APPENDIX II-Z:  Innume System Compromised by Pesticides-Miami-Cunningham.


The following information with references to peer reviewed articles via internet links comes from:


Miami-Dade County is endangering the health of its citizens and doing irreparable damage to our environment in what is clearly a futile attempt to control mosquitoes through the spraying of pesticides. 



Here is What We are Told:
The sprays used to control mosquitoes in Miami-Dade County have been evaluated by the EPA and found to cause only minimal risk to human health.

Here is the Truth
Miami-Dade Mosquito Control currently uses two kinds of chemicals for adulticiding (killing adult mosquitoes). Both chemicals are applied using a method of application called Ultra low Volume Spraying.

A. Permethrin (Trade name Biomist) - used for ground spraying from trucks. Permethrin is in a class of pesticides called "pyrethroids." It is a neurotoxin.

Effects of Permethrin on the Endocrine System
Studies done at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and Brown University indicate pyrethroids disrupt the endocrine system by mimicking the effects of the female hormone estrogen. This in turn can cause breast cancer in women and lowered sperm counts in men. 
 Researchers at Mount Sinai concluded:  "Pyrethroids should be considered to be hormone disruptors, and their potential to affect endocrine function in humans and wildlife should be investigated."

Permethrin and Parkinson's Disease
Studies done at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute indicate that, even at low doses, exposure to permethrin may increase the risk of Parkinson's Disease. They found that permethrin caused a reduction in levels of an important neurotransmitter chemical called dopamine. Parkinson's is believed to be caused by a deficiency of dopamine. Another recent study at the Harvard School of Public Health examined possible links between chronic, low-dose exposure to pesticides (including permethrin and other pesticides) and Parkinson's.  Researchers found that individuals reporting exposure to pesticides had a 70 percent higher incidence of Parkinson's than those not reporting exposure.

Yet in spite of the dangers, Miami-Dade Mosquito Control sprayed 310,000 acres in Miami-Dade County with permethrin in fiscal year 2004-2005. When Children are often playing in their yards when spray trucks come down their streets. Spray trucks do not avoid streets where children, pregnant women or people with pesticide allergies may be exposed.

B. Naled (trade name Dibrom) – used for aerial spraying. Naled is readily absorbed into the bloodstream through the skin and lung and intestinal tissue. Naled causes cholinesterase inhibition in humans; that is, it can over stimulate the nervous system causing nausea, dizziness, confusion, and at very high exposures, respiratory paralysis and death.

Yet in spite of these dangers, Miami-Dade Mosquito Control sprayed 675,000 acres in Miami-Dade County with naled in fiscal year 2004-2005. 


Here is What We are Told:
Citizens can be reassured that when Miami-Dade County sprays for mosquitoes, collateral damage to Non-Target Organisms is minimal. Miami-Dade Mosquito Control states as follows on their website: “ … spraying is not performed during the day [because] beneficial insects are ... active during the daylight hours, and insecticides sprayed can kill them.”  Therefore, they only spray at dusk when beneficial insects are safely out of danger.

Here is the Truth:
There are many beneficial insects and other animals active at twilight and early evening when the trucks and airplanes are spraying. There is even a term for animals that are active at dusk and dawn: crepuscular. For example, bats and moths and fireflies are crepuscular. There are 80 species of crickets in Florida. When you do hear crickets? At dusk, of course. The Florida Burrowing Owl  is listed by the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission as a “species of special concern” and is crepuscular with a diet primarily of insects.

But animals don’t have to be active to be affected by the spray. Since insecticides land on the foliage, they also kill feeding larvae and resting insects such as butterflies. Dr. Karen Oberhauser, an entomologist at the University of Minnesota, states:  "We have experimental evidence that Ultra-Low Volume spraying of pyrethroids [permethrin used in Miami-Dade County is a pyrethroid] kills lepidopteran [butterfly and moth] larvae and resting adults.” (Quote from Dr. Karen Oberhauser, in an email to website author December 28, 2006)

Mosquito spraying has also devastated the critically imperiled species of butterfly native to South Florida called the Miami Blue as well as the endangered Schaus swallowtail butterfly, also native to South Florida

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Here is What We are Told:
We must spray to protect Miami-Dade citizens from deadly tropical diseases borne by mosquitoes like  Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile Virus.

