How Essential Oils Keep Mosquitoes Away in a Non-Toxic, Natural Way | Alternative to Harmful Pesticides

essential oils as insect repellants
Via GreenMedInfo, some great information on Essential Oils as a way to keep mosquitoes away in a non-toxic, natural manner:

Essential Oils Proven to Send Mosquitoes Packing

We all want natural alternatives to harsh chemical repellents, but do any really work? Learn how to make your own repellent with essential oils scientifically shown to be as effective as DEET

Zika virus and it’s purported link to microcephaly has become the latest in a long list of mosquito-borne illnesses that are causing people concern. Whether or not you believe in the link between Zika and birth defects, the fact that mosquitoes cause tremendous human suffering is undeniable. Mosquito-borne illnesses kill more than a million people annually. The little blood-suckers transmit maladies from malaria to West Nile virus, Chikungunya, and yellow fever—and even heartworm to our beloved canine companions.

Government health authorities continue recommending DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide), which does work in repelling mosquitoes. However, this potentially toxic chemical is not without its own risks, producing effects similar to deadly nerve gases and pesticides.[i]

We want natural alternatives, but do any really work? Recent science says yes!

A number of essential oils have proven effective for repelling mosquitoes, including the Aedes Aegypti varietythe most notable Zika transmission vector. It isn’t surprising that essential oils would be effective because, over the millennia, plants have needed to manufacture “insect repellants” to ensure their survival. Many of the individual chemical compounds in essential oils have insect repelling properties. Any one essential oil may contain hundreds to thousands of compounds—terpenes, alcohols, esters, aldehydes, ketones, phenols, alcohols, esters, and the list goes one.

Modern science is just beginning to sort out which plant-based extracts effectively deter each type of insect. Fortunately, there are a few essential oils that Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes find highly distasteful, and you can use this to your advantage.

Litsea Oil Ranks #1 on Mosquitoes’ Most Unwanted List

In an attempt to find safe and ecofriendly plant-based insect repellants, researchers tested 23 essential oils for their mosquito-repelling properties, specifically against Aedes Aegypti. Three essential oils outperformed the rest: litsea, geranium and rosewood oils. The results will be published in the September 2016 issue of Journal of Arthropod-Borne Diseases.[ii]

Litsea oil ranked highest in making the little pests turn their proboscises and head for the hills. Litsea showed outstanding repellency at all three concentrations tested (1, 10 and 100 ppm), comparing favorably to DEET and DEPA (N,N-diethyl phenylacetamide). Litsea oil comes from the fruit of the Litsea cubeba tree, an evergreen native to Japan, southern China and southeast Asia. In this particular study, the top 10 mosquito-repelling essential oils were identified as the following, listed in order of highest effectiveness:


1.    Litsea

2.    Rosewood

3.    Geranium

4.    Lemongrass

5.    Lemon scented

6.    Camphor

7.    Citronella

8.    Galbanum

9.    Dill

10. Cinnamon


The insect repelling properties of litsea oil are not unique to this study. In 2015, the synergistic effects of the same 10 essential oils were evaluated, in various combinations—again, specifically targeting Ae. Aegypti. [iii]The most effective blends had litsea as one ingredient, especially when combined with lemon scented (lemon eucalyptus) or lemongrass oil. The little bloodsuckers are clearly not lemon fans.

Lemon Eucalyptus, Geranium and Rosewood

“Lemon scented” (Eucalyptius citriodora) oil comes from a large tree whose name was recently changed to Corymbia. Corymbia citriodora is lemon eucalyptus, the oil being derived from the leaves of the lemon eucalyptus tree. “Lemon scented” (lemon eucalyptus) oil is 85 percent citronellol. Just as the name suggests, citronellol is the primary compound in citronella, well known for its insect-repelling properties.

Adding to the botanical confusion, there is a commercial product made from lemon eucalyptus called “oil of lemon eucalyptus,” also called PMD, which is CDC-approved by as an insect repellant.[iv] Although it comes from the same plant, this oil is not the same as the essential oil extracted from the Corymbia citriodora leaf, but rather a byproduct of the distillation process.

