Responses to Forum Questions/Answers
Concerned citizens submitted questions in writing at the forum at City
August 23, 2005. A “shortened version” of the questions and
answers appeared in the Davis Enterprise on August 28. A
supposedly complete set of
questions was posted on the City of
Davis website and is available here,
with answers. However, in that compilation some of our
questions do not appear as we submitted them.
We feel that it is important to respond to some
of the posted answers, as we feel that many of these answers are
misleading and that this issue should receive a full
airing in the community. If anyone believes that we are not
properly informed about any of these points, please give us citations
and we will investigate them carefully.
Q: Are there any persons with
financial or professional interests in this process?
What happened to the million dollars the District earlier
it was spending? Surely the people who filled the planes and
sprayed the insecticide over Sacramento did not do it for free.
Surely MGK did not donate the Evergreen
60-6. This is not a credible answer.
Q: Do you calculate “hot spots”
separately or by the whole county? What criteria do you use to
designate a “hot spot?”
A: “Hot spots” are designated separately. A "hot spot," by
definition, would be based on separate portions of a county, unless
further trapping results identified a larger portion of the county with
high number of WNV infected mosquitoes. The Davis Cemetery and
other sites for example, are “hot spots.” Based on our trapping
results we found infected mosquitoes at the cemetery, however we have
not found significantly more infected mosquitoes with the Davis City
boundaries. Therefore we identified the Davis Cemetery site as a
potential “hot spot."
was not directly answered. The public needs a precise
explanation that includes the numerical factors used in the decision
rather than a simple statement that the decision is made based on one
area being substantially worse than another.
Q: Is there scientific
supporting the relative safety and effectiveness of this spraying
technique? If so, can it be posted on the District website?
A: There is, and it will be posted on the District website.
Briefly, the biological reason behind this spraying technique is that
the mosquitoes that transmit WNV (Culex pipiens and Culex
quincifaciatus) primarily feed on birds and are considered primary
vectors of WNV within the bird population, additionally acting as
bridge vectors to humans or other mammals. As adults, these
mosquitoes spend much more time in tree canopies than on the ground,
and are difficult to kill from ground with ultra low volume (ULV)
application equipment. Spraying from aircraft significantly
increases the likelihood of substantially reducing their populations
and disrupting the bird portion of the WNV transmission cycle.
Response: The question we submitted
was “Please indicate
what the scientific evidence says about the relative safety and
effectiveness of spraying vs. not spraying and taking other
measures. Please give full citations of peer-reviewed articles on
your website that prove that spraying is safe and more effective than
First, we are informed that the two main mosquitoes of
concern to transmit WNV in this area are Culex pipiens and Culex
tarsalis, so we are
puzzled both at no mention of Culex tarsalis and at the
mention of Culex quincifaciatus. Actually, we find no reference
at all on the CDC website to Culex quincifaciatus; instead, we find
many references to
Culex quinquefasciatus. One paper, Vector
Competence of California Mosquitoes for West Nile virus, by
researchers at UC Davis, characterizes this species as
one of the two "least efficient laboratory vectors" in that study,
whereas Culex tarsalis and Culex pipiens are characterized as two of
efficient laboratory vectors."
Second, the question deals with
more than technique, and the issue of relative safety of spraying
was not addressed. This is particularly troubling since this
question is of the utmost concern to the public. Vector Control
should answer the question of safety immediately and provide evidence
to substantiate the response. Further, it should be placed on
the record in unequivocal language whether or not spraying can be
harmful to children and/or the elderly who have asthma or any other
breathing difficulty. Officials have said that Davis will be
sprayed by ground, but this answer deals with aerial spraying. One of the main conclusions to
draw from this answer would seem to be that ground spraying is not
The Nasci study has been seriously called into question, and no
citations of relevant studies are apparent on the West Nile page of the
CDC website. We have waited for appropriate citations to be
posted on fightthebite, but we still do not see any sign of this.
See our discussion about the non-existence of
as well as our discussion about risk.
Note: Subsequent to this forum,
vector-control officials here and in other regions have begun to cite a
by DHS officials as evidence. This report has significant
problems, however. Please see
a full critique here.
Q: What is the epidemiological
for the District’s decision to spray? How do you verify the
long-term human health improvement?
