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October 02, 1970 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1970-10-02

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40, S Itl4M BEra tjy
Eighty years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

friday niorning
Pesticides: Here today, here tomorrow
bydainiel ziverdlin

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich.

News Phone: 764-0552

Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily express the individual opinions of staff writers
or the editors. This must be noted in all reprints.



FTC stries out at salesmen

AMEND THE old saw: "Perhaps
salesmen can't fool all of the people
all of the time, but they unfortunately
fool too many of the people too much of
the time."
' With this maxim in mind, it is indeed
heartening news that the Federal Trade
Commission has moved to protect house-
holders from unscrupulous door-to-door
salesmen. The main feature of a pro-
posed FTC regulation would allow a three-
day "cooling-off" period in which the
buyer could cancel any agreement to buy
consumer goods or services costing $10 or
The FTC has taken this route of en-
acting a regulation which specifies in
detail the exact protection to which a
consumer is entitled, after unhappy ex-
periences trying to prosecute companies
under Section 5 of the Federal Trade
Commission Act which prohibits "unfair
or deceptive t r a d e practices." Because
Section 5 is very general in nature, com-
panies are able to contest FTC injunc-
tions through the courts for amazingly
long periods of time.
A prime example of the difficulty which
the FTC has encountered is the case of
J.P. Collier and Son, Inc. Legal action
against Collier was begun in 1960 when
the' company was charged with using
deception in the door-to-door sales of its
encyclopedia. Now, ten years later, the
case has not yet been resolved as Collier
is making a final appeal to the Supreme
AN IMPORTANT provision of the pro-
posed regulation would prohibit sales-
men from using any subterfuge in ap-
proaching prospective c u s t o m e r s. The
seller would be required to disclose "clear-
ly, affirmatively and expressly" on ap-
proaching a householder that "the pur-
pose of the contact is to effect a sale,
stating the goods and services which the
seller has to offer."
This part of the regulation would pre-
vent the old "survey" door-opener used
successfully by Encyclopedia Britannica
salesmien as they p e d d 1e their "great
books" to homeowners and students. The
"survey" method entails the salesman
posing as a poll-taker to get in the door
of his game. These salesmen often man-
age .to sell $500 worth of books wh4ch the
customer neither needs nor wants.
Books are not the only field in which
door-to-door salesmen are notorious for
Editorial Staff
Editorial Director Managing Editor
NADINE COHODAS... .... Feature Editor
JIM NEUBACHER Editorial Page Editor
ROB BIER ...... .......Associate Managing Editor
LAURIE HARRIS ..... . ..Arts Editor
JUDY KAHN Personnel Director
ROBERT CONROW ... ..,..Books Editor
NIGHT EDITORS: Dave Chudwin Erika Ho Steve
Koppnan, Robert Kraftowtz, Lynn Weiner
Chaney, Steve Koppman, Pat Mahoney, Rick
Perlof i
Cleply, Mark Dillen, Sara Fitzgerald, Art Lerner,
Jonathan Miller, Hannah Morrison, M i c h a e i
Schneck, Bob Schreiner, W. E. Schrock, Edward

