Daily News Archive
From January 30, 2002

Long Island Residents Make Headway on West Nile Virus Pesticides

According to the Long Island, NY newspaper, Newsday, local environmentalists are getting closer to convincing Suffolk County officials to study the threat its mosquito control program, the largest in the Northeast, poses to area wildlife and residents. In the past, environmentalists have criticized the county for using outdated and non-germane studies to assess the impact of the pesticides.

"We're saying Suffolk County has neglected to do any kind of monitoring or evaluation in terms of how these products are affecting the environment and the public's health," Adrienne Esposito of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment told Newsday.

In the past two years, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has issued the county 14 violations for misusing pesticides. "It raises concerns about the county's attention to detail," DEC regional director Ray Cowen told Newsday.
Two violations came after an Aug. 7 incident in which the county sprayed Scourge, a pesticide formulation containing the synthetic pyrethroid resmethrin, which is lethal to fish, within 21 feet and 41 feet of water at two sites. Scourge's label requires a 150-foot radius. According to Newsday, hundreds of dead grass shrimp and baby flounder were found at one of those sites five days later.

Suffolk County's Division of Vector Control plans to improve the safety of its mosquito control program by shifting from the use of more harmful pesticides that kill adult mosquitoes to using less toxic larvicides.