My medical history and exposure to pesticide.
In 1942, at the age of 16 I was working as a farm apprentice for 4 year. This was the requirement so I could apply for entry into an Agriculture University In Sweden.
Sweden and England are the two countries in the world with the most aggressive farming practices. They raise most produce per acre. In 1942 the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides was widespread.
In the winters of my apprenticeship, one of my jobs was to treat seed grain with mercury. We used a 44-gallon metal drum supported between two posts and on angle with a handle in one end. We filled the drum about half full with grain and scoped up the pure mercury from an open can into the barrel and cranked it. We stood for hours in a blue mist (from the mercury) as we cranked the heavy drum. We had no protection as we were breathing heavily and sweating.
In the spring I was spreading black nitrate fertilizer walking behind a horse drawn fertilizer spreader. The effect on the horse and me was that our eyes swelled shut and gray matter was running out of them. Between all of my fingers the skin was breaking up and started to bleed and the same thing happened to the groins on the horse.
In my middle twenties I had my own farm and was using DDT, 2-4D and other chemicals that have long ago been taken off the market. I was growing rape that is used for oil, but was always attacked by insects. To kill them we used white-powdered chemicals that killed the insects through their nervous system. We were blowing out this powder using the exhaust from the tractor, and we had to use gasmasks because the powder was very toxic. At night, I remember seeing white streaks on my cheeks where the gasmask had not sealed. Obviously, I had been breathing in the chemicals.
I moved to Canada in1957 and a couple of years later I bought a farm in Alberta. There I used pesticides to the maximum. I bought the biggest sprayer I could find which had a 60ft boom where the spray came out. If you had a 4 or 5 miles per hour wind and were driving in the direction of the wind, you were completely engulfed in the gray spray mist until you turn around and go the other way.
This is not just my story but also the story of millions of farmers all over the world.
1969 was my last year on the farm I was 43 years old and my health was deteriorating rapidly. I was very tired all the time and was feeling like an 80 year old.
We moved to Vancouver Island and down to sea level from 2400ft in Alberta. We lived between two pulp mills and never dreamed that the chemicals from these plants would push my bodyís tolerance over the limit.
It didnít take very long before I started to have dizzy spells (things was not turning around, rather I just felt very light headed and nauseated) to the point where I just collapsed. I could hear people talking but that was all. I could not move or squeeze any fingers when asked to so.
I was in the doctorís office one day, when I became dizzy. When the doctor took the pulse it was below 30 beats a minute and they put in my first pacemaker. I had 7 pacemakers in a 10-year period, but they all just lasted a little more than one year each and then they broke down.
During these 10 years the dizzy spells did not improve at all and my body kept producing fluid to get rid of the pacemakers. At one time, the fluid built up to the point that it stopped the heart and I was on life-support for five hours. Another time the doctor drained a ľ gal of fluid from my chest, the time after that I came down with pneumonia and I had fluid in my chest again and massive infection.
After the seventh pacemaker was taken out, the sight was infected to point that the surgeon had to cut out the infected flesh right down to my rib cage. The hole was so big I could put both my fists into it. After that experience I didnít not let the doctors put in any more pacemakers this happened around 1980. The heart specialist told me that I could not survive without a pacemaker and I surely was going to die.
From that moment I started to go for a brisk walk just about every day for at least 40min. to one hour. Today, I eat very healthy and most of the time I feel quite energetic. Recently I have started to have my dizzy spells now and then and I also get very weak some days. Sometimes I have severe muscle spasm in my whole chest to the point that it completely disables me. When I have severe chest pain my lips become num and I feel like I have shortness of breath. I also get pain in the muscles and joints. One doctor managed to get an x-ray of my esophagus completely twisted into a ball. At that time the doctors told me that my whole involuntary nervous system was shot. Since then I have noticed that it usually happened in the spring and fall when the farmers are out spraying their crops or when we have had a bad day with air pollution, or sitting in traffic breathing in carbon monoxide. I am also very sensitive to medications.
I canít understand that the medical profession doesnít recognize pesticide poisoning. Mane pesticides have been banned from the market, so only for that reason someone must have been affected by it?
Many of my farming neighbors in Alberta had exactly the same symptoms as myself and most of them were told the same thing by their doctors, that it was probably all in their heads.
Many of them have already died from this imaginary sickness.
PS: If anybody has any suggestions what I could do to improve my health, I would be very grateful.
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