their deceptive techniques. Home repairs,
vacuum cleaners, magazines, and almost
anything which can be carried are foisted
off on unsuspecting homeowners every
d ay.
A WORD OF caution must be interjected
into praise of the proposed FTC regu-
lation. The ruling will not go into effect
until at least next year. Consumers and
other interested parties may file their
views with the FTC until Jan. 12. A public
hearing is then scheduled for Jan. 19, and
after that the proposed regulation is sub-
ject to extensive revision. One can only
hope final draft will be effective in pre-
venting the door-to-door deception'which
will c o n t i n u e until the regulation is
Chinese n Mideast
NOW THAT Gamal Abdel Nasser is dead,
Mao Tse-tung will try to extend Red
China's influence into the Middle East.
For months the Chinese Communist
party chairman and his associates have
encouraged the Palestinian guerrillas to
sabotage attempts to reach a peaceful
settlement of the Middle East conflict.
They have urged the Arab states to adopt
Mao's policy of protracted war - a fight
to the finish - against Israel.
Nasser, who accepted a cease-fire with
Israel and arranged one in Jordan, stood
in the way.
President Nixon is said to believe the
U.S. peace initiative in the Middle East
has been stalled, perhaps for months, by
the Egyptian president's death. Nasser's
successor probably will have to adopt a
hard line toward Israel if he wants to
This will be in contrast to Nasser's posi-
tion. Although he talked tough, he was
a pragmatist. He was the most moderate
of the leaders of an Arab world dominated
by feudal sheiks and left-wing revolution-
Mao and his meni see the Middle East
as something larger than an Israel-Arab
cockpit. For them it represents a battle-
field on which Peking's twin enemies -
U.S. "imperialism" and Soviet "social im-
perialism" - can be harassed .and per-
haps, with persistence, defeated.
THE RUSSIANS had the ear of Nasser
because they supplied the massive
firepower with which to confront the
Israelis. Unable to rival the Soviet influ-
ence with the Arab governments, Mao has
concentrated on the guerrillas. He has
armed them with Maoist slogans and al-
most certainly has supplied them w i t h
money and guns. Chinese imvective
againstthe United States and, more sub-
tly, against the Russians, falls on willing
guerrilla ears.
Cast adrift without Nasser, turning
toward a more belligerent attitude, t h e
Arab governments could also begin to
face toward Peking rather than Moscow.

The first in a two-part series
partment of Agriculture now
comes an arsenal of easy-to-buy
poisons: 2,4,5-T, 2,4-D, DDT., Mi-
rex, and a slew of other pesticides
which maim and kill. Pesticides
are going out of vogue in ecology
circles, especially now that we are
finding mercury poisoning (that's
novel!) in our water, our air, and
our food.
But pesticides are around and,
more dangerous than ever, and
the government won't do much to
control them.
PEOPLE are startingsto lay off
their lawns now because it's fall.
But if you drop by your local Ann
Arbor hardware store to purchase
some weedkiller, you'll still find
innocuous-looking spray cans and
plastic bags of some of the most
potent stuff on the market: 2,4,5-
It's the same chemical which
t h e Defense Department has
dropped in enormous quantities to
defoliate the jungles of Vietnam.
2,4,5-T has remained one of the
most popular all-purpose herbi-
cides since it was first developed
as a chemical warfare agent in
the late 1940's.
Scientists now fear t h a t the
pesticide may cause fetal deform-
ites in pregnant women. But the
Agriculture Department doesn't
seem concerned - a n d 2,4,5-T
still sits on the nation's shelves.
The government hadn't e v e n
thought very much about possible
side effects of 2,4,5-T until Mich-
igan's Sen. Philip Hart investi-
gated herbicides last spring in
hearings before his environmental
subcommittee. As early as 1966..
studies by the National Cancer
Research Institute showed t h a t
2,4,5-T is teratogenic - produces
fetal abnormalities - in rats.
CLEFT PALATES a'n d kidney
abnormalities among the offspring
raised the frightening possibility
that such relatively common de-
fects among human babies may
sometimes result from overzealous
use of weedkiller in daddy's gar-
den.'The government didn't both-
er to publish the findings until
a special HEW pesticide commis-
sion revealed them last winter,
and called for immediate restric-
tion of 2,4,5-T to minimize hu-
man exposure. Surgeon General
Jesse Steinfeld apparently felt
worried enough about the chemi-
cal to promise that the govern-
ment would ban it, by January,
1970. In April, 2,45-T production
was booming.
Spurred by Hart's hearings and
embarrassing publicity, the Agri-
culture Department suddenly an-
nounced in April that it was sus-
pending uses of 2,4,5-T in liquid
formations around the home and
on water and would cancel sev-
eral other uses. Sound like the
government responding to an ur-
gent crisis? Agriculture's actions
don't go very far. There's a bur-
eaucratic catch: all pesticides (a
t e r m which includes herbicides.
insecticides and fungicides) sold
interstate must be approved and
registered for specific uses by the
pesticides regulations division of
USDA. An insect spray w h i c h
might cause terrible skin burns is
fair game for the hgrdware shelf
as long as the manufacturer reg-
isters it only for direct use on in-
sects, and puts a little warning
on the label to tell you not to
smear the toxin on your hands.
SUSPENDING a chemical re-
vokes its registration, in effect

