Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 2 (Summer 2016) - Page 57

VOLUME 11, NUMBER 2 A JOURNAL FOR THE THEOLOGY OF CULTURE Woman 3: How long would you say it takes a pesticide or a herbicide to degrade? SK: It depends entirely on the chemical nature of the pesticide. DDT, which has been banned for half a century, is still out there. It has degraded to DDE. DDE is quite toxic, linked to breast cancer and other things. We don’t know how long DDT lasts because it’s still there. It’s been sixty years. Others of them like the organophosphates actually have a relatively short residual life span. So, it depends precisely on what material it is and what the weather is like, how much rain there is. Woman 4: The clip talked about organic arsenic and non-organic arsenic. So the arsenic you can pull from nature is the organic one. Do those have a lower time frame? SK: Arsenic lasts for a very long time. And pretty good evidence exists that your body does a conversion of inorganic to organic by itself. Man 4: Is there anyone who likes gardening or working with their lawn? There is research being done that is showing that the use of pesticides for home gardening is contributing to the reduction of the bee population. And so if you have a concern about what is happening in the environment in regards to the bee population, that’s another reason to stop using pesticides for your home garden. Most of them are being shown to contribute to bee death. SK: Especially the neonics. The neonicotinoids like dicofol look to be particularly linked at this point to killing off honey bees. Everyone thought dicofol was an okay pesticide for a long time because it breaks down pretty quickly in sunlight. It turns out that it wasn’t true. It is peculiarly toxic to honey bees. You should avoid using any neonic pesticide, any neonicotinoids. Woman 5: Are those pesticides you plant with a plant? SK: Great question. There are different ways pesticides are applied. Some you spray on the leaves. But there are also seed treatment pesticides. For instance, cantaloupe seeds are frequently treated with dicofol while they are seeds. As the cantaloupe plant grows, it spreads out the pesticide that was originally in the seed. Sometimes this chemical is sprayed as an adult plant, and sometimes it’s applied as a seed treatment. There are a wide variety of applications for the same pesticides. 54