The "other" side

Paul Cherubini cherubini at
Wed Aug 2 04:04:00 EDT 2000

Chris Durden wrote:

> Pierre is right.We remember the mistakes and deceptions of the
> chemical pesticide industry. We are angry about the ecological 
> effects of these mistakes and deceptions. 

The "mistakes" and "deceptions" of the chemical industry (e.g. Love
Canal & DDT) happened 30-50 years ago. It was a era when such 
things were fairly common in a wide range of industries (e.g.automakers
fought seat belts and catalytic converters). It was also an era
when scientists and conservationists were people of high integrity -
people who could be trusted not to use their position of authority
to frighten and mislead the public to serve some hidden agenda.

In recent decades the situation has become reversed. The chemical
industry is continually introducing new products & technologies
that kill bugs and weeds more efficiently 
while having less negative impacts on the environment.

But a major obstacle the chemical industry has to face is a sizable
fringe of extremists in the academic community that is willing to 
needlessly frighten and mislead the public over near zero
risk issues. 

Take at look at the original Cornell press release
in May 1999 in regard to Bt corn and monarchs:
Look at the frightening, sensational, cry wolf type comments
John Losey and his research partner Linda Raynor made: 

- "Pollen from Bt-corn could represent a serious risk to populations
of monarchs and other butterflies"

- "Pollen is that yellow dusting your car gets on spring and 
summer days; pollen is everywhere," explains Losey. 
That's why we are concerned about this problem." 

- "Monarchs are considered to be a flagship species for conservation.
 This is a warning bell," says Rayor. 

If you check out the Leps-list and dplex-list archives you will see I
(like thousands of others who have had experience with Bt products)
quickly recognized Losey's claim
that the pollen "could represent a SERIOUS RISK to populations
of monarchs and other butterflies" had no scientific foundation.

Similarly, the NABA website is now making sensational,
worrisome, scientifically groundless claim that the mosquito
spraying over New York City represents: 

-"rather significant risks
not only to humans but to non-target species" and could be

-"devastating to butterflies and other non-target species,
 and frightening and potentially harmful to many humans"

Chris, when the final word comes out later this year or next
that Bt corn pollen represents a NEGLIGIBLE risk to monarchs 
or other non-target leps will you and others "remember the mistakes and
deceptions" of the ACADEMIC community? Will it bother you they
cost the world economy hundreds of millions of dollars, needlessly
worried millions of people about a non-existent problem
and wrongfully protrayed the chemical industry as untrustworthy
and irresponsible? Probably not, because I seriously doubt you
would view what  Losey & Rayor or the NABA website have done
represents a mistake or cry wolf type deception. **

**Please do not interpret this as a personal attack - I have the utmost
respect for your awesome knowledge and experience with leps and
I don't think YOU could ever intentionally frighten or mislead the

Paul Cherubini

More information about the Leps-l mailing list