So this happened the day before New Year to a local farmer on the North Shore.
Yes, someone decided to set fire to this farmer’s equipment. What’s even worse is some of the comments that got posted.
This is extremely disturbing to see small farmers being subject to accusations like this. It’s even more questionable when this farmer is new to speaking up for agriculture on the social media in this group. The timing of this fire and him speaking up is a little too coincidental. The fact that these commenters can’t recognize what’s clearly wrong from right is downright scary.
You won’t see the sources of misinformation condemning this action either. They simply act as if nothing is happening. This was evident with the unfolding of Bill 2491 saga when vandalism against the farms were being fueled by activists.
Even Roseanne Barr wanted in on the action thanks to Babes Against Biotech’s Nomi Carmona touting crop destruction.
So should we be surprised that their followers are so angry and fearful to even learn? They can’t even take the time to learn from their local farmers and continue to harm their reputations online if one should try to speak publicly. Then they point fingers at those who disagrees with them as bullies.
The likes of Ashley Lukens of the Center for Food Safety and Kauai County Council member, Gary Hooser, will never come out and condemn any of this kind of behaviors either. It’s simply ignored. It can’t be ignored anymore if it threatens that 1.8% of folks who grow Hawaii. Anyone who supports people like this clearly have no aloha and is the biggest threat to Hawaii’s farmers and worst than any nanograms of detected pesticides they complain about.
Here’s another clue as to why people are so afraid of pesticides but really could learn more about the amounts detected.
If ones does a little bit of math and some study of toxicology, it isn’t as scary as it looks. Let me explain it with a bit of math and some data available.
So, 2,4-D was detected on a window screen at a level of 47.45 nanograms. Toxicity is measured by LD50, which means a lethal dose where 50% of the test population is killed. The LD50 of mice is 375 milligrams/kg of body weight. That equates to 375,000,000 nanograms to be acutely toxic to mice. If you have a hard time with metric conversions, there are great calculators to help you calculate this.
If you simply divide that number by the detected amount, you’ll get a figure of 8,247,195.95. So what does that mean? It really means that you’ll need nearly 8.2 million times of that detected level to kill a mouse. That can also explain why there isn’t masses of dead mice or rats found around farms after an application of crop protection products. But remember here, that’s the dosage to be toxic to a tiny mouse and not a human that is thousands of times larger.
Let’s figure out the toxicity of the other products on that list.
Dicamba was detected at 93.84 nanograms. The LD50 for this is 1190 milligrams/kilogram of body weight in mice. That means it takes 1,190,000,000 nanograms to be deadly to a mouse. It would take 12,684,159.4 times that detected amount to be toxic to a rodent.
So let’s go through the entire list to really determine the toxicity of these products to mice.
Ametryn has an LD50 of 975 milligrams/kilogram of body weight for mice. It would take 27,280,600.5 times that amount to be harmful to a mouse.
What about the levels of other products? Diuron would need some 32,786,855.2 times the detected amount to kill a rat with an LD50 of 3400 milligrams/kilogram of body weight. Hexazinone would need some 32,76,885 times that amount to be lethal to a rat. Pendimethalin has LD50 of greater than 5000 milligrams/ kilogram of body weight for rats. It would take some 128,369,785 times that amount to be deadly to a rat.
So considering the levels and the measures needed to be harmful to a rat or mouse, to us it’s a different story when put into perspective. Some people will say that these measures only reflect acute toxicity, which is true. However, when you look up some of these crop protection products, there is chronic toxicity tests done with animals and most of it turns to be in the milligrams not the minuscule nanograms.
I do have to be thankful for the brave anti-GMO folks that try to spam up pro-science Facebook pages. They love to post all kinds of things from unsourced memes repeating all of the common mantras but every once in awhile they post a good one that shows the source of their fears.
The great thing about this Department of Agriculture report is that it’s all hard data on there. One can’t call the nanogram found on there as “propaganda.” It’s simply data that is measured and clearly shows the truth that is easily skewed by clever politicians who don’t educate or encourage learning.
2016 should be a year of learning in Hawaii. People need to learn about what they fear and ask questions. If we don’t start encouraging others to learn, we will lose more aloha and our farmers will be subjected to fearful, angry people like these.
It’s time to learn science. If our politicians are true leaders, they will support the data and evidence instead of allowing these voices to be used to direct policy. They will also take responsibility for their actions and all the consequences. Unfortunately, as we are seeing, these people won’t take such steps.