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Poison mists from pesticides in New Brunswick

The Story

In less than a decade, DDT has gone from being a wonderful budworm cure to an ecological disaster. After years of poisoning New Brunswick's fish and endangering its mammals and people, DDT is no longer in use. Now there are serious questions about its replacements, insecticides such as Matacil and Fenitrothion, which may also be harmful or deadly to people caught in the spray plane's poison rain. And as we hear in this clip, the budworm problem is worse than ever.

Medium: Radio
Program: Five Nights
Broadcast Date: May 14, 1976
Guests: Nelson Adams, Roland Boudreau, William Cockburn, John Crocker, Lucretia Garron, Betty Keddy, John Keddy, G.A. Olmstead
Host: David Folster
Duration: 11:49

Did You know?

• A politically-charged 1978 Halifax, N.S. conference on Reye's Syndrome suggested the disease was linked to chemicals in the environment, including pesticides and the ingredients they are mixed with. The link was never proven.
• Reye's Syndrome is a deadly disease that often strikes children recovering from a previous viral infection, such as flu or chicken pox. It damages the liver and brain. The cause and cure remain unknown. Recently Reye's has been associated with aspirin use in children with viral illnesses.

• Matacil 1.8D, sprayed in Atlantic Canada from 1975 to 1985, contains high concentrations of a compound called 4-nonylphenol, an "endocrine disrupting substance" that is toxic to invertebrates and fish. A Department of Fisheries and Oceans study indicated that anti-budworm Matacil spraying might have harmed Atlantic wild salmon populations.
• Fenitrothion is an organophosphorus compound still in use to combat budworm outbreaks.

• In 1966 New Brunswick permitted spraying of the infamous defoliant Agent Orange at an army base. Agent Orange was used in the Vietnam War as a defoliant to clear jungle area so the Viet Cong could be seen and attacked from the air. The New Brunswick power utility also used Agent Orange to clear leaves from its power lines. In December 2001 it announced it would settle a lawsuit brought by a group of workers exposed to the herbicide.


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