Another oil containing citronellol is geranium oil. Given its chemical similarities to citronella, it’s not surprising it ranked third for mosquito repellency. Geranium oil comes from Pelargonium graveolenes, a shrub native to South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. It has a pleasing scent ranging from lemon to rose, depending on the age of the leaves. Geranium oil has a number of medicinal benefits, including antifungal.

Ranking second, rosewood oil is extracted from Aniba rosaeodora, an evergreen tree indigenous to Peru and Brazil. Also called “bois-de-rose,” it belongs to the Laurel plant family along with camphor, bay, cinnamon and cassia. Rosewood’s scent is very pleasant with health benefits reported for pain relief, wound healing, stress reduction and asthma.

Citronella, eucalyptus, geranium, lemon and lemongrass essential oils are also some of the most frequently patented oils for repelling mosquitoes, according to a 2011 Brazilian literature review.

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See the rest of this post and more information on essential oils and their effectiveness in lieu of pesticides at GreenMedInfo here.

Fact Sheet on NALED Insecticide Being Sprayed for Zika

pesticide sprayingNALED Insecticide Fact Sheet
[Original page on this site can be found here – go there to see many comments.]

Naled is an insecticide in the organophosphate pesticide family that is commonly used to kill adult (flying) mosquitoes.

Naled has been registered for use in the U.S. since 1959 and is sold under the brand name Dibrom. AMVAC Chemical Corporation has been the major manufacturer of NALED since 1998.


About one million pounds of naled are used every year in the U.S. Approximately 70 percent of this is used for mosquito control; almost all of this is applied aerially.

The remaining 30 percent is used in agriculture. Major agricultural uses are on cotton in California and Louisiana, on alfalfa in Idaho and Oregon, and on grapes in California.

Efficacy of Mosquito Treatments

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has written that “adulticiding, application of chemicals to kill adult mosquitoes by ground or aerial applications, is usually the least efficient mosquito control technique.

Naled is no exception. For example, researchers from the New York Department of Health showed that 11 years of naled spraying was “successful in achieving short-term reductions in mosquito abundance, but populations of the disease-carrying mosquito of concern “increased 15-fold over the 11 years of spraying.

Mode of Action

Like all organophosphate insecticides, NALED (DIBROM) Naled is an insecticide in the organophosphate pesticide family used primarily for mosquito control. Dibrom is a common brand name for naled products. About one million pounds are used annually in the U.S. Like all organophosphates, naled is toxic to the nervous system. Symptoms of exposure include headaches, nausea, and diarrhea. Naled is more toxic when exposure occurs by breathing contaminated air than through other kinds of exposure. In laboratory tests, naled exposure caused increased aggressiveness and a deterioration of memory and learning.

Naled’s breakdown product DICHLORVOS (another organophosphate insecticide) interferes with prenatal brain development. In laboratory animals, exposure for just 3 days during pregnancy when the brain is growing quickly reduced brain size 15 percent.

DICHLORVOS also causes cancer, according to the International Agency for Research on Carcinogens. In laboratory tests, it caused leukemia and pancreatic cancer. Two independent studies have shown that children exposed to household “no-pest” strips containing dichlorvos have a higher incidence of brain cancer than unexposed children.

Aerial applications of naled can drift up to one-half mile. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, naled is moderately to highly toxic to birds and fish. It also reduced egg production and hatching success in tests with birds and reduced growth in tests with juvenile fish. convulsions, paralysis, and death.

Breakdown Products

** Naled breaks down into dichlorvos **

another organophosphate insecticide, in animals and soil. THIS IS DANGEROUS!!!

Effects on Behavior

Exposure to naled has multiple effects on behavior. In a study conducted by naled’s manufacturer, naled caused reduced muscle strength, slow responses to stimulation, and reduced activity in rats.

