Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Let Us Spray?
Should the state of California be allowed to commence aerial spraying in order to combat the light brown apple moth (Epiphyas postvittana)? Some concerned citizens are saying no loud enough to be heard. The California Farm Bureau Federation is reporting that plans to spray a pheremone over infested portions of the central coast of California have hit a few roadblocks as objections were raised about whether polymethylene polyphenyl isocyanate, an inert ingredient in the spray, might be hazardous. Lawsuits at both the city and county level have put some treatments on hold, while the California Department of Food and Agriculture continues to hold meetings to inform the public about their management plans.
Readers interested in the subject of the "LBAM" should check out this previous ISW post on the subject. It has generated quite a few comments (by the ISW's meager standards, anyway).
Labels: California, insects, LBAM, moths
Folks who don't live here - or even those who live in the most urban parts of the state - tend to be unaware that California isn't all high tech and entertainment. Agriculture is a major component of the economy and state agencies are taking E. postvittana seriously; if it gets out of control the impact could be devastating. I would certainly rather not have my family exposed to a potentially hazardous chemical but sometimes it's necessary to make hard choices. If they want to spray my yard I won't fight it.
As a resident of the Monterey Bay area that has already been sprayed, and will be sprayed again in less than two days, I think a pheromone is a better treatment than poisons. But that's not to say I will greet with open arms any government for official that comes here and says "Trust us, we know what we're doing."
Yet that's what the CDFA people did, and they shouldn't be surprised that they got a chilly reception. Lawsuits were filed because they stonewalled us for weeks on legitimate questions. The people at their official 800 information number didn't even know if the product, called Checkmate, had ever been sprayed on populated areas before (it hadn't). It hadn't even been tested on people before. Nor would they tell us the ingredients, saying it was a "trade secret" and the manufacturer tried to sue three newspapers for identifying partial ingredients. It was only this Sunday that the governor ordered the complete ingredient list released. Hopefully some independent scientists will be able to tell us if these chemicals are harmful or not before they come raining down again 30 hours from now.
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