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Daily News Archive
From October 4, 2006                                                                                                        

NYC Orders Spraying in the Streets as Citizens Protest
(Beyond Pesticides, October 4, 2006)
The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) sprayed the dangerous pesticide “Anvil” in sections of Brooklyn last month and continues to fog Staten Island, purportedly to kill mosquitoes which may or may not be carrying West Nile virus. City officials also ordered spraying in Queens and the Bronx.

Despite a recent study by the Harvard School of Public Health showing the inefficacy of truck-mounted spraying in reducing the transmission of disease, the first spraying of the year took place on the evening of August 21 in Brooklyn. “It’s as though the City Department of Health has learned nothing in all these years,” No Spray Coalition spokesperson Mitchel Cohen told Brooklyn News 12, which broadcast an extensive report on opposition to the spraying.

The spray truck – now driven by unionized NYC workers wearing DOHMH insignias – recklessly spewed pesticides in a thick cloud down crowded 5th Avenue in Sunset Park and in the surrounding area in utter disregard of the hundreds of people walking the streets. The truck blasted pregnant women and many, many little children with the spray, and fogged people in dozens of restaurants – their doors wide open – without warning as they ate.

According to Brooklyn's No Spray Coalition, the City put up no signs in the neighborhoods announcing the spraying. They made no public warnings about the dangers of pesticides, the links between pesticides and asthma - which is an epidemic throughout New York City - childhood cancers, lymphomas, neurological disorders, chemical sensitivities . . . nothing.

This year, City officials have put forth even less information than in the past as to why they decide to spray pesticides. In addition, they have started spraying earlier in the evening, even though people are more likely to be on the streets and directly affected by the spraying.

The No Spray Coalition learned about the plan to spray in Brooklyn earlier that same day and set up a literature table near by at the “F” train exit on the corner of McDonald Avenue and Albemarle Rd. in the residential Kensington section shortly before the spraying began. Around a dozen participants distributed hundreds of flyers, spoke with local store owners, and held a Speak-Out right there on the corner.

The pesticide mixture that the City continues to spray this year contains the cancer-causing chemical piperonyl butoxide. It also contains so-called “inert ingredients,” which, despite the innocuous-sounding category (“inert” ingredients), are also dangerous. In addition, pyrethroids such as Sumithrin, the active ingredient in Anvil 10 + 10, have been shown to be hormone (endocrine) disruptors and neurotoxins as well as serious lung irritants.

The No Spray Coalition has called for people throughout the City to protest the spraying. Some may block the spray trucks. Others may do theater, write to their local government officials, hand out flyers in their neighborhoods and schools, or take other actions deemed necessary to save our lives from the dangerous sprays the City is using.

Source: No Spray Coalition

TAKE ACTION: For responsible, safer and smarter control of mosquitos and vector diseases in your community see Beyond Pesticides’ Tools for Change at www.beyondpesticides.org/mosquito/activist/index.htm.