These behavioral changes occurred at all but the lowest dose level tested in males and all dose levels tested in females, suggesting that females are more sensitive than males to naled poisoning.

Exposure to naled’s breakdown product dichlorvos causes increased aggression and impaired memory. The Indian biochemists mentioned above found that fighting aggression was increased about 5 times

Inert Ingredients

Like most pesticides, commercial naled-containing insecticides contain ingredients other than naled. Many of these ingredients, according to U.S. pesticide law, are called “inert.” Except for tests of acute effects, toxicology tests required for the registration of a pesticide are not conducted with the combination of ingredients found in commercial products.

Most inert ingredients are not identified on product labels, and little information about them is publicly available.

Symptoms of Exposure

Symptoms of exposure to naled and all organophosphate insecticides include headaches, muscle twitching, nausea, diarrhea, difficult breathing, naled kills insects by inhibiting acetylcholinesterase (AChE), an enzyme involved in the transmission of nerve impulses from one nerve cell to another. This causes a “jam” in the transmission system, resulting in restlessness,depression, seizures, and loss of consciousness.

Toxicity to the Nervous System

A symptom of exposure to naled that occurs at low doses (whether by breathing, through the skin, or orally) is inhibition of acetylcholinesterase (AChE).

In studies conducted by naled manufacturers, exposure of rats to naled in air at a dose of 0.3 milligrams per kilogram of body weight (mg/kg) per day for three weeks, skin exposures of 20 mg/kg per day for 4 weeks, and oral exposure of 10 mg/ kg per day for 4 weeks caused inhibition of AChE.

Long-term exposure also caused AChE inhibition; reduced AChE activity occurred in dogs exposed orally to 2 mg/kg per day for 1 year and in rats exposed orally to the same dose for 2 years.

In addition, the long-term study with dogs found that doses of 2 mg/kg per day also caused mineralization of the spinal cord.

Naled’s breakdown product dichlorvos inhibits the activity in rats of a nervous system enzyme called neuropathy target esterase.

In experiments conducted by biochemists at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (India), doses of 6 mg/kg per day reduced the enzyme’s activity by about 40 percent.

Inhibition of this enzyme causes partial paralysis of the hind legs followed by incoordination.

Toxicity Caused by Breathing Naled

Naled is more potent when exposure occurs through breathing than when exposure occurs through eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water.

Toxicologists at the University of California found that inhalation was 20 times more toxic to rats than oral dosing (dosing through the mouth) of naled.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) came to a similar conclusion based on tests submitted to the agency by naled’s manufacturer: the dose required to cause cholinesterase inhibition through inhalation exposure was less than 1/6 of the lowest oral dose causing the same effect.

An additional study by the University of California researchers mentioned above found that small droplets of naled (the size produced by ultra low volume sprayers often used in mosquito spraying) were about four times more acutely toxic than larger droplets.

Dibrom Concentrate

(EPA Registration No. 5481-480) contains the inert ingredient aromatic hydrocarbon solvent (Chemical Abstract Services number 64742-94-5), also called solvent naphtha.

This solvent contains two aromatic hydrocarbons, naphthalene and 1,2,4- trimethylbenzene. Dibrom 8 Emulsive (EPA Registration No. 5481-479) contains naphthalene. Dibrom 8 Miscible (EPA Registration No. 34704-351) contains solvents4 whose ingredients can include naphthalene and trimethylbenzene.

Naphthalene has been classified by EPA as a possible human carcinogen because it caused lung tumors in mice following inhalation.

Naphthalene exposure also causes headaches, restlessness, lethargy, nausea, diarrhea, and anemia.

Anemia in newborns can be caused by exposure during pregnancy.

1,2,4-trimethylbenzene is irritating to eyes and skin. It can depress the central nervous system and cause headache, fatigue, nausea, and anxiety. It has also caused asthmatic bronchitis.

Exposure to Naled’s Breakdown Product Increases Aggressiveness and Disrupts Learning

In laboratory animals, exposure to naled’s breakdown product dichlorvos causes more frequent fighting and hinders learning. Number of fighting episodes (per minute, with standard deviations) ore common among exposed rats than among unexposed ones.

