewer nutrients in the food.

The Biological Effects of Glyphosate

Glyphosate, which systemically contaminates the plant and cannot be washed off, has been found to have a number of devastating biological effects, including the following:

Nutritional deficiencies, as glyphosate immobilizes certain nutrients and alters the nutritional composition of the treated crop Disruption of the biosynthesis of aromatic amino acids (these are essential amino acids not produced in your body that must be supplied via your diet)
Increased toxin exposure (this includes high levels of glyphosate and formaldehyde in the food itself) Impairment of sulfate transport and sulfur metabolism; sulfate deficiency
Systemic toxicity—a side effect of extreme disruption of microbial function throughout your body; beneficial microbes in particular, allowing for overgrowth of pathogens Gut dysbiosis (imbalances in gut bacteria, inflammation, leaky gut, and food allergies, such as gluten intolerance)
Enhancement of damaging effects of other foodborne chemical residues and environmental toxins as a result of glyphosate shutting down the function of detoxifying enzymes Creation of ammonia (a byproduct created when certain microbes break down glyphosate), which can lead to brain inflammation associated with autism and Alzheimer’s disease
Food Isn’t the Only Source of Toxic Pesticides

While pesticide residues in food are certainly a primary health concern, you may also be unnecessarily exposed to these toxins while working in your own garden. Children and pregnant women are particularly vulnerable, and should be protected against any and all exposures. Unfortunately, according to a previous survey by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), many Americans fail to take proper precautions when it comes to these toxic chemicals:10

Almost half of all households with children under the age of five had at least one pesticide stored in an UNLOCKED cabinet less than four feet off the ground, which was within a child’s reach.
Bathrooms and kitchens were cited as areas most likely to have improperly stored pesticides — for example, common household pesticides such as roach spray, insect repellents, pet shampoo, and flea and tick products.
I strongly recommend eliminating pesticides from your home, as there are many non-toxic ways to address pests and weeds. Furthermore, a number of pesticides have been implicated in the mass death of critical pollinating insects like bees and the Monarch butterfly. In the case of bees, the die-offs are now happening at a scale that is threatening our food supply.

When planting your garden, please bear in mind that more than half of so-called “bee friendly” garden plants sold at Lowe’s and other garden centers —i.e. plants that attract bees—have been pre-treated with pesticides that could be lethal to the bees. So be sure to ask whether the plants have been pre-treated, and please do not buy pre-treated varieties. Keep in mind that you also help protect the welfare of honey bees11 every time you shop organic. This way, you can actually “vote” for less pesticides and herbicides with each and every meal you make.

Pet Cancer Is Also on the Rise—and It Too Is Linked to Pesticide Exposure

To really bring home the importance of ridding your home and garden of pesticides, I also want to bring your attention to the compelling links between pesticide exposure and cancer in pets. One six-year long study conducted at Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine has linked lawn pesticides to canine malignant lymphoma (CML). The risk for CML increased by as much as 70 percent in some dogs.

Another study12 published last year found that dogs exposed to garden and lawn chemicals such as 2,4-D, dicamba, and 4-chloro-2-methylphenoxypropionic acid (MCPP), have higher incidence of bladder cancer. Breeds with a genetic predisposition for bladder cancer, including Beagles, Scottish Terriers, Shetland Sheepdogs, West Highland White Terriers, and Wire Hair Fox Terriers are at particularly high risk. According to lead study author Deborah Knapp of Purdue University’s Department of Veterinary Clinical Services, in an interview with Discovery News:

“The routes of exposure that have been documented in experimental settings include ingestion, inhalation and transdermal exposures. In the case of dogs, they could directly ingest the chemicals from the plant, or they could lick their paws or fur and ingest chemicals that have been picked up on their feet, legs or body.”

Needless to say, once your dog gets the chemicals on its coat and paws, it can spread them throughout your house, contaminating floors and furniture. You and your children can also be exposed by petting or holding your dog. Ideally, you’ll want to avoid lawn chemicals if you have pets, and should your pet roam around on treated grass, make sure to bathe him as soon as possible.

How to Protect Yourself and Your Family from Toxic Pesticides

As you can see, pesticides are all around you. They may have been developed to kill certain bothersome insects or intrusive weeds, but we’re now at a point where these chemicals are used in such massive quantities that they threaten human life on multiple fronts—through ingestion, topical exposure, pollinator die-offs, and the destruction of soil fertility! While you may not be able to eliminate exposure entirely, it would be sensible to take certain common-sense precautions to avoid the most common sources of exposure:

Stop using Roundup and other lawn and garden pesticides, as children and pets can come into contact with it simply by walking across the area.
Avoid commercial bug killers, such as mosquito, tick, and flea sprays. To learn how to repel such pests without hazardous chemicals, please see my previous article “How to Prevent and Treat Insect Bites Without Harsh Chemicals.” When it comes to head lice, avoid using the pesticide lindane. Instead, use an old-fashioned nit comb, plus the oils of anise and ylang ylang combined into a natural spray. This has been found to be highly effective in eliminating more than 90 percent of head lice. Coconut oil is another effective alternative.
Avoid processed foods, as they’re typically loaded with GE ingredients, which are most heavily contaminated with pesticides and herbicides like glyphosate. Ideally, you’d be best off opting for products bearing the USDA 100% organic label when buying processed foods in order to avoid exposure to agricultural chemicals, which certainly are not limited to Roundup. Meats need to be grass-fed or pastured to make sure the animals were not fed GE corn or soy feed.
That said, I urge you to consider boycotting every single product owned by members of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), including natural and organic brands. For more information on this historic boycott, please see my recent article, “When You Learn What They’re Up to Now, You Too Will Want to Boycott Monsanto and GMA.”

 

#saynotopesticides