In North Carolina
Agricultural Resources Center
Fawn Pattison, Executive
PESTicide EDucation Project
206 New Bern Place
Raleigh, NC 27601
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From: Susan Wells Vaughan <email@example.com>
Sent: Tuesday, October 24, 2000 3:22 AM
Subject: [sprayno] N.C.
I live in N.C. -- on The Outer Banks. I have been working, almost by myself, to stop the indiscriminate mosquito spraying going on here for half a century -- and increased this year due to EEE (Eastern Equine Encephalitis) scares. This year a state-confirmed case of EEE was reported as the cause of a woman's death in Kill Devil Hills (outer banks next to Kitty Hawk and Nags Head). After this report, spraying was stepped up (by truck) to an unprecedented level -- up to 5 times per week (they had been spraying about 2 times a week every season from May to Oct.).
One local news article reporting on this "EEE" case mentioned that the CDC would be doing tests as well, but then there was no follow up. Finally about a month later, after I had asked commissioners and others repeatedly if the CDC had confirmed, our county health dept. announced that the death was NOT caused by a mosquito, but rather by tubercular meningitis. You would think that spraying would then have been reduced, but it continued at the same rate. Furthermore former no-spray requests, were
now ignored, even at homes with pregnant woman, babies and those with documented MCS or other conditions of compromised immune system. Not long after the first false case was publicized, a nearby county reported another EEE case, this time the woman recovered, and this time I was told the CDC confirmed.
So the excessive and indiscriminate spraying continued. NO other method of control is used here. Our state Dept of Environment's representative made things worse by reporting to the media that the pesticide used is "safe" (permethrin, piperonyl butoxide, petroleum distillates). I called Raleigh to confront DENR about this lie (which is illegal in NC by the way -- false representation of the effects of a pesticide), and her superior in Raleigh stood by the lie - refused to correct it -- admitted he knew nothing about 60% of the product, admitted he knew it was on EPA's list of possible human carcinogens, admitted that the
health effects are dependent on many individual factors, and admitted he knew nothing about the synergistic effects -- was aware only of the effects of the active ingredient acting individually) -- even with all these admissions, he refused to correct the lies told to the press (said he would tell the truth only if asked).
I filed a complaint with the EPA. -- they referred me back to the state Pesticide Board who had done next to nothing after people were sprayed directly and complained last year. Then finally just a few weeks ago, I learned that the "EEE" case where
the woman recovered was NEVER Tested by the CDC. I also learned from a CDC rep. that the stats they have on mosquito-borne viruses are taken from what the states report to the CDC. The statistics on EEE are labeled "Confirmed or Probable" -- and no one could tell me how many of those reported were actually tested by the CDC. No one has yet answered further questions I posed to the CDC: Why was the Kill Devil Hills case tested by the CDC, and the Camden County case not tested. Are tests by the CDC more sensitive -- better indicators of these viruses, and what is the final word or official test concerning these mosquito-borne viruses? How many of the EEE cases reported (since 1964), were actually confirmed
by the CDC?
I think it's very interesting that tubercular meningitis, according to
what I've read so far, is a dormant condition -- where a person may test
positive for tuberculosis, but has no symptoms unless the person develops
a weakened immune system.
The reason this is interesting is that one effect of permethrin is weakening of the immune system. So the repeated and excessive spraying of this chemical could not only have triggered the tubercular meningitis that killed a local woman, but it could also be weakening the immune systems of birds, making them more susceptible to the mosquito-borne viruses as well. Also the petroleum distillates in the product, VOC's, it seems, would contribute to global warming which contributes to a rise in mosquito
populations. It makes no sense at all, for anyone to be using this method of control.
As far as West Nile goes, I would have the same questions about confirmation. I'd like to know just how sensitive the tests are, and if the CDC is doing any retests to confirm. All the sources i've read agree that West Nile is far less serious than EEE.
Oddly none of the health depts. in N.C seemed concerned about the public health threat from excessive, indiscriminate use of pesticides, but everybody is going bonkers over a few EEE cases in birds. Also interesting is that DEET, combined with permethrin is suspected as one of the causes of Gulf War Syndrome, and DEET is reported to cause encephalitis.
I discovered that the main pesticide used here is Aqua-Reslin, made by AgrEvo Environmental Health (they have the gall to call themselves this) -- AgrEvo is part of Hoechst (formerly of IG Farben, maker of Zyclon B). Hoechst was recently under fire from the FTC for illegally blocking a generic form of a prostate drug which competed with Hoechst's own drug. Hoechst also recently merged with Rhone-Poulenc, a big chemical/pesticide manufacturer located in Research Triangle Park, NC.
-- the new name is Aventis, maker of the GE corn that got into the tacos that were just recalled. Hoechst also makes Allegra and the abortion pill, and dyes under the name of DyStar. Dystar's headquarters in the US just happen to be in Charlotte, NC.
I think it's deplorable that our county supports a company that profits from a pesticide that weakens immune systems, then profits from drugs that are used to treat conditions which can be caused by weakened immune systems. And I really wonder just how much all this EEE and West Nile scare has to do with Hoechst, Bayer, and BASF.
These are the facts - I hope others will dig for more.
Here are some links -- the first one has good info about West Nile: What You Should Know About West Nile Encephalitis!
Read the truth prepared by Citizens Campaign for the Environment, via MARIN BEYOND PESTICIDES COALITION
This site has info on alternatives to DEET and mentions that DEET too can cause encephalitis http://members.aol.com/asapli/
Rhode Island's mosquito page has link to mosquito magnet
PESTICIDES MAY BE CAUSING MORE VIRUSES BY WEAKENING IMMUNE SYSTEMS
Susan, Kitty Hawk
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