Conquering Nature Despite the Cost: Hidden Motives of Pest Control

Posted on May 29, 2012

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Rationalist logic tends to circle back on itself at a certain point, and recently in Maryland we have found such a case. Timothy Wheeler of the Baltimore Sun recently wrote an article about a lyme disease prevention study that involves spraying Maryland, single-family homes with bifenthrin, a known pesticide. Lyme disease, caused by being bitten by infected ticks, can, if left untreated, effect joints, the heart, and the nervous system, however, if caught quickly, is treatable. 

There is little question that Lyme disease is a fairly widespread issue in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic (according the the CDC), however there is also no question that bifenthrin is classified as a class C carcinogen by the EPA. Additionally, the EPA lists the chemical as restricted due to its toxic effect on mammals and severely toxic effect on aquatic life. 

Wheeler reports that families may not have been thoroughly notified of bifenthrin’s potentially long-term side-effects. I would hazard a guess that this is because the short term side-effects (paresthesia, respiratory and nasal irritation, throat, nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, increased oral secretions, ulcerations in the mouth, difficulty swallowing, headache, dizziness, and fatigue) are very short-term. 

Here we are, one year into the study, and reports show that while 62% fewer ticks reside in yards sprayed with bifenthrin, there has been virtually no change in the instances of tick bites and lyme disease. Wheeler writes: Federal and state health officials say that if after a second year and more analysis there’s no difference in tick bites or infection among the two groups, then they’ll advise the public that spraying yards with pesticide really doesn’t help prevent Lyme disease.

In science’s desire to completely control the forces of nature (disease, decay, rot), they are queued up to poison the population. The reason why Lyme disease is described as an issue in the first place is because it negatively impacts humans, lowering quality of life. Thus, as scientists, as those invested in investigating, understanding, replicating, controlling, and moving beyond nature, we must find a way to impose a solution. The solution to ticks: pesticide. Bifenthrin, as harmful as it can be to humans, is immensely more harmful to insects. So we spray it in the lawns of the uninformed, who volunteered for te $25 grocery gift card, knowing full well that the chemical comes with inherent risks.

If the ultimate motive behind this sort of scientific study was to ensure the safety and well-being of people, then the question of “should we attempt to use a class C carcinogen and highly toxic aquatic pollutant to reduce Lyme disease?” wouldn’t arise. The automatic assumption would be “no.” Science would invest in finding a better, safer method. Our health, longevity, and well-being cannot be the foremost concern when the solution is clearly detrimental to these things. The demand to demolish the Otherness of nature-of that outside of human creation or understanding-is the real motive behind these harmful chemical studies. 

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