, Newburyport, MA

September 4, 2013

Spraying for mosquitoes is unwarranted

Newburyport Daily News

---- — To the editor:

I am very concerned about the upcoming mosquito spraying in West Newbury.

I have done quite a lot of online research and don’t feel that such spraying is warranted. It will only kill adult mosquitoes it comes in direct contact with, leaving many of them unharmed. Some birds feed on insects, including mosquitoes. How might this affect them? Do we really know the answer to this and numerous other questions? Are we sure that we aren’t doing more harm than good?

At the same time Duet is known to be harmful to aquatic life, to bees and to other insects, as stated on its product labeling. Do townspeople know this?

Spraying is to take place at or near Mill Pond. There is plenty of aquatic life there. Also, lots of people fish there! People bring their dogs there. Children play there ... It is stated that the ingredients in Duet dissipate rapidly, but by the time they do, have they already wreaked havoc on aquatic life? Killed dragonflies and bees?

Pesticides are cumulative in our bodies, our environment and in that of all living things. One can’t simply look at one product and not consider all of the other pesticides, car and truck fumes, food additives, and other pollutants of various sorts that we breathe in, ingest, absorb through our skin, etc. We must consider the total combined effects of everything in our environment when considering the safety of such products as pesticides.

While the risk to humans, aquatic life, other animals, bees, dragonflies, etc. for one product might be relatively low, the more we are exposed to these agents cumulatively, the more those risks increase.

Given the tiny number of cases of human EEE and West Nile virus when you look at the total population, and the fact that people can stay indoors at dawn and dusk and/or use repellents, even if only on their clothing if they do want or need to be outside during those hours or at any time, if they are very worried, spraying with such products seems unwarranted.

Humans have already done a great deal to upset the delicate balance that exists in our natural world. When are we going to stop the damage? We have already caused climate change that may no longer be reversible!

Finally, I think it is unreasonable that residents must apply before March 1 if they do not want their property sprayed. How can anyone know if the town will be spraying six months before they do so?

Ruth Trussell

West Newbury