Mosquito pesticides worry residents
Mosquitoes are a common problem in the summertime, and a local county has been taking action.
Wicomico County has been deploying trucks to spray mosquito pesticide in certain neighborhoods, but the spray has some residents worried about their health and the environment.
“I just see this giant cloud coming at me and I’m like woah. I try to cover my nose and jump in my car and I’m like, ‘I don’t want to breathe whatever is coming out of this truck,’” said resident Michael Levay.
Residents contacted the county for answers. They learned the substance being sprayed is called BioMist 30+30 ULV, a pesticide used to control mosquito populations.
Locals say they are worried about the product’s caution label. The label says the substance could be harmful to humans if swallowed, touched or inhaled.
Kobi Azoulay, a senior at Salisbury University, said, “It also said, you know, this is harmful to fish, aquatic invertebrates and bees.”
47ABC spoke with environmental scientists to get their opinion. They said there are three types of signal words: danger, warning and caution. Danger is the most severe, and caution is the least.
Ginny Rosenkranz, Extension Educator, said, “We’re using a chemical that has the lightest amount of warnings in it at all, so it is a caution label. You’re also using such a small amount, that it’s almost not there.”
Scientists said the only ones who really need to be worried are the ones handling the product.
“It’s also about the person who is actively pouring it into whatever container and then mixing it and that is when it’s the most concentrated,” said Rosenkranz.
In Wicomico County, residents are able to choose whether or not they want to receive the mosquito spray. In the City of Salisbury, however, residents do not have a choice, and they don’t even get a warning about the spraying.
“It shouldn’t be used in my opinion, but at least warn people better and inform people of the risks, so that they can decide whether they want it being sprayed,” said Azoulay.
The Biomist Spray is derived from a plant, and will only kill certain insects.
Mosquitoes can go from an egg to a larvae to an adult in just four days.
This is why scientists say controlling the mosquito population is so important, especially with the presence of common mosquito borne diseases like Zika, EEE and West Nile Virus.
Pesticides like the Biomist spray always stir up concern in residents, but scientists say that there is no need to worry.
In the United States, pesticides are closely monitored and carefully distributed. If you are still worried about pesticides used in the air or on your food, the best thing scientists say you can do is educate yourself and read labels.
“People need to be informed. They need to be able to read something and be able to read it past the side label and understand what it says,” said Rosenkranz.
If you are not the one directly handling the pesticides, scientists say you are in the clear.