How Effective is Spraying Pesticide?

Information that is given to the public on the efficacy of pesticide application to fend off viruses such as West Nile Virus is limited.  We are told about studies and given numbers but what is the transparency of the study?  Who completed this study?  Is testing done in a limited scope?  Are the tests done in real world conditions?  How often has this test been done and where?  And most importantly, what are the long term effects on the health of humanity, animals, pollinating insects and our planet?  It is imperative that we question the solution to a problem.  If it causes more harm than good, then we must keep searching for a comprehensive and intelligent solution that will serve the higher good of all.  Read on…

Excerpts from:

Overkill

Why Pesticide Spraying for West Nile Virus in California May Cause More Harm Than Good

 

“There’s not enough evidence that all this spraying has changed the dynamic of the outbreak, and that’s in part because the studies really haven’t been done to find out.”

-Michael Hansen, the chief pesticide researcher at Consumers Union, which publishes Consumer Reports magazine, Newsday, November 7, 200032

 

Effectiveness of Spraying in Controlling Mosquito Populations is Limited

One study conducted by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in 2002 found that mosquito populations did not drop notably after trucks sprayed pesticides in the cities of Greenwich and Stamford.33   However, very few studies have been conducted to document the effectiveness—or lack of effectiveness of pesticide spraying in curbing mosquito populations under real word conditions.

Most studies on the impact of pesticide spraying are performed under out-door “lab” type conditions. In such studies, caged mosquitoes are placed at measured distances from spraying, at differing pesticide potencies. Some cage trap experiments in residential areas have shown a reduction in mosquito populations of about 30 percent after a spraying.34

Such studies, however, may overestimate the effectiveness of spraying since they do not take into account the many variables that are involved in ground spraying. Real world mosquitoes are not trapped in one place. Rather, they can hide under leaves and in vegetation. As a result, extrapolating the efficacy numbers from cage or trap studies to actual spraying programs is questionable.

“In order to work, the insecticide must hit the mosquito directly,” Cornell University researcher Dr. David Pimentel reported in a November 2000 interview with Newsday. “But since spray trucks are only fogging the street side of buildings, I doubt that more than one-tenth of 1 percent of the poison is actually hitting its target. And you have to put out a lot of material to get that one-tenth of a percent onto the mosquito.”35

In a 1998 study, it took two to three times more insecticide to kill 90% of the mosquitoes in residential settings than it took to kill 90% of the mosquitoes in open areas. Spraying high enough levels of insecticide to kill most of the mosquitoes in residential areas would require violating current labeling safety guidelines.39

 

33. Christine Woodside, “No Big Fall in Mosquitoes After Communities Spray,” New York Times, 6 October 2002, 14CN.

34. Dan Fagin, “Doubts about Spraying — Some Experts Call it Ineffective Against West Nile Virus,” Newsday, 8 November 2000.

35. Dan Fagin, “Doubts about Spraying — Some Experts Call it Ineffective Against West Nile Virus,” Newsday, 8 November 2000.

39. Gary Mount, “A Critical Review of Ultralow-Volume Aerosols of Insecticide,” Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association, 14(3):305-334, 1998.

Pesticides -Not the Solution for WNV

Here are eight compelling reasons why spraying pesticides is not the solution for West Nile Virus:

1. Spraying is the Least Effective Measure 

The US Center for Disease Control and other experts say that spraying or fogging is the least effective means for slowing the spread of WNV carrying mosquitoes.  For fogging to have maximum effect, a mosquito has to be flying. Estimates are that fogging kills only about 10% of adult mosquitoes. The  federal-provincial task force on WNV admits there is little evidence for the efficacy of insecticide spraying.  Adult mosquitoes live only about two weeks, with new larvae hatching constantly. This means that spraying cannot be a one shot operation, but needs to be repeated frequently if chosen as a means of control .

2.  Predators Harmed, Mosquitoes Thrive

Aerial spraying or fogging is more harmful to mosquito predators than to mosquitoes. Since predators are farther up the food chain, they will take in higher amounts of pesticide. By decreasing mosquito predator populations, aerial spraying actually leads to increases in mosquito populations.  Data from a study in New York State published in the Journal for Mosquito Control  found that after 11 years of insecticide spraying, the mosquito population had increased 15 times. Pesticide exposure also results in immune suppression in birds, which serve as the hosts for WNV.   Birds exposed to organophosphate pesticides tend to suffer immune suppression (as do mammals, amphibians and other animals.) This makes them less able to fight off viral and bacterial infections, the very opposite of what is needed. Once infected with WNV, birds are more likely to develop symptoms and to remain ill longer than if they had not been exposed. Thus, pesticide spraying leads to more frequent and longer infections and higher viral loads in birds, making it more likely they will spread the disease to  mosquitoes. This increases the possibility of mosquitoes transmitting the virus to humans and other mammals.

