Larry Mantle |

Pour me another malathion, hold the lemon

Monday morning on "AirTalk" we detailed the new study linking kids' exposure to organophosphate pesticides with increased diagnoses of ADHD. It reminded me of the California official who wanted to assure the public of the safety of malathion. Malathion is a commonly used organophosphate pesticide today, but was sprayed from helicopters back in 1981 in an effort to eradicate the dreaded Medfly.

Then-governor Jerry Brown's chief of staff, B. T. Collins, wanted to assure the public that malathion was safe, and that the aerial spraying would harm only the Medfly. Collins called a news conference, then chug-a-lugged a beaker of malathion solution. The video of his stunt was played across the country.

Unfortunately, malathion was found to be pretty rough on automotive paint. Southland residents were later told to cover their cars if parked in the open.

Sadly, Collins died of a sudden heart attack just over a decade later, while he was serving in the state legislature. He was only 52.