Tuesday, August 5, 2014

8/12/14 Saratoga Fogging #14

    This will be Fogging #14 in Santa Clara County this year.
Vector Control will spray toxic pesticides from the back of trucks into the air, from 11pm to 4am on Tuesday, August 12, in Saratoga.   See the map below.  See our advice for how to protect yourself,your families, and pets below.  Your comments to County Supervisors are making a difference!  Please continue to contact  ALL Supervisors:   click here to help.

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Santa Clara County Vector Control claims that they are fogging to stop West Nile Virus, BUT the research shows otherwise:

1.  There are NO human cases of West Nile Virus (WNV) in Santa Clara County in 2014,  so there is NO emergency. (Latest West Nile Activity in California, 2014)
     The use of pesticide fogging was supposed to be a "last resort" in a human epidemic of WNV, to knock down lots of infected adult mosquitoes.  Currently, there is only 1 infected mosquito in every 100, but it only takes finding 1 infected mosquito for Vector to decide to fog again.  

2. It is not effective against the spread of West Nile Virus.(Reddy, 2006)  It only kills a few adult mosquitoes that happen to fly into the fog.  The others hiding in bushes will survive and lay more eggs.  All the larvae in the standing water around the yard will hatch the next day and the cycle starts over again. Also, the continued use of pyrethroids (the synthetic nerve toxin in the fogging pesticide) creates pesticide-resistance in the surviving mosquitoes (Marcombe, 2011).  So, frequent foggings only create the need for an even more toxic, stronger pesticide if a mosquito-born disease emergency ever did strike our county.

3. Vector control gets over $6.8 million from OUR parcel taxes every year.  They should be spending those funds on educating people to clear standing water every week.  Or advertising the free mosquito fish for contained ponds and unused pools.  Or taking the time to work with Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to find other ways to control mosquitoes without harming the environment and adding another toxin to our bodies.

4. The pesticide used is Zenivex E4.  The active ingredient is Etofenprox, a synthetic nerve toxin.  While most mammals might detoxify Etofenprox in isolation, we live in a pool of chemicals and many people do not have perfectly functioning livers.  Research shows that this toxin DOES accumulate in the body, and also passes from mother to child via placenta and milk.

5.   The County Dept of Environmental Health told us that they rely on the manufacturer's testing and the EPA for safety.  It is not safe nor responsible to rely on one biased source of information when it concerns Public Health.  The MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) shows toxicity levels from only rat and rabbit experiments.   It also states that this chemical is a known toxin for bees and aquatic life. The County assumes that it is safe for humans because they falsely believe that mammals will detoxify the pyrethroid.

6.  It is toxic to bees and other beneficial insects.  The toxin has a half-life (the time it takes for half of it to degrade) of 4.5 days on the ground.  It takes 3 half-lives to clear it.  So, the toxin is around for 2 weeks after each fogging.  This is enough that bees get a sub-lethal dose,  and cannot fly back to the hive.  Fogging also kills beneficial insects which stops the natural predators of mosquitoes and disables the interdependent lives in our ecosystem.

7. Special populations are not able to detoxify the toxin, and then it will accumulate in the body.  Babies livers are not developed yet.  Pregnant and nursing moms can pass the toxin to babies via placenta and milk. (Alonso, 2012)   Elderly, immune-compromised, and anyone with liver disfunction may not  detoxify the toxin. They should at least be warned by the County to take precautions to protect their families.  Currently, Vector states that "Generally, residents do not need to take any special precautions before or after the fogging".   We believe this is blatent disregard for the health of special populations, perhaps everyone.

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Our recommendations below for protecting yourself and your family are taken from the WONDERFUL article by folks at ToxicsAction.  See the article HERE.
(Our comments are in the parentheses)

1. Keep windows closed during and immediately after spraying. If possible, also turn off air conditioners (that circulate outdoor air back inside).
2. Stay inside and keep children and pets inside during spraying and until the next morning after spraying.
3. Bring in or cover portable outdoor furniture, toys, laundry, pet dishes and tools.
4. Cover larger outdoor items such as barbecue grills or sand boxes. Swing sets and items that cannot be covered should be rinsed (or wiped down)  thoroughly after the spraying.
5. Cover fish ponds because pesticides are highly toxic to fish (and other aquatic life).
6. Cover vegetable (and fruit) gardens if you can with plastic sheeting; wash any exposed vegetables before storing, cooking or eating.
7. Remove shoes when entering the home after spraying because pesticides can be tracked indoors and remain toxic for months in synthetic carpet fibers. Pesticides used for mosquitoes are most easily degraded in direct sunlight and are sheltered when inside where they do not degrade quickly.
8. Hose off (or wipe down) window screens, door handles and hand railings after spraying occurs to avoid direct contact.

Please contact us to help stop the fogging of toxic pesticides.  Email here