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Mosquito Spraying for West Nile Virus

by aseligmann — last modified Aug 03, 2010 12:00 AM

There are no comprehensive statistics about how many illnesses or environmental problems are caused by mosquito spraying, even though such incidents occur frequently. The following incidents are examples of the kinds of problems that have been reported to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) following insecticide spray programs around the country.

There are no comprehensive statistics about how many illnesses or environmental problems are caused by mosquito spraying, even though such incidents occur frequently. The following incidents are examples of the kinds of problems that have been reported to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) following insecticide spray programs around the country.

September 3, 2000

"[Name withheld] (44 yrs. old, [phone number withheld], NY, NY) [Name withheld] called the product medical information line on September 6, 2000. [Name withheld] reported that on 9/3 she was directly sprayed ('drenched') by a truck allegedly applying a mixture of Scourge and Anvil, a Zeneca product, while standing on a street corner in Manhattan. The woman reported that she was exposed in her mouth, nose, left ear and eyes/skin and then walked 20 minutes to home. She stated that she showered, and felt a burning sensation on her face and eye irritation. The next day [name withheld] went to the emergency room coughing up blood; she was treated with cough medicine, received treatment for her asthma, and had her eyes irrigated. [Name withheld] said that since that time she had developed swollen blue fingers, a fading redness on her face, peeling on her forehead, abdominal pain and nausea, shaking, muscle cramps in her arms, uncoordination, photophobia, and blurry vision."

August 2001

"I spoke with Mr. Preddice [NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation] about a fish kill that occurred in August of 2001 near Flanders, New York. Mr. Preddice gave me additional information on this incident that was in their log. The incident occurred in a small tidal creek that had been dredged. There had been several days of hot weather preceding the incident and the dissolved oxygen levels were reported to be "nearing a stressful point." The dead fish and crabs were observed during low tide. Killed in the incident were 20-30 winter flounder, 2 American eels and numerous crabs (mud crabs and blue crabs). Scourge had recently been sprayed in the area from a truck."

"In my opinion, resmethrin poisoning is probably the primary cause of death of these organisms."

April 22, 2002

"On 4/22/02 [name withheld] New Orleans LA [phone number withheld] called to report that she thinks she had an inhalation exposure to product as a result of neighborhood spraying. Caller, aged 50, said that on the morning following the spraying she developed bleeding and cramping from endometriosis that she believes was complicated by an exposure to product."

July 20, 2002

"On August 22, 2002, BCS [Bayer CropScience] received a call from Roger Jayroe of the City of Dallas Mosquito Control (214) 948-4429 to report that two Oncor cable workers claim that while on the job July 20 they were exposed to product from a truck-mounted sprayer. Caller said workers had complained of diarrhea and fatigue…"

"On September 10, 2002 [name withheld] of Wills Point TX [phone number withheld] called PROSAR [incident call center] to describe exposure to product on July 20. Caller said he is a utility worker and was outside changing a transformer when fogging with product occurred. Caller said he experienced diarrhea, sore throat, raspy voice, and cloudy memory on day of alleged exposure and that on the following day symptoms worsened. Caller said two days after alleged exposure he saw an MD, and had many tests done and was seeing a 'chemical specialist.' Caller said diarrhea and sore throat had resolved, but that symptoms now included severe fatigue, muscle cramps, twitching eyelids, and 'liver levels high'."

September 28, 2002

"Mosquito spraying for West Nile virus in Ouachita Parrish, LA, Lady's daughter went by car to Walmart and Sonic drive-in restaurant in West Monroe, LA. Then she went by car to Monroe, LA to Sam's Wholesale. She got first degree burns on her face and second degree burns on two fingers. Dr. William Ray (phone 214-368-4132; fax 214-691-8432) had seen so many incidents he recognized it immediately as being due to the Scourge and Dibrom that was in the air from truck spraying (Scourge) and plane (Dibrom)."

June 16, 2003

"Call from family MD … Is following woman with skin exposure to product approx 2 wks ago at their home. Apparently pt was out in her yard, plane flew over house at roof height and woman was exposed over >75% BSA [body surface area]. Was 40 min between exposure and decontamination in shower. Within 24 hrs presented with swelling on tongue and throat swelling. Appeared to also have some tremoring of hands that she is describing as cortical tremors that have been persistent."

Two weeks later: "She [physician] describes a resting tremor in the patient in all four extremities as well as some kind of spasm in the neck and back muscles. The patient continues to have redness and swelling in the throat and extremities, with swollen lymph nodes."

August 4, 2003

"Reports that last Tuesday evening PCO/Massachusetts Mosquito Abatement Program truck came down her street and sprayed her roommate, the dog, and the cat who all were outside as well as other neighbors and animals that were out walking and playing. Cat has vomited several times over the past few days and sx [symptoms] started within 60 min of exposure. Dog has also had same problem. Caller's roommate who was also outdoors and has developed SOB [shortness of breath] and vomiting.  Sx [symptoms] for the roommate have also been persistent."

View EPA documents describing these incidents: http:www.pesticide.org/6A2reports.pdf
This is a 2.1 MB file so it may be a slow download.

NCAP also has more information about the hazards of common mosquito insecticides: