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Buzz Off: L.L. Bean's New Line of Sportswear Coated with a Likely Carcinogenic Bug Repellent


From: THE AGRIBUSINESS EXAMINER
February 8, 2005, Issue #393
Monitoring Corporate Agribusiness

>From a Public Interest Perspective

EDITOR\PUBLISHER; A.V. Krebs
E-MAIL: avkrebs@earthlink.net
WEB SITE: http://www.ea1.com/CARP/
TO RECEIVE: Send name and address

COMMENTARY:
WARNING CONSUMERS TO TELL L.L. BEAN TO BUZZ OFF WITH "BUZZ OFF"

DARLENE SCHANFELD: I picked up a Spring 2005 L.L.Bean catalog and noticed
they have a new sports wear line called "Buzz Off." One of its scenes was
of a man and woman dressed in Buzz Off clothing laughing at a child
seemingly not wearing Buzz Off clothing fighting bugs. (This little girl,
however, has more sense than the adults!)

Anyway, I instantly smelled (not literally) a poison. So I called the
L.L.Bean 1-800 number and asked what was in this line of sports wear called
"Buzz Off." All the salesman knew was that it was "a bug repellant derived
from chyrsanthemum, approved by FDA (which doesn't make me feel safe), and
lasts for 25 washings," and the "repellant is called 'permethrin'". So I
Googled and below is what I came up (and EPA classifies it as a
carcinogen!).

I called L.L.Bean back and told them and land mailed the data to their
Chair, Leon Gorman, which, if you too want to show concern write to him in
Freemont ME 04033-0001.

The insecticide permethrin (in the synthetic pyrethroid family) is widely
used on cotton, wheat, corn, alfalfa, and other crops. In addition, over 100
million applications are made annually in and around U.S. homes.

Permethrin, like all synthetic pyrethroids, is a neurotoxin. Symptoms
include tremors, incoordination, elevated body temperature, increased
aggressive behavior, and disruption of learning. Laboratory tests suggest
that permethrin is more acutely toxic to children than to adults.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has classified permethrin as a
carcinogen because it causes lung tumors in female mice and liver tumors in
mice of both sexes. Permethrin inhibits the activity of the immune system in
laboratory tests, and also binds to the receptors for a male sex hormone. It
causes chromosome aberrations in human and hamster cells.

Permethrin is toxic to honey bees and other beneficial insects, fish,
aquatic insects, crayfish, and shrimp. For many species, concentrations of
less than one part per billion are lethal. Permethrin causes deformities and
other developmental problems in tadpoles, and reduces the number of
oxygen-carrying cells in the blood of birds.

Permethrin has been found in streams and rivers throughout the United
States. It is also routinely found on produce, particularly spinach,
tomatoes, celery, lettuce, and peaches.

A wide variety of insects have developed resistance to permethrin. High
levels of resistance have been documented in cockroaches, head lice, and
tobacco budworm. [ February 6, 2005 ]

For additional information on Permethrin see:
http://www.safe2use.com/poisons-pesticides/pesticides/permethrin/cox-report/cox.htm