"The Old Man and the Sea"

and even if the cancellation pro-
ceedings are ever completed, 2,4,5-
T will continue to be sold freely
in y o u r neighborhood hardware
and lawn supply stores. Federal
laws don't cover retail dealers who
s e 11 contraband pesticides or
consumers who buy them. T h e
government can . fine only, the
firms who ship them interstate -
and then only a miniscule $1,000.
The government can also seize
banned pesticide stocks; it em-
ploys exactly 32 inspectors to
roam the entire nation. The 2,4,5-
T producers, furthermore, can
continue legally selling their ex-
isting stocks as long as t h e y
merely change the package labels
to conform with the new govern-
ment restrictions. T h a t doesn't
guarantee the consumer will fol-
low the directions.
Agriculture officials won't even
warn the public about the dan-
gers of 2.4,5-T. There a r e 300
2.4,5-T home products: "publica-
tion of such a long list might be,
more confusing than helpful," de-
clares a department spokesman.
Just because you 1 i v e in an
apartment and don't use pestici-
des yourself, don't think what a
lawn buff does across town won't
hurt you. Pesticide dust travels
three miles on a calm, windless
day. If you don't breathe it, you'll
probably end up eating or drink-
ing it.
We might get some better pro-
tection against dangerous pestic-
ides if Congress passes Sen. Hart's
new bill, which would require im-
mediate suspension of any pesti-
cide whenever there is reasonable
doubt about its safety. The bill
would also penalize retail deal-
ers who sell, and homeowners who
use, the banned chemical.
BUT WORDS on the books
don't count for much. Americans
dump 1.2 billion pounds of pesti-
cides every year on their gardens,
lawns, forests, pastures, lakes and
rivers and the amount is growing
14 per cent every year. Literally
thousands of pesticide formula-
tions have possible toxic effects
on humans. A Philadelphia man
died earlier this year after house-
hold termite spray with chlordane
posioned his bone marrow. And a
North Carolina farmer's seven-

year-old son died recently after
breathing pariathon insecticide
dust sprayed on a tobacco field.
We -use others -every day, like the
common insect spray dieldrin -
but the government has scarcely
investigated any of theni.
The two insecticides which the
government does know about are
DDT, everyone's favorite pariah
since Rachel Carson wrote Silent
Spring, and 2.4-D), the popular
herbicideoeftn mixed in lawn fer-
tilizer to ward off weeds.
The history of DDT poison-
ing in this country is so over-
whelming, it's fair to wonder why
we're not all dead.
DDT causes massive wildlife kills
and accunmulates in everything
and everybody, including shelll-
fish, chickens, and mother's breast
milk. FDA studies show it causes
mutations and induces cancer in
test animals. What more evidence
does USDA want? "We have used
DDT safely for 40 years," pesti-
cide expert T. C. Byerly told me.
USDA banned DDT around t h e
home, and concelled (cancelled,
not suspended) DDT uses on cer-
-aMn shade and fruit trees, but re-
fuses to restrict its significant uses
on the food we eat.
USDA won't even go that far
with 2,4-D, which induces cancer
and deforms fetuses in lab ani-
mals, just like 2,4,5-T. The HEW
pesticide commission said the
chemical is dangerousenough to
warrant immediate and severe re-
strictions, but Agriculture offic-
ials have ignored the warning. So
consumers everywhere are dump-
ing it on lawns, gardens and lakes
and breathing the dust.
Don't think the .Agriculture De-
partment is entirely without con-
science as all of these chemicals
continue to pour unabated, unin-
vestigated, into the environment.
Now the government has formed
a commission to look into ways of
disposing pesticide containers once
we've already discharged t h e i r
poisons. 100,000 bug bombs sit
on the nation's shelves. "How do
you get rid of them?" asks Byer-
ly. "The problem hasn't been fac-
ed up to very well."
Next week: How the biggest
insect eradication program in
U.S. history may cause one of
its worst ecological disasters.

