NY City to spray toxic pesticides over Brooklyn & Queens again, tonight. Is the spraying under Mayor de Blasio worse than under Bloomberg?

Tonight (Monday, September 21, 2015), the City will be spraying (from trucks) the pyrethroid pesticide Anvil 10+10 in the Park Slope, Boerum Hill, Fort Greene, Cobble Hill areas of Brooklyn and parts of Queens, including Astoria and Elmhurst. Happy Yom Kippur! (See maps below. The spray area includes WBAI radio’s new offices at The Commons on Atlantic Avenue.)

Not only is the City spraying more pesticides this summer than in the 12 years under Mayor Bloomberg, but the propaganda used by the NYC Department of Health to rationalize subjecting the entire City to toxic spray is filled with distortions and outright lies.

Last week, Cathryn Swan and Mitchel Cohen of the No Spray Coalition met in City Hall with aides to Mayor de Blasio about the spraying. The Mayor’s aides raised three points:

1) They’re not going to stop the spraying. That’s their framework. They inquired as to less-toxic-to-people chemicals they could use. We told them that we wanted the spraying of toxins stopped altogether, as the “solution” they’re applying to mosquitoes is cancer-causing with other serious health and environmental impacts. It won’t show up immediately and so the ramifications to human health, wildlife, animals & the environment are not at first obvious;

2) The low incidence of people affected by West Nile Virus, they said, is a direct consequence of all the pesticide spraying. “See, it’s working”. (Studies show that mosquitoes’ breeding cycle is much quicker than the wildlife that feeds on them — dragonflies, bats, frogs, birds, etc. — and that are devastated by the spraying, so that, according to those peer-reviewed studies, following each round of spraying there are more mosquitoes than before it.)

3) It’s a very low concentration of the carcinogen Piperonyl Butoxide and the estrogen-mimicker Sumithrin, so what’s your worry?, it’s perfectly safe when applied properly (no, not even then — which is outlined explicitly on this website (here and elsewhere) with information from Dr. Robert Simon, toxicologist, among others).

Frankly, it’s astounding that each city administration continues to spout the same misinformation, as one read-through of the No Spray Coalition website answers each of those “points” in depth, and explains why the spraying of dangerous and often deadly pesticides is horribly wrong.

Meanwhile, the City Department of Health continues to apply for waivers to anti-pesticides provisions in Local Law 37, and then the same people making the application grant themselves a waiver.

And, the Parks Department continues to apply the suspected carcinogen Glyphosate (Monsanto’s Roundup) to Prospect Park and other areas of the City.

The community group Park Slope Neighbors explains the issue very nicely in its recent email newsletter:

More West Nile Virus Spraying (Northwest Park Slope), Monday, September 21, 8:30 p.m. to Tuesday, September 22, 6:00 a.m.

According to Brooklyn Community Board 2, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is planning to spray pesticide from trucks in an effort to reduce the mosquito population and lower the risk of West Nile virus, this time in an area north of Degraw Street and west of Fifth Avenue in Park Slope, as well as parts of Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, Downtown Brooklyn and Fort Greene, beginning at 8:30 p.m. this Monday evening (9/21) and continuing through the night until 6 a.m. In case of rain, the spraying will be delayed one week, until Monday, September 28. A map of the area to be sprayed is below.

The Health Department will again be spraying what they describe as a “very low concentration” of Anvil 10+10, a synthetic pesticide. While they state that when properly used, the pesticide poses no significant risks to human health, they recommend that the public take the following precautions to minimize direct exposure:

  • Whenever possible, stay indoors during spraying
  • Close air conditioner vents or select the recirculate function if you’re using an air conditioner
  • Remove children’s toys, outdoor equipment and clothes from outdoor areas during spraying, and if outdoor equipment and toys are exposed during spraying, to wash them with soap and water before using them again.
  • Wash skin and clothing exposed to pesticides with soap and water, and always wash produce thoroughly before cooking or eating.

For more information, visit the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s West Nile virus page at http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/environmental/wnv-home.shtml.

For our part, we believe the city downplays the dangers of pesticide use. The chemicals in Anvil 10+10 are harmful to human health and the environment, and they also kill beneficial insects including dragonflies, butterflies and bees, and are harmful to other wildlife and pets. Anvil 10 + 10 is especially dangerous to children.

