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Pesticide Spray Study Problems

For years the rural residents of Triangle Lake have been trying to stop poisonous pesticide sprays from contaminating their houses, farms and bodies. After a study by Dana Barr of Emory University found pesticides in the urine of 44 people in the area, it seemed like the concerns and health issues of the Pitchfork Rebellion and other Triangle Lake groups would be at last be taken seriously. 

But now a new study involving the Environmental Protection Agency, the Centers for Disease Control, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, and the state of Oregon has hit a snag.

According to Pitchfork Rebel Day Owen the investigative team has canceled their attempt to do spring urine sampling because the industry is “intentionally dodging the bullet by not spraying atrazine or 2,4-D in the Triangle Lake region.”

Owen says that normally those chemicals are among the many sprayed on the private timber-producing forests owned by companies including Weyerhaeuser around Triangle Lake in the Coast Range “and they are going to spray it all over Oregon this spring, just not in the test area. He adds, “They will still spray about 14 other herbicides in our region, just not the two that are being tested for.”

According to Owen, the reason that atrazine and 2,4-D were chosen by both Barr in the testing commissioned by the Triangle Lake residents and by the current state study to test for is because they are the only two that can be discovered in urine samples “by virtue of the fact that the body creates metabolites in reaction to them, and those metabolites stick around for awhile.”

On March 21, Owen and other Triangle Lake area residents will bring their toxic concerns to a PARC (Oregon Pesticide Analytical and Response Center) meeting. One of the concerns, he says, is the influence the group Oregonians for Food and Shelter has on PARC and the lack of investigation into the pesticide applications that resulted in the documented instances of the toxics in residents’ urine and in the Triangle Lake school’s drinking water.

At the PARC meeting, Owen plans to show a slide of the front page of the October newsletter of Oregonians For Food and Shelter where the group thanks the co-chair of PARC, Dale Mitchell, and several politicians for helping limit the Triangle Lake pesticide investigation. Members of Occupy Eugene will also participate in the effort to call attention to the issues with the study. Owen plans to request that PARC look at the Barr study, which he says it so far has refused to do.

Also at the meeting, Triangle Lake resident Eron King will document some of the threats residents have faced in the efforts to stop the toxic sprays by playing her recording of one Weyerhaeuser employee telling another that he can get rid of that “complaining woman” (Eron King) by “getting my sniper rifle and taking her out.”