POSTED: 4 MAY 2008 - 9:30pm HST

Syngenta vs School Kids

video above:"Subjugated Knowledge" - The exoneration of Syngenta? 5:46 muinutes

by Diana Labedz on 4 May 2008

This is insanely upsetting. Why aren't our children and teachers protected

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image above: Vire from building T at Waimea Canyon Middle School of Syngenta sprayed field

The World According to Monsanto
by Mike Shooltz on 2 May 2008

A French film about Monsanto that has been removed from YouTube but can still be seen on the interent at I highly recommend it.



POSTED: 17 FEBRUARY 2008 - 10:30am HST

Syngenta stops pesticide use near school

image above: detail of a Syngenta advertisment

by Tom Finnegan on 16 February 2008 in The Honolulu Star Bulletin

Students and teachers at a Kauai institution fell ill after spraying.
In response to complaints by the teachers union, Kauai's state senator and some parents, Syngenta Seed Co. has agreed to stop spraying pesticides in a field next to Waimea Canyon Middle School.

In a letter to state Sen. Gary Hooser (D, Kauai-Niihau) delivered Thursday, Jeff Cox, president of NAFTA Seeds, a division of Syngenta, said that while it has gone beyond any federal or state regulations regarding pesticides, "community concerns continue."

Syngenta will stop spraying the field adjacent to the school until 2009, Cox continued, "in good faith, and to allow for a calming period for science-based discussion to continue."

As a result of the letter, Hooser said, the Senate moved forward his bill, SB 3170, without the original intent: to make it illegal to spray pesticides within a certain distance of elementary schools. Instead, a working group of government officials, members of the agriculture industry and other interested parties would monitor incidents of pesticide use possibly causing incidents at schools and issue a report in 2009.

The discussion arose after two incidents at the west side middle school -- one in 2006 and another last month -- when a noxious odor made dozens of students and teachers sick. Last month a dozen people went to the hospital because of the stench.

Officials from the Department of Agriculture and the county have blamed the stench on a weed, the wild spider flower, or stink weed.

But Hooser, the teachers union and a handful of parents have not been convinced, and blame Syngenta's use of the pesticide Warrior on the field directly north of the school.

State Health Department spokeswoman Janice Okubo said this week that the company had sprayed their pesticide, Warrior, on the day prior to the students getting sick in January. But they had done so, Okubo added, in accordance with the instructions on the bottle and after school, in accordance with an agreement with the Department of Education.

Tom Perry, Kauai director of the Hawaii State Teachers Association, had gone to court to get a temporary restraining order keeping Syngenta from spraying the field after the incident last month. But, without any evidence, the judge dismissed the request.

"We need to find out for sure what's poisoning our students and our teachers," Perry said. "We need to get to the bottom of this."

Hooser and Perry have asked the Department of Health to do some "base-line" testing of students now, so that when and if the students get sick again, they will be able to accurately determine what has made them sick.

But Okubo said that is not likely to happen.

It is not the state's job to provide testing to find out what made the students sick, and any blood tests done would provide none of the information the teachers union is looking for, she said. No tests exist to find a Warrior-type pesticide in the blood.

To find out what is wrong with you, "you would go to your private physician," she added.

In 2006 the Department of Agriculture did extensive testing of the school to find any traces of pesticides, Okubo continued. None were found.

"In this case there could be a number of factors," she added, including, "possibly hysteria."

Teachers have told Perry that they know what the weed looks like and how it smells, he said. And they are sure the source of the trouble is a much different odor.

"This is an incident where (students) went away in ambulances," Hooser added. "I'm disappointed the Department of Health hasn't taken this seriously."



POSTED: 13 FEBRUARY 2008 - 7:30am HST

DOH failed to conduct tests at WCMS

image above: GoogleEarth view of WCMS property with 300 foot line in Syngenta field (for scale)

by Amanda Gregg on 13 February 2008 in The Garden Island News

The Kaua‘i director of the Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA) requested by letter yesterday that the Department of Health (DOH) conduct toxicology tests of students and teachers exposed to pesticides near Waimea Canyon School.

In the letter, Tom Perry, Kaua‘i director for the Hawai‘i State Teachers Association, asks Chiyome Fukino, M.D. with the DOH, to gather scientific evidence to help determine the reason 61 students went to the school’s health clinic January 25, 10 of whom were later taken to the hospital via ambulance.

Though the DOH did come to Waimea Canyon School January 25, its representatives didn’t take any samples or conduct any tests, states the letter.

The school is adjacent to an agriculturally zoned spot that Syngenta Seeds leases; the company agreed to halt spraying last week after the HSTA agreed to drop its request for a temporary restraining order against the company’s pesticide spraying. Syngenta has not sprayed since the agreement and will only spray after it erects a 12-foot-high dust-fence along the vegetated buffer zone separating the field from the school.

Syngenta was allowed within the agreement to spray one last time before installing the buffer either Friday or Saturday but opted not to; that canceled visitation plans that had been set by Bill Arakaki, complex area superintendent for the Department of Education (DOE).

Though the DOH has yet to take samples following the January 25 complaint, it did take samples following a Nov. 14, 2006, complaint filed by Waimea Canyon School teachers and found that Syngenta’s spraying of pesticides in an adjacent field didn’t produce an unsafe level of toxins.

The November 14, 2006, complaint was filed by teachers after 60 students went to the health room with complaints of nausea, headache, stomach ache, dizziness and vomiting; 34 students went home that day, according to the DOH report.