Exposed animals also required more trials than unexposed ones to learn an avoidance behavior, indicating a “severe deterioration in their memory and learning functions.”

Eye and Skin Irritation

Naled is a “severe” eye irritant and is “corrosive” to skin. All three frequently used commercial Dibrom products pose similar hazards.

Labels of two of the products warn “causes irreversible eye and skin damage and the third states that it is “corrosive” and “causes eye damage and skin damage.” Skin irritation was documented by physicians soon after naled’s use in the U.S. began.

Effects on the Circulatory System

In a long-term feeding study conducted by naled’s manufacturer, naled caused anemia in dogs at all but the lowest dose level tested. Exposures of 2 mg/kg per day reduced the number of red blood cells and the amount of hemoglobin (the oxygen-carrying pigment) in the blood.20

Effects on Reproduction

Dichlorvos, naled’s breakdown product, interferes with prenatal brain development.

Biologists at the University of Oslo found that dosing guinea pigs with 15 mg/kg of dichlorvos twice daily for three days during pregnancy caused a significant (15 percent) decrease in the offspring’s brain size.

The guinea pigs were dosed with dichlorvos between the 40th and 50th day of their pregnancy, a time when the fetal brain is undergoing a growth spurt.

In addition, University of Michigan researchers showed that naled exposure causes delays in the development of rat embryos. For example, exposure of pregnant rats on the ninth day of their pregnancy caused a significant delay in the closing of the embryo’s neural tube.

Naled and dichlorvos can be passed from mothers to their offspring through nursing. German researchers found both insecticides in milk from cows that had been treated with naled.

Ability to Cause Genetic Damage (Mutagenicity)

Naled damaged bacteria’s genetic material in laboratory tests conducted by geneticists at Monash University (Australia)24 as well as biologists at Texas Tech University.

Naled’s breakdown product DICHLORVOS also causes genetic damage.

A team of Greek and Dutch scientists found that injections of dichlorvos at weekly intervals in mice caused a 3-fold increase in the number of mutations in liver cells.

A team of geneticists from the National Research Centre (Egypt) found that oral doses of dichlorvos given to mice, or feeding mice diclorvos-treated beans, increased the incidence of chromosome abnormalities in both spleen and sperm cells.

Ability to Cause Cancer (Carcinogenicity)

EPA classifies naled as a “Group E” chemical. Group E chemicals have demonstrated “evidence of noncarcinogenicity” in laboratory tests.

Naled’s breakdown product DICHLORVOS however, is classified as “possibly carcinogenic to humans,” with “sufficient evidence in experimental animals” for its carcinogenicity by the International Agency for Research on Carcinogens. The agency gave dichlorvos this classification because it caused forestomach tumors, leukemia, and pancreatic tumors in laborators tests with rats and mice.

In children, exposure to dichlorvos has been linked with increased cancer risks. Researchers at the University of North Carolina found an association between exposure to dichlorvos “no-pest” strips during pregnancy or during childhood and the incidence of three types of childhood cancer: leukemias, brain tumors, and lymphoma.

Missouri Department of Health researchers found similar results for childhood brain cancer.

Effects on the Immune System

Both naled and its breakdown product DICHLORVOS inhibited an enzyme in white blood cells called monocyte esterase, according to a study conducted by researchers at the Technicon Science Center.

Monocyte esterases are an “integral component”33 of the process by which white blood cells eliminate virus-infected cells from our bodies and monitor for precancerous cells.


A study submitted to EPA by Shell Chemical Co. showed that “the toxic effects of naled were potentiated by co-administration of Ciodrin, malathion, and methyl parathion. All three are insecticides in the organophosphate family.

