Articles, News

We post here a collection of related papers, reports, articles, and communications.

"Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Prenatal Residential Proximity to Agricultural Pesticides: The CHARGE Study."  A June 23, 2014, paper in Environmental Health Perspectives published by the UC Davis MIND Institute shows association between maternal exposure to agricultural pesticides, specifically organophosphates, and autism in offspring.  The study indicates that pregnant women who lived in close proximity to fields and farms where organophosphates were applied experienced a two-thirds increased risk of having a child with autism spectrum disorder or other developmental delay.  According to principal investigator, researcher, professor, and Vice Chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences at UC Davis, Irva Hertz-Picciotto, we need to find ways to reduce exposures to chemical pesticides, particularly for the very young and especially during gestation.  

"What's Causing the West Nile Virus Outbreak."  An October 15, 2011, article in Mother Jones about the sudden temporary flareup of cases around the country this year.

A September 14, 2012, post from Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility indicating that there is no evidence that "aerial spraying is an effective safeguard" against WNv, "specialists who conduct aerial spraying concede that it does not eliminate risk from mosquito-borne diseases," Massachusetts Department of Public Health officials have been unable to produce a single record supporting its claim of a 60% reduction of the mosquito population in a July spray event, "pesticides applied by aerial spraying endanger both public health and the environment," and subsequent to the aerial spraying programs the outbreaks in Massachusetts occur every year instead of the typical once every 13 years. 

"Tracking Viruses from Animals to People."  A September 7, 2012, interview with Professor Maria Duik-Wasser of the Yale School of Public Health, who basically indicates that very little is known about spraying since there have been very few studies due to lack of funding, there are flareups from time to time (such as in Texas this year), and spraying late in the season is pointless.

"How to minimize exposure to aerial and ground spraying of pesticides."  An August 24, 2012, article in

"Cities, counties nationwide begin mass aerial sprayings of toxic 'anti-West Nile Virus' pesticides."  An August 20, 2012, article on about spraying for WNv in some communities because of the temporary flareup of the virus in this very hot summer. 

"Mosquito Aerial Spray Programs Endanger Human Health, Don’t Work."  An article we wrote for the California Progress Report, posted on August 2, 2012, explaining that the spray is dangerous and does not slow the transmission of WNv to humans.  Moreover, the serious human case count (neuroinvasive cases) for all of Sacramento and Yolo counties for 2011 and 2012 is a grand total of 1.  This is far below the "dozens, if not hundreds, of cases of serious neuroinvasive disease that often result in permanent disability and can conclude in death" that vector control and CDPH projected we would have "without intervention" when WNv first became of concern in the region in 2005.  The evidence is strong that the aerial spray has not provided "intervention," which calls into very serious question the staggering amount of money being spent on an ineffective program.  The human case count is so low because the virus is naturally receding into what is called chronic endemicity.  The low human case count then reduced vector control's own "risk assessment," and that factor was then removed from the so-called risk assessment.  An epidemic can now be declared, which triggers aerial spraying, in absence of any human cases.Virus

"Spraying to combat West Nile virus slated for Sunday and Monday nights."  A June 30, 2012, Sacramento Bee article indicating that spraying over "vast areas of Sacramento and Elk Grove" will happen Sunday and Monday nights because of a spike in West Nile virus detections.  This seems to be proof that the spraying three weeks ago did not "break the transmission cycle," which it could not, nor can this one.  It is against federal law for pesticide applicators to claim that a pesticide is "safe," yet the SYMVCD spokesperson asserts that "the spraying does not pose a human health risk." Your tax dollars at work.

"West Nile Spraying: Are Pesticides Leading To Toxic Exposures?"  A June 14, 2012, article in Huff Post Green asking exactly that question, prompted by SYMVCD's recent use of an organophosphate instead of the less toxic mix from previous years.  Once again officials claim that the dose is so low it can't hurt you, but this is not necessarily true.  Most troubling, however, is the claim that the spray in 2005 was "a strategy researchers later confirmed had lessened the burden of West Nile in the community."  This is patently false, as that non-controlled-experiment has several fatal flaws and no conclusions can be drawn from it whatsoever. 

