Herbicides are a major health concern

Herbicides are a major health concern This letter is a response to the announcement by Yukon Energy about testing herbicides as a means of keeping transmission rights-of-way clear. (Yukon News, page 17, July 3). This test program, scheduled to take place

This letter is a response to the announcement by Yukon Energy about testing herbicides as a means of keeping transmission rights-of-way clear. (Yukon News, page 17, July 3). This test program, scheduled to take place July 8-22 near the Long Lake and Takhini Hot Springs roads should concern not only those in the immediate area, but all of us here in the Yukon.

There is presently an alarming escalation in the incidences of neurologic, endocrine and immune-related health problems, especially affecting kids, as well as various types of childhood cancers (i.e. leukemia, soft-tissue sarcomas, brain tumours). A rapidly growing body of evidence links these disease manifestations to environmental contamination.

Physicians and scientists from several disciplines agree that these seriously health-compromised conditions are related at least in part to the ongoing burden of toxic chemicals in our water, soil, food, air and surroundings. Using some of the once routinely applied hazardous substances is now strongly discouraged in many communities once their adverse effects are more fully recognized. Known hormone disruptors are currently restricted or actually banned in some countries.

Since their introduction (some as chemical warfare weapons) and subsequent popular use in the 1950s and 1960s, it has become painfully apparent that biocides have been causing toxic effects to not only their targets but also to wildlife and any organisms contacted within the environment. As a method of vegetation control, considering its ecological impact and health repercussions, herbicide use falls far short of the most cost-effective, efficient, safe or advisable option.

Putting poison into the landscape to stifle plant growth succeeds in ensuring the need for frequent applications. This is a formula for profits to the product manufacturers and problems for the local terrain and the public. Cumulative toxicity from herbicide exposure (direct and indirect), despite the marketing hype, endangers us all. This approach is not only unnecessary but seems ill-advised.

Let’s find a more ecologically friendly, sustainably more benign solution that doesn’t contribute to a potentially greater public health predicament for our grandchildren to solve.

Gordon Smith

Whitehorse

See more letters page 10.

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