Opening [Music playing] [Introduction to video] David [penguin sounds]
[startled snore] OH NO![penguin sounds] David: THE HOUSE [penguin sounds] David: IS INFESTED [penguin sounds] David: WITH[penguin sounds] David: MICRO-PENGUINS!!!!! [penguin sounds] David: If I were you, I’d fly away OH
WAIT you can’t! [Evil laugh] MUAH HAHAHAHAHA [penguin sounds]
Narrator: Hey, hold up there, Mr. Sphenisciphobia. [penguin sounds]
David: Excuse me? [penguin sounds] Narrator: Do you even know what that stuff
in that can is? [penguin sounds] David: Yeah, it says it right here “Killy-Chilly-Willy”.
No more penguins. [penguin sounds] Narrator: Well, do you know how to use it?
[penguin sounds] David: Uh, point and shoot, I guess[penguin sounds] Narrator: Do you know what it could do to
you? [penguin sounds] David: make me look like an action hero
while I clean up my house? [penguin sounds] Narrator: Yeah, why don’t you give me that
to me for a second. We need to talk. [penguin sounds stop]
David: Hey! My awesome spray. David: AH! My bathroom! Am I having an existential
crisis here? Narrator: Calm down, we just need to have
a chat about pesticides. David: Pester brides?
Narrator: No, pesticides. They’re any chemical intended to prevent, repel, lessen, or destroy
pests. David: Right, pests. Meaning tiny penguins.
Narrator: Well, in this case, sure, but pests aren’t just penguins. Pests are any unwanted
organism. Pests can spread disease, compete for resources with other organisms, cause
property and crop damage, or just gross us out.
[David moves very close to the screen] David: LIKE MICRO-PENGUINS!
Narrator: You know it, tiger. Narrator: Basically, a pest is an organism
we don’t want around for one reason or another. These can be insects, rodents, weeds, mildew,
or even bacteria. It’s not just good to get rid of pests that bother us in the house;
sometimes pests can pose a major health risk to us. Hey, David?
David: Oh? We back to me now? Narrator: What animal would you guess is responsible
for the most human deaths every year? David: Penguins!
Narrator: Oh, be serious. David: I don’t know, sharks?
Narrator: Sure, some people are afraid of them, but sharks only kill a few people a
year. David: [sarcastic tone] Gee, how about a cow?
Narrator: You’re getting closer, cows kill a couple dozen people a year.
David: Woah, really? Uh, panda? Narrator: this isn’ fun anymore, it’s
the mosquito. Mosquitos can kill and make millions of people very ill every year.
David: What?! How can a tiny thing like that off so many people?
Narrator: Well mosquitos can carry diseases like malaria, dengue fever, encephalitis,
West Nile virus, and yellow fever to name a few. Many of these diseases can lead to
death, if untreated. David: Oh my gosh! Well now’s the time for
pesticides! Narrator: In this case, sure they could be
helpful. In fact, the use of pesticides against health threats like mosquitos has likely saved
millions more lives than mosquitos take every year.
David: Take that you abominable arthropod! Narrator: But it’s not just sprays. Pesticides
can be found as baits, powders, collars, disinfectants like bleach, mold and mildew sprays, weed
killers, swimming pool chemicals, larger animal repellents. All of these pesticides you could
probably find on a normal day of shopping! Clerk: Sir, do you have a bonus card?
David: No, thank you. Clerk: Would you like to apply for one? I
just need your e-mail, social security code, and genetic fingerprint.
David: What’s wrong with you people? Narrator: So David, how do you think that
spray you’re planning on using works? David: I don’t know. It just like goes like *pfffffffffff*
then the penguins are all like *gaaaahhhhh wahhhhhhh* and then I can watch TV without
the living room smelling like fish. Narrator: Not quite, sorry friend.
David: Well, why should I care? This stuff only works on penguins anyway.
Narrator: That’s where a lot of people would be surprised. Some pesticides only affect
their target species, but many more cause similar reactions in all organisms. This means
it’s critical to understand what’s going on inside that bottle. Here, look at this.
David: Oh,cool it’s a science thing Narrator: That’s a chemical called �Chlorpyrifos�.
