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Updated on January 8, 2007

Action Alert: Tell New Jersey Governor John Corzine to Keep 20-Year Ban on Aerial Gypsy Moth Spraying Intact
(Beyond Pesticides, January 8, 2007)
According to the non-profit New Jersey Environmental Federation (NJEF), the state is proposing to reverse a long standing ban on aerial spraying of chemical pesticides on state/private lands for control of gypsy moth caterpillars. A decision is expected by the end of January. The State is proposing to aerially spray the toxic chemical Dimilin on 6,000 acres of state forest in the Pinelands, and 27,000 acres in 22 municipalities.

This proposal raises significant public and ecological health concerns and provides questionable benefits. Dimilin, which contains the active ingredient diflubenzuron, is an insect growth regulator with a 6-9 month residual in leaf litter. It is highly toxic to aquatic insects and crustaceans and may not relieve and may prolong the gypsy moth infestation. Diflubenzuron can rob the blood of oxygen and is an endocrine disruptor, capable of reducing testosterone. It also breaks down into a probable human carcinogen.

Since l985, the Dept. of Agriculture and the NJ Department of Environmental Protection have used only Bt, a biological pesticide with no known mammalian toxicity as the pesticide of choice for gypsy moth suppression. Bt provides adequate protection from defoliation when properly applied without the risks associated with Dimilin.

NJEF is encouraging concerned citizens to take two quick steps to ensure Governor Corzine sees the forest through the trees and maintains the ban on aerial spraying of toxic pesticides! 1) Email Governor Corzine. 2) Call Governor Corzine at 609-292-6000. If he's not available by phone leave a message with an aide or in voicemail.

Gypsy moths have been a periodic problem in the U.S. since 1969, when it escaped from cultures maintained by a scientist trying to establish a “native” silk industry. It is identified as a destructive pest, causing individuals, and local and state governments to intervene. See Beyond Pesticides' factsheet on the least-toxic control of Gypsy moths.


Sample letter -

Governor Corzine:

I urge you to maintain the ban on aerial spraying of toxic chemical pesticides like Dimilin on NJ forests, parks, schools, and residential areas. Broad spectrum chemicals like Dimilin affect human and ecological health and are not worth the risk. For 20 years the NJ gypsy moth program has used the non-toxic Bt, and that is the policy you should uphold.

Thank You,

Your Name and Address
Please ask for a reply


For more information contact Jane Nogaki, NJ Environmental Federation Pesticides Campaign Coordinator at 856-767-1110 or [email protected]