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Invisible Poisons

The tobacco industry is extremely careful not to fund studies of pesticide residues on its cigarette products in any country but particularly in the US. The industry is aware that if the extent of this chemical contamination were known, US regulators would have no choice but to call an end to industry’s game.

That may sound like a cold-blooded way to refer to the slaughter of untold millions of people across generations of smokers and their families, but you can be certain that as far as the tobacco industry is concerned it’s a game, and they’re playing for keeps.

There has only been one small study of pesticides in actual commercial cigarettes since the 1970’s, but if that study is at all representative of the state of the 2018 commercial cigarette market (parenthetical comment – it is) then regulators worldwide ought to be pulling cigarettes from shelves and running them through pesticide testing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Geiss, O., Kotzias, D., “Determination of Ammonium, Urea and Pesticide Residues in Cigarette Tobacco“. Fresenius Environmental Bulletin (FEB), No. 12 (2003), 1562– 1565

I can hear it now. “Well,  that data is from 2003. That was 15 years ago. And besides those pesticides aren’t permitted on tobacco anymore.”

Oh, really?

So, you would think that if nasty old Endosulfan, Heptachlor and 4,4-DDE, and a whole lot more organochlorine and organophosphate pesticides weren’t being used on tobacco anymore then the tobacco industry scientific organization CORESTA wouldn’t be publishing “good practice” guidelines in 2016 that lists acceptable limits on them – right?

Wrong

https://www.coresta.org/agrochemical-guidance-residue-levels-grls-29205.html

Well, just because the tobacco industry chooses to publish good practice limits on those banned pesticides, that doesn’t mean they are still being used – right?

But they are being used worldwide and for the most part their use is unregulated and their presence in tobacco products goes totally undetected because it is never looked for.

Let’s look at pesticide use on tobacco in Brazil – as good a place to start as any. We could look at dozens of other countries, but Brazil is the biggest exporter of tobacco to the US. 

Note that Brazilian tobacco uses twice as much pesticide per hectare as cotton and three times as much as soybeans. That is significant – it means that the tobacco plants are drenched with these chemicals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, OK. So tobacco uses a lot of pesticides. That doesn’t necessarily mean they are using banned pesticides, or pesticides known to be dangerous if inhaled even in small doses on a chronic basis.

Actually, they are. If you click here and are a patient reader there’s all the evidence you’ll ever need that tobacco from Brazil is lethal – and not because it’s tobacco.

That link is a pretty detailed research piece that looks at the health impact of pesticides on tobacco farmers in Brazil, and in the process it talks in detail about the pesticides they are exposed to. Of course, these are the same pesticides whose residues wind up on Brazilian tobacco. Check it out.

So, it’s clear that a great many pesticides being used on tobacco in Brazil. This isn’t the only piece of evidence, by far. When you look at all the evidence, it is clear that banned organochlorine and organophosphate pesticides are being used intensively on Brazilian tobacco as recently as early 2018.

The reason that’s important is that all of the trash from the Brazilian tobacco industry – not the tobacco leaf, but the stems and waste from the factory floors – winds up being shipped to the US for manufacturing into American cigarettes. That tobacco trash and stems is if anything more heavily contaminated with pesticides than the tobacco leaf (because it includes systemic pesticides), which is kept in Brazil and Argentina for making cigarettes out of real leaf tobacco – the kind demanded by smokers in Latin America.

The contaminated tobacco trash is sent to the US, and look who’s bringing it in. (We’ll get to why in a minute.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s a whole lot of tobacco trash, isn’t it? Well, those are only the records of two shipments of toxic waste brought to the US by Big Tobacco. There are plenty more. Now, let’s talk about why they are bringing in all those tobacco stems from Brazil and other waste dumps on the planet.

It’s really pretty simple. The tobacco industry figured out years ago that American smokers didn’t really care what they were smoking, and since the tobacco companies could sell the actual leaf to Europeans and Latin Americans who cared, why not use all those stalks and stems and trash that they were just throwing away and figure out how to make cigarettes out of it?