Here is the Truth:
A report in the Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association found that application of Naled may actually increase the incidence of Eastern Equine Encephalitis.  In this study, researchers at the New York Department of Health showed that 11 years of naled spraying was "successful in achieving short term reductions in mosquito abundance," but populations of the mosquito that was the primary cause of  Eastern Equine Encephalitis (called C. melanura), "increased 15-fold" over the 11 years of spraying. The authors conclude:  "The possibility that applications of naled contributed to increased populations of C. melanura discredits the rationale that preventive applications of naled reduce the risk of EEE."
In another study 7 communities which spray pesticides as a regular part of their mosquito control program and 7 communities which do not were compared. No differences were found in the incidence of West Nile Virus. Communities that sprayed had no lower incidence of West Nile Virus than communities that did not spray.

Another study led by the Harvard School of Public Health found that spraying does not reduce the transmission of West Nile Virus. In this study, they used the same method of application that is used in Miami-Dade County (Ultra-Low Volume) and they used the pesticide resmethrin which is very similar to permethrin used in Miami-Dade County.  They found that spraying of resmethrin did not reduce number of adult mosquitoes. The authors conclude, “We find that Ultra-Low Volume applications of resmethrin had little or no impact on the Culex vectors of West Nile Virus, even at maximum permitted rates of application.” 

In general West Nile Virus is a mild disease. It only becomes serious encephalitis if the virus can cross the blood-brain barrier (the blood-brain barrier prevents passage of substances from the bloodstream into the brain). Among the agents that impair the blood-brain barrier in young rats are pyrethroids like permethrin and organophosphates like naled. Thus, insecticide spraying has the potential to worsen the process of West Nile Virus infection.


Many communities have chosen to stop spraying altogether. For example, the City of Fort Worth, Texas discontinued their spraying program in 1991 and has not sprayed since. Here's what the Fort Worth Department of Public Health says about spraying:: “…spraying will not eliminate the threat of mosquito-borne illnesses.  The potential inhalation hazard to the general population does not seem worth the risk of killing a few mosquitoes."

Washington D. C. also has stopped mosquito spraying.  The District of Columbia Dept of Health states: "The District does not expect to spray for mosquitoes because of low efficacy, kills off non-target species, and potential risks to a high population of persons effected by respiratory problems and a compromised immune system." 





Mosquitoes are an inevitable part of the ecology in Miami-Dade.  We cannot control mosquitoes in Miami-Dade County.  The mosquito trucks that spray in your neighborhood do not control mosquitoes; they briefly suppress mosquito populations.   One-third of Miami-Dade is federally protected Everglades land where no mosquito spraying is allowed.  There are good reasons for this ban on spraying in the Everglades.  Mosquitoes are a key source of food for reptiles, birds, fish, and other wildlife. And, because they feed on nectar, mosquitoes are valuable plant pollinators.  So all we can do in Miami-Dade County is spray each new wave of mosquitoes as they blow in from the Everglades.  In fact, on the Miami-Dade Mosquito Control website the following caution appears:  “Adult mosquitoes that migrate into an area after spraying are not killed." 

When we see large mosquito trucks coming around the corner, we believe that they bring relief. However, as soon as the wind once again blows out of the west, the mosquitoes are back in full force.  Sadly, the butterflies, crickets, and fireflies that have been eradicated by the spray won’t be replaced by the next westerly wind.  They are gone forever.  To achieve this level of destruction is not cheap:  Miami-Dade County Mosquito Control has a budget of 3.6 million dollars for fiscal year 2006-2007.

We welcome your feedback. Please contact us if you have been harmed in any way by mosquito spraying in Miami-Dade County.   Our email address is:                    John Cunningham

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