A: Based on the progression of the disease in western states,
with ecological conditions similar to California (since 2003), there is
no doubt that without intervention the disease will infect 100’s or
1,000’s of humans in the area. The result will be dozens, if not
hundreds, of cases of serious neuroinvasive disease that often result
in permanent disability and can conclude in death. Although
neuroinvasive cases are more likely in people with an
immune-compromised condition, serious and life threatening cases of the
disease are reported in individuals of every age and race, some in
otherwise excellent health.
It is also important to remember that the mosquitoes that transmit the
disease can, and do, enter homes readily, and once inside the home
often bite individuals at night while they are asleep. This is why
proper maintenance of screens and screen doors is essential
is misleading by focusing on what will happen “without
intervention,” as nobody is suggesting that there should not be
“intervention.” We strongly support integrated-pest-management
programs without the use of adulticides. No evidence for the
effectiveness of the spraying of adulticides to reduce the incidence of
WNV has been offered. See our discussion of effectiveness. Moreover, the assertions
happen without “intervention” are highly speculative,
as disaster has not befallen the many communities that have chosen not
to spray adulticides. See our discussion of alternatives. In addition, these
numbers (e.g. hundreds of serious cases of neuroinvasive disease per
infections) yield figures (roughly 1 in 10) that are much higher than
estimate of 1 in 150.
Nothing is offered
here about verification of the long-term human health
improvement, and advice about keeping screens repaired does not serve
as an answer.
Q: Is the district considering
numerous communities on the East Coast that have banned spraying
because it has proven to be ineffective?
A: Spraying has not proven to be ineffective. Many of the
communities referred to on the east coast only used adulticiding as a
means of mosquito control. The SYMVCD uses an integrated
approach, where multiple life stages of the mosquito (larva, pupa and
adult) are targeted with a variety of different approaches including
vegetation management, mosquito fish, bacteria, insect growth
regulators, surface agents, and more than one family of chemical. The
SYMVCD currently, and for many years has used an integrated approach
which includes source reduction and water management, biological
controls, larvicide control and adulticide control is a last resort
based on surveillance.
has the issue backward. When an official
agency plans to spray people's homes with toxic chemicals
against their will, the onus is on the agency to provide solid evidence
that what it plans to do is safe and effective, as opposed to the
other way around. Yet officials have provided no evidence that
spraying adulticides has been effective at reducing the transmission of
WNV to humans. Many communities east of
California have employed integrated approaches without spraying
have done as well or better in terms of WNV infections in humans than
surrounding communities that have
adulticides. See our
discussion of alternatives.
Q: What has been the democratic
process to reach the decision to fumigate?
A: Control of adult mosquitoes does not involve the use of fumes,
but rather the directed application of chemical pesticide-based
treatment on surveillance indicators. SYMVCD has a Board of
Trustees appointed by each city and County in the SYMVCD
jurisdiction. The Board adopted a plan in March of this year,
which was distributed to every City and County Chief
Administrator. It was also shared with the local Health Officers
and other similar public agencies.
been an absence of democratic process with respect to the decision
to spray. The decision to spray is delegated to the District's
General Manager. The General Manager answers to the Board of
Trustees, who are appointed by the various cities and the two
counties. One trustee is appointed by each respective
jurisdiction. The trustees do not answer to or take direction
from the cities and/or counties. Thus, the Board as a whole, as
well as each individual trustee, is not accountable to the
electorate. The General Manager is not accountable to the
electorate, only to the Board of Trustees. Additionally, the
initiative process does not apply to the District, as the District's
governing board is not elected. The result is a special district
that is completely insulated from the democratic process and answerable
to no one.
As indicated by the District's answer, the plan to spray was shared
with the local elected officials after the plan was adopted.
There is no indication that the District actively sought input from the
elected officials or
the community prior to adopting the plan to spray.
Q: What was the total number of
from West Nile virus statewide in 2004? Is this a human epidemic?
A: Twenty-eight deaths were reported last year. The general
an epidemic is when there are more than the usual numbers of cases over
a specified time period. California had the greatest number of
human cases in the United States last year. This is an epidemic
of West Nile virus.
a bizarre answer that is reflective of how this issue has been
general definition of epidemic revolves around the concept of many individuals in a
population being infected by a disease over a certain time
period. 28 WNV
in all of California last year hardly represent a large number.
