[Date Prev][Date Next][Date Index]
E-M:/ .West Nile pesticide applicators in Boston illegally make claimsnot on the EPA label, much like its done here in Michigan
- Subject: E-M:/ .West Nile pesticide applicators in Boston illegally make claimsnot on the EPA label, much like its done here in Michigan
- From: Praxis <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Fri, 01 Aug 2003 16:01:19 -0400
- Delivered-To: email@example.com
- Delivered-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
- List-Name: Enviro-Mich
- Reply-To: Praxis <email@example.com>
- User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Win98; en-US; rv:1.0.1) Gecko/20020823 Netscape/7.0
West Nile pesticide applicators in Boston illegally make claims not on
the EPA label, much like its done here in Michigan
Make way pesticide apologists at work! And no mention of non-pesticide alternatives,
2723 116th Ave
Allegan, MI 49010
8/1/2003 - Boston.com - REGION - Debate swarms around spraying
Mosquitoes' harm is weighed against chemical By Matt Viser, Globe Correspondent,
A small blue pickup truck equipped with a large aerosol spray tank was
dispatched to Sudbury and Framingham several times in recent weeks to combat
mosquitoes in a season that has been ripe for the pests.
For some, the trucks were a welcomed sign that the insects would be taken
care of and the risk of disease would be reduced. But for others, the spraying
only brings more environmental concerns.
''I'm not convinced that it's safe,'' said Elise Snow, a Framingham resident
who says she's concerned for her 3-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter.
''I just can't imagine spraying pesticides into
the air is a good thing.''
David Henley, superintendent of the East Middlesex Mosquito Control Project,
says that although the chemical they use to kill the mosquitoes, resmethrin,
is classified by the federal Environmental
Protection Agency as ''slightly toxic,'' it is safe in small amounts.
''We're using it at a low level to kill something that has the body weight
of a mosquito,'' he said. ''A baby, a person, or a pet is massive in comparison.''
Still, the agency warns residents to go inside and shut their windows if
they hear the truck's sirens blaring.
''It's good practice not to get exposed to chemicals and pesticides if you
don't need to be,'' Henley says. ''Some literature suggests that people can
experience transient symptoms,'' such as headaches
Those types of reactions, he adds, are ''an uncommon event'' and happen to
only ''a small percentage of the population.''
But the concerns have been enough to raise the eyebrows of several residents,
primarily in Framingham.
Cynthia Bailey, a Town Meeting member in Framingham, recently started the
Ten Hawks Project to try to raise awareness of the chemicals that are sprayed
and how they might affect children. Ten Hawks is the Indian version of her
son Nathan's name.
Bailey says she is trying to mobilize concerned mothers and possibly address
the issue in an article at Town Meeting.
The East Middlesex Mosquito Control Project, which was established in 1945,
serves 25 communities west of Boston and is one of nine agencies like it
in the state. Locally, the East Middlesex program serves Lincoln, Sudbury,
Wayland, and Framingham.
Although the Waltham-based agency is regulated by state guidelines, it is
paid for entirely by the municipalities that use it, with money being appropriated
each year by Town Meeting in participating cities and towns.
The program allows communities to voluntarily subscribe to different services,
based both on the degree of mosquito problems and the size of the town's
budget. Prices in the area range widely. Lincoln, which subscribes to the
minimal amount of services, paid $10,000 last year.
''What the residents appropriated at Town Meeting was funding for monitoring
and ditch maintenance only,'' said Michael Moore, Lincoln's public health
administrator. ''But they didn't want any
[pesticides to be sprayed], and that hasn't changed, even after West Nile.''
Mosquitoes have been targeted in the spread of the West Nile virus.
Wayland has asked for spraying to be done only for mosquitoes in their larval
stage. The town paid $19,900 for the services last year.
Framingham and Sudbury subscribe to the maximum number of services, where
mosquitoes in their adult and larval stages are sprayed. Last year, the towns
paid $35,600 and $38,800, respectively.
''We have an extremely high number [of mosquitoes] at times,'' said Robert
Leupold, health director in Sudbury. ''A lot of that is because of the large
amount of wetlands in town.''
He said they receive several complaints about the spraying each year, but
that ''a majority of calls we get are people who want spraying.''
Robert Cooper, Framingham's public health administrator and the one responsible
for coordinating the town's mosquito spraying, was on vacation and could
not be reached for comment yesterday.
Henley says the need for mosquito control has spiked since last year's West
Nile scare, and he adds that four towns -- Winchester, Medford, Malden, and
Concord -- have started spraying for mosquitoes this year as a direct result.
But others say that the potential risk of spraying pesticides outweighs the
possibility of catching the West Nile virus or Eastern equine encephalitis,
another disease that can be transmitted through
the blood-sucking insects.
''The risk of West Nile has to be at a certain level before the risks of
spraying these chemicals makes it warranted,'' said Heidi Roddis Ricci, senior
environmental policy specialist at the Massachusetts
''And in most circumstances, such as the situation in Massachusetts, there's
no reason to be spraying those chemicals.''
In June, Ricci sent a letter, signed by 28 organizations, asking the state
Reclamation and Mosquito Control Board to create more standards for the sprayings
and to coordinate with the state Department of Public Heath. The Control
Board falls under the auspices of the state Department of Agriculture.
Brad Mitchell, chairman of the Reclamation and Mosquito Control Board, said
he has met with Ricci and is preparing a letter that will be sent out in
the fall addressing her concerns.
Last year, 23 people in Massachusetts were diagnosed with West Nile virus;
three people died. So far this year, eight birds have tested positive for
West Nile, including some in Medway, Watertown, and
Weston, according to the state Department of Public Health.
According to the federal Centers for Disease Control, 59 cases of the disease
have been found in humans so far this year, none of which were in New England.
Henley says opponents of the program can opt not to have the pesticides sprayed
on their property. He estimates that 20 homeowners in each town have abstained.
But Snow, who put her home on that list several weeks ago and instead invested
$500 in a Mosquito Magnet, says allowing residents to opt out of the spraying
program is not enough.
''If it's impacting the environment, I don't want them spraying my neighbor's
house either,'' she said.
There are many who are in support of the annual sprayings.
''Some people have been up in arms about it, but there's
absolutely nothing harmful about [the sprayings],'' says William McCarthy
of Framingham. ''But no matter what you do, some people are going to be upset,
and some are not.''
Matt Viser can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story ran on page B2 of the Boston Globe on 8/1/2003.
© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.