"Pesticides Being Proposed for Aerial Spraying Over South Sacramento County Among the Most Toxic."   A June 11, 2012, press release from Pesticide Watch and Organic Sacramento.  Using a more toxic pesticide for the same purpose as in recent years seems to be tacit admission on the part of vector control officials that the spraying did not work in previous years.  This spray program cannot work either, and instead of seeing very safe and effective measures used the public loses once again with no effective control and exposure to a more toxic pesticide.

Mass. Residents Fight Aerial Insecticide Spraying”  Residents in Massachusetts are also disturbed about the spraying this year, when activity is down.  The article notes alternatives to spraying and possible harm to dragonflies and honeybees.  They say the spray “will have devastating, long-lasting effects on the natural environment in general,” and “the damage caused . . . far outweighs any purported benefits.”  August 9, 2010.

An Environmentally Friendly Mosquito Repellant?”  An August 26, 2009, New York Times story about a breakthrough in repelling mosquitoes that was discovered by a scientist in Riverside, tested on the  Culex mosquitoes, which spread WNv.

Plant Essential Oil Eyed as Mosquito, Ant Repellent.”  Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists have teamed up with researchers from a company in American Samoa to investigate the chemical makeup of a mosquito- and ant-repellent essential oil from a native Samoan plant.  August 24, 2009.

Safer Bug Spray: Natural Bug Repellents.”  A look at more natural options to keep mosquitoes at bay this summer, from WebMD.

Pyrethroids Contaminate Urban Creeks in California.”  From Pesticide Action Network, March 5, 2009 – In January, California's Pesticide Registration and Evaluation Committee heard from Donald Weston, an ecologist at U.C. Berkeley. Weston presented research showing the presence of pyrethroid insecticides in the rain water run-off from several residential neighborhoods in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Central Valley.  Weston said that “While [pyrethroids] have been touted as less toxic to mammals than some of the acutely hazardous pesticides they've replaced, this research adds to evidence that pyrethroids may pose a variety of unanticipated risks.” PAN notes that studies have suggested that many pyrethroids are endocrine disruptors, and some are ranked by the EPA as probable human carcinogens.

West Nile virus cases were overstated in 2008 across U.S.”  Chris Joyner, USA Today, January 22, 2009.  Faulty testing kits led to an overstatement of WNv cases in the country by more than 35% in 2008, reports the CDC.  “A false notion that cases are up also could lead states to alter prevention plans,” noted a CDC spokeswoman. 

Early Puberty in Girls Troubling. The trend raises the risk of breast cancer, emotional problems.”  Dorsey Griffith - Bee Medical Writer, Saturday, September 15, 2007.  This is a report commissioned by the Breast Cancer Fund, which indicates that “American girls are entering puberty at earlier ages, putting them at far greater risk for breast cancer later in life and for all sorts of social and emotional problems well before they reach adulthood.”  It is hailed as a “superb review of what we know,” a number of possible causes are listed, including environmental/chemical exposures, which include exposures to pesticides.

Once Ominous, West Nile Wanes As Area Threat,” Washington Post, July 30, 2007.  The disease has receded rapidly in the Washington region, and they do not spray adulticides there.  “Five years ago, West Nile virus seemed like a major public health threat to the Washington region, with nearly 100 human cases and 11 deaths. But the disease has receded rapidly here since then, even as it remains a problem elsewhere in the United States.  Health experts credit the region's relatively low toll since then to a well-coordinated response from local agencies that included raising public awareness about prevention and applying larvicide to storm drains and other target areas.”  The virus is receding into chronic endemicity: “the virus seems to be stabilized . . . it is endemic in our area.”

Pesticides And Schools: A 'Tragic' Health Hazard”  An article from Science Daily, July 26, 2007.  An entomologist and professor from Indiana University says that “Over 80 percent of schools in America are applying pesticides on a regular basis, whether they have a pest problem or not.  This is tragic not only because of the well-documented link between pesticides and health problems in children, such as asthma and neurological disorders, but also because pesticides generally do not work in a preventive manner in the school environment. Applying pesticides does not prevent pests from coming in, so using them when pests are not present does nothing other than expose children and staff to toxic chemicals.”

