Below, find a letter I sent to a handful of Reed City High School employees.
Josilyn will not attend school for a 24 hour period after this is sprayed. I recommend NO PREGNANT women or immuno-compromised people attend school that day (WHICH IS TOMORROW!)
I will post an update from the Facilities Management Department (Paul Lewis was the posted contact person at firstname.lastname@example.org) when I receive a response. I sent it a few minutes ago around 10am, so it's fair to not expect a response in the next hour. Hopefully before the end of the school day or Josilyn may end up missing two days, due to my wanting "to be safe rather than sorry."
"I have meant to write many times when I’ve seen pesticides are going to be used on the school grounds. Today I am thankful to have the time to ask some questions and share my personal knowledge. I promise to keep this as brief as possible (and technical terminology to a minimum).
The local areas, throughout the past 100 years, have been exposed numerous times to intense chemical contaminations. Each time, in the months after, the communities downstream of these mistakes get sick. Our repeated exposure to a family of chemicals, known as endocrine disruptors, create havoc in our bodies. They also act as carcinogens, neurotoxins, reproductive toxins, volatile organic compounds, and sensitisers, but my research has not dove deeply into the other areas as of yet. So I’ll focus on what I have learned.
Well known examples of endocrine disruptors:
DDT, Agent Orange, PCB, PBB, BPA, PCE etc.
There have been MANY times corporations have chosen to allow this community to be poisoned. Mistakes happen. As a former laboratory technician at the Mayo Clinic, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Amway, and Perrigo, I understand how easily mistakes happen. However, many of these companies, after realizing the mistake, took minimal to no action, creating a wider spread problem, still hospitalizing our community regularly;
The round of contamination which concerns me the most, the 1973 exposure when PBB (a fire retardant was accidentally added to cattle feed, instead of an additive, which was to increase dairy production) entered the ENTIRE MICHIGAN FOOD CHAIN. Nobody who lived here was safe from the problem. The mistake was realized early by farmers, due to their cattle’s rapid health decline after starting the contaminated feed. When the farmers asked questions at the feed store which supplied the PBB laced feed, they were told it was only happening on their farm, and their sanitation skills needed some examination. The company, Farm Bureau Services, was aware rather quickly, of the mistake made, yet continued to deny allegations. I’m sure this was for legal reasons. As the farmers’ own families, starting with the elderly and children, (not just their livestock/livelihood) began to get sick, with similar issues as they had observed kill their cattle, they knew it was not their fault. With this confidence, they began to contact the Agriculture Department for the State of Michigan. For reasons we’ll likely never know, they also chose to deny. These two denials allowed the problem to continue, allowing the cattle to ingest the fire retardant, leading to the entire food cycle being contaminated.
This family of endocrine disruptors has proven, since the 1800s, to have intense health effects on humans. The current government paperwork will tell you “The effects on humans is unknown at this time and more research is needed” while they completely ignore loads of historical data I have access to online.
The non-technical way I imagine endocrine disruptors working; DNA is chugging along in a cell that needs to divide (this is how children grow and how we repair problem cells and replace dead ones). So, the DNA is a great worker and is happily doing cell cycle work… and then a loud, excited toddler shows up and starts throwing a fit. The DNA will continue to work the best it can, but it’s super hard with that disruptor being so aggravating. Mistakes happen. Mistakes made in the cell cycle can lead to fetal death/deformities, and cancer, illness, and death throughout the population.
Endocrine disruptors have a special ability causing us major problems; the ability to build up in our bodies, known as ‘bioaccumulation.’ So, our community, exposed heavily in 1973, is still full of the stuff, which means we don’t have mild reactions to small exposures. This community can and will have more intense reactions with every single exposure. I think this is a good point to state that the chemicals listed for use tomorrow, May 8, 2018, are strong endocrine disruptors, whether diluted or not.
Another metaphor (to keep the technical words at a minimum);
Imagine our bodies are a glass of water. If the glass is empty and nudged off balance there are few factors acting upon the ability to remain balanced after the nudge. Now we begin to fill the glass, one ounce at a time, and nudge it again after each ounce is added, always being careful to use the same force. It will no longer react as an empty glass, because there’s new and additional factors created from the sloshing water.
Repeat this until the glass is full. At this point, observe a change in the ability to remain balanced after a nudge. When the glass is already full, yet has more water poured on top, the dribbles and spills will continue to occur,
Does it always spill out/over at the same spot?
Did the glass tip over completely?
Did the glass break when it fell over?
Following the glass of water metaphor, imagine each body of a long term area resident is the glass (our bodies) full of “water” (endocrine disruptors). “Full” means we are carrying around high concentrations of endocrine disruptors, which our DNA is constantly trying to ignore, but it’s just so annoying, which leaves the glass unbalanced. This imbalance means small water additions lead to mistakes happening daily in our DNA, leading to obesity, diabetes, arthritis pain/inflammation, decreased memory, etc. (We have been told for decades this is a result of bad decisions we’re making, don’t believe them!!! It’s totally the endocrine disruptors). The glass is full and a small amount of water is added on top of the full glass, if even just a teaspoon, the water spills out.
Just as the spill can happen at any point around the rim of the glass, the havoc created by the endocrine disruptors will spill out of our storage systems and the health changes we will notice are dependent on each of our bodies history (ie. epidemiology).
.Accumulators of Endocrine Disruptors
(high concentration storage locations)
Thyroid, Liver, Spleen, Lymph Nodes, Fatty Tissues, Breast Milk, Brain
So why am I so obsessing about an exposure that happened 25 years ago?
