Residents should know levels of farm chemicals in air
Zachary Jack wrote of Iowa’s dependence on chemical agriculture [We live and die by chemical agriculture, June 9].
A point he neglects to make is that farmers are now working thousands of acres, rather than the hundreds of acres per farm back in the 1970s. In addition, fewer and fewer farmers do their own spraying because of equipment, hazards and time. Spraying is being done by co-ops spraying multi-thousand acres and they have only a week or two to get the job done. The sheer volume precludes doing it right.
Mike Kilen wrote of Trees in tatters [June 11], telling of replicated research that has conclusively proven the connection between tatters and chloroacetamide weed killers. Kilen mentioned an oft-quoted cause cited by agricultural university personnel that tatters is caused by freeze injury, but none of those persons has ever been able to replicate tatters using temperature. Nor has there ever been a description of tatters in forest pathology literature before the advent of chloroacetamide weed killers. Surely such a grotesque malformation would have been published had it occurred naturally due to cold temperatures prior to the introduction of this family of chemicals.
Jack wrote of parents admonishing their children, “Go inside, kids, John’s spraying.” It’s far past time that the DNR Environmental Protection Division start monitoring and reporting ambient levels of farm chemicals in the air. People need to know when to stay indoors.
Robert H. Hibbs, Marshalltown