Premature Births May be Linked to Seasonal Levels of Pesticides and Nitrates in Surface Water”  May 7, 2007, Paul Winchester, Indiana University School of Medicine.  A four-year study suggesting that the growing premature birth rate in the United States appears to be strongly associated with increased use of pesticides and nitrates.  “To recognize that what we put into our environment has potential pandemic effects on pregnancy outcome and possibly on child development is a momentous observation, which hopefully will help transform the way humanity cares for its world,” said James Lemons, M.D., Hugh McK. Landon Professor of Pediatrics at the IU School of Medicine.

A Model of the Transmission of Dengue Fever with an Evaluation of the Impact of Ultra-Low Volume (ULV) Insecticide Applications on Dengue Epidemics,” Elizabeth A. C. Newton and Paul Reiter, American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 47(6), 1992, pp. 709-720.  The authors “developed a deterministic susceptible, exposed, infectious, resistant or removed (SEIR) model of dengue fever transmission” that enabled them to “explore the behavior of an epidemic, and to experiment with vector control practices.”  Dengue is different from WNv in several respects, one of which is that the host is humans and not birds.  Also, studies typically assume a steady state, as dengue has been around for years and is not seasonal.  As a result of their model and experiments the authors conclude that “The model indicates that ULV has little impact on disease incidence, even when multiple applications are made, although the peak of the epidemic may be delayed.  Decreasing the carrying capacity of the environment for mosquitoes, and thus the basic reproduction rate of the disease, by source reduction or other means, is more effective in reducing transmission.”  Delaying the peak in a WNv outbreak in this area would mean a longer “season” and more chance for exposure for people.  Further, as to the benefit of ULV treatments, the authors conclude: “Thus, the benefit in medical terms appears low, and may be almost worthless unless other factors, such as the need to reassure the human population with high visibility action, are taken into account.” This is yet another acknowledgement of the public relations component of adulticide spraying.  It is not clear from the article if officials and the media sensationalized the issue in the study region and increased the perception for a need of high visibility action, but it is our view that public health and vector control officials in this area are paid well to do the right thing instead of fomenting fear among people and taking ineffective but palliative actions after generating an irrational fear of the extremely rare disease.

New York City settles no spray lawsuitApril 12, 2007.  New York City admits that pesticides may remain in the environment beyond their intended purpose and may cause adverse health effects.

Pyrethroid pesticides are health hazards,” No Spray Coalition.  After having been told for seven years that pesticides used in repeated rounds of mass spraying around New York City were harmless, the No Spray Coalition has concluded that pyrethroids are not safe.  Specifically, “they cause serious harm to human, animal and marine health.”  Also, “These pesticides are often promoted as 'safer' than malathion, an unrelated organophosphate, but this is not true.”

West Nile leaves officials scratching,” Georgia E. Frye, Meridian Star, August 27, 2006.  Yet another locale in the country has stopped spraying for West Nile Virus in absence of evidence that it slows the transmission of the virus to humans:  “Lauderdale County Engineer Neal Carson said the county stopped spraying in July of last year on the recommendation of the state Department of Health.  He said a representative from the department said spraying did little to stop West Nile Virus and so county crews have been on hold since then.”

Press Release from the No-Spray Coalition, August 20, 2006 Brooklyn, N.Y. Outlines current spraying problems in Brooklyn and Staten Island and discusses their current lawsuit based on the Clean Water Act.

