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STEWARDSHIP: Environment & Energy | July 9, 1985



An Unpublished Letter to Los Angeles Times

It is commonly reported that the aldicarb poisonings from tainted watermelons have not been life-threatening. Although I do not wish to alarm anyone, I do wish to inform. Although the dosages of aldicarb that the victims received caused only temporary nausea and the like and although the dosages were reportedly not high enough to pose a significant risk to fetuses (a risk demonstrated at certain levels in laboratory rats), aldicarb is a carbamate; and carbamates in general are suspected carcinogens.

What would seem to be a prudent policy would be for the poisoning victims to be regularly checked for symptoms of cancer, not only for early detection and treatment of themselves but also for studying how their cancer rates over the next decade or so compare with those of the population in general. These victims have a unique opportunity to help others: The victims constitute a large, well-defined group of human beings who have been exposed to a substance that medical science in good conscience does not purposefully administer to human test subjects and that we need to know more about, to protect others.

Perhaps from this tragedy some good will come.

Note: On a certain level, aren't we all "lab rats" in our modern, chemical-filled society? Something to think about.

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