Special Susceptibility

Malnourished individuals may be particularly susceptible to naled poisoning. Researchers from the Institute of Hygiene and Occupational Health (Bulgaria) studied naled’s effects on rats that were fed a low-protein diet and found that naled was almost twice as toxic to them as it was to rats fed a normal diet. In addition, the rats fed a low-protein diet developed liver damage from their naled exposure.

Contamination of Food

The U.S. Department of Agriculture documented contamination of strawberries, peppers, and beans with naled’s breakdown product dichlorvos.

Water Contamination

Insecticides in naled’s chemical family, the organophosphates, are com-Malnutrition Increases Naled’s Toxicity Naled inhibits the activity of an immune system enzyme. It is also more toxic to malnourished animals than animals fed a normal diet.

Median lethal dose

(milligrams per kilogram of body weight in rats) mon contaminants of urban streams and rivers. However, neither naled or its breakdown product dichlorvos were included in the national water quality monitoring program currently being conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey.

This means that no systematic information is available about naled contamination of U.S. streams, rivers, or wells.

EPA also does not have monitoring data for naled or its breakdown products in ground or surface water.

Air Contamination

Naled can persist in air up to several days after treatment. University of California, Davis toxicologists measured both naled and its breakdown product dichlorvos in the air around a naledtreated orange grove for three days after application.


Aerial applications of naled drift (move from the target site during application) for significant distances. Entomologists from the University of Florida measured naled contamination 750 meters (2400 feet) downwind from sprayed areas. They suggest that nospray buffer zones greater than 750 meters in width “be placed around ecologically sensitive areas.

Effects on Beneficial Insects

Because it is a broad spectrum insecticide, it is not surprising that naled impacts beneficial insects, those that provide important economic benefits to farmers. In a study submitted as part of naled’s registration process, naled was “highly toxic” to honey bees.

Follow-up studies found that this toxicity decreased rapidly during the first day after treatment. Naled’s toxicity to other species of bees (alfalfa leafcutting bees and alkali bees) is more persistent than for honey bees. It can “mimic long residual [persistent] materials,” reducing leafcutting bee numbers 48 hours after treatment.

Parasitoid wasps (wasps that lay their eggs in juvenile stages of other insects, which then are killed as the wasps hatch and develop) can also be poisoned by low-level exposure to naled.

Naled (and Dichlorvos)Inhibit the Immune System

According to U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers, a wasp that parasitizes fruit flies was killed by a naled and protein bait mixture designed to kill fruit flies.

Naled is also highly toxic to a predatory mite.

A University of Florida zoologist studied areas in Florida where regular mosquito spraying occurred with Dibrom and another insecticide. He found a “major loss” in insect diversity in sprayed sites. Wasps showed “some of the most dramatic drops in species diversity.”47 Scale insects, whose populations are normally controlled by parasitic wasps, increased.

Effects on Birds

According to EPA, naled is moderately to highly toxic to birds. The most sensitive species tested by naled’s manufacturer during the registration process was the Canada goose, killed by 37 mg/kg of naled.

According to tests conducted by naled’s manufacturer, this insecticide also affects bird reproduction. Mallard ducks eating food treated with naled laid fewer eggs, produced fewer viable eggs, and hatched fewer ducklings than unexposed mallards.

Effects on Fish

According to EPA, naled is very highly toxic to lake trout; highly toxic to rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, and catfish; and moderately toxic to sunfish, minnow, and bass. The most sensitive species in tests submitted to EPA by naled’s manufacturer was lake trout, with an LC50 (median lethal concentration; the dose required to kill 50 percent of test animals) of 87 parts per billion (ppb). Naled also causes effects on fish other than death. In a test conducted by naled’s manufacturer, a concentration of 15 ppb impaired the growth of fathead minnows

Effects on Other Aquatic Animals

Ecologically important insects are killed by naled. According to a naled manufacturer, a concentration of 8 ppb kills stoneflies.50 Research conducted by the Arctic Health Research Center (Alaska) showed that water striders were killed 300 feet from a naled fogger.

