Turn to the nation's most objective and informative daily environmental news resource to learn how the United States and key players around the world are responding to the environmental...
Sept. 19 — Florida pesticide regulators expressed frustration at the public’s intense opposition to the use of bug-killing chemicals and worried it may be hampering their state’s ability to fight its ongoing Zika virus outbreak.
Complaints and protests against the use of pesticides have been growing louder, especially after an incident late last month in which the aerial spraying of pesticides in South Carolina led to a large die-off of bees.
Davis Daiker, one of Florida’s top pesticide regulatory officials, said the nature of this particular outbreak means that the public has an unusual level of visibility into mosquito control tactics. Unlike with other mosquito-borne diseases, he said, Zika is spread by a mosquito that is active during daylight hours and thrives in urban areas.
Daiker said some Floridians are recoiling at the idea of spraying in their community. “Some people say they’d rather deal with a mosquito bite ... than be ‘poisoned,’” he said at a Sept. 19 meeting of state regulators in Arlington, Va.
Ultimately, Daiker said the public needs to understand that a pesticide that has undergone an EPA risk assessment is much safer than an emerging mosquito-borne disease that causes catastrophic brain damage in fetuses.
Currently, Florida is the only state in the continental U.S. where Zika-infected mosquitoes are spreading the disease, according to health officials. Any cases of the disease in other states had been acquired via travel abroad.
Daiker said his office has been actively working with local mosquito control departments in his state to support their activities. He said the size and capabilities of these departments varies widely. Some counties have their own dedicated aircraft and landing strips; others are simply “two guys and a truck,” he said.
Ironically, while some Floridians oppose the use of pesticides in their communities, others from outside of Florida want it to be ramped up.
Daiker’s colleague, Charlie Clark—an environmental administrator for Florida agricultural programs—has been tasked with answering much of the correspondence sent to the state’s governor on Zika. Clark said the vast majority of it has come from non-Floridians asking the state to resume using the banned insecticide DDT—something Clark said would never happen.
Daiker’s and Clark’s jobs have been made more difficult by the recent bee die off. Tim Drake, a pesticide regulator in South Carolina, said the incident received international media attention.
However, Drake said some of the details of the incident have not been widely reported. For example, he said all of the affected bees came from 40 hives owned by a single beekeeper.
Drake said, based on the state’s investigation, the beekeeper took no precautions to protect these hives from the chemicals, even though the county put out a notice 48 hours prior to the spraying, twice as long as was statutorily required.
Drake also said the incident was likely worsened by the warm temperatures on the morning of the spraying, which caused the bees to congregate outside of their hives rather than inside. This left them even more susceptible to the chemicals being sprayed, he said.
Daiker said, ultimately, pesticide officials need to boost their communication efforts with beekeepers even further to avoid these types of incidents that can erode public trust in the government’s ability to safely combat the outbreak.
To contact the reporter on this story: David Schultz in Washington at dSchultz@bna.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2016 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)