89,000 acres of potatoes + 680,551.09 kgs of pesticides = trouble

Letters to the Editor (The Guardian)
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A Reader's View


Editor: In response to Andrew Thompson’s letter dated May 13, stating that P.E.I. is a relatively healthy place to live, I would say that is a matter of opinion, and my opinion is the opposite of Mr. Thompson’s.

Mr. Thompson takes a limited view in that he discusses only the cancer statistics for newly reported cases. He also suggests  it is only human health we should be concerned about.

I won’t get into quoting too many statistics, but do feel it is relevant to note that in 2013, 89,000 acres of potatoes were planted in our soil.

The most up-to-date published numbers on pesticide sales in P.E.I. (2008), state the following:

Insecticides 27,778.90 kg; herbicides 96,003.63 kg; fungicides; 556,768.56 kg Total = 680,551.09 kg annually.

Many of the above chemicals are well known as environmental endocrine disruptors, the effects of which include: male infertility, abnormal sexual development and cancer; female reproduction defects, breast cancer and endometriosis; immune system damage; goiters, and hyperactivity, learning and attention problems in children.

Further, these chemicals can bio-accumulate in fat tissues, staying dormant until they are metabolized. This means that an embryo can be damaged by chemicals the mother was exposed to either weeks, or even years prior to conception. These facts are well documented in myriad scientific research studies..

I am no mathematician, nor am I a scientist, but, as they say, this is not rocket science. When you do the math, it is overwhelming to think about the massive quantities of toxins we continue to dump, pour and spray into our soil, water and air, every summer.

As many previous letters have pointed out, there are healthier ways to grow a potato or create a beautiful lawn.

Rachel Carson, well known author of the book Silent Spring, said, “A Who’s Who of pesticides is of concern to us all. If we are going to live so intimately with these chemicals, eating and drinking them, taking them into the very marrow of our bones —we had better know something about their nature and their power.”

In my opinion, it is high time Islanders started to learn more about our addiction to pesticides and how that addiction affects not only our health, but that of our entire ecosystem.

Joan Diamond,


Geographic location: P.E.I.

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