Exasperating: Pesticides and Politics by Dr. John Gannage

by | Apr 25, 2017 | Blog | 0 comments

The following is in response to news of Dow Chemical pushing the Trump administration to ignore research findings related to harmful pesticides. You can read more about it here.

In the mid-90s, I was 5 years out of medical school. On a golf trip to Myrtle Beach, I exposed myself to a mix of pesticides, Tylenol and beer. I developed an acute liver injury, and was hospitalized with ALT above 4000. I made a quick recovery with botanicals, homeopathy and diet change, including a commitment to organic food. And avoiding chemicals where possible. 8 months later on a vacation in Hawaii, I played my first game of golf and paid the price. I lost control of my balance, developed acute truncal ataxia, and drove the golf cart away from the 10th tee while lying on my right side, back to the parking lot. I couldn’t sit up. A phone call to the club revealed pesticide sprayed on that tee moments earlier. No beer or Tylenol on that trip. I wasn’t ready for golf then. My body needed more time and nourishment (body, mind and spirit) to make its full recovery. It was 3 years before I golfed again, a game I loved. During those years I was also labeled with fibromyalgia. Therapeutic lifestyle change and natural medicine beat that back too. I still have to be careful, but enjoy reasonably good health.

Since Myrtle Beach, I’ve studied the liver. And functional medicine. And detoxification. And clinical nutrition. I’ve lobbied for organic food. And against pesticides. I keenly understand the role of the environment in acute and chronic illness, out of necessity for myself and my patients. I have had good teachers. I have written, lectured and doctored from this perspective learned long ago, and updated since. It’s a passion and a vocation. I call out companies that put dollars ahead of health, governments that protect corporations over children, and chemicals that harm rather than nourish.

Meanwhile, golf courses started spraying less. Residential use of pesticides has been banned. The wellness movement grew. The supplement industry has boomed. Alternative practitioners have been legitimized and validated. Scientific understanding of climate change, environmental pollution and human health, and how they intersect, gained a foothold. The green economy is vibrant.

Then along comes this President, and this Administration , and this EPA Administrator. And their corporate cronies. Yes, I am angry. And appalled. And frustrated.

Chemical and food companies pay attention to what we buy and don’t buy. Hence the growth of the organic food industry. As consumers our dollars speak. We can choose to buy brands that are environmentally conscious, that care about human and other life, that are healthy for us. What we consume gets the attention of the “Board of Directors”. It’s partly how a democracy functions in a capitalist economy. With this government, purchasing power in this way, to invoke change, may not be enough on its own. It’s too slow, and this government is too reckless. Do more if you can. Speak wisely. Vote wisely. Educate youth wisely. Because this should disgust you.

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