Sustainable Hawai’i Agriculture for the Keiki and the Aina (SHAKA) Right to Health Registry is now available to Maui County. Here residents can record their personal health stories in a detailed questionnaire. The confidential questionnaire covers health conditions that the citizen is experiencing and provides data that indicates common characteristics which may be related to environmental exposures.
Currently, health information that is specific to our county (e.g. rates of disease usually provided through surveillance and monitoring by the Center for Disease Control) is not available to the public, and difficult to find records for. Over the past few years Maui residents have been concerned about the potential for increased risk of disease as a consequence of exposure to agrochemical toxins that are used at higher than normal rates in Hawaii. Such toxins are associated with a wide range of disease, including cancer, diabetes, allergies, asthma, reproductive and developmental issues, birth defects, kidney, liver disease, and more. Formal scientific research is needed to collect data on citizens, in various communities of Maui County, in order to determine geographic disease rates.
In the effort to move forward with fulfilling the mandates of the moratorium, SHAKA’s Right to Health Registry is collecting information that will contribute to assessing the health status of residents and the possible correlation to environmental and public health impacts of agrochemical exposures. There is concern that patterns may emerge. If there are, this information could help identify possible health impacts and inform future scientific research.
As our community becomes better educated about the health effects of agrochemical toxicity, our community can be better equipped to protect the health and safety of our children and families. For example, it is easy to presume that living near agricultural areas using restricted pesticides could cause particular disease symptoms, but this needs to be proven for positive action to be taken. In this phase of conducting scientific research about our community’s health it is important to collect credible health data using prescribed methods and to minimize influences that could confound, confuse or distort factual observations and weaken the validity of research findings.
As the moratorium premised, the health of residents within proximity to agrochemical exposure should be studied and monitored, and the registry is one way to document symptoms. Maui residents are encouraged to log their health conditions accurately and confidentially on the Registry Form. To learn more about the Registry go to www.mauigmomoratoriumnews.org/health-registry-form/. Mahalo.
Image Credit: SHAKA Movement