It’s a common ingredient in many pesticides. David: So what does it do besides scare kids
in chemistry class? Narrator: Well, let’s look at this chemical
at work. These are hornworm caterpillars. They cause major crop damage to tomato and
tobacco plants across the United States every year.
David: That’s ok, tomatoes are for hippies. Narrator: That statement explains so much
about you. Anyway, if we spray this field with chlorpyrifos, the chemical will coat
the leaves these caterpillars are eating. David: Ah, a nice, light vinaigrette!
Narrator: Sure, except this salad dressing packs a bit more of a kick. When the caterpillars
eat chlorpyrifos, the chemical blocks the ability for their nerves to switch off. A
simple signal from the brain to make a muscle flex turns into a signal that can’t be shut
off. Essentially, these animals can’t turn their nerves off and the signals become nonsense.
This will cause their nervous systems to eventually fail, and they die.
David: Well that’s awesome! Now all the caterpillars are gone, so we can get more
food! Narrator: Sure, but there is a problem. Many
pesticides, like chlorpyrifos do their jobs so well, that they can have the same effects
on other organisms, even humans. David: Ok, so I won’t lick it, no big deal.
Narrator: You don’t always have to lick it. Some pesticides can get into our body
from being ingested or eaten, but others can be inhaled or even touched. In fact, chlorpyrifos
is moderately toxic to humans, and can be absorbed through our skin.
David: [concerned tone] Skin you say, what, theoretically, could happen if a human maybe
kinda-sorta touches chlorpyrifos? Narrator: Well, the effect of chemical exposure
depends on 1) How toxic the chemical is 2) how much exposure you’ve had and 3) how
you were exposed to the chemical. Narrator: In the case of chlorpyrifos, it
has the same effect in the human body as it does in an insect’s body. Depending on how
severe the exposure, you could exhibit watery eyes, drooling [groaning sounds], coughing
[coughing sounds], stomach pain [groaning sounds], vomiting [vomiting sounds], or diarrhea
[David runs off screen shouting �uh-oh�uh-oh�uh-oh�uh-oh!!!�oh no! Oh no�no� no�no!�]. In severe
cases, you could experience tremors and muscles spasms, paralysis, seizures, or even comas.
Narrator: All of this depends on the kind of pesticide you’ve been exposed to, and
your level of exposure. Each kind of pesticide comes with its own properties and potential
health risks. Remember, constant exposure to a mild pesticide could be a greater risk
to you than a small dose of a highly toxic pesticide.
Narrator: Meaning, you could touch a very toxic pesticide accidentally one time, and
your health risk may not be as great as someone who is in a field spraying a more mild pesticide
every day. David: [Groan] Ok, don’t lick, touch, or
breathe too close to the leaves. No problem. Narrator: But you were going to eat the tomato,
right? David: Well, *I’M* not going to eat the
tomato. Narrator: Ok, SOMEONE will potentially eat
that tomato, and it’s been covered with pesticide. Apples, pears, grapes, strawberries,
lettuce, and many other foods could still be covered with pesticides when you pick them
up in the grocery store. David: All the more reason to stick to potato
chips and bacon. Narrator: Yeah, because that doesn’t come
with any health risks. The easiest way to avoid pesticides on your food is to make sure
you thoroughly rinse your produce before eating anything.
Narrator: good to see you taking a moderate approach to this, David.
David: Hey, did you see what happened to me in the last scene? No chances. I was so sick,
I turned blue! Narrator: Uh,well, you’re always,yeah,
I guess I won’t get into that now. Narrator: Let’s not forget, though, pesticides
aren’t just sprayed on fields. There are plenty in your own home. We need to practice
safety here too. David: Hey, I do all right. Look! All my pesticides
are on the same shelf! And they’re out of reach of the children that I don’t have[looks
sad, then snaps back to normal] Narrator: That’s a start, but it is critical
to ALWAYS follow the exact instructions on the bottle.
David: Sure, everything’s on this label up until it says Caution who’s ever
needed THAT part Narrator: If you come in contact with a pesticide,
follow the label’s instructions. Different pesticides will require different treatments!
If you think someone has been poisoned, contact the poison control center at (800)222-1222.
