12 Points on Malathion

Dr John Whitman Ray
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1. Malathion and other organophosphate insecticides are neurotoxins. California Department of Health Services (CDHS) has recently discovered that as a direct result of the Malathion aerial spraying program there has been at least a 20% inhibition of cholinesterase which acts upon acetyl cholinesterase (ACHE). The degree of inhibition of cholinesterase also correlates with the severity of initial symptoms, with a 20-50% inhibition of cholinesterase in mild Malathion poisoning.

In mild to moderate poisonings, early central nervous system effects include (in order of appearance), tension, anxiety, jitteriness, restlessness, emotional lability (emotional ups and downs), giddiness (dizziness), insomnia with excessive dreaming and occasional nightmares.

ACHE mediates responses in the central nervous system in behavioural and physiological functions such as memory, mental disorders, various neuro-psychiatric syndromes, sleep, temperature regulation, and central regulation of cardiovascular-respiratory functions. Subtle changes in behaviour may occur long before classic symptoms of poisoning can be identified and many persist long after recovery from more acute signs of Malathion poisoning.

2. According to Dr Jorge R Mancillas, PhD Neurobiologist, University of California, Los Angeles: The primary manner in which Malathion affects humans, animals and insects is by binding and inactivating an enzyme called cholinesterase. This cholinesterase is used primarily by cells in the nervous system for cell to cell communication. One of the chemicals most commonly used for cellular communication, especially in the nervous system is acetylcholinesterase (ACHE).

Some nerve cells release ACHE and this leads to excitation of the cells they are in contact with. The cells that respond to ACHE, have an enzyme called cholinesterase, which destroys acetylcholinesterase. This limits the periods of time in which the cell is excited that normal neurotransmission can take place.

Malathion inhibits cholinesterase, and as a result, the cells that are exposed to acetylcholine, go into a frenzy of activity, or a period of activity that does not end, leading to damage of the neural system or the muscles which are involved, or leading to abnormal responses or abnormal activity in the central nervous system.

A short way to say all this is: Malathion and other organophosphates, interfere with normal cell communication by inhibiting cholinesterase.

3. The textbook description of the symptoms of Malathion poisoning include increased lacrimation (tears), irritated eyes, blurred vision, breathing difficulties, muscle paralysis, vomiting, diarrhoea, increased mucous discharge and flu-like symptoms. The central nervous system can be affected leading to headaches, dizziness, weakness, blurry vision. Which of these symptoms with be displayed depend upon the amounts of Malathion and the mode of exposure. If the dose of Malathion is really large, patients can display generalised convulsions, psychological disturbances, coma and death from respiratory or cardiac failure.

4. Dr Samuel S Epstein, MD who is one of the leading epidemiologists in the world (formerly of Harvard Medical School) has stated: The public has long been misled by federal, state and local government, into believing that Malathion is safe or virtually non-toxic. This claim is misleading based on short-term acute toxicity tests with purified formulations.

Technical Malathion (as different from purified Malathion) contains a wide range of “unlabled” highly toxic thioate impurities, besides other toxic “inert” ingredients. Additionally, “Malathion induced a wide range of delayed effects, including disturbances in learning, genetic abnormalities and cancer.” This statement can be found in the forward of Malathion: Toxic Time Bomb by Betsey Russel-Manning.

Dr Samuel Epstein, MD: “Pure Malathion has relatively weak acute toxicity. When you look at the technical Malathion, the technical Malathion containing the impurities, there you have toxicity which is about 25-fold higher. The technical Malathion contains the thioates. These organophosphates increase the toxicity of Malathion and we call this potentiation.

“Now then, you have an additional factor to consider which is the Malaoxon which is the breakdown product of Malathion. This breakdown product is both in the environment and in the body. Malaoxon is much more toxic than the Malathion. It is about 40 times more toxic. So, as the Malathion gradually breaks down into the Malaoxon in the environment, you are dealing with a material which is more persistent and which is more toxic. You are dealing with a wide range of impurities in the technical Malathion in which the toxicity of those can be up to a thousand fold in excess of the toxicity of the parent Malathion.

“The impurities in the technical Malathion will influence the rate of breakdown and degradation of Malathion and of the Malaoxon. In the body the Malathion and Malaoxon are broken down and degraded by a series of enzymes called carboxyl esterases. The impurities will inhibit the breakdown, and in this way accentuate the toxicity of the Malathion and the Malaoxon.

“There is a group of sensitive subgroups of the population that include the infant, the foetus, the elderly, the malnourished, that have deficiencies. Infants have deficiencies in the coestraoids, the enzyme that activates the Malathion. There are deficiencies in the carboxyl esterases in certain groups of the population, particularly Caucasians.