Spraying on cities partially effective,” Carrie Peyton Dahlberg, Sacramento Bee, Saturday, August 19, 2006.  This is a brief report of the supposed partial effectiveness of the spraying of the urban areas of Davis and Woodland on August 8 and 9, 2006.  But, yet once again a report is very misleading.  It focuses on mosquito counts, and there remains no credible evidence that killing only some adult mosquitoes slows the transmission of WNV to humans.  It also talks about what is observed in traps, and what happens in them is far different than what happens in urban areas with uncaged mosquitoes.  According to David Pimentel, Ph.D., an entomologist at Cornell University, close to 99.9 % of sprayed chemicals go off into the environment where they can have detrimental effects on public health and ecosystems, leaving 0.1% to actually hit the target pest (see fact sheet).  The relevance of the current statistics, even just to killing mosquitoes "in the wild," is thus very questionable.  As we have pointed out in a critique of a recent presentation by the District Manager (see the notes at the end), what is relevant is the level of the virus in the birds and not the abundance of adult mosquitoes, as SYMVCD apparently desperately wishes us to believe.  Even if SYMVCD manages to kill some adult mosquitoes "in the wild," it is a leap over a giant logical chasm to conclude that the spraying was successful in real terms -- slowing the transmission of WNV.  Furthermore, SYMVCD is not even sure which mosquito species is (are) the vector (s).  If it is Culex tarsalis alone, these results are yet more questionable (since Culex tarsalis live mainly in the agricultural areas outside of town and not in urban areas), even if we are concerned solely with the simple task of killing adult mosquitoes that vector the virus.  Yet once again, claims by officials that the spray was effective are based on unscientific analysis, and the conclusions have not been verified by independent analysis.

West Nile Virus - What the Media Won't Tell You.  A holistic health site that discusses “West Nile Virus prevention and control without toxic drugs or pesticides.”

West Nile Cases Drop as Immunities Emerge, Experts Say,”  Lynn Doan, Los Angeles Times, August 19, 2006.  "As humans and animals develop immunity to the West Nile virus, the number of confirmed human cases of the mosquito-borne disease has seen a dramatic decline in California, a trend that is expected to continue, health experts said."  This is the decline to what is known as chronic endemicity, which happens naturally, independent of spraying adulticides.

Does this Protect Public Health or Is It a Grand Hoax?”  This is an op-ed in the Davis Enterprise on August 13, 2006.  We question the shoddy "evidence" that public-health and vector-control officials have offered that spraying adulticides slows the transmission of WNV to humans.  Also, the district manager claimed that we were not at the peak this year, we note that actual data from this area from last year suggest that we are in fact at the peak of infections, and we note that the district manager thus tacitly admitted that there was no reason to spray.  Given that infected mosquito counts had gone to zero on the weekend before the spraying and that overall counts had dropped precipitously by 92%, we feel that abandonment of the previously sacrosanct criterion of "5 infected mosquitoes per 1000 trapped" demonstrates that the decision to spray Davis was a political one that had nothing to do with protecting the public health.  For additional reasons we oppose adulticide spraying, see our  addendum to the op-ed.  Also, you can read another Enterprise op-ed from August 13, 2006, “West Nile is Far More Risky than Aerial Assault,” and we post our response to it here.

Bio-control for Mosquitoes: Opportunities Lost.”  An entomologist with considerable experience with mosquitoes in this area and Colombia explains that there are extremely effective biological controls available for mosquitoes, which present no risk to either human health or the environment, and it is a shame that the SYMVCD is not culturing them.  From the conclusion: "It seems almost ridiculous for the District to consider multiple millions of dollars in expenditures on insecticidal agents and not spend a dime on these safe and effective biological agents. The risk-benefit comparisons should be obvious. On the one hand we have a material with dubious efficacy and a guaranteed universal exposure to an incompletely assessed risk; and on the other we have a proven safe and effective set of biological controls . . . The added labor required to culture the District’s own biological alternatives would end up both a benefit to community employment and substantially less costly for the District’s budget than procuring poisons and aircraft delivery systems. That the District is choosing ongoing outlays for 100% depreciable investment in distributing poison as opposed to investing in a permanent facility for production of a renewable resource is beyond any reasonable comprehension."

A Response to 'Risk/Benefit' Analysis for Aerial Pesticide Release to Abate the Vectors of West Nile Virus.”  The entomologist from the immediate item above responds to the "report" and claim that the aerial spraying over Sacramento in the summer of 2005 was effective and justified.

