Where Are We and How Did We Get Here?

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Where Are We and How Did We Get Here?
Where Are We and
How Did We Get
“Farming is such a
senseless pursuit, a mere
laboring in a circle. You
sow that you may reap,
and then you reap that
you may sow…nothing
ever comes of it”
STOBAEUS, Florilegium. Pt. xxxviii, 1. 30
fl Fifth Century
“the almond tree shall flourish and the
grasshopper will be a burden”
Ecclesiastes 12:5
(King James Version)
7000 B.C.E.- Jericho –
grain related
to 0wheat, domesticated
goats, & gazelles
7000 B.C.E. North Thailand –
domesticated beans, peas,
gourds, & water chestnuts
7000 B.C.E. Mexico –
domesticated pumpkins &
7000 B.C.E. Near East –
practiced irrigation,
planted nitrogen fixing
crops, built silos&
Insects and History
Information about insect-borne diseases of
early humans is hard to find:
-deadly fevers –probably malaria-have been
recorded since the beginning of the written
word (6000-5500 B.C.E.)
-references can be found in the Vedic
writings of 1600 B.C.E. in India & by
Hippocrates some 2500 years ago
-vague biblical references to outbreaks of
pestilence resembling bubonic plague
-scourges of flies, lice, & other insects are
referred to in various parts of the Bible
Insects and History
Sinhue was a physician to one of the early
pharaohs in about 2000 B.C.E. and
accompanied the Egyptian army in its
battles with the Hittities in Syria and wrote
vividly about the plague in Syria
Insects and History
There are some indications that insects played
a role in human diseases and human misery
but few authentic data concerning the
depredations of insects on Homo sapiens
were recorded before 500 B.C.E.
Insects and History
The glories of earlier well-advanced
civilizations were beginning to fade about
that time.
• Wars, famine, and pestilences followed each
other rapidly across the face of the known
• Wandering hordes of soldiers roamed the
Insects and History
• Caravans of Cathay and the hosts of
Hannibal spread disease and destruction
among the inhabitants of the earth
• This was the setting for the Dark Ages
which were to follow
Insects and History
The human species had by that time
established conditions which we know lead
to disaster.
• It had ignored or forgotten sanitary practices
well known to the ancients
• Unrestricted international travel had
become common
Insects and History
• Economic and social conditions had driven
famine- and pestilence-stricken people into
already overpopulated cities
• Methods for the disposal of human wastes
were bestial
• Quarantine measures against disease were
Insects and History
• World wars and unparalleled lust for power and
conquest by various kingdoms ravaged the known
• Insects, on the alert to take advantage of human’s
every mistake, pounced with unmitigated fury
upon their human enemy during this period
• They spread diseases which destroyed as much as
25% of a population
Insects & History
• Insects altered the course of history and the
destiny of nations
– Hannibal was stymied in Syracuse by the
inroads of malaria among his troops
– Plague visited the colony on Greenland &
wiped it out 150 years before before Columbus
discovered America
– In Europe in some areas 3 out of every 4 people
died from this disease transmitted by the rat
Insects and History
– One of the first military expenditures of the
Continental Congress, around 1775, was $300
to buy quinine to protect General
Washington’s troops
– Napoleon was stopped on the threshold of his
conquest of Russia by the cold, typhus fever,
& body lice which accompanied it
– His military might in Haiti, 25,000 men, was
reduced to impotence within 2 years when
Yellow Fever killed 22,000 of the command
- Napoleon became so
disgusted with the “New
World” that he sold the
French territory on North
American Continent to the
United States for $15 million
dollars, or less than 3 cents
an acre
Insects and History
– De Lesseps could not overcome the losses of
his laborers caused by Yellow Fever & Malaria
& abandoned efforts to build the Panama Canal
– Many insect-borne plagues swept across
Europe & other parts of the world from the time
of Justinian to about the middle of the 19th
Insects and History
• Yellow Fever invaded the Atlantic, Gulf
Coast, & other parts of the country with
amazing ferocity, 95 times between 1693 &
– At least 500,000 casualties – 100,000 dead
41,000 in New Orleans
10,000 in Philadelphia
8,000 in Memphis
5,000 in Charleston
Insects and History
• During the Civil War, Yellow Fever, typhoid,
malaria, & dysentery struck heavier blows than
either Army could wield with its fighting
• One-half of the white & 80% of the black soldiers
of the Union Army got malaria annually
• The Spanish-American War had hardly started
before American troops again were victimized by
insect-borne diseases
Insects and History
– The conflict only lasted a few months, but
yellow fever hospitalized some 1500 soldiers &
killed several hundred others
– And gave us Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough
Plant Disease and History
– 1845 the Potato Famine occurred in Ireland,
caused by the late blight fungus, Phytophora
infestans, which resulted in the lost of at least a
million lives and at least one million
immigrants to the US
– In 1692, ergot intoxication may well have
caused the Salem Witch Trials and other Witch
• When did humans begin to fight back against
insect and fungal enemies of their health, comfort,
and bed & board – we can only guess
• Animals learn quickly that standing in smoke of a
fire repels the attack of mosquitoes, after the
discovery of fire, early humans probably used
smudges to repel biting insects
• The first record of pesticide use is in about
1200 B.C.E. when it is recorded that
Biblical Armies sowed the fields of a
conquered people with salt and ashes
• In 1000 B.C.E. Homer refers to the burning
of “brimstone” as a fumigant and some
other means of pest control
• The Greek philosopher, Pliny the Elder, in
the 1st century, wrote Natural History in
which he recorded all of the methods of pest
control used up to that time(including gall from the green
lizard to protect apples from worms and rot)
• The Chinese were using arsenic to control
garden insects in 900.