Moreover, as of this date (9-22-05) there have been
all of California this year, well less than last year's total. To
perspective, consider that Yolo County
had 61 deaths from the flu in 2003, which is a far higher rate of
Do we have a flu epidemic in our county? Why do we not have
newspaper reports of each of the individual deaths of the flu each
winter? Officials’ working
definition of epidemic in this issue has revolved around the number of
infected mosquitoes, as opposed to the number of serious
human cases. They consider more than 5 per 1000 an “epidemic,”
but no justification of that figure has been offered. That figure
for WNV-infected mosquitoes
certainly represents more instances than in past years in this area, as
is new to the area, but we believe that the use of this
emotionally-charged word relative to mosquito and not human populations
creates confusion and further sensationalizes the issue.
California also has the greatest number of people in the United States,
so one might expect the greatest number of many diseases here in
absence of any epidemics at all. The number of WNV cases has
eastern states and is on the
decline. Indeed, one district has
decided to treat WNV as it treats any other “common summer occurrence.”
Q: Are there any epidemiological
models that support the use of mosquito spraying as an effective
deterrent to West Nile virus?
A: There are papers from the Centers for Disease Control, as well
as from Louisiana Mosquito Control Districts that demonstrate the
effectiveness of treatments for adult mosquitoes in the reduction of
new human WNV cases. References:
another reference to the Nasci paper, as well as a general reference
to the West Nile page of the CDC site, with no immediate citations of
papers (see our discussion of effectiveness).
wanted to read the actual “Louisiana papers” and contacted Dr.
Kramer, who faxed us a copy of one paper with the references
omitted. The title of the paper is “Impact of West Nile Virus
Outbreak upon St. Tammany Parish Mosquito Abatement District,” and it
appeared in the Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association,
This question is about spraying, and the answer refers to treatments in
general, which is not responsive. This paper itself does not
support an answer to the question either, as it does not concern a
comparative study. Indeed, it was not a study at all, as the
intent of the paper was to show the financial impact on the district of
all of their control methods. Look here
for a more-detailed analysis. These two papers are the best that
officials could come up with to
justify the use of urban adulticides, which confirms that they have
no evidence, models, or studies.
Q: Is pyrethrin truly safe and
A: Pyrethrum is the most widely used as a natural insecticide in
the U.S. . . . In fact, it has more approved EPA (Environmental
Protection Agency) uses than any other insecticide . . . Pyrethrum is
registered for organic production, PBO (being a synthetic product) is
not. . .
Clearly, the effects of pyrethrum (or for that matter, any pesticide)
on human health and the environment depend on how much pyrethrum is
present, and the length of exposure. Effects also depend on the
health of a person and/or certain environmental factors. Pregnant
women (and for that matter, all individuals) should follow the
Districts guidelines and avoid contact with pyrethrum being used to
As stated above, pyrethrum is not applied by itself – rather it is
applied with the synergist, piperonyl butoxicide (PBO). . .
The US EPA classifies PBO as a group C carcinogen. . .
the City website for the full and long answer.
We wish to point out that the U.S. EPA is halfway through the
process to reevaluate the registration of Pyrethrins and PBO for
use in pesticides. The preliminary risk assessment indicates new
of concern. There is significant evidence that the preliminary
assessment must be revised, as it underestimates risk of harm.
See Risk and Pesticide
Furthermore, as anyone can tell, the health of all individuals in the
district (or for that matter in any part of the country) is not equal –
varying from healthy individuals to immune-compromised people. If
the effect of the spray depends on the health of the person, it should
be clear that some percentage of the population will be affected by the
spray. The District then warns everyone to avoid contact with the
chemical used in the spray – pyrethrum. The only guaranteed way
to avoid contact with this chemical is to not use it. The
district cannot force the spray in the back yard of every home and
playground and expect no one to come in contact with the chemical.
When the District was asked if there was any plan to clean or wash the
public playgrounds, it replied that it had no such plan. If the
District’s strategy is to spray our children’s playgrounds, we can be
absolutely certain our kids will come in contact with the chemicals in
the spray. This is an unacceptable risk to our children’s health
and well being.
We believe that the correct name is piperonyl butoxide and not
Q: How long does it take for this
pesticide to decompose? Does this include indoor decomposition
A: The products breakdown rapidly in the environment. There
is no evidence that enough of the product could either enter or be
brought into the house for it to be of concern.
to Doug Williams of Pesticide Alternatives, "piperonyl
butoxide (PBO) does NOT
break down in sunlight. Period! Pyrethrins do, but not
PBO. It is unclear if the pyrethrins break down in sunlight when
mixed with PBO, but in any event, PBO is not photosensitive at all."