“I have seen figures saying up to 50 percent of the Caucasian population has deficiency in the Malaoxon carboxyl esterases. Deficiency in enzymes will enhance the toxicity of these pesticides. I have firsthand information as to what percentage the average Caucasian population has regarding deficiency in these enzymes.”

5. It has been established that humans do not have a specific enzyme carboxylesterase-B in their blood which detoxifies Malathion. Humans contain this enzyme in the liver but not in the blood. When Malathion is absorbed through human skin, it has to travel all the way to the liver before it is detoxified by Carboxylesterase-B (CEB). Of 14 major pesticides investigated including DDT, Malathion was found to be the pesticide most rapidly absorbed by the skin.

It has been found that ingested Malathion travels out of the body more quickly and completely than dermally (through the skin) absorbed Malathion. This leaves open the question of whether there is a greater potential for systemic poisoning to occur with dermal exposures of Malathion.

6. From the Health Freedom News, the official magazine of the National Health Federation we have the following pointed comment: “According to Dr Kathleen Rogers, a molecular cell biologist and immune system researcher at the University of Southern California, “Malathion and it’s co-products have been shown to produce immune system alterations at all dose levels, including the destruction of mast cells, which are responsible for producing histamines to fight invading organisms.” This includes aerial spraying programs which results in breathing in the toxic chemicals as well as dermal contact. A single dose of exposure can alter the function of the immune system in a detrimental manner.

7. Malathion spray has been tested by various laboratories and has been found to contain various heavy metals such as nickel, chromium, and lead in amounts above “acceptable” ranges. According to Dr David Eggleston, DDS (Professor University of Southern California) and pioneer in exposing Mercury (Silver) amalgam fillings and their relation to reduced immune response, “Nickel is used routinely by the National Cancer Centres to induce cancer in laboratory animals in order to study cancer.

Nickel is the most allergenic metal known. There are more people allergic to nickel than all the other metals combined.” It has been widely established that chromium is also extremely carcinogenic. The toxic effect of lead on the human body has already been well established. This is why people are demanding lead free petrol for their vehicles of transportation rather than petrol containing highly contaminating tetra-ethyl lead. These various heavy metals are used as catalytic agents in the organic chemical process of Malathion production.

From a lecture before the Holistic Dental Association, Eggelston further states “the Chinese 5000 years ago did not have formaldehyde, mercury in their teeth, Malathion, and all the different things we are exposed to now, polyesters, etc. These seem to be the things that are affecting these meridians of the body.”

8. Following is a list of some of the impurities found in the formation of Malathion:

1. Diethyl fumarate 0.90%
2. Diethylhydroxysiccinate 0.05%
3. O,O-Dimethyl-phosphorothioite 0.05%
4. O,O,O-Trimethyl-phosphorothioite 0.45%
5. O,O,S-Trimethyl-phosphorodithioite 1.20%
6. Ethyl nitrate 0.03%
7. Diethyl mercaptosuccinate 0.15%
8. Isomalathion 0.20%
9. S-(1-Carbemethoxy-2-carbethoxy)ethyl-O,O-
dimethyl phosphorodithioate
10. Bis-(O,O-Dimethyl-thiomophosphoryl sulfide 0.30%
11. Diethyl methylthiosuccinate 1.00%
12. S-Ethyl-O, O-dimethyl phosphorodithioate 0.30%
13. S-(1,2-Dicarbethoxyl ethyl-O,O dimethyl phosphorothioate 0.10%
14. Diethyl ethylthiosuccinate 0.10%
15. Content of water 0.07%
16. Acidity as Sulfuric Acid (H2SO4) 0.05%

Please note that numbers 3,4,5,12 and 13 are known as phosphorodithioates. Each of these are several fold more toxic than the Malathion. There are contaminants from the production process of Malathion and are known as severe immuno-toxins. In other words these “thioates” destroy the immune response. Chromium, nickel and lead are also serious immuno-toxins. There are many research papers published on human beings showing that these toxic metals cause damage to the human immune system.

Not only so we have Malathion but also phosphorodithioates included with the above mentioned heavy metals. These items other than Malathion are not listed on the Malathion label. The people have a right to know what damage is being done to their body and what is doing it. The other items found in Malathion are often labelled inert ingredients. These inert ingredients are known as highly toxic substances and it must be stated that the label is irresponsibly misleading and dangerously erroneous.

9. Many Organophosphates such as Malathion and paraquat are banned in some countries, yet are being dumped irresponsibly on third world countries in order to increase the financial coffers of amoral and irresponsible chemical and pharmaceutical industries who are only interested in preserving and perpetuating a sound financial statement.

