Information on the insecticide used
for spraying mosquitoes: FACT
September 5, 2008
A planned aerial pesticide spraying over a large portion
of Nassau County that had angered several environmental
and breast cancer groups was canceled last night because
of high winds, Nassau officials said.
No new date for the spraying was announced.
Opponents of the plan - aimed at controlling the spread of
the West Nile virus - have called it an ineffectual and dangerous
response to controlling the spread of the West Nile virus.
"There's a concern about adding yet another poison to
a burden of chemicals that we already have in this county,"
said Patti Wood, executive director of Grassroots Environmental
Education, a Port Washington nonprofit group.
The aerial spraying of the pesticide Scourge was to be conducted
over about a third of Nassau County between the Long Island
Expressway and the Southern State to the north and south,
and the Seaford-Oyster Bay Expressway and the Queens County
border to the east and west. Nassau officials hope it will
kill adult mosquitoes in an effort to stanch the spread of
West Nile virus, a potentially deadly disease that is nonetheless
relatively uncommon to contract.
Laura Weinberg, president of the Great Neck Breast Cancer
Coalition, said she was concerned at a possible link between
pesticide spraying and breast cancer. "There should be
an environmental or health impact statement to find out if
the population is going to be harmed," she said.
The planned spray marked the second time the county has used
aerial spraying to tackle the disease in humans since the
virus first was discovered in Nassau in 1999.
So far this season, county health department officials say
there has been one confirmed death from West Nile virus, one
death likely caused by the illness, and one fatality under
suspicion, all in Nassau. Ten people have been infected by
the virus in the county this year, as opposed to two cases
Claire Lieber-Saul, a Jericho attorney worried by the spraying,
looked into obtaining an emergency court order against the
county to try to halt the spraying, but there was insufficient
time, she said, adding she planned to prepare paperwork in
case the county announced another round of spraying.
Cynthia Brown, spokeswoman for the Nassau County Department
of Health, said the county's decision to use aerial spraying
was the result of an alarming increase in the number of infected
mosquitoes found. Brown said those numbers may be due to heavy
rains the region has experienced lately, leading to pools
of stagnant water perfect for mosquito breeding.