Stoneflies are important nutrient cyclers in streams and water striders are scavengers and predators. Aquatic arthropods are also impacted by naled. Waterfleas are killed by less than 0.5 ppb of naled in tests conducted by naled’s manufacturer, and less than 0.2 ppb disrupts waterflea growth. Shrimp are killed by less than 10 ppb. According to EPA, naled is “very highly toxic” to oysters. Sea urchins are also sensitive to naled exposure. University of Miami researchers showed that concentrations of less than 4 ppb disrupt normal development of embryos.

Effects on Endangered Species

Evaluations by both EPA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have concluded that use of naled puts endangered mammals, fish, mussels, and other species at risk. In addition, there is field evidence of naled’s hazards for endangered species.

Dibrom spraying (along with spraying of another insecticide) was “directly correlated with the precipitous decline in the Schaus Swallowtail populations on Key Largo [FL], according to a University of Florida zoologist. This swallowtail is listed as an endangered species under both Florida and federal law.

A University of Florida entomologist studying a different rare butterfly, the Florida lacewing, found higher populations in unsprayed areas than in sprayed areas. (See Figure 7.) He concluded that “it is likely that chemical applications play an important role in affecting the population size and behavior of these species.

Effects on Plants

Insecticides are typically not expected to damage plants. However, University of California researchers showed that naled treatment caused brown lesions in celery and bronzing of strawberries.The strawberry damage was accompanied by reduced photosynthesis (using sunlight to produce sugars) and closing of leaf openings (stomata).60 Brazilian researchers found that naled also “drastically reduced” tomato pollen germination. In aquatic plants, naled reduces photosynthesis. In laboratory tests, a naled concentration of 1 ppm reduced photosynthesis by estuary algae by over 50 percent.


** Information originally sourced from from Sonoran Sunsets

[Original page on this site can be found here – go there to see many comments.]

Photo: via

Dr. Jeffrey Dach: Is it Zika Virus or Glyphosate Exposure?

Spraying Glyphosate / Roundup

Spraying Monsanto’s Glyphosate/Roundup in a field

Is It Zika Virus or Glyphosate Exposure ?

by Jeffrey Dach MD

The news media has been reporting the Zika virus as the cause of microcephaly.  The story originated in a Monsanto chemical industry press release dated Feb 17, 2016 which was then copied over the news media.  The Zika virus was discovered in Uganda in 1947, and there have been no reports of microcephaly in Uganda.  A US news article says, according to Associated Press journalists who visited the Zika Forest in Uganda on Feb 1, 2016, local officials have no concern about the Zika virus.(24)

New England Journal Reports on Microcephaly

A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine reported Zika Virus surveillance in Colombia.(80-81)  Of 50 babies reported with microcephaly, only four (8 %) had laboratory evidence of congenital Zika virus infection on RT-PCR. The other 46 cases (92 %)  were due to other causes.

Of 1850 pregnant women reported infected with Zika virus, no babies were born with microcephaly.  The authors state: (80-81)

“maternal infection with the Zika virus during the third trimester of pregnancy is not linked to structural abnormalities in the fetus.”

Since 92% of microcephaly babies are not caused by maternal Zika virus, perhaps we should be looking for other preventable causes.

Dr Yaneer Bar-Yam reviewed this same data from the Colombia surveillance  study.

After reviewing this data, Dr Yaneer Bar-Yam concluded in his own report entitled: “Is Zika the cause of Microcephaly?” that there is no direct link between zika virus and microcephaly, and he proposed pesticide exposure (pyriproxyfen) in the drinking water as an alternative explanation(99):

“This (data) would seem to rule out Zika as a cause of microcephaly. This gives a consistent interpretation that there is no direct link between Zika and microcephaly except for random co-occurrence.”….”An alternative cause of microcephaly in Brazil could be the pesticide pyriproxyfen, which is cross-reactive with retinoic acid, which causes microcephaly, and is being used in drinking water.”(99)

Dr Tiago Baptista Questions Zika as Sole Cause of Microcephaly

Maternal viral infection with rubella or cytomegalovirus have been known to cause fetal malformation and fetal demise. There is no doubt that viral illness during pregnancy is best avoided.(47-55)

