Reader disagrees with use of chemical

Oct. 14's Clarion Refuge Notebook on "Pike Stoppers" needs clarification regarding the use of the toxin rotenone to kill unwanted pike in lakes and streams.

1. Rotenone at undetectable levels is used in laboratories to cause Parkinson's disease in lab rats. (Obviously there have been no lab tests on humans to gauge human levels needed to induce Parkinson symptoms.)

2. The article states: the chemical rotenone "quickly breaks down ... and naturally degrades with warm temperatures and sunlight." However, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that rotenone "can be quite persistent in cold environments where it might remain at levels causing effects for 160 days."

3. The column writer states that "Rotenone has been used successfully in the United States." Rotenone was also used in ponds in Missouri where the treated water got into an adjourning creek and resulted in noninvasive dead fish up to 2.4 miles downstream. In California's Lake Davis rotenone treatment, the EPA reported "thousands of fish were reported killed outside of the intended treatment area."

4. The MSDS sheet for rotenone states "To the best of our knowledge, the chemical, physical and toxicological properties (of rotenone) have not been thoroughly investigated."

The challenge to Fish and Wildlife is to seek environmentally safe solutions to ecological challenges for today and for tomorrow for our children.

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