• Marco Polo wrote in 1300 of using mineral
oil against mange of camels
• In 1526 -31 the monks of Troyes formally
excommunicated the caterpillars that were
plaguing the crops, but added that the interdict
would be effective only for lands whose peasants
had paid their church tithes.
» Durant, W. 1957. The History of Civilization: Part IV.
The Reformation. New York. Simon & Schuster. P. 850
Food Regulations
• King John of England signed the Magna
Carta in 1215.
• First Parliament elected in 1265
• In the interim, Guilds made the rules
necessary for a civilized society
• In 1236, a Guild passed a rule that forbade
the addition of anything to the food supply
which was “not wholesome”
Pesticide and Food Regs
• Other dates which are significant in the history of
pesticide development & regulations and food
• 1649 – Rotenone used to paralyze fish in South
• 1690 – Tobacco extracts were used as contact
• 1800 – Persian louse powder (pyrethrum) known
to the Caucasus
Pesticide and Food Regs
• 1813 – Millardet discovered the value of
hydrated lime and copper sulfate (Bordeaux
mixture) to control downy mildew on
• 1896 – Copper sulfate used to selectively
control weeds in field grains
• 1905 – Upton Sinclair’s novel, The Jungle,
was published
Pesticide and Food Regs
• 1906 – Passage of the Pure Food Law
(Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act)food shipped in interstate commerce must
be wholesome
• 1910 – Passage of the Federal Insecticide
Act - mainly to protect farmers from
substandard or fraudulent products
Pesticide and Food Regs
• 1921 – Airplane first used for spreading
insecticide dust for the control of the catalpa
sphinx at Troy, Ohio
• 1922 – First aerial application of an
insecticide to cotton, Tallulah, LA
• 1924 – Airplane first used in control of diseasebearing insects. Paris green dust applied to swamps
in Louisiana for control of malaria-bearing
Anopheles mosquitoes
Pesticides and Food Regs
• 1938 – Amendments to the FFDCA
provided for coverage of pesticides on food,
primarily the arsenicals such as lead
arsenate and Paris Green.They required
color be added to the formulations to
prevent misuse and set tolerances for
pesticide residues, viz. arsenic and lead, in
foods where these materials were necessary
for the production of a food supply
Pesticide and Food Regs
• 1939 – DDT discovered to have insecticidal
qualities by Paul Muller in Switzerland (It had
been first synthesized in 1873 by a German
graduate student)
• 1947 – The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and
Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) becomes law, since that
time all pesticides, not just insecticides have been
subject to Federal regulation & required all
pesticides to be registered with the USDA
Pesticide and Food Regs
• 1954 – Passage of the Miller Amendment to
the FFDCA, which set tolerances for all
pesticides on raw food and feed products
• 1958 – Passage of the Delaney Amendment
to the FFDCA, provided that a chemical
shown to cause cancer in animals or man
cannot be added to the food supply
Pesticide and Food Regs
• 1959 – FIFRA (1946) was amended to
include all economic poisons, i.e.,desiccants
and nematicides
• 1962 – Publication of Silent Spring by
Rachel Carson
• 1970 – Formation of the Environmental
Protection Agency, which becomes
responsible for the registration of pesticides
Pesticide and Food Regs
• 1972 – Passage of the Federal Environmental
Pesticide Control Act (FEPCA or FIFRA
amended), in essence, these amendments changed
the emphasis of FIFRA from product performance
to human and environmental safety
• 1996 – Passage of the Food Quality Protection Act
which amended both FIFRA and FFDCA
• Section 3 Registration of Pesticides
– (d) Classification of Pesticides
• (1)(B) … if the pesticide, when applied in accordance with its
directions for use, warnings and cautions and for the uses for
which it is registered, or for one or more of such uses, or in
accordance with a widespread and commonly recognized
practice, will not generally cause unreasonably adverse effects
on the environment,… classify the pesticide, or the particular
use or uses of the pesticide to which the determination applies,
for general use
(1)(C) … may generally cause, without additional regulatory
restrictions, unreasonable adverse effects on the environment,
including injury to the applicator,… shall classify the pesticide,
or the particular use or uses to which the determination
applies, for restricted use
(ii) … the pesticide shall be applied… only by or under the direct
supervision of a certified applicator
• Section 4. use of RUPs; Certified
– (a)(2)(A) State Certification . The
Administrator shall approve a plan submitted
by any State provided it…designates a State
agency as the agency responsible for
administering the plan throughout the State
