Week 8, Chapter 15 -- Digging Deeper
For this assignment, you have two choices. Choice 1 is to write a letter to the President of the United States; choice 2 is to research a potential toxin in the pesticide of your choosing.
This chapter contains a lot of information about environmental issues facing the nation and world. Many of these issues have at least two legitimate – and often opposing – points of view. In this assignment, your job is to write a letter to the President of the United States in which you take a stand on your choice of one of the following issues:
In your letter, describe at least one credible argument that refutes your position, and explore at least two arguments in support of your position.
You should strive for a length of about 500 words.
Also, you will need to find at least three Internet sources on the topic you have chosen (you may also use your textbook as a fourth source, especially for factual information). Make sure to list your references, cited correctly. In one or two sentences, ANNOTATE your list of internet references to tell what facts you got from the site or to describe the argument the site is advancing.
You can view a sample assignment here; it includes the correct way to cite and annotate websites.
A "pesticide" is any product that kills pests. A "pest" is any critter that causes disease, spreads disease, and/or damages our crops, bodies, or stuff. Pests therefore include insects (e.g. ants and roaches); arthropods (e.g. mites, spiders, and ticks); mollusks (e.g. slugs and snails); fungi; bacteria; weeds; worms; and even birds, rodents, and fish. If you're the kind of person who puts flea medicine on your pet or who reaches for the nearest can of Raid whenever you see a bug in your house, read on.
The overuse of pesticides in private homes, yards, and gardens can pose serious environmental and public health problems. To study this issue, choose any over-the-counter product that you or your family uses on a regular basis and that contains any pesticide (that is, an insecticide, weed killer, fungicide, disinfectant, slug/snail bait, etc.). If you have multiple types of pesticides, try to choose one other than ant or roach killer, otherwise we'll end up with a bunch of discussion board posts on the same topic. Or, if you don't have anything like that in your home, visit a local store and copy the information you need (below) from the label. (You do not have to buy the product; in fact, we discourage it!).
Collect the following information from your product's label:
Next, visit the website of the company that produces the product (list the site's URL in your report) and conduct a broader internet search of one or more active ingredients to identify any known or suspected toxicities.
Write a report about your chosen product. Your report should begin by listing the information you collected from the label, and then it should answer the following questions:
Aim for a length of about 500 words, not including references. (Oh, and make sure to list your references, cited correctly).
Some sites that you may find useful in your search include:
Material Safety Data Sheets: An MSDS is a technical data sheet that tells about the hazards of being exposed to a particular chemical. It is meant to inform people who work with the chemicals for a living, not so much for occasional exposure in household use. But there may be some information useful to you in crafting your reports. If you go to this site, scroll down about 1/4 to 3/4 of the way down the site to find a throng of useful links.
Household Products Database: This site contains information about health effects of all kinds of household products, from flea and tick control (for pets) to brake fluid to toilet bowl cleaners to chewing gum remover. Entries for some of the products include links to relevant MSDS's as well.
Pesticide Action Network Pesticides Database: The Pesticide Action Network maintains a searchable database of chemicals found in pesticides and some other household products. One of their search options requires you to type in only the beginning of the name of your chemical, which is a huge help -- chemical names can be very long indeed!
[Activity adapted by from Sarikas, Stephen N. Fall 2006. Pesticide Analysis. In: Strategies for Success Newsletter No. 46. Benjamin Cummings.]
Remember, cutting and pasting from another website, without quotes or citation, is PLAGIARISM -- so is using a cut-and-pasted passage and just changing a few words. Plagiarism is a serious form of academic misconduct. If you have any questions about whether your work constitutes plagiarism, please visit the resources at week 1's plagiarism assignment, or ask your instructor.
Use D2L's spell checker (or the one on your word processor software, which will give you a word count as well). Proofread it yourself too, because spell checkers don't catch everything. When you are satisfied, post your completed assignment in the Digging Deeper forum for this week at the D2L discussion board.
Respond to the Digging Deeper posts of at least two other students. (If you are the first or second person to post, you will have to check back later to complete this part of the assignment).
After you have posted your assignment AND responded to two other students, go to Desire2Learn and complete the Gradebook Declaration for this week's Digging Deeper assignment. (Your Gradebook Declaration is subject to the Honor Code.)
Here is the text of the Desire2Learn Gradebook Declaration:
(8 points) I have posted my spell-checked, proofread Digging Deeper assignment
at D2L. My assignment contains all the components listed in the assignment