However, Dr Tiago Baptista in a 2016 BMJ article questions “whether the surge in reported cases of microcephaly is entirely due to Zika virus infection“(55)  He says:

The risk of microcephaly after maternal infection is estimated at roughly one in 100 women… This is a relatively low risk compared with other causal infections such as cytomegalovirus.”(55)

A Distraction From the Real Cause- Exposure to Glyphosate Causes Microcephaly and other Congenital Anomalies

I suggest that the Zika virus is merely a distraction away from the real cause, agrichemical exposure from Monsanto’s Round-Up Herbicide, glyphosate, (1-4)

microcephaly_glyphosate_zika2Dr Alejandra Paganelli reported in 2010 that “Glyphosate-based herbicides produce teratogenic effects on vertebrates by impairing retinoic acid signaling.” (8)

Left image: baby born with microcephaly. 

News media blames the Zika Virus courtesy of BBC News.

Dr Paganelli concludes: “(congenital malformations) “produced by Glyphosate Based Herbicides are mainly a consequence of the increase of endogenous retinoid activity. ” (8)

Dr Sylvia Lopez

In 2012, Dr Silvia L. Lopez reviewed the effects of agricultural chemicals, glyphosate based herbicides, in human and animal models.(9)  She says:

“It is very well known that acute or chronic increase of retinoic acid (RA) levels leads to teratogenic effects during human pregnancy and in experimental models. The characteristic features displayed by Retinoic Acid embryopathy in humans include brain abnormalities such as microcephaly, microphtalmia, and impairment of hindbrain development; abnormal external and middle ears (microtia or anotia), mandibular and midfacial underdevelopment, and cleft palate.” (9)

Note: Retinoic Acid is Vitamin A Derivative.

Dr Benitez-Leite

glyphosate causes microcephalyDr Benitez-Leite reported 52 cases of malformations in babies born of women exposed to agricultural chemicals. The congenital malformations observed include anencephaly, microcephaly, facial defects, myelomeningocele, cleft palate, ear malformations, polydactily, syndactily all consistent with the well-known and expected syndrome caused by upregulation of the Retinoic Acid pathway.(10)

Left image: Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide contains glyphosate.

Upregulation of Retinoic Acid Pathway

A number of reports have linked arial spraying with the mosquito larvicide pyriproxyfen to birth defects such as microcephaly in the crop sprayed towns of Northeast Brazil.(106-108)

Pyriproxyfen disrupts retinoic acid (vitramin A) signalling, a known mechanism for microcephaly (106-108)

In 1995, Dr Kenneth Rothman reported in NEJM that High Vitamin A Intake causes birth defects. (109)

Worldwide Pesticide Sales

Pesticide Sales (Note: Brazil)

Read the rest of the article here. Originally published June 16, 2016

Top photo: Agricultural Worker spraying field with glyphosate courtesy of Indiana Public Media.

From Dr. Mercola: Zika: Brazil Admits It’s Not the Virus

open air canals in Brazil are heavily pesticided

Open Air Canals in Brazil are heavily pesticided

Zika: Brazil Admits It’s Not the Virus, August 16, 2016

By Dr. Joseph Mercola

Amidst growing fear-based propaganda warning of the threat of Zika virus comes a quiet admission from health officials in Brazil: Zika alone may not be responsible for the rise in birth defects that plagued parts of the country.

While there is some evidence suggesting Zika virus may be linked to the birth defect microcephaly, and the virus has been spreading throughout Brazil, rates of the condition have only risen to very high rates in the northeast section of Brazil.

Since the virus has spread throughout Brazil, but extremely high rates of microcephaly have not, officials are now being forced to admit that something else is likely at play.