Letter to Davis City Council.  This is a cover letter of the July 31, 2006, of a delivery of over 400 letters from citizens asking the Council to support our resolution and request an opt-out of the spraying from SYMVCD.  We had gathered the letters in a few weeks, and in the following few weeks we gathered many more.  When we stopped gathering the letters we had more than 1100.  We never received the requested evidence of safety or effectiveness, yet the Council refused to support these citizens in their efforts to avoid being subjected to the spray.  Here is the form letter, and here is our resolution.

Spray adds creek effect,” Matt Weiser, Sacramento Bee, Saturday, July 29, 2006.  "A chemical sprayed over Sacramento County last summer to control West Nile virus doubled the toxicity of pesticides that had already accumulated in local creeks from urban runoff, a new study has found. . . . 'It wasn't a dramatic and catastrophic event. But the fact that it's even close is remarkable, because nobody had even considered the possibility of a relatively nontoxic ingredient in a mosquito spray enhancing the toxicity of something in the sediment.' . . . 'I think we're going to re-evaluate our message,' Brown said. 'We had people washing it off to such an extent they were creating a mosquito problem all over again .' "

West Nile Laying Low, So Far,” Friday, July 14, 2006, HealthDay News.  "The West Nile virus season is off to a slow start this year, U.S. health officials say, but that doesn't portend a worry-free summer. . . "

Report from Special Meeting with SYMVCD, July 5, 2006.  A group of us met with David Brown, Director of SYMVCD, in the Blanchard Room of the Library at 8:00 PM on Wednesday, July 5, 2006, about canvassing the City of Davis and helping to educate citizens by passing out door hangers.  Information about how to report standing water is here.  As a result of canvassing we now give Standing-Water Reports and Current Status.

Efficacy of Resmethrin Aerosols Applied from the Road for Suppressing Culex Vectors of West Nile Virus,” June 2006.   A new study failed to show that spraying reduces the transmission of West Nile Virus.  Beyond Pesticides notes that "Recognizing the widespread use of truck-mounted spraying to control adult mosquitos, yet the lack of research on the true effectiveness of this method in reducing the transmission of West Nile Virus (WNv) disease, a group of scientists and practicioners conducted an efficacy investigation of truck-mounted spraying in reducing mosquito populations. . . . The authors conclude 'we find that ULV applications of resmethrin had little or no impact on the Culex vectors of WNV, even at maximum permitted rates of application, [and] such insecticidal aerosols, delivered from the road, may not effectively reduce the force of transmission of WNV.' "  This is particularly noteworthy for the SYMVCD spraying since aerial spraying is thought to have less chance of being effective than ground spraying, and resmethrin is a pyrethroid, which is more potent than the pyrethrum used in the local aerial spray.

Study: Pesticides Linked to 70% Increased Risks for Parkinson's Disease.”  Monday, June 26, 2006, HealthDay News.  "Exposure to pesticides, but not other environmental contaminants, may boost the long-term risk for developing Parkinson's disease by 70%, a new study suggests."

EPA Forgot to Shield Nursing Mothers in Pesticide Experiments,” June 24, 2006.  "The fact that EPA overlooked the dangers posed by exposing nursing mothers to pesticides does not inspire confidence in the agency's public health perspective," stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, whose organization has been venting concerns raised by EPA's own scientists about the agency's human subjects testing plans and activities. "By this move, EPA gives backhanded acknowledgment that human experimentation puts its subjects at risk."

Blended chemicals especially dangerous,” Douglas Fischer, Oakland Tribune, March 27, 2006.  "Chemical mixtures, such as the soup of pesticides found in agricultural runoff, can be vastly more toxic to humans and creatures than a single chemical, suggesting current efforts to assess health risks posed by such compounds significantly underestimate their danger, researchers have found . . .  And that means, scientists say, that safety tests used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration — where one compound is tested and regulated in isolation — miss the real effects of the chemical stew making up our world."

