July-August 1983

Circle of Poison
By Paul DeRienzo

It’s not the caffeine or the sugar in the cup of coffee that’s so harmful for you, it’s the circle of poison that’s returning to you in the form of spray on the coffee.

Say goodbye to corporate crime coffee! Coffee that’s poisoned with all kinds of chemical sprays that are produced in the United States but banned for local usage because of their toxicity, tetragenic properties (birth defects, etc.), and tumor causing, both carcinogenic (cancer causers) and nonmalignant.

Since these pesticides (DDT, 2,4,5 D, etc.) can’t be used in the U.S. they are dumped on poorer countries for exorbitant prices and by using economic blackmail (such as not granting loans of money from the World Bank unless they buy the U.S. poisons).

Insect pests as well as plant bacteria and viruses are notorious for adapting faster than they can be eliminated and also mutate to become even more resilient and stronger. Even to the point of thriving on the very poisons meant to kill them.

A decade ago the World Health Organization estimated every year at least 500,000 people were poisoned-and 10,000 killed-by pesticides in the 3rd world. These highly toxic chemicals are sprayed on agricultural workers, on their homes and into their water supply by crop-dusters.

Global use has increased dramatically since then, and although few statistics exist, Dr. Prayoon Deemar, toxicology director of Thailand’s Ministry of Agriculture, estimates that 500,000 people are poisoned by pesticides every year in Thailand alone.

This circle of poison-and the near-total lack of accountability of the chemical corporations which make the pesticides- led the Institute and activist groups from 16 countries to form PAN, the Pesticide Action Network.

Through regional centers already established on each continent, PAN will halt the indiscriminate sale and misuse of hazardous pesticides throughout the world. A newsletter will be distributed from Kenya.

PAN’s goals include:

*Expansion of traditional and integrated pest management, coupled with an end to unnecessary sale and use of chemical pesticides.

*Imposition of export and import controls on the movement of dangerous pesticides from the industrialized to 3rd world countries

*Immediate notification by every government which bans or restricts a chemical pesticide.

What can we do? Read Circle of Poison. Write your Senators insisting that they oppose industry-sponsored efforts to cut off public access to health studies on pesticides. And ask them to strengthen-not weaken, as the Reagan administration is proposing-rules about exporting pesticides. If you hear about pesticide abuses-especially in the 3rd world-send the information to http://www.pan-international.org/

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