According to a recent issue of Science News , an EPA-funded study indicates that "there is a link between exposure to poisonous doses of agricultural pesticides known as organophosphates and a number of neuropsychological problems, including depression, irritability, and difficulty in thinking, memory, and communication."
Here are the latest reports on homestead news, including the National Alliance of Homebased Businesswomen, agricultural pesticides, Chippewa ban lead shot, Community Environmental Legal Services, and bee hive protection.
Home Businesses Rule
The National Alliance of Homebased Businesswomen (NAHB) has
developed a model zoning ordinance for home businesses. The
model is designed to allow home businesses the same
privileges as other businesses while protecting the
residential character of a neighborhood. Send $2.00 to
NAHB, Midland Park, NJ, for a copy of
Sans Television Tube
The Committee on Nationwide Television Audience Measurement
has noted an increase in the percentage of American
households without a television. The number of telly-less
homes increased from 2.9% in 1982 to 4.3% today.
Bad Agricultural News
According to a recent issue of Science News , an
EPA-funded study indicates that "there is a link between
exposure to poisonous doses of agricultural pesticides
known as organophosphates and a number of
neuropsychological problems, including depression,
irritability, and difficulty in thinking, memory, and
communication." Organophosphates have been widely used for
decades; a particularly toxic oneparathionis thought to be
responsible for half of all pesticide poisonings in the
More Bad Agricultural News
Despite the poisonings — of both humans and the
environment — pesticide use is often promoted by aid
agencies and governments of developing countries that
provide chemical subsidies to farmers. A study by the World
Resources Institute has found that hundreds of millions of
dollars are spent annually to subsidize the sale of
pesticides to growers in developing nations. When the cost
of using the dangerous chemicals is heavily discounted,
farmers choose them over more laborintensive, but
environmentally safer, methods of pest control.
Good Environmental News
There is an increasing awareness of the harm
caused by environmentally detrimental "aid" to developing
countries. Legislation passed late in 1985 requires U.S.
representatives to the World Bank and three other
development banks to work for environmental reforms in the
banks' lending policies. Science News magazine reports that
the U.S. executive directors of these banks must now
actively promote such practices as "the hiring of more
professionally trained staff to identify potential
ecological impacts of projects up for funding, the
involvement of conservation groups and native-peoples'
organizations in the planning of environmentally sensitive
projects, and more funding of `environmentally beneficial'
projects such as agroforestry, integrated pest management,
and rural solar energy systems."
Circumcision Services, Inc. has opened a clinic in Houston
for the sole purpose of circumsising male infants. Special
Delivery (a newsletter of Informed Homebirth, Inc. and
Informed Birth and Parenting, Inc.) reports that the clinic
is advertised in a brochure distributed by the American
College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in a gift pack
given to new mothers. How interesting. In a 1978 statement
of policy, the ACOG supported the American Academy of
Pediatricians' position that "there is no absolute medical
indication for routine circumcision of the newborn."
Chippewa Ban Lead Shot
The Chippewa have voted to ban the use of lead shot by
tribal members hunting waterfowl during their of reservation
treaty hunts in northern Wisconsin. Lead pellets lying on
shallow lake and river bottoms are picked up by feeding
ducks, geese, and other waterfowl and cause lead poisoning.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that two to
three million ducks in this country die from the effects of
lead each year. Eagles and other scavenger birds are also
poisoned when they feed on the lead-contaminated waterfowl.
Tired of the decades-long debate over the use of lead shot,
the Chippewa have decided to "lead the way in achieving a
nontoxic method for hunting waterfowl." (A detailed article
about this problem, and a comparison of lead and steel
shot, can be found in MOTHER EARTH NEWS NO. 79.)
CELS Legal Help
The Environmental Task Force has initiated Community
Environmental Legal Services (CELS), a national
publicinterest law firm that will provide free legal
assistance to grass roots groups and concerned citizens. If
you need legal support for an environmental problem in your
community, write to CELS, Washington, DC.
Bee Hive Protection
Some wood preservatives, when used on beehives, decrease
bees' survival rates and contaminate the honey and beeswax.
But scientists with the USDA now consider three
preservatives — copper napthenate, acid copper
chromate, and copper-9-quinolinolate — safe for use on
beehives. Pentachlorophenol (PCP), chromated copper
arsenate (CCA), and tributyl tin oxide (TBTO) are not safe
for hive use. One USDA entomologist says wood preservatives
can extend the useful life of a hive to 20 years or longer,
but he cautions that "all wood preservatives are pesticides
and should be used judiciously."