In These Times, IL
On April 16, the New York Times ran a full-page ad from contact lens producer Bausch and Lomb, announcing the recall of its “ReNu with MoistureLoc” rewetting solution, and warning the 30 million American wearers of soft contact lenses about Fusarium keratitis. This infection, first detected in Asia, has rapidly spread across the United States. It is caused by a mold-like fungus that can penetrate the cornea of soft contact lens wearers, causing redness and pain that can lead to blindness—requiring a corneal replacement.
That same week, the House of Representatives passed a provision to a bill requiring that the very same fungus be sprayed in “a major drug-producing country,” such as Colombia. The bill’s sponsor was Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.) and its most vocal supporter was his colleague Dan Burton (R-Ind.), who has been promoting the fungus for almost a decade as key to winning the drug war.
The Colombian government has come out against it. And those entities of the U.S. government that have studied the use of Fusarium for more than 30 years don’t recommend it either: The Office of National Drug Control Policy, also known as the Drug Czar’s office, CIA, DEA, the State Department and the USDA have all concluded that the fungus is unsafe for humans and the environment.