banning further manufacture and
interstate shipment. But USDA's
suspension of 2,4,5-T in liquids
around the home and on water
accounts for only a fraction of the
herbicide's total market. Dow
Chemical Corporation, the same
firm which brings you Saran
Wrap and napalm, frankly esti-
mates the ban won't affect more
than 10 per cent of its massive
2,4,5-T sales.
USDA barely touched the 2,4,5-
T used around the home in gran-
ular powder form (a local hard-
ware store told me yesterday they
could sell me 60-lb. bags of the
stuff for only $6.99) or dumped
by the thousands of tons on food
crops which end up on your din-
ing room table. (The Food and
Drug Administration incidentally,
considers 2,4,5-T so toxic that it
will seize foodstuffs with the tin-
iest trace of the chemical. One of
USDA's top pesticide men told me
investigators have occasionally
found contaminated food samples,
but couldn't stop the entire ship-
ments in time). Instead, it can-
celled these uses, a sluggish ad-
ministrative mechanism which al-
lows the chemical to be shipped
and sold while manufacturers pe-
tition for advisory committees,
hetrings and finally appeal the
case in court - a process which
can take years.
MEANWHILE, manufacturers
produce the poisons and market
them and the consumer buys
them. Major 2,4,5-T producers
filed their first round of protests.
in May; it's five months later
now, and USDA hasn't even form-
ed an advisory committee.
Agriculture Department offic-
ials refuse to take any action at
all against 2,4,5-T sprayed on
range and pastureland, and those
account for 80 per cent of its use.
They say it's enough to w a r n
farmers not to turn cattle loose
on sprayed land until a "reason-
able" ti m e after treatment, to
make sure the poison doesn't get
in their milk, their m e a t and
eventually human stomachs.
Can anyone define a "reason-
able" time? Former presidential
science adviser Lee DuBridge (he
retired a month ago) suggested
only 30 days. USDA science and

education director Ned Bayley
says a few months is safer. Some
chemists (USDA ignores t h e m)
have found that 2,4,5-T persists
on land for a year and a half.
Why doesn't t h e government
suspend a 11 uses of 2,4,5-T, at
least until it knows more about
the chemical? Under the Federal
Insecticide, Fungicide and - Rod-
enticide Act, USDA may suspend
any pesticide which poses an
"imminent hazard" to human
health. Earlier this summer, de-
partment officials reasoned that
spraying the poison on food crops
doesn't pose an "imminent" haz-
ard because six months may pass
between the time the crops are
treated and the time a person act-
ually eats them! Sen. Hart's staff
read Webster's definition of "im-
minent" to Agriculture's pesticide
men, and last Tuesday they
bought it. Still, they say, no ac-
tion is necessary on 2,4,5-T.
EVEN UNDER the suspensions,


Letters- to The Daily

To the Daily:-
AS CANDIDATES for election
to the Univret'y of Michigan
Board of-Regents, We wish to com-
ment on recent events in Ann Ar-
bor related to the Black Economic
Development League (BEDL) -
W e 1 f a r e Rights Organization
(WRO) sit-ins and the 18 de-
mands presented by Blacks United
for Liberation and Justice (BULJ)
to the City Council.
In considering these issues, peo-
ple tend to reduce them to the
question "Are certain institutions
of society failing to serve ade-
quately the people who make up
society?" While we feel that the
churches, the University, and the
City Council are definitely failing-
to serve society adequately, a
more fundamental problem lies
beneath all this. That problem is
that black people, and poor white
people as well, do not have control
over their own lives.
They are born into a system

based on racial and econpmic dis-
crimination which forces them to
struggle for food and shelter for
the sake of a fortunate few who
struggle only to ,get away from
,the dinner table. Their political
power is necessarily small when
the press, the .major political par-
ties, the courts, and the adminis-
tration of government are con-
trolled by wealthy, white men
Whose interests are diametrically
opposed to those of the working
right to self-determination is one
of the principles on which thi.
country was founded, but the con-
dition ,of national minorities in
the U.S. today forces one to con-
clude that that principle has been
forgotten. We support all demands
for black control of the black
community, and we feel that the
formation of an independent black
political party is essential for the
realization of this goal. La Raza
Unida Party of the Chicanos in

the southwestern U.S. has already
elected candidates to local offices,
which demonstrates that an in-
dependent political party is not, a
wild idea, and that it can be an
effective tactic in the struggle for
-Macia Wisch
Tom Vernier
New Vietnam
To the Daily:
NOW THAT the US has dis-
patched its first gang of mercen-
aries to the Middle East, where
are the concerned anti-war de-
Where are the conscientious ob-
Where is the New Mobe?
Where are the stirring editorials
about U.S. imperialism?
Or is this Vietnam somehow dif-
-Walter W. Broad, Grad

Federal action needed to save environment
ant l.ette~4tnemn....