The endocrine disruptors pass from mother to infant, through the placenta and breast milk. This means each generation since 1973, has continued to be exposed, at minimum through breast milk, including the children attending the school today. These children are still growing, which means they have many cell divisions ahead of them (ie chances for illness when the endocrine disruptors are present and added).
What other kind of problems/illnesses do endocrine disruptors cause in our body?
Let’s think about the glass of water again. Life experience gives us good idea of where the water will begin to spill over due to factors like gravity, the angle of the rim, and any physical deformities the rim of the glass had at the beginning of the experiment. We know it will not spill over the rim evenly, but at one or two locations. The same happens in our bodies, which means not all of our storage areas are going to show the problems every time we’re exposed. This also explains why the entire community does not suffer from the exact same health problems, even though we’re full of the same stuff. So, how do these “spills” show up (expressed) in our bodies?
Problems and Illnesses due to Endocrine Disruption
Obesity, hypo/hyperthyroid, confusion, memory loss, Alzheimer’s, ADHD, diabetes, MS, vision problems, slurred speech, exhaustion (needing 16+ hours of sleep), depression, anxiety, shame, blisters, acne, thickened hair growth, thickened skin (ingrown hairs), toenail abnormalities and infections, weakened bones (“Osteoporosis-like”), herpes (all kinds/locations), arthritis, breathing problems including asthma and sinus infections, migraines, lowered impulse control, severe sensitivity to light and sounds, eyelid swelling/puffiness, stye on eyelids, poor vision, muscle twitching/jerking/spasms, drooling (increased salivation), low blood pressure (“anemia-like”), high blood pressure, cancer of soft tissues and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, loss of appetite (anorexia/bulimia), stomach pains, ulcer like symptoms, vomiting, muscle weakness, slowed heart rate, shortness of breath, pee shivers from acid in the urine, incontinence, cyanosis (bluing of the skin and gums), large white area at base of nails, random intense aches throughout the body which pass quickly, unconsciousness, miscarriages, decreased body lengths of developing fetus, an increased incidence of delayed or absent bone formation in offspring (“Polio-like”), and the list can go on and on and on and on...
If the above list hit home, you’re aware we’ve all suffered long enough and it’s time to start making large scale changes.
I do not write because I have simply read about these problems and I like to hear myself talk. I have lived with many of these problems in my body. I currently watch my friends and family spin through the ever-revolving door at Spectrum, suffering from the the effects of the numerous endocrine disruptors present in our day to day lives.
I can no longer ignore our communities failing health.
I am making major changes to my families lifestyle to avoid these poisons, which in turns means my daughter, age 6, will not have to deal with constantly being re-exposed, week after week, meal after meal, for her entire lifetime.
We always want better for our children.
Let’s not surround them with a chemical, known to make them sick.
I know “we’ve been doing this forever” but it doesn’t mean it’s safe or the morally responsible choice.
- What time on Tuesday was this planned to happen?
- There are wind and rain restrictions for application, will this be considered before spreading?
- Where, specifically, are the pesticides being spread at the entrances?
- Is it possible to leave one entrance, at each school, uncontaminated for safe entry for 24 hours (the minimum time I believe should exist before ANYBODY comes near it, according to the chemicals’ half lives (ie LD50))?
- Are there reasons we can’t have broadleaf weeds on the property beside non-uniform grass presentation? I know we “find pride” in having a beautiful lawn, but is it not more important the school provide a SAFE environment, rather than a “visually appealing” experience?
- Will it be a job one person does?
- Since Tripower is regulated and not available to the general public, is the person doing the application properly qualified and fitted with an effective face mask?
- Is the person doing the application aware of the possible side effects to themself, the children, teachers, and administrators?
- Is the person doing the application aware of our communities health exposure sensitivities?
- Can the school buildings be advised, and subsequently announce a time to close the windows and doors during application? *I see the application, according to RC policies, will not be spread while students are in class. Is this something that Facilities Mgmt follows through on?
- Have the pregnant women of the school been informed (they should not come to work for 24 post application) exposure could lead to miscarriage, preterm birth, or low birth weights?
- Why is vinegar, known to kill the unattractive broadleaf weeds being targeted by this herbicide application, instead of the herbicides and pesticides?
- Who else do you recommend I contact regarding this issue?
In the past month, I attended a meeting where elder community members who remember when the PBB was added to our food chain, were discussing what happened then and what problems have happened since. In attendance was also Emory University, in charge of the Michigan’s PBB Registry and subsequent research (though the share almost none of their findings). The community members are still mad at the company which chose to deny it’s knowledge of the mistake in the first months. They also have little trust in the government, because it knowingly chose profits over people’s health by suppressing test results which confirmed the farmers’ suspicions. The sick folks (those still alive) were most disappointed by the employees of the feed mixing company. These employees were community members and had grown up alongside the farmers, the people ingesting the toxins. The employees chose to lie because their employer told them they had to deny it. Imagine, had one single employee, working in the company which spread the feed, chose to do the right thing and inform the farmers... the suffering that could have been avoided!!!
I live my life by the philosophy; “KNOW BETTER, DO BETTER.”
I like to imagine others live this way as well.
The feed company and its employees knew better and chose to turn a blind eye.
After reading this, you now know small exposures can have disastrous results in our community.
So now, I beg you to do better.
Please refuse to spray these chemicals, as is scheduled, for Tuesday, May 8, 2018.
Please choose our community’s health and future over the assigned task.
Your community will support you. None of us care about the broadleaf weeds. However, the kids… they’re kind of special to us.
Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing back from each of you.
Jennifer (Franklin) Newman
Newman’s Local PBB Report
RCHS 1999 Graduate
Parent of RC Kindergartener"