OBJECTIVE: A "Community-Based Participatory Research" project was developed April 2008 in an effort to determine the genesis of multiple illness of children and adults living on Kauai's westside. With exposure to Organophosphate / Chlorpyrifos and the concomitant health risks well established, the primary focus of the research project was to determine the concentration of pesticides in the air in the vicinity of Waimea Canyon Middle School and review bio-monitoring data for correlation. Establishing a correlation will further emphasize the dangers of pesticide exposure (acute / chronic) particularly to children of reproductive developmental age and the need for legislation regulating and improving the monitoring of pesticide use in close proximity of schools and communities.
METHODS: Community members attended seminars attaining "Drift Catcher" certification as accredited by PAN. Drift Catcher sites were established at private homes adjacent the research site. Information collected included, drift catcher air samples, weather data, specific sample date/time, location, and anecdotal bio-monitoring data. Selected samples were sent for analysis by certified labs in California.
RESULTS: Drift Catcher air samples resulted in positive findings of Organophosphate / Chlorpyrifos pesticide drift in the vicinity of the research target site. Analyzed samples were below the E.P.A.'s "Reference Exposure Levels". Researchers note that REL's are based upon testing for short-term (acute) and long-term (chronic) health effects on laboratory animals. Recent studies suggest that, even at concentrations meeting current federal standards, it is an individual's metabolism that is the determinant of negative health manifestations when exposed to pesticides. Observable agricultural pesticide application was not taking place during positive sample acquisition indicating possible volatilization. Collected weather data indicates drift occurring with winds towards and away from Drift Catcher collection sites in reference to agricultural land. During agricultural season with active weekly pesticide application occurring, exposure frequency could be considered chronic. Anecdotal bio-monitoring evidence indicates a correlation of increased agricultural activities and incidence of negative health manifestations.
CONCLUSIONS: Once acres of sugar cane, the lions share of land on Kauai's westside is now used for the agriculture of GMO crops. The communities of Hanapepe, Kaumakani, Pakala, Waimea, and Kekaha all have agricultural lands adjacent neighborhoods and schools. Environmental exposure residential avenues include contact with occupationally exposed family members and proximity to application sites. On Kauai's westside the percentage of people (adult/children) susceptible to these exposure avenues can only be determined through survey, biological monitoring, and continued air-sampling. This was Dr. Lorrin Pang's suggestion in his March 2007 report of an incident that occurred at Waimea Canyon Middle School on Kauai's westside. The incident Dr. Pang investigated resulted in a myriad of negative health symptoms among students and staff that were also documented on Material Safety Data Sheets for pesticides applied during the school day on adjacent ag fields. The National Association of Chronic Disease Directors Health Equity Council (NACDD_HEC) defines health disparities as "differences in the incidence, prevalence, mortality, burden of diseases, and other adverse health conditions or outcomes that exist among specific population groups in the United States." The World Health Organization (WHO) definition recognizes health disparities as, "differences in health which are not only unnecessary and avoidable, but considered unfair and unjust." Research parameters were limited by variables, findings are inconclusive due only to these limitations.
Unbeknownst to the public and shared only with those invited, in Jan. 2012 a meeting was held to discuss the findings of the State and County air-quality study being done at Waimea Canyon Middle School. State agency personnel attending included Department of Ag's Robert Boesch, Lyle Wong, Thomas Matsuda, and Janet Ashman, CTAHR's Dr. Qing Li and associate June Wong, Department of Education Complex Superintendent Bill Arakaki, Vice Principal of Waimea Canyon Middle School Linda Uyehara, Bill Spitz, George Costa, and oddly community member Bruce Pleas. Mr. Pleas has no professional or private association with the school or issue. Representation for teacher's at the school was not invited, and the health department declined invitation. The State study was funded with $100,000 to investigate the odor that caused the incident at Waimea Canyon Middle School. The County study funded with $50,000 was to study the odoriferous properties of the plant cleome gynandra. Dr. Lee from the University of Hawaii at Manoa (CTAHR) established passive air samplers on the roof tops of buildings "C" and "D" on the W.C.M.S. campus. A smaller similar passive air sampler was hung from the ceiling of a classroom in "C-building". Passive air sampling occurred for a period of time. An additional High Volume air-catcher was set up on the roof of "C-building" and was activated for only one week. Dr. Lee reported that BHC, DDT, Chlorpyrifos, Bifenthrin, and Metachlor were found in air samples taken at W.C.M.S. Active sampling with PAN Drift Catchers in the vicinity of the school at the same time as Dr. Lee's study also found chlorpyrifos. As the photos indicate often Dr. Lee's active air samplers were compromised by weather and sample validity is in question. The GMO industry are major funders for The College of Tropical and Agriculture and Human Services.
"I suspect that this is the intention of the manufacturer. Let's so confuse the situation that no liability could ever be ascertained, even if there is a big problem (1)."
1.. "Genetic Roulette - The Gamble of our Lives" a film by Jeffery Smith; quote Lawrence Plumlee, M.D.
2. "Sources of Exposure to and Public Health Implications of Organophosphate Pesticides"
3. "2012 Environmental Justice Strategy and Implementation Plan"
4. "Debating How Much Atrazine is Safe in Your Water Glass"