Malathion medical studies-list of sites/Dr's report (fwd)

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Thu Sep 16 11:30:14 EST 1999


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From: ARTISTpres at
 CYBERPARK: Malathion medical studies-list of sites/Dr's report

Welcome to Cyberpark
Malathion information sites:


What follows is Dr. Nachman Brautbar's comments at
the Legislative Briefing on Malathion and Medfly Issues
held May 10, 1995 in Monterey Park City Council Chambers.
Monterey Park, California

Click here to view unabridged TRANSCRIPT OF

Doctor Nachman Brautbar is a Medical Doctor. He's also a
Toxicologist, an Internist, a kidney specialist and he is a Clinical
Professor at the University of Southern California. He holds a
Diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine,
American Board of Nephrology. He is Editor In Chief
International Journal Of Medicine and Toxicology. He has
authored over 150 scientific papers, including "Toxicity Of
Insecticides And Pesticides". Doctor Brautbar serves on the
editorial board of several national and international medical
journals and he is also an adviser to various national and
international bodies in the field of toxicology.


: Thank you. I'm coming to you from a position of a practicing
physician who sees patients, treats patients, as well as a scientist
and a teacher teaching at the medical school. I have no political
agenda, and I'm just going to talk about scientific and medical

First of all, in order to understand this issue, I believe that, from
a medical toxicological point of view, one needs to understand
several basics, and one is that regulatory and safety standards are
based on normal populations; in other words, if someone comes
and tells you that it's okay to be exposed to "x" amount of
milligrams of a substance, that is really a regulatory issue. That is
from a regulatory point of view. It covers only the normal
population, covers only 56 % of the population, and it does not
address the various hetereogenous population of genetically
predisposed, medically predisposed, elderly, children, and all the
others that we have heard about.

So that's a very important topic when you get this smokescreen
that, well, the regulatory level is this and this and it's okay. Then
you have to immediately ask yourself "Well, what is this
regulatory level based on? How was that derived?

It was derived from looking at 56% of the healthy normal
population. It was not derived at looking at children, pregnant
women, elderly patients, patients with emphysema, patients with
medications, patients with congestive heart failure. So that's one

The second principle; almost all chemicals which have been
shown to be cancer-causing or carcinogenic, if you want, in
animals later on down the line, almost all of them, except very
few, have been shown to be carcinogenic in humans. By today,
there is a list of at least 38 of those chemicals.

So, therefore, the International Agency On Cancer Research has
adopted a policy stating that if an agent is cancer-causing in
animals, it is the burden of proof on us to show that it's safe to
humans. It's not enough to say, "Well, it's just an animal so,
therefore, it's okay to use on humans. And I can mention to you
just a few like benzene. Up to 20 years ago, 15 years ago,
benzene exposure was shown to be carcinogenic in animals. We
know for the last five to ten years it's carcinogenic to humans.

And there are many others.

The third principle is that in this country we are lucky, in this
country to introduce a drug, a medication, which you can be
prescribed to by a doctor.takes very vigorous studies, sometimes
up to five, ten years in order to expose you to these kind of

My concern is how come you're going to be exposed? You are
exposed to an agent malathion,and the breakdown of malathion
--malaoxon which is mentioned in the P.D.R. the Physicians
Desk Reference as a synergistic, meaning a co-actor, a co-factor
of many medications.

How come you are exposed to this without rigorous studies?

Yes, you're right. That's not a prescribed medication. Yet your
exposed to it. So I have great concern about that as a physician.

Finally, from a point of view of principle, you keep hearing this
smoke screen, I call it a smoke screen of "risk assessment". Risk
assessment really doesn't mean much if you really look -- boil it
down to a specific population of patients. It really doesn't mean
much. If malathion is reported to be carcinogenic carcinogenic in
animals, only specific studies in humans are going to give you an
answer. And all this risk assessment stuff is a smoke screen from
a medical point of view.

Yes, it's been used. It can be integrated in a general overview.
But by itself, it does not give clearance to anything just from risk
assessment point of view. And I believe that has been used as a
smoke screen not only in this issue, but I see it on and on and on
in toxicology all the time. More people come to you and say,
"Well, risk assessment shows this and this and that."

So what? I see the patients coming into my office with problems.
They're health related to x, y or z.

Now I'm going to present to you the scientific issues in regards to
low-level toxicological exposure. That's a concept which has
been developed in the last five to ten years, high-level meaning
when one is exposed to major amount of chemicals, gets knocked
off immediately; and there is a low-level exposure where patient
may not initially feel much, but later on some complications can
develop. That's exactly what we're talking about, low-level
toxicological exposure.

My presentation today is based on peer reviewed scientific
studies, and I'll be happy to quote to you every single point
which is taken from the peer reviewed literature. I'll be happy to
provide that.

