As a seasonal resident of Montana, I was shocked at the extremely widespread use of toxic pesticides upon my return this spring.

They are everywhere I walk, hike or run, including the national forests. It is unbelievable that in our very advanced society so many responsible adults have not recognized that pesticides are extremely toxic chemical poisons. This includes herbicides, rodenticides and insecticides.

There use causes severe debilitating illness and does kill. We must grasp that use of these chemicals is most hazardous, especially for babies, children, amphibians, birds and animals.

Independent scientific research testing has detected the presence of the pesticide Dursban in soil eight years after application. A 1996 prime time newscast announced the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency findings that toxicity inside homes was 10 to 100 times greater than that outside of homes after herbicide application.

After pesticides enter bodies, they aren’t easily excreted. Current research shows they cause birth defects, immune system disorders, Alzheimer’s, genital track abnormality and childhood hyperactivity.

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My own northern Montana childhood provided constant exposure to all these toxins. No doctor could explain my hair loss, vomiting, fatigue, heart problems, muscle cramps, diarrhea, memory loss and nosebleed. As an adult, I nearly died from an immune system disorder.

We must recognize these dangers and sued common sense to halt all pesticide use. If we don’t, more tragedies and illness are assured.

Very viable alternatives do exist: pulling weeds, hoeing them down, applying safe ag vinegar spray, weedeating or suing safe soap sprays and using essential oils versus toxic bug sprays.

Abbe Awanee Russell, Stevensville