Anti-science and common sense

  • Published in Letters

To The Editor:

It’s heartening to see citizens of this Valley raising their voices of common sense in the face of industry profits and industry-backed science.

Typical to most fights for the health of the public and our environment over profits, the citizens voicing opposition to spraying trademarked undisclosed chemicals were cast as anti-science by those who support the business of industry.

Let’s recall what “accepted science” once considered safe:

  • Thalidomide.
  • DDT.
  • Trans fats (e.g., margarine).
  • Formula instead of breast milk.
  • Aspartame and low-fat diets instead of whole foods.

Scientific knowledge involves, at its core, a cautionary understanding that, at best, we have limited pictures of a complex whole, and that those limited views are the latest understanding which are always updated as we learn more about the phenomena at hand. Fortunately, the citizens of this Valley know better and they’ve have made their voices clear. They oppose the use of dubious chemicals like Monsanto’s glyphosate which has been shown to be carcinogenic, endocrine system-disrupting and a cause of other ill effects by scores of peer-reviewed papers and governments including the WHO and the state of California.

But because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency disagrees – those claiming these chemicals are not safe are anti-science. This is convenient and dishonest. The citizens of this Valley also voiced opposition to the use of trademarked blends of chemicals like Rodeo and Polaris which contain an unknown quantity of industry-determined “inert ingredients,” that do not have to be disclosed and, therefore, cannot be tested. Ironically, the most anti-science view is actually the very one espoused by those telling us to just trust the experts, violating all sense of precaution and understanding that there is a larger picture than what we currently know, and that there are inherent flaws to all studies, especially industry-driven studies.

Beyond that the simple fact here is that an untold number of undisclosed chemicals are in the herbicides which were going to be sprayed, yet we have been assured that “they are safe.” Thankfully, we live in a place where common sense and understanding of historical patterns is still alive and well.

Ben Falk
Moretown