3. Super Mosquitoes, Sicker Mosquitoes

For some reason, as yet unknown, mosquitoes exposed to pesticides are more likely to have WNV in their salivary glands and develop a damaged gut lining which becomes more porous, allowing WNV to pass through. Over a decade of insecticide spraying to control encephalitis in Florida has not been effective, and mosquitoes are now 15 times more likely to pass on the disease. Mosquitoes, which have short life spans, go through many generations in a single year. The mosquitoes which  are exposed to pesticides and survive are more likely to develop resistance to them. So spraying contributes to the development of “super mosquitoes” which can only be killed by using higher amounts or different types of pesticides.

4. Immediate Human Health Effects

Immediate health effects on humans from exposure to sprayed pesticides are considerable. A letter from 26 prominent physicians and scientists in Quebec released last summer states, “Indiscriminate spraying of pesticides, especially in heavily populated urban areas, is far more dangerous to human health and the natural environment than a relatively small risk of West Nile Virus…. Ironically, such spraying is especially dangerous to those with impaired immunity for whose ‘protection’ such spraying is mainly being done. ..Those individuals who are most vulnerable in this chemical action against mosquitoes include children, pregnant women, the elderly, chemically sensitive and immuno-suppressed individuals, such as patients with AIDS and cancer, and people suffering with asthma and other allergies.”

5. Long Term Health Effects

Pesticides used in mosquito control can contribute to immune suppression in humans. A report from the World Resources Institute notes, “Impairment of the immune system by chemical pesticides can lead to allergies, auto immune disorders such as lupus, and cancer. It may also lead to infections to which one may be normally resistant.”  People with weakened immune systems are the most vulnerable to WNV. Thus, in the long term, aerial spraying may actually increase the number of  people who become seriously ill from WNV. And immune system suppression has serious implications for other diseases as well, including SARS.

 

6. Long Term Environmental Effects

Most of the pesticides presently used for mosquito control do not selectively target mosquitoes. Insecticides kill all insects. This includes hundreds of beneficial insect species that pollinate crops and keep pests under control.  Fish kills in the thousands have been reported following mosquito spraying. Since some species of fish feed on mosquito larvae, this is doubly counterproductive. Other organisms that feed on mosquito larva are also killed. Bird populations are also threatened. According to New York State wildlife pathologist Ward Stone,  more of the birds sent to his unit for examination in 2000 died from pesticides than from WNV.

7. Keep Risk in Perspective

While the image of a new killer virus from the tropics is scary and makes for good media material, public health experts at all levels are attempting to help people put WNV in perspective. West Nile Virus is less dangerous than the flu. Only 1% of mosquitoes carry the WNV, even in places where WNV has been common for years. Because of our climate, the virus is not expected to overwinter, but would likely be reintroduced each year through bird migration. Less than 1% of people bitten by infected mosquitoes will have any symptoms, and most of those will be equivalent to a one day flu or headache. Studies in New York when WNV was most widespread found thousands of people who tested positive for WNV but had never experienced any symptoms of illness. People bitten by infected mosquitoes, even those who experience no symptoms, will develop a lifetime immunity to the disease. In Africa and Europe, the virus occurs in cycles, with typically three years of human infections in late summer, with the majority of infections in the first year of a cycle. Then the virus fades into the background, and may not reappear for many years.  In Africa, WNV is a childhood disease; adults have developed immunity.

8. Taking a Long-term Approach

WNV may be one of a number of tropical diseases which will spread to our geo- graphic area with global warning. Instead of panic and sensationalism, we need a rational, long term problem-solving approach which is healthy for humans and the environment.  Reducing mosquito breeding sites (standing water), known as source control, is the most effective mosquito control method. Since adult mosquitoes seldom travel more than 1 kilometer, source control in a neighborhood can be extremely effective and quite non-toxic.  Experts stress the value of source controls such as mechanical flushing of sewer catch basins, and introduction of dragonfly larvae in nearby ponds and lakes. These methods have been practiced with great success in Wells, Maine for 26 years.  Maintaining healthy mosquito predator populations is an important part of a mosquito control strategy.  Eliminating mosquito larvae, through predators and biological means and if absolutely necessary via pesticides, is far more effective than trying to kill adult mosquitoes.
http://www.environmentalhealth.ca/spring03false.html

Ultimately, the most effective defense against WNV is a healthy ecosystem and a healthy immune system in humans, birds and other species.

