The following testimony was originally submitted to County Council by five medical doctors,
including pediatricians, practicing on Kaua'i.
Subsequently, many additional doctors as well as nurses added their signatures to this letter, including those practicing in west Kaua'i where residents are experiencing noticeably high incidents of birth defects, reproductive issues, and cancers. Dozens of testimony letters and group statements from health care practitioners were submitted over the course of deliberation of Bill 2491.
To the County Council of Kauai,
A growing number of Kauai's pediatricians are concerned with the massive pesticide exposure on Kauai stemming from five of the island's large scale agricultural operations.
Our understanding is that more than 3.5 tons of pesticides are being used on Kauai annually. In light of this heavy pesticide use, we would like to bring to your attention an important recent release by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). In November of 2012, AAP published a review of pesticide use and suggestions for pediatricians. Briefly, there is growing concern about fetal, infant, and childhood exposure to pesticides. The concern, which is increasingly being demonstrated in population studies, is that the growing fetus and child are particularly vulnerable to pesticides.
Research shows pesticide links to delays in neurological development, endocrine abnormalities, behavioral issues and an increase in childhood cancers such as leukemia. The AAP's recommendations to pediatricians are that we all become more educated on the subject.
They suggest that we support the “right to know”, meaning knowledge about where and what is being sprayed, and that we support buffer areas around schools and other areas. They go on to say that we should ask parents to limit the use of pesticides in their homes and that we discuss with parents that organic foods contain less pesticides than non-organic foods.
AAP also suggests that we tell any parent whose occupation includes exposure to pesticides, to be aware that they may be bringing residue from the pesticides into the house and this may adversely affect the health of their growing children.
Overall, AAP expresses a serious concern regarding the use of pesticides in our homes, our gardens, our food production. They also express a growing concern that residents of farming communities may be at an even greater risk.
On Kauai, our risk may be even larger as our exposure may be multiplied by the nature of the crops being grown here and the particularly heavy use of pesticides. The article even mentions Roundup (Glyphosate). It specifically states that although it has been thought to be safe, “there are numerous reports in the medical literature about adverse events after recent exposure.”
We support the bill currently in front of the council (Draft Bill 2491). We particularly support "the right to know”; buffers around our schools and other areas; enclosure of experimental crops and an EIS study. These are important and reasonable measures that are long overdue.
Thank you for any attention you can give our concerns.
Please find below the link to the recent publication by the American Academy of Pediatrics.