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Interview with Dr. Granville F. Knight, of Santa Barbara, Calif. Dr. Knight is an allergy specialist who believes that nutrition and preventive medicine are of fundamental importance. In addition to being active in other medical societies, he is a fellow of the American College of Allergists and the International Society of Allergists. Dr. Knight is President-Elect of the American Academy of Nutrition and its lay affiliate, the American Nutrition Society, both-nutritional organizations with headquarters in Los Angeles. These societies are holding their annual convention, which opens tomorrow, at the Huntington Hotel in Pasadena. The meeting of the Nutrition Society Saturday and Sunday is open to the public upon payment of registration. This interview is a preview of remarks Dr. Knight will make during a symposium on pollutants, to be held Sunday afternoon at the Huntington Hotel.
1. QUESTION: Dr. Knight, I assume that you are interested in insecticides primarily from the medical standpoint. It naturally follows that there must be real problems associated with their use or you would not be concerned about them. Please tell us what these problems are.
ANSWER: The newer insecticides are only a part–but an important one–of the broader problems of stress to which human beings are exposed these days. Widespread use provides universal exposure, New compounds produce unforeseen hazards not encountered with the old ones, etc.
2. QUESTION: But is there any real cause for worry? Have not chemicals been used on crops for many years without harm to consumers?
ANSWER: The newer chemicals, because of some peculiar properties, create a real problem. Lead arsenate can be removed from fruits by washing, but the chlorinated hydrocarbons become fixed in the skin and scrubbing will not get rid of them. (Discussion of physical and chemical properties of organic phosphates and chlorinated hydrocarbons such as DDT).
3. QUESTION: That is very interesting, Dr. Knight, but one still wonders if people really get sick from contact with these chemicals. If they are so powerful, why don’t those working in the industry and pesticide operators suffer from poisonous effects?
ANWER: Some of them do, and deaths occur each year as a result of accidents or carelessness, (Discussion of toxic properties for animals and humans…organic phosphates, DDT, chlordane, liver damage, rat experiments.)
4. QUESTION: If the pesticides can cause illness, what symptoms do they produce and how do you know such complaints are due to insecticides and not to something else such as a virus?
ANSWER; That is a good question and rather difficult to answer but I will do my best.
- Organic phosphates.
- Chlorinated hydrocarbons
- Diagnosis and treatment
5. QUESTION: Dr. Knight, what you have just told us is rather upsetting. Are we not protected by such organizations as the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and in this state, the California Dept. of Agriculture?
ANSWER: Organizations of this type are doing excellent work but their personnel, funds and legal rights are too limited. Chemicals should be proven harmless before release, Miller Bill. Analysis of foods in markets, etc.
6. QUESTION: It would seem prudent for all of us to avoid unnecessary contact with these chemicals, We would like to have your thoughts on the solution of this problem. And I am sure the many housewives listening to this discussion would like to know what practical steps they can take to protect their families and themselves.
ANSWER: Time is getting short and therefore I will outline some of my own ideas as to what should be done.
- Avoid sprays
- Organic farming
- Avoid vaporizers
- Treatment of fruits
- Ecology (above outline to be developed)