Narrator: and lastly, ALWAYS make sure pesticides are in their ORIGINAL containers. Never transfer
them to some other container. David: [David looks at milk bottle with green
fumes coming out of it] Oh We probably don’t need to talk about this one then
[nervous laugh] David: So, with responsible use, pesticides
can help us control the spread of disease, protect our native environment and property,
and get rid of nasty things in our house. Pesticides are pretty great, huh?
Narrator: Well, yes and no. Narrator: [annoyed tone] *sigh* Is anything
simple with you? Narrator: Hear me out. So, pesticides can
be very effective against certain pests, but you will never kill ALL of them.
David: Well, sure, but that’s just two of them.
Narrator: Ok, but why do you think they survived? David: I don’t know, they go to yoga every
night? Narrator: They survived because there was
a variation in this population of caterpillars. These caterpillars possess some trait that
allows them to survive better than others. This trait that makes them immune to the pesticide
can be likely passed on to their offspring, so that means their babies will be
David: [Gasps] Super ultra-mega caterpillars! [looks terrified] [giant caterpillar roars
loudly in the background] Narrator: Well, more likely to survive the
spray, yes. So that means David: WE NEED MORE SPRAY! MORE TOXIC SPRAY!
GET ‘IM! [giant caterpillar roars in the background]
Narrator: Unfortunately, yes. This is called the “pesticide treadmill”. As pests become
immune, we have to use more and deadlier pesticide. In the 1950s, pests destroyed about 7 percent
of crops grown in the United States. Today, pests devour closer to 13 percent of US crops.
[giant caterpillar roars in the background] David: Wait, that’s not very convincing
math. [giant caterpillar roars in the background] Narrator: Not really, no. Let’s also not
forget that pesticides don’t just impact the target species, but anything they come
in contact with. Narrator: What’s below you in the ground
right now? David: uh, Dinosaurs.
Narrator: I mean, maybe, but how about earthworms? Earthworms create tunnels through the soil
which introduce water and air to the soil. This is critical to the health of a field.
However, the pesticide will kill the earthworms too.
David: Well, that doesn’t make me very sad. They don’t even have faces.
Narrator: Well it should make you sad, you species-ist. I basically just told you the
worms help your food grow. It’s not just worms though. Birds and other natural predators
can be killed by the pesticides. David: Well, that just sounds like we’re
going to need even MORE pesticides. Narrator: Yep, without the predators to help,
there will be even more pests that need to be taken care of.
Narrator: Even with all this pesticide, only a small amount of the pesticide actually reaches
the pests. Meaning most of it covers the plants and the ground. When the rains come, it will
wash the majority of the pesticides into the rivers and streams, where it could eventually
get in contact with us. This stuff can get EVERYWHERE!
David: Much as I hate to admit it, I’m not sure I want to go around my house spraying
pesticides anymore. What else could I do? Narrator: Well, in your house, pests are like
us, they need food and water to survive. [Sound of David fixing his leaky faucet] So if you
make sure that all of your food is secured and put away, there’s no reason for them
to show up. You also want to eliminate any puddles or leaky faucets so pests can’t
get a drink or lay their eggs in the water. Narrator: Biological controls are also becoming
very popular ways to control pests that typically target only the pest itself.
David: Yeah biological controls, yep,what, Narrator: Biological controls use naturally
occurring chemicals. These often target specific organisms and occur naturally in the environment.
Narrator: Many insects communicate and attract each other using chemicals called “pheromones”.
Some traps use these pheromones to attract: only one kind of insect. You can also plant
cedar trees or use cedar chips in your garden. The chemicals produced by these trees naturally
repel many pests. Narrator: You can also go the non-chemical
route. Encourage predators to take up residence in your yard. Birds and bats will eat thousands
of pests during the day and night. Predatory bugs like lacewings, ladybugs, mantids, dragonflies,
and centipedes can target specific pests and can be ordered commercially for release in
your yard. Narrator: Certain viruses or molds will only
kill one species of pest. They can be applied similarly to more traditional pesticides.
Narrator: So, David, I think you’ve learned a lot here. What do you think you’re going
to do about your penguin problem? David: I think I’m going to follow your
advice and try a chemical free strategy. Narrator: Oh? Which is it?
[penguin sounds][sound of penguins scattering away] [sound of polar bear growling]