This week I was able to finish up my PowerPoint and present all of the information that I collected to my branch. Overall my presentation went very well and I think everyone that I presented to learned a lot about pesticides in our food supply. The federal government is really lacking on how much of our food they inspect and what they test for. I found out that the USDA has 7,500 inspectors for 6,500 food plants while the FDA has 650 inspectors for 57,000 plants. The FDA also inspects 80% of food so the resources are not allocated properly. I recommend that there be a shift in resources from the USDA to the FDA. I think we could improve public health by monitoring more closely what types of foods are coming into the country and what types of pesticide residues are being detected. This would decrease exposure to harmful chemicals found in pesticides.
My next project that I am going to be working on for the next few weeks also has to do with pesticides. Since the branch I am working with deals with the destruction of the chemical weapons stores around the country I am going to look at them possibly helping destroy banned pesticides from pesticide tombs in the former USSR. In the Kyrgyz Republic, which is located in the former USSR there are pesticide tombs filled with thousands of containers of banned pesticides. These pesticides include Aldrin and DDT. The people in these countries are living right on top of these tombs where the soil and water is contaminated. Also these tombs are being dug up to collect the containers for sale on the black market. There are many people suffering due to health problems caused by the exposure to these pesticides. I am going to come up with a proposal stating how the Chemicals Weapons Elimination Branch here at the CDC would be able to become involved in the destruction of these pesticides.