The Department of Health states that children’s toys and play equipment left outside in the spray can be cleaned of pesticides by “washing with soap and water.” Such measures, and the warnings to shut windows and close air conditioner vents, would seem to contradict the “safe when used properly” claims, especially for people who are unknowingly exposed.

We’re also troubled by inadequate notification to the public about planned spraying. As of this writing, there is no notification posted on the Department of Health’s West Nile Virus Spraying Events page (http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/environmental/wnv-spray.shtml), and since there is little media coverage of the spraying, many people will likely be unaware that the spraying is even occurring. They’ll first become aware when they’re returning home from the subway, are out walking their dog, eating in an outdoor restaurant, or when they see or hear the spray truck pass by with no notice beforehand save for a police vehicle preceding the sprayer by a few seconds.

A Department of Health press release states that the first and only human case of West Nile Virus infection for 2015 resulted in the victim being briefly hospitalized, treated, and discharged. West Nile Virus can cause serious illness or even death for people with compromised immune systems, but we’re concerned the preventative measures create unnecessary risk for the larger population.

For information from the No Spray Coalition, which opposes all pesticide spraying in New York City, visit http://nospray.org.


Children’s Picnic Area in Central Park to be Sprayed with Toxic Pesticides [Update: Planned Large Picnic Cancelled]

Where in the world is Mayor Bill de Blasio?

On Wednesday night, Sept. 9th 2015, New York City’s Central Park will be sprayed with the toxic pyrethroid “Anvil 10+10”, which is especially dangerous for children.

On Thursday, Sept. 10th, hundreds of children will be gathering in Central Park on the big lawn near 106th Street for the annual homeschool “not back to school” picnic, which includes children of all ages from within NYC and from nearby areas (all are invited).

The No Spray Coalition received this letter:

Since Central Park is being sprayed within that area code 10025 (there is a focus on the park and on bodies of water, and the pond called The Pool is at that location) there is no doubt in my mind the area will be sprayed Wednesday night.

With children picnic-ing for hours on Thursday (eating and yes with unwashed hands and rolling in grass) I think it’s not safe. My family won’t be going, since the spraying takes place the very morning of the picnic.

Please post a specific warning about picnic-ing on sprayed areas close to spray time! I’d be glad to share the link with the community.

Also, please consider a petition or a more formal way (an organized phone call campaign?) to reach out to our representatives about this as I fear a call here or there from the few of us who caught wind of this won’t be terribly effective. I’d share a petition with parents to sign. Many, I think, would be alarmed, this is not widely known and the info is not easy to find.

Mom of two


They actually just cancelled the picnic (the spraying goes on!) last minute because one of the parent-organizers found out the area was going to be sprayed that very morning.

This evening hundreds of homeschoolers from NYC and from adjoining areas are in shock to learn that the uptown Central Park picnic grounds where they have been gathering annually for over a decade to celebrate the start of another year of learning were to be sprayed with toxic pesticides the very morning of their picnic.

The event was just cancelled last minute for health and safety reasons.

The event organizers just learned of the spraying late today by chance and not even 48 hours before this event was to take place (on Thursday the 10th).

No warning was issued to them by the Parks Dept or by any other entity so it was lucky they learned in time before many hundreds of kids of all ages and even babies were put at serious risk.

This annual picnic was cancelled last minute despite months of planning on the part of the organizers and participants alike. Entire families enjoy this special event with babies crawling on the grass, kids tumbling and rolling about, balls being rolled and toys being played with, and all the picnicking children enjoying snacks on the grass between bouts of play and visiting. Little hands go into mouths all too easily and children are a more vulnerable population.

Event organizers are even now scrambling to notify everyone of the huge change in plans.

Disappointment will be felt by all though parents are relieved to know that a potentially unsafe situation will be avoided.

Prospect Park and Green-wood Cemetery are also being sprayed. The pesticide kills enemies of mosquitoes (dragonflies, bats, birds, frogs, fish) as well as mosquitoes, which have a shorter reproductive cycle. So mosquitoes return much more quickly as their natural predators are not able to reproduce with that same quickness.

