Zika Virus Will Sure Get Us to Embrace Toxic Chemicals

By Hank Campbell — Jan 27, 2016
Worried about the Zika virus? One of the recommendations stated by health officials is to use a class of organic pesticides that is far more toxic than the synthetic kind environmental activists fear.

The recurring joke in science when the Ebola craze consumed American media was that all the wealthy elites in California, Oregon and Washington who denied vaccines due to concerns about autism, would make sure their families were first in line for a new vaccine.

While rich coastal parents knew they could avoid risk for their special snowflakes, while still protecting them from whooping cough (pertussis) by counting on herd immunity among the peasants, they knew that wouldn't work against Ebola. And there is no herd immunity against the Zika virus, so lots and lots of activists who believe they are buying organic food "with no pesticides" are going to be absolutely slathering themselves in chemicals real soon.

Pyrethrin is one of several common toxic compounds that will work darn well against the Aedes aegypti mosquito that commonly carries the virus. As you can see below in pyrethrin I, it has a chemical structure (C21H28O3), which is enough to scare Vani Hari and Michael Pollan and others on the anti-science fringe. Even more terrifying, there are six biologically active chemicals in pyrethrins. Yikes. Unless you know anything about chemistry, anyway.

You can find it in about 2,000 pesticides. It is a contact poison that causes paralysis by affecting the nervous system, binding to sodium channels in nerve cells and leading to death. Oh yeah, that will disrupt their endocrine system all right.

The good news: As former American Council on Science and Health Trustee Professor Lee Silver notes, though it is quite toxic (1) -- five times more toxic (LD 50 in rats) than the synthetic pesticide glyphosate -- pyrethrin is extracted from chrysanthemums and therefore meets the National Organic Standards Board definition of organic. To literate people, "organic" instead means carbon-based, and can contain hydrogen, nitrogen, phosphorous and a lot of other stuff that doesn't have to be grown in a plant, but you don't grow a $100 billion Big Org business by sticking to science.

If you aren't traveling to an area with these insects, and you are not loony, you don't need to worry. Yet, the precautionary principle reigns supreme among people who insist they have to buy organic certified onions and Non-GMO Project Verified rock salt.(1)

The precautionary principle dictates that you just shouldn't take any chances, so organic food shoppers should run right out and buy some of this and spray it on their clothes, even during a blizzard. It's for the children.

More optimistically, hopefully some day soon scientists can create a biological solution that will save us from all these nasty chemicals. Oh, they already have. But because it's biology it's a GMO and therefore no good to anti-science hippies either.


(1) Especially to bees! Maybe we need to invent a neonic insecticide, so bees won't die from organic pesticides. Oh wait...

(2) You think I'm kidding. Despite the fact that salt is not an organism at all, gullible people still buy the kind they are assured is not a genetically modified organism.

Credit and link: MNN and Shea Gunther's friend Jes, who took the picture.

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