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NY Criticized for Dangers of West Nile Pesticide Sprays
(Beyond Pesticides, August 28, 2003) State Assemblyman Scott Stringer (D) condemned New York for failing to adequately protect residents from chemicals used in response to West Nile virus. He railed New York City for not requiring grocers to pull their produce from the sidewalks during spraying for WNv in order to protect people from consuming the poison. "Not only is the Health Department doing a poor job alerting people of spraying, they also continue to ignore this common-sense precautionary measure," he stated Sunday.

Currently, the city sprays Anvil, an insecticide containing the active ingredient sumithrin, throughout the streets of New York as part of a mosquito management strategy. This chemical is not approved for use on food crops. Both the Food and Drug Administration and the state's Department of Agriculture and Markets do not allow for traces of sumithrin to be on produce. Symptoms of acute sumithrin poisoning include hyperexcitability, prostration, slow respiration, salivation, tremor, ataxia and paralysis. Studies have shown that sumithrin is an endocrine disruptor, demonstrating significant estrogenicity and increases the level of estrogen in breast cancer cell, suggesting that sumithrin may increase the risk of breast cancer.

Stringer said he supports state legislation that would require businesses to bring produce indoors during spraying or face $250 fines. His efforts to protect residents from citywide pesticide spraying have continued from last summer, covered in the September 5, 2002 edition of Daily News.

For more information about West Nile virus and mosquito management, see Beyond Pesticides' Mosquito Management Program Page.