It is an established fact that these highly profitable insecticides, herbicides and pesticides so widely used agriculturally only increased the problem of insects thus increasing the the need for more insecticides and it is known that the use of chemical fertilisers destroys the soil, making it sterile, thus creating a dependency upon chemical fertilisers to obtain any crop at all for commercial purposes. Vested interest has its deadly strangle-hold on various growers and planters by making it very difficult to return to natural and well planned organic or bio-organic farming.

10. Dr Marc Lappe, PhD: “Approximately 50% of the Caucasian population and an undetermined number of other ethnic groups have a genetic deficiency in breaking down Malathion.”

Professor Summer Kalman, MD, Standford University: “And in some cases of Malathion poisoning signs and symptoms persist after recovery. This feature of poisoning due to organophosphorus pesticides concerns me very much. The combination between pesticide and body proteins is an irreversible one. This means that the localised damage persists at least until these proteins are replaced by formation of newly-made molecules. The evidence for mutagenicity is quite compelling. Reactive molecules such as Malathion that form strong chemical bonds with proteins, probably do the same with constituents of cell’s DNA or with enzymes involved in DNA replication and thus cause changes leading to “genetic” damage.”

Dr Marc Lappe, PhD: “I conclude there is significant danger of chronic toxicity and possible genetic damage to the following categories of persons if directly exposed to commercial grade Malathion aerial spraying:

  1. elderly persons
  2. enzymatically impaired persons
  3. infants and children
  4. undernourished persons
  5. over-exposed persons.”

11. Insecticides are also linked with mental disease. Investigators at the University of Melbourne and Prince Henry’s Hospital in Melbourne reported 16 cases of mental disease due to prolonged exposure to organic phosphorus insecticides. Their symptoms ranged from impairment of memory to schizophrenic and depressive reactions. All had normal case histories before the use of these chemicals. There are many studies linking these insecticides with psychological disorders.

Doctor Satoshi Ishikawa of Kitasato University, Japan has found damage to the visual system, opticneuropathy, up to 4 years after exposure to Malathion. Dr Ishikawas has studied the effects of organophosphates for over 20 years and has linked these substances to visual and nervous system symptomology. Specifically he researched the long term effect of Malathion, Paraquat and other organophosphates and found damage beyond question to the visual and neurological systems.

12. Dr Alan Levin, MD: “I have seen asthma patients made much worse by Malathion sprayed from helicopters. I have seen cancer patients who were previously in remission, develop severe disease and die shortly after being sprayed by Malathion. I have seen incidents of high fever, seizures and increased chemical sensitivity caused by Malathion in patients with immune dysregulation.”

Major carcinogenicity tests that have been done so far were conducted by the National Cancer Institute in 1978-9 on Malathion and Malaoxon. These carcinogenicity tests found that one could describe as highly suggestive evidence of carcinogenic effects.

In the 1978 study of Malathion they found a statistically significant increase of thyroid tumours in the female rats and an excess of liver cancers in the male mice. In the 1979 study on Malathion they found an excess of rare adrenal tumours in the rats. In 1979 with Malaoxon there was similarly a statistically significant incidence of cancer in many of these studies.

According to Endodontist, James Ouye, “Before you can have any disease process you must have a disturbed “Electromagnetic Field”. Many things can disturb this field. For instance, bad bacteria, fungus, virus’s, poisons, inflammatory process, osteoitis, caused by poisons such as pesticides (Malathion, etc.) radiation and toxic dental materials.”

Jack Thrasher PhD (former staff member UCLA) “Concerning Malathion, my biggest concern is from the immune system point of view. My concern is immunologic injury. There are other concerns such as neurologic injuries, such as delayed neuropathy. We know certain individuals exposed to organophosphates develop permanent neurologic damage. The common term named for it is neuropathy, indicated by numbness and tingling in legs and feet, arms and hands.”

To this writer there are other concerns which include maintaining a healthy endocrine system. This system is primarily dependent upon a healthy control of the secretion of melatonin from the pineal gland. The hypothalamus is a prime target for melatonin which controls the activity of the pituitary gland. The hypothalamus secretes a number of hormone releasing hormones that control the basic function of the pituitary and thus other endocrine glands. The entire endocrine system is dependent upon a healthy function of the pineal gland.

Serotonin is a precursor for melatonin, a very important hormone that is secreted from the pineal gland which is released in response to environmental darkness and shuts down the body activity so a normal biological cycle can take place. Organophosphate compounds do interfere with production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin. This in turn, makes it impossible to produce and secrete melatonin. This interruption in melatonin production and secretion interferes with the natural biological rhythm or cycle of the body and insomnia is the end result.


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