Here’s a short video by Philip Morris showing in detail how they take tobacco waste and turn it into cigarettes. They treat this process as though it is a miraculous achievement. While you watch how this cigarette giant makes fake tobacco for American smokers, remember those pesticide residues on those millions of pounds of Brazilian tobacco waste they’re grinding up and bragging about.

There is major deception at @ 2:11-20. Can you can spot it now that you know about the pesticide residues in that trash they’re turning into cigarettes?

Click here for the video.

At this point you may be asking what contaminated Brazilian tobacco trash has to do with where we started – banned pesticides in commercial cigarettes in Europe, including two prominent American brands.

The relevance is that the banned pesticides in those 2003 EU cigarettes got into them exactly the same way that banned pesticides are getting into every US cigarette manufactured with Brazilian tobacco stems and trash in 2018 – except that the poisonous stems used by EU manufacturers in 2003 probably came from India rather than Brazil. The tobacco pesticide picture is virtually the same in both countries, which is to say that tobacco farmers and their families are being poisoned faster than flies, and the tobacco stems and trash that are being exported to Europe and to America are used for the same thing – to make fake tobacco cigarettes chock full of invisible poisons just like in the Philip Morris video above.

So where does that leave us? If you’ve read this far you’re in for a treat.

I live in Oregon, where Cannabis is tested every day for pesticide residues, so there are lots of labs that have the latest equipment and are run by very skilled folks. We’re going to be testing for a number of things, but I will be especially interested if we find organochlorines of recent application as I expect we will. A skilled lab can tell the difference between a pesticide that has been in the soil for 20 years and the same pesticide that has been applied recently.

I’m in the process of working with three of them to do some test runs on randomly-sampled commercial cigarettes by Philip Morris and RJR. (Just for fun I’m going to include my old friend “American Spirit”, and hope that we don’t find too many positives. That would be a shame after all those years of naturalness) The results are going to the Oregon Health Authority with a petition to set the same “Action Levels” on pesticide residues in tobacco that they now set on Cannabis, and for the same public health reasons.

Stay tuned.

If you like what I’m trying to do here please hit that little donate button below and drop a thank you on me – I would appreciate knowing that you care about the work I’m doing. Thanks.

 

 

 

 

 


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Stone Killers

I am posting this with only one comment: here is a table showing all of the pesticides used worldwide by the tobacco industry. It is published by CORESTA, the tobacco industry’s captive science & research institute.

So this is it – the official 2017 tobacco industry guide to the pesticide chemicals used on tobacco worldwide for just one reason – to increase profits.

Many of these pesticides are damaging to human health at very low levels of chronic exposure – just like a smoker gets 100-200 times a day, 365 days a year puffing away and inhaling the pesticide residues invisibly contaminating the tobacco in their cigarette. (Except that it isn’t really tobacco, but that’s another post.)

While the tobacco industry publishes pesticide standards for its members, it makes clear that nobody actually has to follow this industry guidance. The tobacco companies are safe from accountability because there is no testing of commercial cigarettes in the United States for the presence of any of these chemicals, and what little testing the FDA, EPA and USDA do perform almost seems deliberately designed to shield the tobacco industry from investigation. Odd.

I know this is a huge list – it’s enough to make my eyes spin. But almost every one of the pesticides on this list, just by itself, is enough to cause serious damage to human adults, children and babies. The US government, along with the health authorities of every state, seem collectively uninterested in knowing what dozens of these violent chemicals, all being heated, vaporized and inhaled at once, are doing to smokers, their families and everybody else downwind every day of their lives.

One last thing – notice that there are a lot of banned pesticides on the list. That’s because the Tobacco industry recognizes that large stores of these chemicals still exist and farmers still use them for one simple reason – they  kill bugs. Every pound of tobacco that bugs eat is one less pound the farmer has to sell to feed his family.

So of course hundreds of thousands of small tobacco farmers worldwide are going to use triple-witching stuff like Endrin, Heptachlor, Aldrin, and Dieldrin whenever they can get it – which is pretty much anytime they want. Because while manufacturing of these incredibly toxic chemicals is banned almost everywhere – guess what? There seem to be a few factories in China, of all places, churning out the oldies but goodies by the ton and selling them in countries where 50% of all pesticides are used on just one crop – tobacco.