Officials had concluded that a weed called cleome gynandra, also known as wild spider flower, was the reason for the children’s and teachers’ sicknesses.
The DOH also investigated following a January 23, 2007 complaint; however, the findings of that report also demonstrated pesticide was applied according to its labeling instructions, according to its report.

But testing needs to continue, Perry’s letter states. Without it, the health of teachers and students will be at risk, he said.

“HSTA requests your help to provide scientific evidence as to what’s making the students and teachers sick,” Perry said in the letter.

“The Hawai‘i State Teachers Association feels it is imperative that the Department of Health come to Waimea Canyon School now while Syngenta is not spraying. This will enable the Department of Health to obtain the necessary baseline tests while the students and teachers are healthy and not suffering (from symptoms of illness).”

Neither Fukino nor the DOH public affairs office returned calls to The Garden Island.



POSTED: 13 FEBRUARY 2008 - 8:00am HST

Teachers drop TRO against Syngenta

by Amanda C. Gregg on 7 February in The Garden Island News

The Hawai’i State Teachers Association (HSTA) agreed yesterday, to dissolve a temporary restraining order (TRO) preventing Syngenta Seeds from spraying pesticides in a field adjacent to Waimea Canyon Middle School (WCMS).

The HSTA had threatened to ask for a 30-day injunction preventing Syngenta from spraying, after 60 students went home ill and 10 were taken to the hospital via ambulance January 25.Neither the Department of Health nor the Department of Agriculture responded to administrators’ requests to come to the school and take swab tests following the incident.

Tom Perry, Kaua‘i director for the Hawaii State Teachers Association, said over the past two years there have been spikes in the number of students that go home ill in conjunction with pesticide spraying.

However, neither Perry nor his attorney had evidence to support that information to present in Fifth Judicial Circuit Judge Kathleen Watanabe’s courtroom.
Perry said in a phone interview that he plans to subpoena the records of the school’s health clinic.

The Garden Island obtained one such record through a Freedom of Information Act request stemming from a November 14, 2006 complaint filed by teachers, in which 60 students went to the health room with complaints of nausea, headache, stomach ache, dizziness and vomiting. Thirty four students went home that day, the report states.

Officials had said the most likely culprit of the symptoms were caused by a Westside weed called cleome gynandra, also known as a wild spider flower.
Syngenta plowed under roughly 50 acres of the weed and students returned to school the following week.

A second DOA investigation following a January 23, 2007 complaint that several students and teachers had again fallen ill following spraying found the company appropriately sprayed insecticides on the fields. The fields are located some 800 feet from Waimea Canyon School in Kekaha. The findings of that report — which also required a Freedom of Information Act request — showed the company applied Sevin, a pesticide, according to its labeling instructions.

The HSTA brought Syngenta Seeds to court yesterday following the third complaint filed by teachers following a January 25 spraying. The HTSA filed a motion for a TRO because the company refused to comply with a spraying protocol agreement reached by both sides following the previous complaints, Perry said.

“We asked them to have (a temporary) moratorium for spraying and Syngenta refused,” Perry said.

Two days later, when the company was spraying again, Perry said, “we had no choice but to file a restraining order.”

Anne Burt, a Syngenta spokeswoman, said the company wasn’t aware the HSTA had filed a motion requesting a break from the spraying.

In the agreement hashed out by both sides yesterday, Syngenta agreed to construct a 12-foot-high dust-fence along the vegetated buffer zone separating the field from the school. Syngenta will be allowed to spray one more time, either today or tomorrow, before the fence goes up.

In turn, HSTA agreed to dissolve the temporary restraining order and withdrew their complaint without prejudice.

“We are sorry that it came to a lawsuit for this new wall to happen, we didn’t know that is what they wanted until just today,” Burt said in an e-mail.

“We have been in many meetings and working in close collaboration with the school administration, faculty and union for two years now, and we would have been glad to entertain a request for a new protocol.”

Burt, who arrived on-island Tuesday, also said the company cares about students, especially as some are the children of its employees.

“We are committed to working closely with the community and school administration, and will continue to do so.”

The Department of Education decided not to support a bill introduced Tuesday by Sen. Gary Hooser (D-Kaua‘i) that would have stipulated several requirements when spraying pesticides near schools, including a proposed 1,500-foot buffer.

Perry said the proposed legislation scared off support because it was too limited.
An amended version of the bill, slated to include all K-12 schools, is expected to be heard next week.

Bill Arakaki, complex area superintendent for the Department of Education (DOE), said he expects to be on-island Sunday to determine whether students can safely return to school Monday.

He also plans to meet with the Department of Health (DOH) and Department of Agriculture (DOA), he said.

“We’re just concerned about the safety of students and teachers,” he said. “Until we can gather data, we need to get a baseline of information so can make decisions and work from there.”

Burt said it is out of deep respect for the community that Syngenta is adding another action to its standing protocols that go over and above all laws in the field adjacent to the school.

“Syngenta hopes that the cause of the illness is fully investigated. We do not believe our usage of pesticides, which has complied with all local, state and federal laws and has been regularly inspected by the DOA and found fully safe, is the cause.”

Should anyone complain again about the same symptoms in conjunction with future sprayings, Perry said, the HSTA will be back in court.

for more see:
Island Breath: Monsanto wants it all 4/21/08
Island Breath: Spray Ban Bill 2/1/08
Island Breath: Bill to restrict herbicide 1/24/08
Island Breath: Maluia WCMS 7/10/07
Island Breath: Syngenta Poisoning II 2/23/07
Island Breath: Syngenta Poisoning I