Dr. Ian Simpson’s Aug. 22 letter “Pesticide concerns not ‘scaremongering’” was ironically laced with more scaremongering.
There’s no reason to assume that a substance is bad simply because it’s a pesticide.
If there are peer-reviewed articles discussing a certain substance, then discuss it in specific terms.
By listing a series of serious health conditions alongside “pesticides” in general, with insufficient context or specifics, Simpson’s letter is indeed unfair, unscientific and counterproductive.
Simpson then discusses the herbicide 2,4-D.
There have been thousands of studies and decades of testing on 2,4-D.
Studies were conducted for, or published by, the Journal of Industrial Medicine, Environmental Health Perspectives, American Journal of Epidemiology, B.C. Ministry of Forests, Fundamental and Applied Toxicology, Critical Reviews in Toxicology, the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Purdue University, National Cancer Institute of Canada and many more. They concluded that 2,4-D does not pose unnecessary health risks.
Evaluate the full body of evidence, not just the small sensational pieces that fit your narrative.
Simpson seemed dismissive of thorough review processes here in Canada and the U.S.
While that by itself seems unfair, it’s worth noting that even in the far more sensitive regulatory climate of the European Union, 2,4-D was reviewed and approved.
Proper use is the key of course.
Anyone with so much as a nanogram of common sense understood that Transportation and Works Minister Tom Hedderson’s comments about 2,4-D were meant within the context of proper use.
Blanket bans are often not based on science.
But they can be sensational and emotional.
If Dr. Simpson wishes to avoid being referred to as a “scaremonger,” he would be well-advised to stick to discussing specific substances, specific studies, and fairly and transparently evaluating the massive body of evidence. It might also help if he avoided generalizations like those in his letter.