the salmon please, pesticides on the side / by Warrior Ant Press Worldwide Anthill Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

If you tried to find wild Pacific salmon this summer, you know it's been difficult to find and expensive when you do. One reason is that due to shrinking runs in the Pacific Northwest, the season for Pacific salmon was shortened to try and help the populations recover. There's been much speculation as to the cause of the declines and now a recent report from the National Marine Fisheries Service suggests that the issue might be trace levels of pesticides. The draft Biological Opinion states that that chlorpyrifos, diazinon and malathion are present in west coast waters at levels "likely to jeopardize the continued existence" of Pacific Salmon.

These pesticides belong to a class of chemicals known as organophosphates which have the potential to accumulate within the body. Over 90% of human urine samples in the US were found to contain chlorpyrifos.

Once widely used by homeowners to control ants, fleas, cockroaches, and silverfish, both chlorpyrifos and diazinon were banned by the EPA for home use after studies indicated the strong human-health risk of these chemicals, especially among children, asmathics, and the immune-compromised. All three are still used in agricultural settings although several groups have called for outright bans.

The problem with these particular pesticides seems to be the mode of action. They work by inhibiting acetylcholinesterase, an enzyme needed for proper nervous system function. There have been many documented cases of poisoning associated with the application of these pesticides which is why the National Resources Defense Council, the Pesticide Action Network,and a coalition of farm worker and advocacy groups filed a lawsuit against the EPA seeking to end all uses.

Next time you sit down to a grizzly-bear dinner, think about what it's been eating. Both of you might have gotten more than you bargained for.