Congratulations on a job well done! A special thanks goes out to
the New Green Alliance (Saskatoon branch) for bringing Dr. Elizabeth
Guillette to Saskatchewan in mid-May
to discuss her monumental work on the effects of pesticide exposure
is an anthropologist and researcher with the Center for Bioenvironmental
Tulane and Xavier Universities in
Florida. She has documented the effects of long term exposure to
pesticides on the children of the Yaqui Valley in Mexico. Her work
was the id Suzuki's documentary "Toxic Legacies" which
aired on CBC's "The Nature of Things" in March 2001.
Her study consisted of two groups of Yaqui children who share similar genetic
backgrounds, diets, water mineral contents, cultural patterns, and social behaviours.
The groups differed in their exposure to agricultural pesticides. Guillette
developed a Rapid Assessment Tool for Preschool Children (RATPC) to measure
growth and development of the children. She found that children who lived in
areas of high pesticide use exhibited
decreased stamina, eye-hand coordination and memory. A group of children who
lived in an area where pesticide use was avoided were used as a comparison.
Research done by Dr. Elizabeth Guillette clearly shows that children exposed
to agricultural pesticides, "exhibit more neuromuscular and mental defects.
In addition the exposed children had symptoms of illness three to four times
the rate of the unexposed, with a high rate of upper respiratory infections,
suggesting suppressed immune systems."
The lecture evening of May 13 in Regina had a small but committed group to
listen as Dr Guillette presented her research. The Saskatoon event May 14 at
the University of Saskatchewan campus was well attended and received. It was
a wonderful way
to both collaborate with professional researchers and participate with the
public in an important educational venture.
While in Saskatchewan Dr. Guillette also had the opportunity to
raise awareness of the
pesticide issue with some local media coverage . This included an
in interview with CTV's Bob Simpson who hosts the Farmgate program
and a spot on John Gormley's controversial radio program.
Thank you to the individual volunteers for all their hard work in organizing
We would also like to extend our thanks to the co-sponsoring organizations
who helped make this event a success: Prairie Region Health Promotion Research
Centre (U of Sask) ; Prairie Women's Health Centre of Excellence (U of Sask)
; Council of Canadians (Saskatoon Branch); Saskatoon-Parklands Sierra Group,
U of Sask Dept of Religious Studies and Anthropology, & the Saskatchewan