County needs to answer questions on mosquito spraying

By Nathaniel Smith, Columnist, The Times

The citizens’ organization Don’t Spray Me! wishes to work as much as possible with facts and evidence concerning pesticide spraying, and within the modes of democratic governance in our society.

Most of us will readily agree that the different levels of government should in turn work openly with citizens and taxpayers.

In every press release about pesticide spraying, the Health Department says that it sprays only “after exhausting all other available mosquito control strategies.”

Has the County reached out to the 73 municipalities to help them educate their residents about mosquito control, and to suggest the many precautions that residents should take in the regrettable case of actually being sprayed? (As far as we can tell, a press release saying “We are going to spray you soon” is about it in most cases.)

Where and when has the County larvicided (or helped municipalities to larvicide) pools of water and storm drains as needed to prevent the development of larvae from mosquito eggs (the primary non-toxic mosquito control strategy)? (It can’t or won’t say.)

Where within each municipality tested are the mosquito traps set on which the County supposedly bases its spraying decisions? (It won’t say.)

If West Nile Virus is such a problem in PA, why do 29 of the state’s 67 counties have “no active county surveillance program” at all?

Why does the “Vector Index” level at which the County sprays municipalities vary so widely, if the Vector Index is a reliable scientific tool? (And, in what is claimed to be such a critical mosquito year, why do the online Chesco data stop at 7/30/18?)

Finally, how does the County justify spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on its own brand of mosquito spraying when there are so many other critical needs?

Is it any wonder that members of Don’t Spray Me! feel that citizens and their elected representative are being denied needed information in an important matter of environmental and human health?

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