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From: (Torsten Brinch)
Newsgroups: sci.environment,sci.agriculture
Subject: Re: Pesticides and Reproduction
Date: 2 Aug 1996 21:56:01 GMT

Byron Bodo wrote:
: In article <4tfb1n$>, says...

>>3. The rules of chemistry and physics does not necessarily apply to
>>   experiments done by agrochemical companies.

>Will file these away for future reference.  I'd thought they'd
>improved over the years.
Yeah. And foxes have stopped eating geese.
>that story that keeps circulating about the Swiss co. that alledgedly paid
>Egyptian children $10 /day to stand in a field & be sprayed with their
>latest wonder product back in the early 1980s.  Maybe it's apocrypha.

Maybe. I remember hearing this before. Ciba and the formamidine
acaricide  Chlordimeform. I think this dates back to the mid 70s actually.
Some research is probably needed to find what core of truth
there may be in this old story.

More recently (1993) Ciba has managed to request re-registration of the
fungicide Fenpropimorph, repeating the erroneus determination of
the pKb to 7. Just like  BASF/Maag did in 1980.
Quite odd, really. The nitrogen is placed in a N-substituted
morpholine ring, i.e. the pKb should be similar to what is
found in other morpholines and tertiary amines.
Maybe reprints of high school organic text books should be completed
with a section on the 'Fenpropimorph pKb anomaly' :-)

In the new registration documents Ciba has also included the
old hilarious BASF examination of metabolism in rat. The active
ingredient, an organic base, is determined in the _organic_ phase after a
liquid-liquid partition with aqueous acid. Needless to say,
very little fenpropimorph was found <G>, and it is concluded that the
active ingredient is swiftly and extensively metabolized.

In one of the soil metabolism studies you'll find a MS which
has been 'cut and pasted' from the wheat metabolism study,
only the part of the header reading 'wheat' was lost in the
process.... And in the _wheat_ metabolism study from which this
MS originates, two wonderful HPLC chromatogrammes can be found
-- extracts 8 and 21 days after treatment: UV abs and scintillator
tracings on the chromatogrammes are _exactly_ identical.
Also identical are the printed lines from the chromatogramme paper,
and the relationsship traces/printed lines. Complete
photocopial twins really, but allegedly originating from two
independently derived extracts.
The coincidence of a century....

This kind of agrochemical science is certainly not boring.
No wonder that most of it is unpublished and considered


>Back during the bird holocausts of the 60s in Europe & eastern North
>America, many of the birds may have succumbed to acute effects of dieldrin
>which was also being sprayed about recklessly at the time in many places.

I suppose you are right. Dieldrin was really a nasty. It has been banned
for decades in Denmark, now with very rare positive detects in food
originating from contaminated imported feedstuffs.

If you want  more recent holocaustal examples, you should take a look
on the seed treatments of canola seeds. Highly toxic insecticides
like isofenphos, carbofuran, methiocarb and lindane are used at
dosing-levels  5-15,000 ppm (yes right: 0.5 - 1.5 % !).
Lethal dose for a sparrow is a few tiny seeds.
Responsible Care.

A few years ago I had a communication with the 'responsible'
agent for the lindane canola treatment.
I asked him what concentrations could be expected in the emerging
seedlings (hares graze them). He explained the dummy (me), that lindane
is firstly given off from the seed coat to the soil, and THEN it
is taken up via the root. As lindane has a water solubility less
than 5 ppm, he explained impatiently, concentrations could NEVER
EVER be more than 5 ppm in the emerging seedlings.
And  real life concentration is even lower: 1-2 ppm, he added.

I analysed seedlings and found >200 ppm. How's that? Oh yes:
lindane is readily fat soluble, it is applied in solution,
and the seed is 40 % fat. The interior of the seed is
contaminated directly during seed treatment and from vapour
redistribution during storage of the treated seeds.
Simple and predictable. Unless you are a responsible
agrochemical agent.

I called back to the agent and shared my new knowledge.
"F... off" he said, "mind your own business and leave this to me
and the registration authority". I didn't follow his advice
and sent a report to the Danish EPA.

And lindane _was_ finally banned last year in Denmark
for use as a seed treatment. After 30 years.

Carbofuran took over from lindane. It's better, but still not good.
The registration authorities approved carbofuran for a 10 year
period with the remark that the treated seeds due to high toxicity
would pose an immediate risk to bird wildlife.

In the approvement document the registrant was asked
to produce a study ASAP to prove that birds don't eat the seeds.
This shouldn't be too difficult to prove.
Canola seed eating birds have become quite rare....

Kind regards,

Torsten Brinch

Drive your cart and your plow over the bones of the dead.

                                                (William Blake>

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