Mutant Strains of Insecticide Sprayed on New Zealand Public
by David Gaughan
MAF has always maintained that the sprays used for the Painted Apple Moth eradication programme a few years back were harmless, pointing out that the main active ingredient in the spray is a natural occurring substance in soils and water. What they don’t mention, says Donna Bird, a North Shore resident, is the crystals. Under the mixing instructions on the label, under “General Agricultural Use Instruction” it mentions crystals. It’s the crystals, says Bird, that have been genetically modified. Bacillus thuringiensis is a naturally occurring substance, whereas Btk is a mutant – they’ve used a radiation type treatment to mutate this thing. She points out that the original label of Btk 48 Foray says “hazardous to humans and domestic animals”.
Besides her own post-spray ailments, including paralysis in the hands and feet, plus numerous breast lumps, the multiple cysts appearing on her son’s arm has prompted Ms Bird to research the ingredients of the aerial spray, Foray 48B and the ground spray that was subsequently used in the operation. Although the full ingredients of the spray appear to be a closely guarded secret, Ms Bird’s findings appear rather chilling.
A simple search on the internet under freepatentsonline.com produced a document that supports Bird’s assertion. The document is titled “Formation of and methods for the production of large Bacillus thuringiensis crystals with increased pesticidal activity”. A further search under patentstorm.us for Bacillus thuringiensis produces several patents that freely use the term “mutants” including one titled “Bacillus thuringiensis mutants which produce high yields of crystal delta-endotoxin”.
A quote from nosprayzone.org/pesticides says “Bacillus thuringiensis var kurstaki or Btk is a bacteria that is related to a natural bacteria (Bt) found in soil at extremely low concentrations. Btk strains in Foray 48B are not commonly found in soil. Researchers found a mutant strain of Btk, generically called an HD-1 type, in a sample and selectively bred it for maximum activity against caterpillars. Btk strains used in commercial pesticides are not found in any significant quantity in their present form (yet!) in nature and may be genetically modified.”
The controversy over aerial spraying is being kept alive with the ongoing health problems of those who were caught in the spray zones. Bird has made it her life mission to bring to justice those responsible. Her investigative skills and determination is such that she is quickly gaining a reputation for being New Zealand’s equivalent to Erin Brockovich, the United States woman whose investigation brought down a huge corporation accused of polluting a city’s water supply.
Some health professionals have reported increased numbers of clients with similar symptoms since the advent of the spraying programme, recording increased incidences of intestinal and respiratory problems, bad headaches stemming from stiffness of the neck, stomach aches, shoulder pains and irritability/depression. Other common symptoms include itchiness of the skin, swollen wrists and ankles, bloating, asthma, fatigue and flat/void or dead feeling.
“What really irritates me,” says Bird, “is that they advertised a free health service, which was supposed to be available to everyone affected by the spray. At the time they put this advertisement in, on January 17 2003, they’d already sprayed and the service is in another city, not here on the North Shore. The majority of residents in this area don’t have the funds to go traipsing to another city and yet, a subsequent report claims that Beachhaven residents weren’t interested in free health advisory service. There wasn’t one available here until much later, says Bird, when they made a token gesture and opened one for a couple of weeks only.”
Having documented events from the beginning of the spray programme, Bird claims that of the twenty-six adverts relating to nine sprays, they only got one spray day right – the rest of the time the spray was on another day to that advised. So, she says, people are invariably caught in the spray or they have washing on the line that results in people wearing clothes or sleeping on sheets that are soaked in pesticide. On the Foray 48B label, she says, one of the First Aid instructions is to “take off contaminated clothing” but people who’ve gone to work and left washing on the line would be unaware of the contamination.
The various versions of the Btk Foray 48B labels available on the internet show the proportion of Bacillus thuringiensis varying from 2.1% to 17.19%, with the balance of the other ingredients simply labelled “inert”. Many of these other ingredients are noted simply as codes, but Bird believes one of these is Chlorpyrifos, also known by other synonyms, such as Dursban and Lorsban, also used in the ground spray.
