Would You Rather Risk Getting Zika or Be Sprayed With Toxic Pesticides?
In the worst real life game of “Would You Rather” ever, many Florida residents would far prefer to risk contracting the Zika virus than to be sprayed like a bug.
This week, protesters showed up in gas masks to let the Miami Beach City Commission know how they really feel about aerial spraying of Naled in their neighborhoods.
Things got kind of heated.
Officials were booed and cursed . The CDC was slammed for not revealing the exact locations that mosquitoes carrying the virus have been found. Mosquitoes only move short distances from their hatching grounds, so it’s easy to pinpoint problem areas.
Some residents said they would prefer to face contracting the Zika virus than face the issues that spraying can cause in humans.
This reminds me of the time many years ago when I had to flea-bomb a house. You had to put away all food or dishes that might contain food, cover your plants, put the thing in the center of the house, and then hurry out before you inhaled the spray that came out of it. But this is worse because you can’t get away from the effects completely. When you are being doused with pesticides from a plane flying overhead, there’s really no escape, is there? Your carefully nurtured organic garden is no longer organic. Your outdoor pets are doused. Your children’s swingset it coated. Everything exposed to the outdoors is now tainted with toxic chemicals.
Here’s how Naled can affect humans
While we can’t even be convinced that Zika is as big of a concern as the officials are saying it is, we know that Naled can be disastrous to human health.
Made in China by Zhejiang Rayfull Chemicals Co. Ltd., the data sheet of this specific spray says nothing about the reproductive, teratogenic, and mutagenic effects of the toxin on humans. Although it lists some effects on humans, the information is rather scant.
So has this stuff even been fully tested? Well, just on three species of bacteria. It caused mutations in all but one.
Let’s try Cornell University, who seems to know a little more than the manufacturers about what happens when Naled and humans mix. You can read the whole thing by clicking the link, but I’ve bullet-pointed a few of the most pertinent facts:
- Naled is moderate to highly toxic by ingestion, inhalation, and dermal absorption.
- Vapors or fumes of Naled are corrosive to the mucous membranes lining the mouth, throat, and lungs and inhalation may cause severe irritation
- A sensation of tightness in the chest and coughing are commonly experienced after inhalation.
- Persons with respiratory ailments, recent exposure to cholinesterase inhibitors, impaired cholinesterase production, or with liver malfunction may be at increased risk from exposure to Naled.
- High environmental temperatures or exposure of Naled to visible or UV light may enhance its toxicity .
- The organophosphate insecticides are cholinesterase inhibitors. They are highly toxic by all routes of exposure.
- Eye contact will cause pain, bleeding, tears, pupil constriction, and blurred vision. Following exposure by any route, other systemic effects may begin within a few minutes or be delayed for up to 12 hours. These may include pallor, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache, dizziness, eye pain, blurred vision, constriction or dilation of the eye pupils, tears, salivation, sweating, and confusion.
- Severe poisoning will affect the central nervous system, producing incoordination, slurred speech, loss of reflexes, weakness, fatigue, involuntary muscle contractions, twitching, tremors of the tongue or eyelids, and eventually paralysis of the body extremities and the respiratory muscles. In severe cases, there may also be involuntary defecation or urination, psychosis, irregular heart beats, unconsciousness, convulsions, and coma. Death may be caused by respiratory failure or cardiac arrest.
- Some organophosphates may cause delayed symptoms beginning 1 to 4 weeks after an acute exposure which may or may not have produced more immediate symptoms. In such cases, numbness, tingling, weakness and cramping may appear in the lower limbs and progress to incoordination and paralysis. Improvement may occur over months or years, but some residual impairment may remain in some cases.
The Cornell information goes on to say that Naled is moderately toxic to birds (hmmm….I wonder if that could be related to what happened in Boston somehow), highly toxic to fish, and deadly to bees (yeah, we learned that the hard way).
Despite the strong feelings of local residents, the spraying will continue.
Back to the Miami Beach meeting. Kiro Ace, a graphic designer, said, “I don’t want to be sprayed with pesticides for what I believe is a hoax…If you’re going to spray, we want a say!”
As it turns out, residents don’t really get a say.
Officials have agreed to look into alternative mosquito control methods in the future, but the spraying planned for this weekend will still go ahead. Currently, there are 77 cases of Zika confirmed in Florida. Despite that relatively small number, 40,000 residents in South Beach will be doused with poison over their strong objections.
The last word goes to Kristen Rosen Gonzalez, Miami Beach Commissioner:
“We’re getting sprayed because the rest of the country sees this as a public health threat. We’re getting sprayed whether we want to or not.” (source)