Moreover, Williams notes that "PBO has a Hydrolysis half-life of 250
days, an Aerobic Soil
half-life of 79 days, and an Anaerobic Soil half-life of 927
days. SYMVCD will try to quote the PBO General Fact Sheet which
says breakdown is faster, but the study is bogus and
non-specific." See the sources in the report, from Pesticide Alternatives.
Finally, "An important question that has not been answered is: What
does the PBO break down into? The same question goes for the
other chemicals as well. Yes, they may break down, but we don't
know what new chemicals are formed, and we have no assurance that the
resulting chemicals are not just as toxic and carcinogenic as the
originals (perhaps even more so)," notes Williams.
Q: What health effects do
butoxide have on developing fetuses and small children? What
about children with asthma and/or allergies?
A: There is no evidence to suggest that PBO will have an effect
on developing fetuses and small children. At the low dosage rates
there should not be any impacts for individuals with allergies or
asthma. However, it is recommended to stay indoors during
applications to minimize any concern.
people, particularly those responsible for spraying pesticides,
aware of the fact that the California Department Of Health Services
estimated the number of people in 2003 in Yolo County with asthma at
23,000 (17,000 adults and 6,000 children)? If even a small
percentage of these people were negatively impacted by adulticides it
would be a significant number. For example, Washington D.C. , is
one of many 'no spray' cities, and concern over people with asthma was
one important reason officials gave for not spraying adulticides: "The
District does not expect to spray for adult mosquito control for many
reasons. Washington, DC has the highest asthma rate in the
country (2.5 times the national average). Aerosolized pesticides can
trigger asthma and aggravate respiratory conditions." See the final plan for 2004. Another
example is Fort Worth, Texas, which stopped spraying adulticides
many reasons, and noted that " . . . thousands of Fort Worth residents
with respiratory problems such as asthma would be in danger of an
outset of symptoms. Asthma and Allergies are two of the top five health
problems for Fort Worth residents, according the 1998 Community Needs
Assessment. The potential inhalation hazard to the general population
does not seem worth the risk of killing a few mosquitoes." See the position
statement of that District.
Q: What effects will the
have on beneficial insects?
A: At the rates applied there should be minimal, if any, effects
on beneficial insects. The District applies the product when
mosquitoes are most active and other insects are not, thus minimizing
exposure to other insects.
(2004) of the American Mosquito Control Association, Roger
in a letter to the EPA, "Pyrethrins,
though relatively safe compounds,
bear the signal word 'Caution' on the label, and the precautionary
statements indicate that they may be harmful if inhaled. Labels also
advise that pets and birds be removed and aquaria covered before
Nasci also notes that "They [the spraying] will negatively impact
populations and other non-target organisms on site and through
uncontrolled off-site drift. The indiscriminate application of
pyrethrins will continually select for resistance to the whole
pyrethroid class of mosquitocide, all of which utilize the same
fundamental mode of action."
We believe that the District has misled the public into
thinking that the chemicals used in WNV adulticides are perfectly safe,
DDT and malathion were touted to be in the past.
Q: What are the effects of
pyrethroids/pyrethrins to water quality?
A: At the rates being used there should be no impact on water
quality. The District has hired a local environmental firm to
perform water quality sampling of local streams and rivers, and will
share the results as soon as they become available.
response to the question about the Clean Water Act below.
Q. What is the percentage of West
virus in the bird population?
A: . . . "The district does not, and cannot, test every dead
therefore cannot estimate the percentage of WNV in the bird population."
is the case, then the District should make it clear to the public
and the media that not every dead bird has died from West Nile
virus. Citing and publicizing the total number of dead birds
without this disclaimer is highly misleading. The District is using
these statistics as one of the ways to convince the public of the
"epidemic" spread of West Nile virus. Here are the numbers that
should be publicized: as of Sept. 6, 2005 the "Cumulative Dead Bird
Infection by County" was 50 in Sacramento and 12 in Yolo (Source: U.S.
Department of the Interior, Link
Q: How do you determine the
effectiveness of spraying? Do you calculate the change in
transmission rates and not just decline in the adult mosquito
A: Both methods are used to determine the effectiveness of
at best a small part of an answer. Is there an algorithm that
uses these factors, or does somebody eyeball some data and make a
seat-of-the-pants determination? If there is an algorithm, a
formula, or anything else specific, what is it (are they)? We
have been unable to get this information from the District.
the information about transmission rates and mosquito populations
Q: Has the District used models
project the effectiveness of spraying versus not spraying? If so,
is it available to the public?
