With the use of “forever chemicals” Mass trades. One disease against another
As an environmental lawyer and toxicologist with nearly 60 years of collective experience with hazardous waste landfills, we were disappointed with David Abel’s article “Chemicals in moderation forever. Mosquito Spray ”(page A1, December 2), which reports the presence of PFAS in Anvil 10 + 10, the mosquito insecticide that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has sprayed over cities across the state. We live in Stow, where our houses and organic gardens have been sprayed.
It is a sad irony that, given the increased focus and tremendous investment of resources by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to protect the public from the potential dangers of tiny concentrations of PFAS, another government agency inadvertently dumped this toxic chemical on private and public land . This mosquito control practice essentially trades one public health threat, eastern equine encephalitis, for another, the deterioration in our water supplies.
How can we advise our customers to install costly purification systems to reduce PFAS in drinking water supply wells to Ministry of Environment standards in small parts per trillion when our own state government is emitting a pesticide with many times higher concentrations of PFAS? ? As residents with private wells and as environmental professionals working to purify PFAS in our groundwater and surface waters, we ask the Commonwealth to stop aerial spraying.
Marie Rudiman |
Crane is an environmental advocate and Rudiman is a toxicologist and works in risk assessment.
There are better alternatives for combating mosquitoes
In the 1970s, it was common for cities to spray routinely several times a year to “control” various pests, including mosquitoes. Sevin, malathion, and other toxins were used. In 1979, a nationwide committee was formed to examine the role of the pesticide committee and prepare a general environmental impact report on the use and effects of pesticides in mosquito control. I was on the citizens’ council. The report was finalized but not adopted until it was revised almost 20 years later.
The use of aerial spray has been heavily criticized as ineffective and harmful to the environment. I remember a professional saying, “To be effective, a drop of spray must hit the insect like chasing a butterfly with a machine gun.”
There are so many alternatives to mosquito control: the simplest is educating the public about removing stagnant water that mosquitoes breed in. then CO2 traps to monitor the population; Bti in wetlands and altoside briquettes in storm surges, both for larval control; and finally, if necessary, truck spraying a pyrethroid against electrical and electronic equipment, but with acknowledgment of the ineffectiveness of such broadcasting.
As has been shown, aerial spraying is a disastrous method with negative side effects. We’re good at inventing toxic chemicals, but not so good at controlling their use or unintended consequences.