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Is Mosquito Spraying Safe?

With spraying occurring throughout Marlborough's parks and fields, officials are saying the pesticides are safe.

Officials are saying the pesticides sprayed at Marlborough's parks and fields pose no threat to people during the day following night time spraying.

“What we spray that night will be gone from the environment the next day,” said Tim Deschamps, the executive director of the Central Massachusetts Mosquito Control Project (CMMCP) that is conducting the spraying. “The last thing we would want to do is increase the risk from anything else.”

The decision was made in conjunction with city officials to conduct night time spraying of all the city's parks and fields. These are the areas with the highest concentration of people doing outdoor activities and thus a concentration of risk of exposure to mosquito-borne illnesses, said Deschamps.

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The spraying is done using the same kind of pesticide that residents could buy at a local hardware store, he said. It is not a residual use pesticide.

While the spraying is going on it is important that people not be in the area of the spraying and have their house windows shut, said Deschamps. The technicians conducting the spraying will shut down their machines if the see people in the area or windows open and this will limit the effectiveness of the pesticides, he said.

“We are also trying to get the best app possible," he said.

The decision came as the city continues to be at a high risk for diseases such as West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH). The high risk indicates "multiple cases of human disease are considered likely at this time" according to the DPH.

The threat of the diseases will not be gone until hard frosts have killed off the mosquitoes, said Deschamps.

“People through October need to be aware mosquito risk might be out there,” he said.

Paul Doucette September 18, 2012 at 10:31 AM
Safer than dying from EEE!
marilyn fenter September 18, 2012 at 01:01 PM
I'd prefer the city use natural methods to eliminate mosquitoes. Bats are natural enemies of mosquitoes. Why not release healthy young bats in the evening when they will eat the mosquitoes? The chemicals the city is using could be killing good insects like bees. Are organic methods of mosquito control even being considered?
Neil Licht September 18, 2012 at 05:01 PM
Does anyone think that the mosquito knows town boundaries and wont cross them? Why are we spraying fields in a town and then towns where some eee virus has shown up. Thats kind of rediculous. Since Mosquitos dont know town boudaries, its kind of dumb to expect that spraying in one town will prevent the spread of the mosquito. Spray the entire state already and think like the mosquito not like an idiot. Neil Licht
Justin Powell September 18, 2012 at 10:57 PM
Mosquito spraying is not worth the risk. Especially in parks. This stuff is not all gone in a day (see links), contaminates the water, and has significant health risks. This is about the stuff the're spraying (deltamethrid, a pyrethroid) http://www.beyondpesticides.org/infoservices/pesticidefactsheets/toxic/pyrethroid.php This is about mosquito spraying in general http://www.meepi.org/wnv/overkillma.htm Some excerpts from the first article: Tests of some pyrethroids on laboratory animals reveal striking neurotoxicity when administered by injection or orally The most severe poisonings have been reported in infants, who are not able to efficiently break down pyrethroids (ETN, Pyrethroids, 1994). With orally ingested doses, nervous symptoms may occur, which include excitation and convulsions leading to paralysis, accompanied by muscular fibrillation and diarrhea (ETN, Pyrethroids, 1994). Death in these cases is due to respiratory failure. artificial hormones, like those found in pyrethroids, may increase breast cancer risk (PCBR, 1996). Some pyrethroids are classified by EPA as class C (possible human) carcinogens. Info about how it doesn't degrade like they say: http://toxics.usgs.gov/highlights/pyrethroids.html http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10520490
Neil Licht September 19, 2012 at 03:42 AM
Pyrethiums are use as spray in restaurants because they are NOT toxic to humans. Now lets use it all over the state at once: Does anyone think that the mosquito knows town boundaries and wont cross them? Since Mosquitos dont know town boudaries, its kind of dumb to expect that spraying in one town will prevent the spread of the mosquito. Lets use some common sense and Spray the entire state already and think like the mosquito not like an idiot. Neil Licht

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