A: There are papers from the Centers for Disease Control, as well
as from Louisiana Mosquito Control Districts that demonstrate the
effectiveness of treatments for adult mosquitoes in the reduction of
new human WNV cases. Citations to these studies are available on
the website: www.fightthebite.net.
similar to a previous question. The cited paper from the
Louisiana Mosquito Control Districts did not provide an answer before,
and it does not now. We have checked fightthebite.net repeatedly
since these answers were posted, and there are no apparent citations of
studies about effectiveness. Indeed, Dr. Wallace LeStourgeon, a
Vanderbilt University Molecular Biologist who teaches an advanced
course on environmental toxins, says that "I
think we need to . . .
begin insisting to see convincing evidence that spraying reduces west
Nile disease. It simply does not exist."
Q: Are there any alternatives to
pesticide spraying which could be used?
A: There is no other way to quickly reduce an adult mosquito
that is true, but there are other ways to reduce adult mosquito
populations, such as traps. However, the critical question
remains as to whether "quickly reducing the adult mosquito population,"
translates into reducing the transmission of WNV, and no evidence has
been offered. See Effectiveness.
does the spray quickly reduce adult mosquitoes? Apparently
the application of adulticides gives an immediate knockdown
of some mosquitoes,
but they quickly rebound to pre-spray levels and
there is little effect on the transmission of WNV. Claims of up
to 40% knockdown of mosquitoes have been made, but these come from
measurements of mosquitoes in cages in open fields, which is very
different from situations in urban areas. In the city mosquitoes
hide in crevices, under leaves, and in various places. The spray
must make a direct hit to kill, and it is a repellent, which tends to
drive mosquitoes away before a direct hit is made. 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). If a district
must resort to reducing adult mosquito populations, it
has failed in its control program. Many communities have had
success at reducing the rate of transmission of WNV without resorting
to spraying adulticides. See Alternatives.
Q: What are my rights as a
refuse ground and aerial spraying?
A: The actions of the District are governed by the California
Health and Safety Code.
a non-answer. Are we expected to search the volumes of code to
see if we can find anything? What about the opt-out provision?
Q: What outreach efforts have the
District completed to inform citizens of their rights to opt out of
A: There is no provision for opting out of ground spraying.
However, the District has created a “no-spray” list for those
individuals with serious medical conditions that require this type of
consideration. It is not intended nor should it be used as a civil
disobedience tool. When citizens contact us who have a serious
medical condition, we will take whatever measures possible to address
If Vector Control officials think that
signing up on a "no-spray" list they have established is civil
disobedience, they seem to be largely unaware of important
movements in our history and
the great personal sacrifices of some individuals through genuine civil
disobedience. David Brown initially informed us that if we were
concerned about spraying in our neighborhood we could try to get all of
our neighbors to sign up on the opt-out list, and he said nothing about
medical conditions. Later, perhaps after many concerned people
had signed up, we began to hear from the District that if too many
people signed up they might be forced to spray aerially.
Supposedly the decisions are made through a democratic process, but the
message comes through yet
once again that concerned citizens have
no say in this process.
Q: How many communities have
spraying in our region, state, and nationwide?
A: The District is not aware of any jurisdiction that had
rejected mosquito control efforts. The District is, however,
aware of communities that have been frustrated when adulticiding was
the only response. SYMVCD uses a comprehensive integrated pest
management system to address mosquito populations which includes, water
management, biological control, larviciding and education programs –
and as a last resort – adulticiding.
specifically refers to spraying and not “mosquito control efforts”
generally. The answer seems to suggest that officials
are somewhat isolated and are missing important information, as many
jurisdictions have rejected spraying adulticides. See Alternatives. As one example, at its
July, 2003, meeting the City Council of Lyndhurst, Ohio, even
passed an ordinance to ban the spraying of adulticides to control
Q: What would be projected to
in the absence of a spraying campaign?
A: A substantial increase in the number of WNV cases.
the evidence for this assertion? Again, many locales
have decided not to spray adulticides and have done well, often
better than surrounding locales that have sprayed, and have not suffered a "substantial
increase in the number of WNV cases." It is becoming apparent
that the adulticiding program of SYMVCD is nothing but a genuine
faith-based initiative, completely lacking any scientific or logical
basis. See Effectiveness and Alternatives.
Q: Why wasn’t the option to opt
the spraying more widely advertised? Is there a way to hold off
spraying until people have a chance to opt out?
