(Editor’s note: We reported on this story more than a week ago but please see below for some good updates. Read the original story here.)
As we reported last week, in an effort to control mosquito populations (the very type of mosquitos officials admitted do not spread disease after a flood) the US government- the Pentagon no less- has jumped on the chance to spray the crap out of 6 million acres throughout the Houston area.
- GLOBAL EXPERT: Miami Beach Naled Pesticide Spraying Ineffective Against Zika Virus Carrying Mosquitos
And so, last week the Pentagon dispatched C-130H Sprayers from the Air Force Reserve’s 910th Airlift Wing, this current effort is “expected to significantly surpass previous [spraying] missions in scope”1 (think Hurricanes Katrina and Rita). Once again, the government has chosen to ignore the many voices crying danger; the chemical they are going to douse Houston residents in is the Naled. (Don’t fret, the Air Force insists they won’t be using large enough amounts to cause harm to humans.)
As you will remember from last year, the insecticide Naled is manufactured and sold by a strategic partner of Monsanto and banned in the EU because of the risks it poses to human health:
“Naled is a known neurotoxin in animals and humans, as it inhibits acetylcholinesterase—an enzyme essential to nerve function and communication—and has even been known to have caused paralysis. Mounting scientific evidence, including a recent Harvard study, has also pointed to Naled’s responsibility for the mass die-off of North American bees. Just one day of Naled spraying in South Carolina killed more than 2.5 million bees last year.
Yet, the most concerning consequence Naled poses for human health is the chemical’s ability to cross the placental barrier—meaning that Naled freely crosses from mother to fetus. A study conducted at the University of Oslo found that Naled’s breakdown product, dichlorvos, caused a 15 percent decrease in the brain size of newborn guinea pigs when their mothers were exposed to Naled for only three days during pregnancy. Doctors from Puerto Rico have also claimed that Naled harms fetuses.” 2
U.S. studies have also shown Naled was linked to a 60% increase in autism and many now believe that Naled’s manufacturer, Sumimoto Chemical Corp.- who also manufacture other mosquito larvicides- might actually have been the cause of the outbreak of microcephaly cases. In fact, a group of Argentine doctors published a report which cited a pesticide used to kill mosquito larva as the actual cause of the birth defects. “According to the report, the area where most of the affected Brazilian families live, Pernambuco, had its drinking water treated for 18 months with a chemical larvicide that produces fatal birth defects in mosquitoes.” 3 Realistically though, researchers still have no definitive proof.
Last year, the government attempted to pass the “Zika Vector Control Act” but failed in the Senate. Had that act been passed it would have:
- exempted mosquito-control operations from environmental regulations
- kept Naled on the market regardless of the EPA’s decision (who are currently reviewing it, they expect to give their decision by the end of 2017)
- and would have ended monitoring of and limits to pesticide use (this one is especially insane)
To date, the EPA has found Naled to harm 22 out of 28 endangered species exposed to the chemical- let’s hope politics and money don’t get in the way of our safety. We aren’t holding our breath.