Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Aerial Pesticide Spraying Over Orange County

Imagine its 10pm and you and some good friends are relaxing outside on your patio, enjoying a glass of wine after a great dinner. You faintly hear the sound of a small plane overhead but don’t think much of it. You may not smell or see anything but that plane just crop-dusted your neighborhood with pesticides. 

With the intention of NOT warning us of when this spraying will take place, that is exactly what Orange County Vector Control is planning for our cities.  As it stands right now they are under no obligation to warn us of their plans. This is outrageous

Orange County Vector Control (OCVC) has deemed it necessary to conduct aerial spraying of the pesticide “Duet” to try and control the mosquito population of nine OC cities and counting. Their claim is that West Nile Virus is on the rise and these measures must be taken. 

This drastic measure is scary - things must be really serious! Actually, not according to the numbers. The number of people that have been infected by WNV has plummeted. In 2014 there were a total of nine fatalities linked with WNV. As you can see by the below information taken directly from the OCVC and OC Public Health Care Agency there have only been a total of three cases of WNV in 2016 - two of which were asymptomatic - meaning the infected people didn’t even have symptoms! 

Less than 1% of people that actually contract the disease have serious health issues because of it. 
2016 Reported West Nile Virus Infections in Orange County (Infections by Type)(as of 8/16/2016)
Age Group
Disease Type
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18 - 49
50 - 64
≥ 65
West Nile Neuroinvasive Disease
West Nile Fever
Classification Pending
Total Infections
Total Deaths

Despite the lack of dead bodies and West Nile Zombies filling our local streets, OCVC wants to spray. Think about your organic gardens …outside furniture …children’s playgrounds …pets …anyone walking outside at the time of spraying …our honey bee population (that is affected by the pesticide Duet and is said to possibly have a role in Colony Collapse Disorder source) …do you sleep with your windows open at night? How would your home and yard be affected? As of this writing I just read that topical applications of mosquito pesticides are being applied today (Aug 17th) in all the public parks in my city of Orange. 

These outrageous actions aren't new. 
In 2007, Monterey, California had its own aerial spraying problem when the State and the US Department of Agriculture decided to use aerial spraying of pesticides to try to eradicate the brown apple moth for fear that it may destroy local crops. This led to substantial public controversy and over 600 claims of adverse health effects. Aerial spraying was discontinued in 2008 after a year of the public fighting for their right to be notified and for the departments to stop spraying surrounding cities. There was no known reported damage to any crops from the moth before or since the spraying (source).

But it’s a safe pesticide, right?
Although the EPA claims that the pesticide Duet is not harmful to humans in lower doses, many claim that is not the case.  Duet is a synthetic pyrethroid and can have negative health effects:
  • being a known carcinogen
  • liver damage
  • affects thyroid function
  • causes chromosomal abnormalities in small mammals
  • highly toxic to insects, fish and birds
  • mimics estrogen, leading to estrogenic dominant health problems in females and feminizing effects in makes, including lower sperm counts and abnormal breast development
  • sub lethal doses have produced a wide array of abnormal behaviors, including aggression, disruption in learning and learned behaviors (source)

The question to ask is how many times are they going to spray? Why do other states (such as New York) ask that the public stay inside during spray hours but we are told that it’s okay to leave our windows open …our pet’s food bowls out? What about mosquitoes that are dormant at night and come out biting during the day? They won’t be killed by the pesticide so it seems like aerial night spraying is not the ultimate solution to the problem. 

It is suggested by the OCVC that we take steps to prevent mosquito bites:
Eliminate any standing water around your house. 
Make sure all window and door screens on your house are in good repair.
Wear a repellent containing DEET®, Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, or IR 3535. 
Contact the Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District to report dead birds or neglected pools.

Other safer alternatives to toxic repellents would be homemade essential oil sprays. 
Here are a few recipe ideas from WellnessMama and an extensive list from The Prairie Homestead.

What we need to do is get the word out quickly that this is going on in our own backyards. Spraying decision are going to be made shortly by the district members. Can you take 5 minutes and email your friends and family that live in Orange County about the OCVC plan to spray us with pesticides? Do you know anyone that has access to a lot of OC residents like doctors, business owners, or local newspaper or magazine writers? If this is important to you please help spread the word - our health is worth a little time!

If you would like to contact the Orange County Vector Control District office to voice your opinion here is the info:
(714) 971-2421 or (949) 654-2421

Better yet, for those that read this message quickly there is a Board of Trustees meeting at the OCVC office in Garden Grove this Thursday (Aug 18th, 2016) at 3pm. Get there at least 10 minutes early if you’d like to speak to this panel that will be deciding whether or not to spray our OC cities. I’ll see you there!

Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District
13001 Garden Grove Boulevard
Garden Grove, CA 92843-2102

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke

Thank you for your time.