But of course regulatory authorities in the ‘advanced’ countries like the US don’t test for these banned pesticides in anything anymore, much less in tobacco products like cigarettes, because “nobody uses them anymore and all the old stores have been used up or destroyed long ago”.


Table 1.   Crop Protection Agent (CPA) Guidance Residue Levels (GRL)

This is not a list of recommended CPAs (Crop Protection Agents) for tobacco. That is a matter for official and/or industry bodies in each country.

  • GRLs have not yet been set for all CPAs registered for tobacco. Setting GRLs is an ongoing process based on a list of priorities decided by frequency of use and importance to leaf production.
  • The presence of a compound does not imply endorsement by CORESTA
  • The entries in the list do not replace MRLs (Maximum Residue Levels) set by the authorities. Compliance with MRLs is a legal requirement for countries that have set them for
No. CPA GRL

(ppm)

Residue definition Notes
1 2,4,5-T 0.05 2,4,5-T
2 2,4-D 0.2 2,4-D
3 Acephate 0.1 Acephate
4 Acetamiprid 3 Acetamiprid
5 Acibenzolar-S-methyl 5 Acibenzolar-S-methyl
6 Alachlor 0.1 Alachlor
 

7

 

Aldicarb (S)

 

0.5

sum of Aldicarb, Aldicarb sulfoxide and Aldicarb sulfone, expressed as Aldicarb
8 Aldrin + Dieldrin 0.02 Aldrin + Dieldrin
9 Azinphos-ethyl 0.1 Azinphos-ethyl
10 Azinphos-methyl 0.3 Azinphos-methyl
11 Benalaxyl 2 Benalaxyl
12 Benfluralin 0.06 Benfluralin
 

13

 

Benomyl (a)

sum of Benomyl, Carbendazim, and Thiophanate-methyl expressed as Carbendazim  

see Carbendazim

14 Bifenthrin 3 Bifenthrin
15 Bromophos 0.04 Bromophos
16 Butralin 5 Butralin
17 Camphechlor (S) (Toxaphene) 0.3 Camphechlor (mixture of chlorinated camphenes)
18 Captan 0.7 Captan
19 Carbaryl 0.5 Carbaryl
 

20

 

Carbendazim (a)

 

2

sum of Benomyl, Carbendazim, and Thiophanate-methyl expressed as Carbendazim
 

21

 

Carbofuran (S)

 

0.5

sum of Carbofuran and 3- Hydroxycarbofuran expressed as Carbofuran
22 Chinomethionat 0.1 Chinomethionat
23 Chlorantraniliprole 10 Chlorantraniliprole
24 Chlordane (S) 0.1 sum of cis-Chlordane and trans- Chlordane
25 Chlorfenvinphos (S) 0.04 sum of (E)-Chlorfenvinphos and (Z)-Chlorfenvinphos

 

No. CPA GRL

(ppm)

Residue definition Notes
26 Chlorothalonil 1 Chlorothalonil
27 Chlorpyrifos 0.5 Chlorpyrifos
28 Chlorpyrifos-methyl 0.2 Chlorpyrifos-methyl
29 Chlorthal-dimethyl 0.5 Chlorthal-dimethyl
30 Clomazone 0.2 Clomazone
31 Cyfluthrin (S) 2 Cyfluthrin (sum of all isomers)
32 Cyhalothrin (S) 0.5 Cyhalothrin (sum of all isomers)
33 Cymoxanil 0.1 Cymoxanil
34 Cypermethrin (S) 1 Cypermethrin (sum of all isomers)
 

35

 

DDT (S)

 

0.2

sum of o,p’- and p,p’-DDT, o,p’-

and p,p’-DDD (TDE), o,p’- and p,p’-DDE expressed as DDT

 

36

 

Deltamethrin (b)

 

1

sum of Deltamethrin and Tralomethrin expressed as Deltamethrin
 

 

37

 

 

Demeton-S-methyl (S)

 

 

0.1

sum of Demeton-S-methyl, Oxydemeton-methyl (Demeton-S- methyl sulfoxide) and Demeton-S- methyl sulfone expressed as Demeton-S-methyl
38 Diazinon 0.1 Diazinon
39 Dicamba 0.2 Dicamba
 

40

 

Dichlorvos (c)

 

0.1

sum of Dichlorvos, Naled and Trichlorfon expressed as Dichlorvos
41 Dicloran 0.1 Dicloran
42 Diflubenzuron 0.1 Diflubenzuron
 

43

 

Dimethoate (d)

 

0.5

sum of Dimethoate and Omethoate expressed as Dimethoate
44 Dimethomorph (S) 2 sum of (E)-Dimethomorph and (Z)-Dimethomorph
 

45

 

Disulfoton (S)

 

0.1

sum of Disulfoton, Disulfoton sulfoxide, and Disulfoton sulfone expressed as Disulfoton
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

46

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dithiocarbamates (as CS2) (e)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dithiocarbamates expressed as CS2

In countries where fungal diseases such as blue mould are a persistent problem in the field throughout the growing season, the use of dithio- carbamates (DTC) fungicides may be an essential part of the season-long disease management strategy and in keeping with GAP as a means of ensuring crop quality and economic viability for the producer. Under high disease pressure residues of dithio- carbamates (DTC) fungicides slightly in excess of the specified GRL may be observed.   In countries where there is not a field fungal disease problem the use of fungicides is not necessary, and there should be no residues detected. Consistent with GAP, dithiocarbamates (DTC) fungicides must be used only according to label instructions to combat fungal diseases in the seedbed and in the field.

 

No. CPA GRL

(ppm)

Residue definition Notes
 

47

 

Endosulfans (S)

 

1

sum of alpha- and beta-isomers and Endosulfan-sulphate expressed as Endosulfan
48 Endrin 0.05 Endrin
49 Ethoprophos 0.1 Ethoprophos
50 Famoxadone 5 Famoxadone
 

51

 

Fenamiphos (S)

 

0.5

sum of Fenamiphos, Fenamiphos sulfoxide and Fenamiphos sulfone expressed as Fenamiphos
52 Fenitrothion 0.1 Fenitrothion
 

53

 

Fenthion (S)

 

0.1

sum of Fenthion, Fenthion sulfoxide and Fenthion sulfone expressed as Fenthion
54 Fenvalerate (S) 1 Fenvalerate (sum of all isomers including Esfenvalerate)
55 Fluazifop-butyl (S) 1 Fluazifop-butyl (sum of all isomers)
56 Flumetralin 5 Flumetralin
57 Fluopyram (g) 5 Fluopyram
58 Folpet 0.2 Folpet
59 HCH (a-, b-, d-) 0.05 HCH (a-, b-, d-)
60 HCH (g-) (Lindane) 0.05 HCH (g-) (Lindane)
 

61

 

Heptachlor (S)

 

0.02

sum of Heptachlor and two Heptachlor epoxides (cis- and trans-) expressed as Heptachlor
62 Hexachlorobenzene 0.02 Hexachlorobenzene
63 Imidacloprid 5 Imidacloprid
64 Indoxacarb (S) 15 Sum of S isomer + R isomer
 

65

 

Iprodione (S)

 

0.5

sum of Iprodione and N-3,5- dichlorophenyl-3-isopropyl-2,4- dioxoimidazolyzin-1-carboxamide expressed as Iprodione
66 Malathion 0.5 Malathion
 

 

 

 

 

67

 

 

 

 

 

Maleic hydrazide

 

 

 

 

 

80

 

 

 

 

Maleic hydrazide (free and bounded form)

In some instances, where GAP is implemented and label recom- mendations with regard to application rates and timing are strictly adhered to, residue levels may exceed the current GRL of 80 ppm as a result of extreme weather conditions and the current technology available for application. However, as with all CPAs, all efforts should be made to strictly follow label application rates, and use should be no more than necessary to achieve the desired effect.
68 Metalaxyl (S) 2 sum of all isomers including Metalaxyl-M / Mefenoxam
69 Methamidophos 1 Methamidophos
70 Methidathion 0.1 Methidathion
 

71

 

Methiocarb (S)

 

0.2

sum of Methiocarb, Methiocarb sulfoxide, and Methiocarb sulfone expressed as Methiocarb

 

No. CPA GRL

(ppm)

Residue definition Notes
 

72

 

Methomyl (f)

 

1

sum of Methomyl, Methomyl- oxime, and Thiodicarb expressed as Methomyl
73 Methoxychlor 0.05 Methoxychlor
74 Mevinphos (S) 0.04 Mevinphos (sum E and Z isomers)
75 Mirex 0.08 Mirex
76 Monocrotophos 0.3 Monocrotophos
 

77

 

Naled (c)

sum of Dichlorvos, Naled, and Trichlorfon expressed as Dichlorvos  

see Dichlorvos

78 Nitrofen 0.02 Nitrofen
79 Omethoate (d) sum of Dimethoate and Omethoate expressed as Dimethoate see Dimethoate
80 Oxadixyl 0.1 Oxadixyl
81 Oxamyl 0.5 Oxamyl
82 Parathion (-ethyl) 0.06 Parathion
83 Parathion-methyl 0.1 Parathion-methyl
84 Pebulate 0.5 Pebulate
85 Penconazole 1 Penconazole
86 Pendimethalin 5 Pendimethalin
87 Permethrin (S) 0.5 Permethrin (sum of all isomers)
88 Phorate 0.05 Phorate
89 Phosalone 0.1 Phosalone
90 Phosphamidon (S) 0.05 Phosphamidon (sum of E and Z isomers)
91 Phoxim 0.5 Phoxim
92 Piperonyl butoxide 3 Piperonyl butoxide
93 Pirimicarb 0.5 Pirimicarb
94 Pirimiphos-methyl 0.1 Pirimiphos-methyl
95 Profenofos 0.1 Profenofos
96 Propoxur 0.1 Propoxur
97 Pymetrozine 1 Pymetrozine
 

98

 

Pyrethrins (S)

 

0.5

sum of Pyrethrins 1, Pyrethrins 2,

Cinerins 1, Cinerins 2, Jasmolins 1

and Jasmolins 2

99 Tefluthrin 0.1 Tefluthrin
 

100

 

Terbufos (S)

 

0.05

sum of Terbufos, Terbufos sulfoxide and Terbufos sulfone expressed as Terbufos
101 Thiamethoxam 5 Thiamethoxam
 

102

 

Thiodicarb (f)

sum of Methomyl, Methomyl- oxime, and Thiodicarb expressed as Methomyl  

see Methomyl

103 Thionazin 0.04 Thionazin
 

104

 

Thiophanate-methyl (a)

sum of Benomyl, Carbendazim, and Thiophanate-methyl expressed as Carbendazim  

see Carbendazim

 

No. CPA GRL

(ppm)

Residue definition Notes
 

105

 

Tralomethrin (b)

sum of Deltamethrin and Tralomethrin expressed as Deltamethrin  

see Deltamethrin

 

106

 

Trichlorfon (c)

sum of Dichlorvos, Naled, and Trichlorfon expressed as Dichlorvos  

see Dichlorvos

107 Trifluralin 0.1 Trifluralin

 

 

  • Carbendazim is the degradation product of Benomyl and Thiophanate-methyl. In the case the same sample contains residues of both Carbendazim and/or Benomyl/Thiophanate-methyl, the sum of the residues should not exceed 2
  • Deltamethrin is the degradation product of Tralomethrin. In the case the same sample contains residues of both Deltamethrin and Tralomethrin, the sum of the two residues should not exceed 1
  • Dichlorvos is the degradation product   of  Naled  and     In the case the same sample contains residues of both Dichlorvos and/or Naled/Trichlorfon, the sum of the residues should not exceed 0.1 ppm.
  • Omethoate is the degradation product of Dimethoate. In the case the same sample contains residues of both Dimethoate and Omethoate, the sum of the two residues should not exceed 0.5
  • The Dithiocarbamates Group includes the EBDCs: Mancozeb, Maneb, Metiram, Nabam and Zineb – as well as Amobam, Ferbam, Policarbamate, Propineb, Thiram and
  • Methomyl is the degradation product of Thiodicarb. In the case the same sample contains residues of both Methomyl and Thiodicarb, the sum of the two residues should not exceed 1
  • Fluopyram added to GRL list June

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