Pesticide spraying within residential areas is a big problem in Japan and a major cause of environmental illnesses such as sick building syndrome and multiple chemical sensitivity. A Japanese scientist and sufferer of sick building syndrome now calls for action to put residents' health first.
No More Killing Softly, Please!!
Underestimated harmful effects of pesticide spraying in residential compounds in Japan
by Minako Yamada, PhD.
Almost 50 years ago, American marine biologist and conservationist Rachel Carson published Silent Spring, in which she warned the general public of the danger of toxic chemicals which impact not only wild life but also human life. Her allegations strongly influenced environmental policies, leading to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency in the USA, for example. Yet, the situation in Japan is still far behind because of the heavy use of chemicals for farming and pesticide spraying in residential areas compared to pesticide usage in the USA or EU countries.
The aim of this press release is to call for banning pesticide spraying in residential compounds in Japan. It proposes a way to achieve the ban by making it mandatory for real estate developers to stop forcing prospective buyers to sign a contract for building maintenance services together with a real estate contract, the latter of which is the main concern of the buyers. It also proposes providing a temporary building maintenance contract, but the temporary contract should not include a clause for pesticide spraying in residential compounds because the harmful effects of pesticides have been well documented at this time. The temporary contract should also specifically mention that it needs to be revised shortly after moving into the residential compound by the buyers to accommodate the needs of individual residents and the needs of those who unfortunately started suffering from so called sick house syndrome (sick building syndrome in English) due to toxic building materials and/or everyday use of household chemicals in airtight indoor spaces.
The reason for the above proposal to make a change in handling contracts stems from the fact that the Japanese people have a tendency to uncritically accept anything handed down by bureaucrats and big industries (because Japan is a society of vertical hierarchies) and not to change a course of action once started (Kerr, 2001). These tendencies makie living conditions much worse for those who have developed multiple chemical sensitivities since moving in because of the negative impact made on interpersonal relationships among the residents of the residential compound in question.
Being a victim of the sick house syndrome, I'd like to further propose amending the so called Japanse Sick House laws because there are those who are prone to react stronger than others to chemicals which are prevalently used legally in building materials in Japan. Importantly, I'd like to ask that we stop sacrificing the happiness of every citizen and resident in Japan for industrial growth (Kerr, 2001).
Author's Personal Note:
The Good news is that I'm feeling much better now, although I have to avoid toxic chemicals by all means, because of a German medical doctor's accurate diagnosis of the cause of my allergy. The problem was that the allergy hadn't manifested itself until I started suffering from sick house syndrome. About 9 months after the doctor's diagnosis, surprisingly, many people started coming toward me saying "You've become soooo healthy!!". This is the motivation behind this press release.
Kerr, Alex (2001). Dogs and Demons: Tales from the Dark Side of Japan. NY: Hill and Wang.