The first point is the exposure assessment. Assessment of human
exposure was based on measurements of malathion in the
environment, or at least one of the assessments. It's very clear
today from recently published scientific data -- and one of the
senior authors is Mark A. Brown from the California Department
of Health Services Hazard Materials Laboratory,in Berkeley and
was published in Environmental Science and Technology, 1993,
("Monitoring of Malathion and Its Impurities and Environmental
Transformation Products on Surfaces and in Air Following an
Aerial Application") showing that malathion, once exposed to
the environment, changes immediately to, or breaks down to
malaoxon. Now, malaoxon is much more toxik than malathion.
That's a very important point to remember because if you are
measuring .x and you say, "well, x is really not toxic and the
levels are really not toxic" and you're not looking at why, which
is extremely toxic, you're missing the whole point in your

And that's exactly what's been done here.

The paper by Brown concludes that "Accurate human exposure
assessment during malathion spraying must consider
environmental breakdown", meaning the change from malathion
to malaoxon. Furthermore, the paper discusses the values
impurities, and that's a very important point which was
mentioned by Dr. Lappe and by the previous speaker. The
impurities, which are sprayed together with the malathion, are of
extreme danger, as you'll see a little bit later, as far as
potentiating. We call it synergistic effect with malathion and all

"This study showed that extensive transformation occurs in the
malathion impurities bait mixture following its aerial
application" And further implies that the relative concentrations
of malathion and its impurities in the tank mixture (before the
spraying) are a poor predictors of what will happen later in the
environment and is a poor predictor of risk assessment. You're
really not looking at the actual data.

Malaoxon levels increase from its initial concentration in the
tank mixture up to 45-fold, increases after nine days. Knowing
that malaoxon is much more toxic than malathion, if one does
not measure the malaoxon nine days -- remember nine days -- it
stays in the environment. And also, rightly so, mention also
inside your homes, not just outside. So if one doesn't address the
issue of malaoxon levels nine days after, then all these studies
have no scientific meaning whatsoever.

Remember also that malaoxon is extremely toxic and the levels
are almost 45 times more than what the initial levels from day 1.
So that's an extremely important point to remember. It's not been

The second point is the populations at risk, and as a physician,
it's important to remember that patients who take adult
medications, the patients who are nutritionally deficient, the
patients who may have liver disease, liver dysfunction because
the liver is a major organ to detoxify this chemical in our body,
the very young children, pregnant women and populations with
genetic diseases -- these people are predisposed. How are you
going to protect them?

How are they going to be isolated from the community which is
being sprayed? Hw is this 44 % of the population which is at
high risk going to be separated from the, quote, unquote, 56 %
normal population? Are you going to give them special tickets?
Special flags? Get them out of the city? What are you going to do
with that?

That's impossible. But we do have to know about it.

As far as the neurological effects, I'm not going to talk about it.
We have a distinguished speaker who is going to address the
issue of neurological issues and toxicity, especially delayed
neurological effects, and I'm going to leave it for Dr. Mancillas to
discuss. And I'm going to go directly into the genetic toxicity.

Additional questions as far as to wisdom of using malathion
aerial spraying come to mind after recent publication by Peter
Flessel in the Journal of Environmental and Molecular
Mutagenesis, 1993, entitled "Genetic Toxicity of Malathion: A

The authors concluded that there is evidence of malathion and its
component to have a genetic toxicity effect, and this has not been
studied adequately in human populations. The authors further
conclude that agents such as malathion, which caused genetic
changes in experimental systems, are not regulated by health
agencies as other human hazards are, and they should. They have
the potential to cause cancer or reproductive problems.

And I'm going to read you from the actual paper -- I have a copy
of the paper here. In the conclusion the authors state "Workers
who apply technical-grade malathion and other pesticides have
higher levels of chromosomal damage than unexposed

Because of the inactivity of malathion mixtures in gene mutation
assays, malathion has been thought to be of little genotoxic
concern; however, the pattern of chromosome damage in animals
and mammalian cells in culture, including humans, indicates the
technical-grade malathion and its components have not been
adequately studied for genotoxic potential in humans

What that means to me is that before spraying it and exposing
patients to it, one needs to check it's indeed safe and it doesn't
cause any genetic genotoxic or potential carcinogenic
cancer-causing effects. That's how I was trained.

I was about to get into Dr. Lappe, but we had him on the phone. I
do, however, want to reiterate his conclusion. And he stated "I
conclude that, there is a significant danger to chronic toxicity
and possibly genetic damage to the following categories of
persons if directly exposed to commercial-grade malathion aerial
spraying: one, elderly persons; two, people with genetic defects
of the liver; three, children; four, malnourished persons and sick
individuals; five, overexposed individuals.

