“What we’re trying to do is assess whether or not exposures are happening to people in the Triangle Lake/Highway 36 area,” she said.
Dozens of people, from among the 100 of so who attended the meeting, posed some tough questions for the governmental visitors: How can you get my landlord to stop spraying Round-up? How do other communities with these same concerns get your attention? Why don’t you just ban these dangerous chemicals? How can we trust the state agriculture and forestry departments when they have been fighting us tooth and nail?
The inquiry by state and federal officials came about after testing by a respected researcher earlier this year found traces of herbicides that are commonly used to kill weeds in forest clearcuts in the urine of more than 30 people in the Highway 36 corridor.Some of those tested a second time, following aerial spraying of herbicides in April, showed even more herbicides than had been found in the initial tests.
But Dana Barr, the researcher who analyzed the Triangle Lake area residents, found 2,4-D and atrazine in all the samples. Nationwide, those chemicals are found in just 2 percent to 4 percent of the population, Barr said.
In humans, some research suggests a link to prostate and breast cancer and infant mortality. Some evidence suggests that 2,4-D can cause cancer.
Pesticides — a category of chemical products that includes herbicides, insecticides, fungicides and rodenticides — are so pervasive in the country that studies have shown most people have detectable levels of them.