Pesticides -- A Greater Threat to Children.”  A March 7, 2006, note from The Pesticide Action Network Updates Service about the increased vulnerability of children to pesticides.

Plant-Based Mosquito Repellents: Making a Careful Choice.”  An article indicating some alternatives to DEET for a mosquito repellent because  of concerns about its health effects.  A variety of plant-based products have been developed to meet this need.

Pesticides Raise Child Risk of Leukemia - Study,” January 17, 2006.  Two articles from Reuters and The London Times, citing a recently-published study in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine that "exposure to pesticides in the womb or as a child can double the risk of developing acute leukemia" and that "Children frequently exposed to household insecticides used on plants, lawns and in head lice shampoos appear to run double the risk of developing childhood leukemia."

Study finds pesticide effect in local creeks,” by Chris Bowman -- Bee Staff Writer, Sunday, October 30, 2005.  "Pyrethroid bug killers, commonly applied at the edges of homes and businesses to ward off ants, are hitchhiking on soil particles suspended in the runoff from lawn sprinklers, the researchers believe. The poisons settle in the muck of streambeds, not far from storm water outlets, they found."  Note that SYMVCD uses Suspend SC for some of its spraying, which contains the pyrethroid Deltamethrin.  One commercial advertisement for the product states that "Suspend SC leaves a clear residual on surfaces that keeps on killing pests for up to 3 months."

Environmental and Occupational Causes of Cancer: A Review of Recent Scientific Evidence,” (September 2005)  summarizes scientific evidence documenting associations between environmental and occupational exposures and certain cancers in the United States. . . .  It is the first summary of this massive body of material in one accessible document. The study shows that many cancer cases and deaths are caused or contributed to by involuntary exposures. These include: bladder cancer from the primary solvent used in dry cleaning, breast cancer from endocrine disruptors like bisphenol-A and other plastics components, lung cancer from residential exposure to radon, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma from solvent and herbicide exposure, and childhood leukemia from pesticides. . . . “The sum of the evidence makes an airtight case for reconsideration of chemicals policies in the U.S.,” said Dr. Richard W. Clapp, lead epidemiologist for the report and adjunct professor at UMass Lowell.

Mosquito Spray Critics Take Meeting From Officials in Davis, CA.”  An article from Beyond Pesticides, August 29, 2005, with a good description of what actually happened at the City Forum on August 23, 2005.

AIMM Platform.  Platform of the Alliance for Informed Mosquito Management.  "In too many municipalities across the country, there are inadequate mosquito management policies in place.  In some cases, a coherent management plan does not even exist.  As a result, there is often a heavy reliance on mass spraying of pesticides to kill adult mosquitoes.  This method of mosquito management is widely considered by experts to be the least effective and most risky response to this important public health concern.  There is no credible evidence that spraying pesticides used to kill adult mosquitoes, also known as adulticides, reduce or prevent WNV incidents or illnesses.  In fact, communities that do not generally use adulticides as part of their mosquito control often have lower cases of WNV than their neighbors that do.  Pesticides used in the battle against mosquitoes have been linked to numerous adverse health effects including asthma and respiratory problems, dermatological reactions, endocrine disruption, chemical sensitivities, and cancer.  Adulticides can also be harmful or fatal to nontarget wildlife.  There are much safer and more effective ways to manage mosquitoes and protect the public from mosquito-borne illnesses like WNV than the spraying of adulticides."

Common Industrial Chemicals in Tiny Doses Raise Health Issue,” Peter Waldman, Wall Street Journal, July 25, 2005.  "A growing body of animal research suggests to some scientists that even minute traces of some chemicals, always assumed to be biologically insignificant, can affect such processes as gene activation and the brain development of newborns.  An especially striking finding: It appears that some substances may have effects at the very lowest exposures that are absent at higher levels."

West Nile Risk Low.”  A July 24, 2005, article from the Missoulian, giving some important perspective on how dangerous WNV really is.

Officials change focus on West Nile.”  An article from the Roanoke Times, Roanoke, Virginia, of July 26, 2004, explaining that as of that summer the West Nile Virus is "No longer an unusual disease, West Nile can be treated as a common summer occurrence."  They are "reducing the amount of research conducted on West Nile virus this summer in order to focus more on community-based prevention," since so few people get the disease.

An Open Letter by Concerned Physicians and Scientists.  Stop the Indiscriminate 'Friendly Fire' Pesticide Spraying.”  CAP-Open Letter, Updated 11/3/2003.  "Massive chemical pesticide spraying against mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus will have many serious detrimental consequences, especially on human health.  The ramifications of such action will result in far reaching public health, financial, legal and other problems.  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."

Overkill: Why Pesticide Spraying for West Nile Virus in California May Cause More Harm Than Good.”  An August 2003 paper by Matt Wilson of the Toxics Action Center, Will Sugg of The Maine Environmental Policy Institute, and Jasmine Vasavada of Pesticide Watch.  The authors argue that more harm than good may be caused because ground and aerial spraying have not proven effective in curbing WNV, "Pesticide spraying will expose human beings and non target organisms to chemicals known to affect human health and the environment," and "California’s current West Nile Virus Response Plan is overly permissive of dangerous and ineffective pesticide spraying."

West Nile Hysteria: The Snake Bite of 2002.”  A spring 2003 article by Don Fitz, who draws the analogy of West Nile spraying with the snake-bite kits he was urged to use as a child.  It turns out that the use of the kits was more deadly to kids than snake bites, and Fitz worries that this "cure," with synergized pyrethrins and pyrethroids, may be similarly worse than the disease.

Ineffectiveness of Pesticides at Controlling Mosquito Populations.”  Excerpts from a talk with the same title at the February 5, 2003, forum on "Pesticides in the City of St. Louis."  "What do advocates of pesticide spraying say when confronted with the dangers of these chemicals? The pat answer is: 'We do everything we can to reduce mosquitoes; but there are always some left and you have to get them with sprays.' Statements like this assume that pesticide sprays reach mosquitoes. If virtually none of the spray makes it to mosquitoes, the argument has no merit. This is, in fact, the case.  Spraying pesticides either has no long-term effect on mosquito populations or results in an increase in their numbers."

Useless Spraying?  West Nile Deterrent May Not Be Best Solution.”  An August 8, 2002, item on ABC News.  "'The chemicals have not been adequately tested for their human health effects,' cautioned Dr. Sheldon Krimsky, a pesticide-risk expert at Tufts University. 'There is a lot of circumstantial evidence that they cause cancer in animal studies, that they are hormone disruptors. Remember, these are neurotoxins,' Krimsy said, adding that most studies done on the effects of spraying focused on agricultural spraying — not spraying in populated areas."

Meeting The Challenge of West Nile Virus Without Poisons.”  A Winter 2002 article from the Journal of Pesticide Reform.  From the article: "Reduction of mosquito problems around homes and neighborhoods can be successfully achieved with just a few simple steps.  Focus on the reduction or elimination of mosquito breeding habitats, any place or container that collects standing water.  Individuals and communities can have a large impact on reducing the risk of West Nile infection without using pesticides."

Out of Control.”  An article in Audubon Magazine, 2001.  "The specter of West Nile virus has given new urgency to the annual assault on mosquitoes. But what are the real costs of this chemical warfare?"

Pesticides Targeting West Nile-Carrying Mosquitos May be a Thyroid Danger.”  An article about the spraying in Boston and New York in 2000 with two pesticides based on synthetic pyrethrins, or pyrethroids.  "Researchers have found that pyrethroids are environmental estrogens, and 'through these hormonal pathways, exposure to certain pyrethroids may contribute to reproductive dysfunction, developmental impairment, and cancer' . . . Another study found that some pyrethroids have the potential to promote breast cell proliferation, an action that can increase cancer risk . . . The city has overstepped the boundaries of safety and law in the handling of its mosquito prevention and management program, exposing the public to hazardous pesticides. . . . There's a grossly inadequate effort to track the collateral impact on the environment and on humans."  The Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito Control District uses Suspend SC, which contains the pyrethroid Deltamethrin.