Here’s the area being sprayed in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island Wednesday night if it doesn’t rain (pray for rain!):





Toxic Pesticide Spraying to Hit Three NYC Boroughs Plus Central Park: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island Wed. September 9th

Save the ladybugs - No Spraying

Save the ladybugs – and us – Stop Pesticide Spraying

If you have followed NYC spray program over the last 16 years, you know that typically one borough is sprayed at a time. But on Wednesday, September 9th, a trifecta will occur: Brooklyn, Staten Island, and that rarity of occurrences, Manhattan will all be sprayed by truck with dangerous pesticides.

One alarming aspect of this occurrence is that Central Park, home to wildlife, including birds, bees, other insects, raccoons, hawks, and other species, will also be sprayed with these harmful pyrethroid pesticides.

According to the Department of Health web site, these areas will be sprayed between 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, September 9th and 6 a.m. Thursday, September 10th. This is a large area to subject to these dangerous pesticides. The pesticide being used is Anvil 10 + 10.


  • BROOKLYN — Neighborhoods: Parts of Crown Heights, Greenwood Heights, Kensington, Park Slope, Prospect Lefferts Garden, Prospect Heights, Prospect, Park South, Sunset Park, and Windsor Terrace
  • Zip codes: 11215, 11217, 11218, 11219, 11220, 11225, 11226, 11232, and 11238


  • MANHATTAN — Neighborhoods: Parts of Central Park, East Harlem, Harlem, Lincoln Square, Manhattan Valley, Morningside Heights, and Upper West Side
  • Zip codes: 10023, 10024, 10025, 10026, 10027, and 10035


  • STATEN ISLAND — Neighborhoods: Parts of Arden Heights, Charleston, Fresh Kills, Greenridge, Hugenot, Pleasant Plains, Port Mobil, Princes Bay, Rossville, Sandy Ground, and Woodrow
  • Zip codes: 10309, 10312, and 10314
Save the Butterflies - No Spraying

Save the Butterflies – No Spraying

If you don’t know how the spraying is actually done, watch this video and you will be further alarmed. It is hard to believe this is still occurring. One thing you can do is contact your local NYC Council member and ask them to stop this spraying.

Recently at NoSpray.org:

Stop NYC’s New Round of Pesticide Spraying, Now

16 Years of Toxic Pesticide Spraying Across NYC: When will it end?

Photo #1: Ameli via Flickr

Photo #2: Don Sutherland via Flickr

Watch: How NYC Sprays Neighborhoods by Truck with Pesticides – You Won’t Believe It

It is hard to believe this dangerous pesticide spray program is still being conducted in New York City after more than 16 years.

Although there is a quick announcement by the NYPD squad car that precedes the spray truck — this is something the No Spray Coalition fought for; previously nothing announced the spray truck’s arrival — if you are on the street or in your house (or playing basketball or in a restaurant with the doors open, as No Spray Coalition members witnessed about eight years ago in Sunset Park), you likely do not have time at that point to get out of the way of the toxic spray.


California EPA Plans to Label Monsanto’s Roundup As “Known to Cause Cancer”

round up by monsanto image

RoundUp Brought to you by Monsanto

News this week via East Bay Express

The California Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it plans to label glyphosate — the most widely used herbicide and main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup — as a chemical “known to cause cancer.” The World Health Organization’s research arm also recently found that the chemical is probably carcinogenic to humans, and research has also linked glyphosate to the steep decline of monarch butterflies. And as we reported this week, scientists have increasingly raised new alarms about potential negative health impacts tied to Roundup, including a recent study suggesting that long-term exposure to tiny amounts of the chemical (thousands of times lower than what is allowed in drinking water in the US) could lead to liver and kidney problems.

Today’s announcement from the EPA’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment is officially a “notice of intent” to list this pesticide as carcinogenic, giving the public an opportunity to comment on the proposal through October 5. The action falls under Proposition 65, a measure voters approved in 1986 that requires the state to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harms. The state regularly updates the list, which now includes hundreds of chemicals. Under Prop 65, businesses must provide a “clear and reasonable” warning before exposing people to a chemical on the list. The warning could be labels on a consumer product, workplace postings, distributed notices at apartment buildings, or a notice published in a newspaper.

Read more about this important development at East Bay Express.