[Fosc] OT: Light brown apple moth spraying program
kathy at kathykramerconsulting.net
Wed Mar 19 07:28:32 PDT 2008
You may have heard recently about plans to spray the Bay Area for the
light brown apple moth (LBAM). I don't plan to send out a lot of e-
mails about this, but if you would like to be taken off this list,
please let me know. In case this is an issue that resonates with you,
below is a summary of the treatment program. A sample letter to the
Calif. Dept. of Food and Agriculture follows:
The Cal. Dept. of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) plans to start aerially
spraying a pheromone based pesticide Aug. 1, 2008, in San Francisco,
San Mateo, Marin, Alameda, and Contra Costa Counties to eradicate the
Light Brown Apple Moth (LBAM). (There is potential for drift into
adjacent counties and cities.) The CDFA began spraying Monterey and
Santa Cruz Counties last fall using "Checkmate." They plan to use a
similar, but as of yet undetermined, pesticide when they resume
spraying June 1, 2008, in Monterey and Santa Cruz and August 1, 2008,
in the Bay Area.
In Santa Cruz and Monterey,over 600 individuals reported ill effects
(muscle aches, asthma, shortness of breath, skin rashes, stomach
pains, menses problems, etc.) after the sprayings last fall. Hundreds
of birds were also found dead within 3 days of the spray. It was the
first time this product had ever been applied aerially (by airplane)
over populated urban areas in the U.S. or anywhere. The chemical used
contained additional chemical compounds (many known to be toxic) in
addition to the synthetic pheromone. The pheromone is time released
into the environment over 30-90 days from microscopic plastic capsules
which break down overtime, and some of which are small enough to be
inhaled into the deep lung and not expelled. Airplanes will spray the
pheromone based pesticide regularly to ensure continuous release of
the pheromone (to confuse the moths' mating behavior) over the course
of 2-5 years or as long as takes.
Some scientists question whether the moth even prevents a significant
threat to agriculture (apart from Quarantine laws on produce from
areas which are known to have the moth present). No crop damage has
occurred in California. In addition, the effectiveness of the aerial
spray plan is unknown, and said by one expert to have "near zero"
chance of success. The CDFA also plans to start ground treatments
that contain pesticides.
An Environmental Impact Report on the eradication program will be
released this fall (after the Bay Area spraying has begun.) Comments
on what the public would like to see addressed in the EIR are due
tomorrow. I apologize for this late notice.
Should you feel like weighing in, a draft letter to the CDFA is
below. It can be e-mailed to:
jrains at cdfa.ca.gov
and cc'd to: EIR at lbamspray.com
Your address here
March 19, 2008
California Department of Food and Agriculture Plant Health & Pest
1220 N Street, Room A-316
Sacramento, CA 95814
ATTN: Jim Rains, Staff Environmental Scientist
jrains at cdfa.ca.gov
cc to: EIR at lbamspray.com
Dear Mr. Rains,
There are a number of questions I would like to see addressed in the
light brown apple moth (LBAM) EIR. These are listed below.
1) Why is the EIR being released after the spraying program has begun?
2) Dr. Daniel Harder (botanist and Executive Director of the U.C.
Santa Cruz Arboretum) released a report March 6, 2008, In it he
indicates the LBAM is not a serious threat to agriculture in a
biological way in New Zealand, which has a similar climate and
ecosystem to California. LBAM may be adapting to our local
environment and need no intervention, or very little, such as much
less toxic IPM methods. LBAM likely already has natural predators.
3) Dr. James Carey, UC Davis entomologist, says LBAM has been here
decades, not one year as the CDFA claims, and has near zero chance of
eradication. If it has been here decades and caused no crop damage
(which the CDFA acknowledges) then why is this declared an
agricultural emergency? It appears that this is because of a
quarantine---not because of actual potential for massive crop damage.
If so, is quarantined produce a reason to spray pesticides on millions
4) Health impacts on humans, animals, birds, and aquatic life have not
been adequately considered. 700-2300 birds were found dead the day
after spraying in Santa Cruz and Monterey and the CDFA and other State
departments deny any connection. Two previously healthy pets died the
day after spraying. 643 reports of health effects in humans are being
dismissed as hysteria, yet the complaints are consistent with what
would be expected effects from numerous chemicals included in the
spray. In addition, the State and Federal agencies pushing the
spraying program know nothing about potential long term impacts, and
OSHA acknowledges that children, the elderly and those with
respiratory ailments may be differentially impacted.
5) The chemical is NOT just a pheromone. It includes "inert"
ingredients that are known to be toxic (e.g. carcinogenic, mutagenic,
liver toxic, dermal irritant, reproductive harm, birth defects), and
that are not to be inhaled. The pheromone is encapsulated in plastic
capsules, some of which are small enough to be inhaled into the deep
lung. With the smallest particles at 10 microns (U.C. Davis report on
the product sprayed in Santa Cruz and Monterey last fall, and released
in December 2007), these are considered harmful to human health, like
other particulate matter. In addition, will the capsules time-release
their ingredients in our lungs? We have no information on how inhaling
(and ingesting) the plastic itself will impact human and wildlife
health. The pheromone is a synthetic pheromone with unknown effects
on humans and other animals. The concoction includes a surfactant
which could have caused the bird deaths. The synergistic effects of
all the ingredients combined is completely unknown.
6) The CDFA claims that the pheromone-based pesticide to be used
contains such low doses of chemicals that it will cause no harm. Yet,
the nature of the spray planned entails continuous exposure via time
released capsules, sprayed three nights in a row every month (unless
you find a new version which we will not have time to investigate
before the spraying but will contain essentially the same components)
for 2 -5 years or indefinitely. The capsules release their
ingredients over 30 to 90 days. In addition the particles can remain
suspended in the air for 12 months. This ensures continuous exposure
over the course of years. There is no escape even if you leave town
during the actual spraying.
7) The manufacturer of the chemical, Suterra, indicates on the
packaging and communicated to farmers that Checkmate is not to be
applied near irrigation canals as the pheromone could concentrate in
runoff. What do you think happens when you aerial spray a substance?
It ends up in all water--streams, gutters, the Bay, standing water in
playgrounds, parks, etc.
8) What are the water quality impacts of the whole program (telephone
pole painting and twist tie chemicals, as well as the spraying?
9) What impacts to other species besides the light brown apple moth,
will there be? For example to other moths, butterflies, or bees?
A hard copy of this letter will be sent by mail.
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