The next point is interaction with other medications and toxic
chemicals. The most disturbing aspect of this issue is the
knowledge that there is toxicological interaction between
organophosphate insecticides, in this case malathion and
malaoxon, and medications or other chemicals. This means that
even administering a low nontoxic dose of malathion can
generally or greatly alter the toxicity of other compounds.

That's a very important point for patients who take medications;
for instance, patients who take medications which may affect the
liver. And we know that malathion, malaoxon affect the liver. Or
patients who take medications which have anything to do with
the enzymes that malathion, malaoxon effect. For instance, beta
blockers for heart patients or neurological medications. So, yeah,
you can expose these patients to low dose, but for these patients,
these are toxic doses because they're taking medications which
interacts with that system. So it's toxic. It can be very harmful.
That's a very disturbing point which has not been addressed in
exposing large populations.

This scenario is of extreme importance in our case to populations
who take medications which can magnify and amplify the
toxicity of low-dose malathion to something which becomes
suddenly toxic.

How do we know who these people are?

Is it humanly possible to go out there, register them, then
evacuate them and do all this? No, it's not. I don't think it is.

Finally, I'm going to address the issue of malathion being a
carcinogenic agent.

Recent evidence in animals indicated that malathion is
carcinogenic and, therefore, cannot be considered safe unless
proven safe in humans. And I'm going to read you just a
conclusion. I'm reading you from the paper -- anyone who wants
later to look at that -- published in Experimental Hematolog in
1987, by Gallicchio et. al "Inhibition of Human Bone Marrow
Derived Stem Cell Colony Formation Following In Vitro
Exposure To Organophosphates"( meaning
malathion/malaoxon)." The final paragraph states "Our results
provide the rationale for assessing hematological parameters in
occupationally exposed individual and indicate the need to
determine both the mechanism and the environmental health
consequence of observed hematopoietic effects,
"("hematopoietic" meaning the effects on the blood system.)

And the second paper is "Carcinogenicity and Toxicity Of
Malathion And Malaoxon" published in Environmental Research
1985," by Dr. Melvin Reuber. I'm just going to read you one of
the last paragraphs. It's a long statement: "Malathion increased
the incidence of neoplasms, (meaning tumors) of the liver in male
mice. Male mice also have atrophy of the testes. Benign and
malignant neoplasms at all sites, in the endocranial organs were
increased in Fischer male and female rats" and it goes on and on.

Very clearly, it is carcinogenic in animals unless proven
noncarcinogenic in humans. I don't believe that humans should
be exposed to it."

I'd like to close with a statement that, in my opinion and from my
experience, I don't believe there is a safe level of exposure to
malathion for a certain percentage of the population. And,
therefore, if the decision is to go ahead with such spraying, one
should prepare the population at risk, go and find them, prepare
an informed consent, explain to them what the risks are, have
them signed an informed consent, train the physicians in the
community and the community to provide the medical care and
document these problems when and if they develop.

Thank you very much.

Daily News 9/15/99
New Spraying Despite Gains 

Daily News Staff Writer

<Picture>he massive spraying of pesticides across the five
boroughs killed 90% of the city's mosquitoes, Mayor Giuliani
said yesterday.

But get ready for more showers of insecticide.

Helicopters and trucks will resume spraying this weekend as the
city continues to combat the deadly mosquito-borne St. Louis
encephalitis virus.

"The fear is that after a couple weeks it could come back if you
don't spray again," Giuliani said.

The virus has infected at least 11 New Yorkers, including three
who died. The youngest victim, a 15-year-old Bronx boy, and
two others remained hospitalized yesterday, but were "doing
well," Giuliani said.

No new infections were reported yesterday, but 74 possible cases
were under investigation.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has
tested about 2,800 mosquitoes trapped in New York City, but
none was carrying the virus, officials said.

Some New Yorkers have been less edgy about the lethal virus
than about the thousands of gallons of bug-killing chemicals. In
Manhattan's Riverside Park and parts of Staten Island, choppers
sprayed the pesticides malathion or Sumithrin at dusk on
Monday with no warning.

"They're treating us like animals!" said Virginia Adamo of
Pleasant Plains, Staten Island, whose home was sprayed by a
chopper a day behind schedule. "My neighbor was barbecuing!

"It's disgusting. It was like major stink spray. This is not a
healthy thing. I don't care what people say."

Robert Hoffman, director of the city's Poison Control Center,
said it was "probably safe to be directly exposed to the spray, but
no one wants to be."

"If you were exposed, we'd like you to wash yourself off," he

With Frank Lombardi

Original Publication Date: 09/15/1999 

Robert Lederman, President of A.R.T.I.S.T.
(Artists’ Response To Illegal State Tactics)
ARTISTpres at  (718) 369-2111 

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is
distributed without profit or payment to those who have
expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for
non-profit research and educational purposes only.


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