Concerns over pesticide testing are justified

The Maryland Pesticide Network (MPN) appreciates The Sun's extensive and fair coverage of the dispute regarding the current Lyme disease study being conducted in Maryland by the state's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and theU.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ("Pesticide testing plan stirs dispute," May 29). We share the state's concern regarding Lyme disease and support increased education of residents regarding disease prevention.

However, it should be noted that MPN does not oppose the use of all pesticides. We are a coalition of organizations, as our website states, "dedicated to protecting the public and the environment from the adverse affects of pesticides and promoting healthy alternatives." Due to a growing body of research linking pesticides to adverse health and environmental impacts, MPN promotes safer alternatives to unnecessary pesticide use by the adoption of integrated pest management whereby least toxic pesticides are only used as a last resort when non-toxic pest prevention and management strategies have failed.

While the EPA has yet to review bifenthrin and many other suspected endocrine disrupting chemicals they have been mandated to review, the European Union in 2010 banned bifenthrin as an endocrine disruptor. Endocrine disruptors have been linked to a range of health problems, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, early puberty, infertility and other reproductive disorders, and childhood and adult cancers.

MPN believes participants in the Lyme disease study deserve to be fully informed about the acute and long-term impacts of this pesticide.

Ruth Berlin, Baltimore

The writer is executive director of the Maryland Pesticide Network.

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