When writing about something like 2,4-D Amine 4 or other chemical pesticides, I believe it is only proper to state right up front that I am not a scientist, toxicologist, nor do I represent any entity. I am just an average person who has taken the time to research this product and base my comments on information which has been furnished to me by the EPA, USDA and those who have studied this product in depth. Therefore if you happen to be a scientist or toxicologist please address the document text provided by our government; as I am not qualified to debate the subject.
My first concern was just how accurate is the testing process prior to the release of chemicals by the EPA. I started my study by going to a publication from the EPA itself. Simply stated the report deals with the reliability of the scientific tests on many chemicals. The EPA requires a certain minimum set of studies for different kinds of toxicity before the chemical is registered. The EPA includes certain standards that are required from the chemical producer, but the EPA does not necessarily run its own tests and relies on the manufacturer to do these tests. They also lack some important considerations in my opinion. Most tests are carried out on rats, mice, rabbits, dogs and other animals. Humans are not necessarily similar to rats and other laboratory animals. Therefore the EPA sometimes requires testing on two different species to determine acceptable standards for humans. This level of testing assumes that all warm blooded species are alike. The EPA also generally concludes that children are approximately 10 times more susceptible to chemicals than adult humans. A variable standard at best.
Lab rats have the ability to pass some toxins through their system without harm, but other warm blooded species do not have that ability. So when 2, 4-D Amine 4 is considered moderately toxic to rats it could be seriously toxic to other species. Then to compound this even further certain humans are more susceptible to toxic chemicals than other humans. The range of human susceptibility is not actually known so this factor may not be sufficiently protective.
Another consideration is that the test animal is only exposed to a single chemical. In the environment the human is exposed to multiple toxins simultaneously which can lead to cumulative effects. Also not all types of toxicity are studied in detail. The increase in the last 30+ years with diseases linked to chemical exposure are growing. Such as ADD, ADHD, asthma, early onset of menstruation, chemical sensitivity, immune issues, reproduction, and systemic dysfunction to name a few. The EPA relies on the chemical industry to do the testing and the criteria it demands leaves potential risk assessment nebulous, incomplete or uncertain.
The process of which chemicals actually get tested for toxicity such as carcinogens and reproductive toxins can be either scientific or political which is why not all chemicals receive extensive scrutiny or any scrutiny at all. Chemicals can also be approved for use before being registered and the toxic effects may not be fully known for 20 years or longer. The EPA attempts to compensate for many of these factors by adding an 'uncertainty factor,' to establish what is acceptable. To me the entire testing process appears to
be like shooting an arrow into the side of the barn and then painting a bulls eye around it.
As I have studied these documents given to me by the various government agencies. I have had questions arise whether the EPA is really looking our for our general welfare or not. If not the general public's then who are they looking out for? The reader can decide for themselves but I have become very careful with what I now expose our family to. It seems to me the EPA is over whelmed with its task and probably does the best it can under the circumstances but in the testing process there are a lot of areas that seem lacking which leave us as society very seriously exposed. I'm sure the dynamics between the EPA and the chemical producers play an important role as well. These extrapolations came from an EPA document that summarizes OPPTS Harmonized Test Guidelines, U.S. EPA Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances, July 27, 2006. It appears that covering this topic will not be accomplished in a single blog posting, therefore I intend to cover other aspects in upcoming blogs such as what actually is 2,4-D Amine 4, and what are the toxic effects on humans and animals, and my unqualified attempt to summarize the entire use of chemical herbicides.
Photo above courtesy of Fotosearch.com royalty free.