• Section 12. Unlawful Acts
– (a)(2)(G) to use any registered pesticide in a
manner inconsistent with its labeling
• Section 23. State Cooperation, Aid, and Training
– (a) Cooperative Agreements-The Administrator may
enter into cooperative agreements with States and
Indian Tribes• (1) … to any State or Indian Tribe the authority to cooperate in
the enforcement of the Act…
– (c) Information and Training- The Administrator shall,
in cooperation with the Secretary of Agriculture, use the
services of the cooperative State extension services to
inform and educate pesticide users about accepted uses
and other regulations made under this Act
• Section 26. State Primary Enforcement
– (a) For the purposes of the Act, a State shall have
primary enforcement responsibility for pesticide use
violations during any period for which the
Administrator determines that such State –
• (1) has adopted adequate pesticide use laws and regulations;
Provided, That the Administrator may not require a State to
have pesticide use laws that are more stringent than this Act
• (2) has adopted and is implementing adequate
procedures for the enforcement of such State laws
and regulations; and
• (3) will keep such records and make such reports
showing compliance with paragraphs (1) and (2) of
the subsection
Food Quality Protection Act (FPQA)
• Amended both FIFRA and FFDCA
– Got rid of the Delaney Clause as far as
pesticide residues are concerned
– Established a standard of a “reasonable
certainty of no harm due aggregate exposure”
• All exposure except occupational
– If this standard (Risk Cup) is exceeded some
uses must be cancelled
Some Thoughts
• Victor Hugo is supposed to have said the
“nothing is so strong as an idea whose time
has come, armies cannot prevail against it”
• Note that the two most significant pieces of
legislation related to pesticides and food
safety have passed after the publication of
books, viz., The Jungle and Silent Spring.
Some Thoughts
• Regulations are not a product of 19th or 20th
century American government – reread The
Torah or the first five books of the Christian
Bible. The life of the early Hebrews was
almost totally circumscribed by, in some
instances, very severe regulations
“It is morally wrong to perpetuate
ignorance and through
ignorance … fear”
Charlotte Sine
Executive Vice President
Meister Publishing Company
“the vacuum created by a failure
to communicate will quickly be
filled with rumor,
misrepresentation, drivel, and
Parkinson’s Second Law
Dr. C. Northcote Parkinson
Definition of Communication
“The act and technique of
using words effectively and
with grace in imparting
one’s ideas.”
The American Heritage Dictionary of
the English Language
The Daily Press
The Daily Press
The Daily Press
The Daily Press
The Daily Press
The Daily Press
Some Thoughts
• Regulations are not usually anticipatory but are
responsive to some problem, perceived or actual
• Education is a much less invasive and much more
cost effective solution to problems than
regulations are
• People being humans and, by their very nature,
imperfect organisms it takes more than an idea to
get their attention, therefore, there are times when
we need regulations
Some Thoughts
• It is my sincere belief that all persons who
work closely with the natural resources of
this country share an absolute awesome
wonder of the natural world and consider
the conservation and preservation of the
natural world a high priority
• The same can be said for the protection of
public health
Some Thoughts
• The use of agricultural chemicals will continue to
be necessary to produce the food & fiber needed
to feed, clothe, house, & protect the ever
expanding world population
• They are some who do not believe this, they
subscribe to the view found in the Gospel of Mark
in the Christian Bible (Mark 4:26-29) “..a man
scatters seed on the ground; he goes to bed at night and
gets up in the morning, and meanwhile the seed sprouts
and grows – how, he does not know. The ground produces
a crop by itself, first the blade, then the full ear, then full
grain in the ear…”
• We have not conquered the “Four Horseman
of the Apocalypse” – they could “still come
thundering out of the gray November sky”
• Only their names would not be Stuhldreher,
Miller, Layden, and Crowley!
“We do not own the land; we rent it from our
Kenyan Proverb
Mary Laslie Grodner,Ph.D.
Pesticide Safety Education
Department of Entomology
LSU AgCenter
• “How Much Land Can Ten Billion People Spare
for Nature?”. Task Force Report No. 121.
February 1994. Council for Agricultural Science
and Technology
• The Pesticide Book. G. W. Ware. 1994. Thomson
Publications. Fresno, CA
• History of Entomology In World War II. Emory
C. Cushing, Colonel. U.S. Army, Retired.
Smithsonian Institution. 1957
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