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From Dr. Matteo Garbelotto, Forest Pathologist and Mycologist, UC Berkeley October 20, 2007

The assumption (in Dr. Cindy Russell's email below) is that massive spraying will occur, which is not the case.  Treatments are focused on individual trees and the bark applications are not broadcasted but basically carefully applied on individual trees.

Fueling a car is a lot more dangerous than an appropriate application of Pentrabark from an environmental perspective.  Because the product sticks on the target surface, it is extremely difficult for it to get into the environment.

The email I was sent takes the treatments out of context, however we will dedicate an equal amount of time to injections that do not require Pentrabark.

I hope this helps.

From Cindy Russell October 16, 2007

Just want to alert you to the potential dangers of Pentra-Bark (used with Agrifos) prior to the mass spraying which will soon occur for sudden oak death in our neighborhood (early Nov) Beware! Please take precautions!! References at the end.

Don Cox can do injections to the trees instead of topical application if you wish.

Pentra-Bark is comprised mostly of alkyphenol ethoxylates (APE's) which are  a family of "inert" surfactants used in pesticides to increase the amount of spray solution that remains on the surface. it makes the solution sticky.  It is widely used in pesticides. These chemicals are related to and breakdown into nonylphenol ethoxylates.

Nonyl phenol is classified by the EPA as an "inert of toxicologic concern". Nony phenol is also  an "inert" ingredient in many pesticides and is not listed as it is considered "proprietary". It is not "Non Toxic".

Adverse effects of Nonyl phenol which is in the mix of APE's and is the breakdown product of alkyl phenol ethoxylates:

1)  It is acutely toxic to humans- Exposure may cause respiratory problems-wheezing, coughing, headache, nausea. Skin exposure causes irritation.

2) It is acutely toxic to a wide variety of animals:  bees, spiders , fish, molluscs. Canadian study of forest application of nonyl phenol alone showed 4 fold increase in mortality of honey bees and 4 fold increase in mortality of spiders (our outdoor pest control service). The Canadian study also showed that the nonyl phenol "inert" ingredient was more toxic to fish than the pesticide used to kill spuce budworm.

3) It bioaccumulates in aquatic organisms.

4) Causes breast cancer cells to proliferate. Although it is not known to be carcinogenic it is an endocrine disruptor- mimics estrogen and has been shown to stimulate the growth of breast cancer cells.  Well documented in  literature and in great book "Our Stolen Future" by Colburn, Meyers, Vom Saal. Recent environmental health research focusing on these and other endocrine disruptors we are commonly exposed to.

5) Causes reproductive problems in laboratory animals.

6) Has been shown to persist in soil for up to a year. Although breakdown rates vary with climate  most breaks down in 1-2 months.

Thanks for your consideration.  Use carefully and sparingly if you do use it.  Use protective gear- gloves/ maks/ protective clothing as I am sure you have been advised.


1) Our Stolen Future- Colburn. Meyers, Vom Saal-- Easy, informative detective read about the wildlife studies leading up to the discovery of endocrine disruptors in our environment.

2) White,R. et al. 1994 Environmentally persistent alkylphenolic compounds are estrogenic. Endocrinology. 135(1);175-182

3) Ahel,M  1994. Behavior of alkylphenol polyethoxylate surfactants in the  aquatic environment: Ocurrence and transformation in sewage treatment. Water Research 28(5):1131-1142

4) Bicknell, R. 1995. Oestrogenic activity of an environmentally persistent alkylphenol in the reproductive tract but not in the brain of rodents. J. Steroid Biochem. Molec. Biol. 54(1/2):7-9.

5) Naylor,C.G. et al 1992  Alkylphenol ethoxylates in the environment.
J. Amer. Oil Chem. Soc. 69(7);695-703

6) Sundaram,K.M. et al 1980. Residues of nonyl phenol in spruce foliage, forest soil, stream water and sediment after its aerial application. J Environ. Sci. Health, B 15(4):403-419.

7) Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides. Journal of Pesticide Reform- Spring 1996. Vol.16. No 1.