A: Individuals identified with a serious medical condition are
encouraged to use opt out of ground spraying.
Q: How effective is the spraying
people are able to opt out?
A: Opting out of ground spraying is offered for individuals that
have serious medical conditions. If this, instead, is used as a
tool for civil disobedience, unfortunately, ground spraying will not be
effective and aerial applications will have to be used.
initially encouraged anybody to opt out who wanted to avoid
spraying. Now we are threatened with a different method of
spraying if people without medical conditions object to being sprayed
against our will and opt out. It would seem to us that a
longer-term goal should be to change the structure of the District and
make these individuals accountable to the people they are
supposed to serve.
Q: How can citizens help
a long-term plan to develop a permanent program? How can citizens
get involved in the review of existing plans?
A: The District has an ongoing program to encourage the public to
help "Fight the Bite". The most important “permanent” actions
that people can take are to eliminate mosquitoes around their homes by
dumping water containers, making sure standing water does not produce
mosquitoes, and by keeping mosquitoes from entering their home by
making sure that windows are screened and that screens are in good
non-responsive. The question is not what people can do to help
cut down the risk of transmission of WNV, it is how the people can
become involved in reviewing existing plans and developing new
ones for the future. This is a policy-level question, and the
contradictory to the earlier claims about democratic process. It
is important to note that the CDC recommends the establishment of a
community task force in each community to " . . . develop
community ownership for prevention activities." See the CDC guidelines
for surveillance, prevention, and control, page 39.
This community should not suffer for the District's failure to
control mosquito populations at the larval stage, but in the spirit of
compromise and the desire to stop urban pesticide spraying, a group of
Davis residents met with Mayor Asmundson on the morning of August 23rd,
to relay a proposal to the City and District that was conceived at a
public meeting the night before. The proposal provided that volunteers,
in cooperation with the City and the District, immediately undertake a
massive public education campaign, survey the parks and greenbelts for
standing water, and report mosquito habitat and larvicide. In
exchange for citizen involvement that would have provided extra eyes,
ears and public educators for the District, the citizens asked that the
District refrain from aerial or ground spraying in order to evaluate
the citizen mobilization. Unfortunately, we never received a
response to our citizen-based proposal.
This could have been a win-win situation. Infected mosquito
counts had dropped, which would have given the plan a head start in
warding off urban spraying as well as WNV infections, and it could have
formed the basis
for the establishment of a community task force. It looks to us
as if there is no democratic
process and no citizen participation, in spite of assertions by the
District and recommendations of the CDC. In ways the District
be intransigent and have a somewhat of a shortsighted view; apparently
what it decides is right for this community despite effective
alternatives, regardless of the potential and risks, and most
In Fort Worth, the District spoke about involvement on the
part of the community that was much less than what we proposed as a “let’s
Q: Has the district considered
provisions of the Clean Water Act in their decision to spray?
A: The District believes it is in full compliance with the Clean
is being disingenuous with this statement. Contrary to
District’s response, the use of adulticides over waterways violates the
Clean Water Act. See a detailed analysis here.
challenge to the District’s violation of the Clean Water Act will
Many of the District's answers to citizens' concerns are misleading,
and we feel that the content and tone of some of the statements by
officials and the media exaggerate the risk of WNV badly. In
addition, independent of possible risks of spraying adulticides, the
overriding assumption on the part of the District, as reflected in
these answers and other things, seems to be that spraying adulticides
reduces the transmission rate of WNV. However, the District has
offered no credible evidence that this is true and instead repeats
assumptions and false statements. The District has
no way of assessing the question, as it did not set up the spraying of
Sacramento with any controls to measure effectiveness. Indeed,
some of the materials from the District even stated that spraying
provides temporary relief.
Given the risks associated with the spray and given effective
alternatives, we think that there should be a moratorium on spraying
adulticides in urban areas. If the effectiveness of such spraying
is ever demonstrated, then the relative risk of WNV vs. spraying
adulticides needs to be carefully assessed. In the meantime, we
ask the District to step up its integrated approach without
adulticides, set up the community task force(s) recommended by the CDC,
look carefully into the process and rationale behind the decisions not
to spray adulticides in many other locales, and begin a democratic
process to develop a new plan that incorporates public education and
outreach and uses efforts by members of the public instead of
adulticides. Under any new plan the District must be accountable to the
public. It cannot remain insulated, with no public recourse to
its decisions. The District itself should be restructured.
It must also hold its meetings at times and locations accessible to the