Now this is where you get into the brain coverings and degenerative changes, says Bird. We have sixty cases of fibromyalgia on the North Shore and two hundred in Waitakere. They call it Gulf War syndrome overseas, but personally I call it moth-spray syndrome. It’s the Chlorpyrifos that’s doing it, claims Bird, because it affects the lining of the brain, as evidenced by experimental results available on the cdc.gov website.
Although most of the news coverage surrounding the Painted Apple moth spray programme concentrated on West Auckland, other areas like Beachhaven, Hobsonville and Greenhithe were also targeted, but received little attention. In follow-up communication with the Civil Aviation Authority, Bird claims they denied that aerial spaying for the Painted Apple moth had happened in the Beachhaven Area, even though she has the documented proof that it happened, nine spray programmes, each spread over several days over an eleven month period. MAF were meant to identify people in the community who were potentially at risk, says Bird, including those with pre-existing illnesses who could be adversely affected by the spray. She believes they did an inadequate job of that and produces numerous articles and documentation to prove her point.
Some might argue that it’s the responsibility of people to stay indoors while the spray is being carried out, but Bird says she wasn’t even aware of the first spray. She was caught in the direct spray while visiting a friend in Crocombe Crescent, which was supposed to be outside the spray zone and from that time on she had to take herself off the roads because she lost all feeling in her arms while driving. She produces a doctor’s certificate, dated March 31 2003 which states “paralysis of the hands and feet” and claims she was unable to drive for two years after that. She is adamant that none of these symptoms were present prior to the spray.
On the patentstorm.us website, Bird points to a diagram of the genetic modification of Btk and highlights pE194, which is an isolate of Staphylococcus aureus. A further search on the internet shows pE194 is a small plasmid, isolated originally in Staphylococcus aureus, which confers resistance to antibiotics.
It’s been blasted into the crystal, she says, and those spores have been sprayed all over us, which is why we have high incidences of Staphylococcus infections. The problems I had with the joints, she adds, is no longer as bad as they were, but the symptoms can come back in certain weather conditions. It’s possible that the spores from the spray are laying dormant in the ground and are reactivated under certain weather conditions. It could also be triggered because they’re possibly using the sprays on various crops and by ingesting that food we’re getting triggered again. Others may not be as sensitive to these food items because they weren’t caught in the original spray programme.
Behavioural muscle weakness, causing numbness in hands and intestinal/digestive problems are also symptoms experienced by many after the spray, along with food sensitivity, skin rashes and blurred vision. Unconfirmed reports from North Shore hospital show an increase in intestinal and respiratory complaints since the sprays, many of which are resistant to antibiotics.
Producing a virology report, again obtained from the net, which makes comparisons to other countries, Australia, Canada England and Wales, shows around twelve thousand people in New Zealand with campylobacteriosis, compared with relatively low figures for the other countries. Campylobacteriosis is normally caused by ingestion of contaminated food or water, but Bird believes we have much higher rates than other countries because we’ve been sprayed on and that has weakened our normal immunity. The report is dated 2002, the same year the sprays started in West Auckland and a year later the figure grew to 14,786 people.
I think we’re guinea pigs, says Bird. Has our government willingly or unwittingly allowed experimentation on the New Zealand public on the pretext of bio-security? Bird believes so and she thinks that someone ultimately has to take responsibility and come clean about the mass poisoning of our people and destruction of our so-called clean green image.
It’s in the environment now and we’re not normally exposed to those levels, says Bird, so what they’ve done, to me, is like biological warfare. It was a stupid thing to do to spray it on people. I’m now full of tumours – I’ve got multiple tumours in my breasts and my son has eleven tumours up his arm. They say they’re cysts, but cysts are living things and I’m certain it’s the BTK spore being isolated in the body. The body is trying to encapsulate it to prevent it spreading further. We’re lab rats, says Bird. We have been so for quite some time and nobody has looked at it closely enough to figure it out.
Mutant Insecticide Article – David Gaughan Page PAGE 6 of NUMPAGES 6