Quit Ignoring the Public Health and Climate Cost of Pesticides
A recent excellent Op-ed, “California needs to quit ignoring the public health and climate cost of pesticides” outlines all the same things that could be said about Utah. The Op-ed explains the multiple ways that pesticides harm the environment, add to the climate crisis, and endanger our health. And all of these reasons apply to the Salt Lake City Mosquito Abatement District’s (SLCMAD) pointless and likely counterproductive use of neurotoxic pesticides to kill mosquitoes in the Salt Lake’s Northwest Quadrant.
1. Pesticides are dangerous to human health in four ways. Most of them are either neurotoxic and/or carcinogenic. They contribute to the formation of both particulate pollution and ozone. Many of them also act to depress the immune system, increasing a person’s risk of numerous diseases like cancer and infectious diseases. They also spread far beyond where they are applied.
2. They add to the greenhouse gas effect. The process of storing carbon in the soil is carried out by millions of subterranean species in the soil, from microscopic organisms to earthworms. When soil life is damaged, it harms the ability of the soil to suck up carbon. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in pesticides contribute to ozone, which in addition to being a human health hazard, is the third most significant greenhouse gas after CO2 and methane.
3. They spread through the entire ecosystem, harming virtually every form of life as they rise up the food chain.