Bats, bees and amphibians – Mosquito predators endangered by pesticides.

Bats, bees and amphibians are becoming more susceptible to diseases due to impaired immunity resulting from pesticide exposure.  We humans are also being affected.

Waves of emerging wildlife diseases that are killing huge numbers of insect-eating animals could all be linked to the use of a new class of pesticides, according to a study recently published in the Journal of Environmental Immunology and Toxicology.

Neonicotinoids and related pesticides may be suppressing the immune system of bees, bats and even amphibians, making them much more susceptible to parasites, viruses and fungal infections, the researchers found after comparing geographical patterns of emerging diseases with the use of neonicotinoids.

Insects feeding on the pollen and nectar of crops treated with the pesticides absorb the chemicals and the poison is subsequently passed on to animals higher up the food chain that prey on those bugs, the scientists hypothesized, citing evidence of deviation from normal pathogen-host relationships.

If it sounds familiar, it should — DDT had a similar cascading ecosystem effect, and the impacts from the “new and improved” pesticides could be even more devastating and costly, with the loss of bats and bees hitting the agricultural sector especially hard.

Vitamin D Levels Depleted by Exposure to Pesticides

Vitamin D is one of the most important nutrients for building and maintaining a strong immune system. Most people in this country have critically low levels (30 or below), even in sunny states. Could it be that chronic exposure to toxins in the environment is taking a toll on our health?

Next time you get a blood test, request your Vitamin D levels. Ideally, you should be in the 50-80 range, where Vitamin D becomes very protective against many imbalances.

According to a new study published Tuesday in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, researchers discovered a link between chemical exposure and reduced serum vitamin D levels.

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) have been known to cause adverse health effects such as diabetes and obesity by interfering with hormones in the body. There is more evidence than ever before, as hundreds of studies have confirmed this over and over again.

We need to protect our environment.  Children, the elderly, and those in recovery from illness or injury are the most vulnerable to damage caused by exposure to pesticides and other toxins.

We are all exposed to endocrine-disrupting chemicals, so the connection between these chemicals and vitamin D levels has a significant impact on our health. Vitamin D plays a significant role in musculoskeletal, immune and cardiovascular health, as well as diabetes and cancer.

This new study investigated data from 4,667 adults between 2005 and 2010. EDC exposure was measured by a urine analysis. The researchers found that individuals who were exposed to larger amounts of phthalates had lower levels of vitamin D in the bloodstream than those who were exposed to smaller amounts of the EDCs. This association was more prevalent in women. It is possible that EDCs alter vitamin D through some of the same mechanisms that they use to impact other hormones in the body.

We live in an ever-increasing toxic environment. We are exposed to pesticides, herbicides, chemical solvents, xenobiotics, and industrial chemicals of all kinds through the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe. These toxins accumulate in our body and contribute to the total toxic load that can cause a variety of health problems.

There are things we can do to protect our health in the midst of all this pollution.

Tip to Help Avoid EDCs:

  • Eat organic produce (join your local CSA).
  • Eat free-range, organic meats to reduce exposure from added hormones and pesticides.
  • Buy products available in glass containers rather than plastic or cans when possible.
  • Replace non-stick pans with glass, ceramic, or cast iron.
  • Drink filtered water.
  • Use a shower head with a filter.
  • Use household products that are free of phthalates, BPA, and fragrances.

There is also significant evidence demonstrating the importance of diet and nutritional supplementation in maintaining detoxification pathways…

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals are virtually impossible to avoid. Thus, we need to do our best to limit our exposure, and make lifestyle and nutritional choices to properly detoxify these chemicals.

Resolution 15-16: Berthoud’s Mosquito Control Policy

This is the excerpt for your very first post.

In June of 2015, the Berthoud Town Board passed Resolution 15-16, their resolution to institute a policy to spray for mosquitos within the town limits.

Besides the fact that we object to the idea of blanketing the town with pesticides the resolution is poorly written.

You can have a read through it at the following link:

http://www.berthoud.org/home/showdocument?id=1452