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Mosquito Spraying in Nassau


September 17

The recent arial spraying in Nassau has generated a lot of buzz.

check out the coverage on

WNBC Ch 4 News

WCBS Ch 2 News

Fox 5 News

FROM NEWSDAY: September 16, 2008

Cancer, environment groups slam Nassau aerial spraying

BY WILLIAM MURPHY | [email protected]

Breast cancer groups and environmentalists sharply criticized Nassau County yesterday for the aerial spraying last week against the West Nile virus of over 50,000 acres in the center of the county.

"We are appalled that Nassau County had to resort to aerial spraying on Sept. 10 with the pesticide resmethrin, which, according to the National Pesticide Information Center, is 'likely to be carcinogenic to humans,' and is also a potential nerve poison," said Laura Weinberg of the Great Neck Breast Cancer Coalition.

Because lab tests found resmethrin can produce a low incidence of cancer in rats at extremely high doses, a federal committee in 2006 determined it could cause cancer in humans. The Environmental Protection Agency has stressed that at low levels such as that of aerial spraying "there is little risk."

Neal Lewis, executive director of the Neighborhood Network, an environmental group, called the spraying "an admission of failure" of the preventive steps the county has taken since 1999, when West Nile first appeared, and when there was countywide aerial spraying.

Their criticism, and that of others, came in front of the Nassau County Legislature during an open public comments session.

The presiding officer, Legis. Diane Yatauro (D-Glen Cove), though a close ally of Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi, was still critical of how the county handled the spraying. "It's almost as if we became complacent, and now it's back, back in a hurry," Yatauro said.

The county's health commissioner, Dr. Maria Torroella Carney, said in an interview that the decision to spray was made Sept. 2, as human and mosquito infections spiked at the end of August.

There are currently 13 confirmed or suspected human cases, including three deaths, the most from the virus in the county since West Nile appeared in 1999.

The health department reported the 13th case yesterday morning, just minutes before the Legislature was scheduled to convene. He is a 9-year-old West Hempstead boy, the youngest victim to date, according to Carney.

The child became ill on Aug. 30 with fever, nausea and headache. He was hospitalized on Sept. 2, discharged Sept. 11 and is recovering at home, the health department said.

"The decision to spray was made collectively with the New York State Department of Health," Carney said in an interview. "This has been a unique year in terms of human cases, in terms of infected mosquitoes. We don't want to have another year like this."





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