Associated Press Writer


CAMPAIGN TRAILS have taken to na=:
ture trails in some regions of the
country, with congressional, gubernatorial
and even judicial candidates treking
through the Adirondacks and the Ever-
glades to dramatize their good conserva-
tionist intentions. Once the concern of few
outside the Sierra Club and the Audubon
Society, the state of the nation's ecological
health has suddenly been launched into
the public eye, and exploiting the issue,
those running for public officers have edg-
ed even the Indochina war into- second,
But no matter how reassuring this en-
thusiasm may be for conservationists, the
facet of this issue upon which these can-
didates must be evaluated is the means
they propose to insure successful ecologi-
cal programs, legislation and appropria-
tions. More precisely, they must be judged
on their positions regarding the regulatory
roles of the federal versus the state gov-
ernment in pollution abatement, for it is
only through whole-hearted federal action
that effective pollution controls will be ef-
During the early and mid-1960's, active
Federal participation in conservation was
limitr m~c a nfl y toml', i p II, np.,rvn inn of ctni,

rare before 1969 and 1970. And the 200
cases since then have been restricted
mainly to the areas of Southern L a k e
Michigan, Lake Erie, and New York Har-
ponderately in the 1960's, dealt with prob-
lems of storm and sanitary sewers and sub-
sidized studies for the construction of
municipal sewage treatment plant facili-
ties. These legislations also established a
sequence of criteria, standards and en-
forcements for water and air pollution,
requiring "the States to begin develop-
ing . . . standards and implementation
plans for the pollutants in question," . .
and to "bear th# basic responsibility for
the implementation and enforcement of
the ... quality standards."
In 1969 it became apparent that t h e
ecological problems far outweighed the na-
tional efforts to solve them. The environ-
mental crisis was dramatized in g r a n d
style by an off-shore well blowout which
destroyed the sandy beaches of Santa
Barbara. Immediately, protection of the
environment was made a matter of na-
tional policy with the passage of the Con-
o-vc.uc~in'-itina ,rl i Rnimvrnm ~ntn Pnliev rAet'

partment of the Interior has been re-
shuffled and even more reorganization is
in store, with environmental efficacy as
the prime mover; and federal spending has
increased to the half-billion mark for fiscal
1969, making the federal environmental
budget for the '60's 350 per cent that of
the previous decade. All commendable and
yet it is still not enough.
IT IS NOT ENOUGH because the Nixon
administration has not made the commit-
ment that will determine whether the en-
vironment can be saved. The federal gov-
ernment has not committed itself to fin-
ancing the bulk of pollution controls.
President Nixon's pollution policy auth-
orizes $4 billion to cover the Federal
share of a $10 billion committment to
construct municipal waste treatment
plants, to be allocated over the next four
years. This is in fact a cut of a quarter
billion dollars per year as authorized by
the Clean Water Restoration Act of 1966
- not a moving forward, but a retreat
from existing laws.
Administration backers contend that the
federal government's bearing 40 percent
of the financial weight is adequate pri-
mrn'ily n t hei cgrounds that fthe fede~ral

clean air and water should rate higher
priority slots than these items
The second point is valid: The 1o c a 1
governments are closer to the people and
the problems and should bear the primary
responsibility for pure air and water. But
they cannot afford to finance the 70 per
cent ;of the water treatment facilities as
required under the present law.
Lven the Administration's more lenient
policy of financing 50 per cent of munici-
pal treatment projects when the local,
governments produce the first 25 per cent
has produced few results. Most munici-
pal governments cannot subsidize even
this much. Thus, few grass-roots-level pro-
jects are in the making because municipal
governments cannot affo'rd to begin.
And the nation -cannot afford not to
far its commitment goes. This summer, it
requested only $330 million for a pol-
lution program'for which the House had)
appropriated $1 billion.
The Ninety-first Congress has shown
how far its committment goes. Less than



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