Letters to the Editor

Shock to find chemicals used on roads

It was truly a pleasure to vacation on Whidbey Island this past summer. On exploring the area I became curious about the roadside dead grass. I was shocked to learn that chemicals were being used to this end instead of the usual mechanical methods.

Having been trained in chemistry (B.S.), medicine (M.D.), and general surgery (F.A.C.S.) I am well aware that environmental pollutants such as these are responsible for the increasing incidence of some cancers in this country as compared to other countries.

As with tobacco, it will probably take decades to prove exactly which chemicals are responsible. In the interim, it is obvious that we should only introduce chemicals such as these into the environment when absolutely necessary and there are no alternative methods with less risk.

To those who argue that chemicals are as safe as water, I would suggest that they drink a cup of pesticide with their morning cigarette. But please keep them out of our ecosystem.

William R. Thieler, M.D., lives in Winter Park, Fla.

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