Letter to the Editor: Poisoning on a daily basis

After signing up a few years ago for “mosquito alert” emails, giving advance warning of what areas are being sprayed on a daily basis, I soon realized that the amount of effort put forth for mosquito control, and resulting toxic chemical exposure, is at an insane level in this state.

I don’t need the government spraying, fogging and dumping toxic cancer-causing chemicals all over me and every square inch of the state, in the name of ‘’protecting’ me from nature (i.e. mosquitoes). And I’m tired of hearing that these poisons are “EPA registered” and ‘’pose no unreasonable risks to human health, wildlife and the environment”. If our government assures safety, it must be true, right? Yeah, we were also told Agent Orange, DDT, and more recently Roundup (glyphosate) were perfectly safe, just to name a few. Well, here is what the fact sheet says from the Journal of Pesticide Reform, regarding Sumithrin, the chemical used to fog YOUR neighborhood:

“Sumithrin is a neuropoison. Symptoms of exposure include dizziness, headache, fatigue and diarrhea. In laboratory tests, sumithrin has damaged the liver and the kidneys. It has also caused anemia and increased the incidence of liver cancer.

Low concentrations of sumithrin (as low as one part per billion) kill fish and other aquatic animals. Sumithrin is also highly toxic to bees.”

Aerial spraying uses Nalad. A fact sheet from the No Spray Coalition includes the following:

“Naled’s breakdown product DICHLORVOS (another organophosphate insecticide) interferes with prenatal brain development. In laboratory animals, exposure for just 3 days during pregnancy when the brain is growing quickly reduced brain size 15 percent.

DICHLORVOS also causes cancer, according to the International Agency for Research on Carcinogens. In laboratory tests, it caused leukemia and pancreatic cancer. Two independent studies have shown that children exposed to household ‘no-pest’ strips containing dichlorvos have a higher incidence of brain cancer than unexposed children.

Aerial applications of naled can drift up to one-half mile. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, naled is moderately to highly toxic to birds and fish. It also reduced egg production and hatching success in tests with birds and reduced growth in tests with juvenile fish. convulsions, paralysis and death.”

Despite all this, no one in this state seems to care how this spraying is affecting their health, their kids health, pets, wildlife and the environment. Last year, the Delaware State News ran a front page story about how two contractor roofers were directly sprayed by a state helicopter and covered in toxic insecticide, despite waving and pleas to stop. There wasn’t a peep of any outrage, nor even any response at all by the public, and no followup to this story. My own neighborhood was fogged when residents were outside walking and working around their home. Many didn’t even have the chance to take cover, close windows and shut off their A/C.

I understand mosquito bites are unpleasant and there is potential to spread disease. But there needs to be common sense used to any containment plan, not just simply encouraging unreasonable fear and submerging the state in toxicity. What I see is dangerous overkill and no questions being asked.

There is a reason Delaware ranks close to the top of all states with the incidence of cancer. We are totally accepting of our tax dollars being used to poison ourselves, and everything around us, on a daily basis.

Doreen Peterzak

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