Dr. Fatima Marinho, director of information and health analysis at Brazil’s ministry of health, told the journal Nature, “We suspect that something more than Zika virus is causing the high intensity and severity of cases.”1

Nearly 90 Percent of Brazil Microcephaly Cases Occurred in the Northeast

Since last November, more than 1,700 confirmed cases of congenital microcephaly or other birth defects of the central nervous system have been reported in Brazil.

When the cases first began and were reportedly linked to Zika virus, health officials believed they’d see “an explosion of birth defects” across Brazil, according to Marinho.2 But that hasn’t happened.

Data compiled by Marinho and colleagues, which has been submitted for publication, suggest socio-economic factors may be involved. Most of the women who gave birth to babies with microcephaly were poor and lived in small cities or on the outskirts of big cities.

In addition, the outbreak occurred in a largely poverty-stricken agricultural area of Brazil that uses large amounts of banned pesticides.

Between these factors and the lack of sanitation and widespread vitamin A and zinc deficiency, you have the basic framework for an increase in poor health outcomes among newborn infants in that area.

Environmental pollution and toxic pesticide exposure have been positively linked to a wide array of adverse health effects, including birth defects. For instance:

Vitamin A deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of microcephaly3

The CDC lists malnutrition and exposure to toxic chemicals as known risk factors4

The CDC also notes certain infections during pregnancy, including rubella, cytomegalovirus, toxoplasmosis and others, are risk factors

Data Is Lacking to Confirm Zika-Microcephaly Link

It’s also been suggested that microcephaly may be the result of Zika virus occurring alongside other infections, such as dengue and chikungunya.

The Brazilian doctor who first reportedly established the link between Zika virus and microcephaly is even considering whether another disease, Bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV), may be involved, as BVDV proteins were also detected in the brains of three fetuses with microcephaly.

BVDV causes birth defects in cattle but is not known to infect people. Researchers suggested that infection with Zika virus may make it easier for BVDV to infect humans.5

Adding to the complexities, much of the microcephaly data from Brazil comes from incomplete hospital reports. In most cases, tests to confirm Zika infection were not carried out.

In June 2016, the Zika in Infants and Pregnancy Study was launched in Puerto Rico. It aims to monitor up to 10,000 pregnant women to examine Zika virus along with nutritional, socio-economic and environmental factors and their potential link to birth defects. However, the results of a similar study have only raised further doubts.

Read the rest of the article here.

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Photo from Reuters. Fateful Harvest.

Site: New York City sprays the Dominicans and Puerto Ricans for “Zika prevention” and West Nile virus

Map West Nile Zika Pesticide Spraying August 2016 NYC

Map West Nile-Zika Pesticide Spraying August 2016 NYC Inwood Washington Heights

From the War Against All Puerto Ricans site, New York City sprays the Dominicans and Puerto Ricans for “Zika prevention:

At 3:20 a.m. on August 17, a public address system passed repeatedly under my apartment. I woke up, looked out my window and saw a police car with a mounted bullhorn. A large truck followed behind. They moved together slowly – about 10 miles an hour – as the truck sprayed a 30-foot cloud into the air, which nearly reached my window.

The recorded message from the police car was garbled.

I couldn’t understand any of it, even after they passed under my window six times, spraying both sides of the street until 4 a.m.

It looked something like this:

Reuters truck Zika Spraying
The indecipherable “police message” was clearly a half-hearted compliance with a legal notice requirement.

I was curious what the City of New York was doing to my neighborhood at 4 a.m., with garbled police messages.

They had sprayed my neighbourhood for “Zika Virus” and “West Nile Virus.” Nobody had told me about it.

Even when I awakened at 3:20 a.m., and heard a blurred “police message,” nobody had informed me.

So I scoured the internet until I found this:
nyc spray schedule pesticides west nile virus 2016

I then researched this “Zika spraying” and found this (map at top).

This is the entire map for “Zika virus” and “West Nile virus” spraying in Manhattan.

All of it was done north of 155th street, in the Washington Heights and Inwood sections.

Nowhere else in Manhattan, did any of this spraying occur.

I dug a bit further, and found a NYC Dept. of Health report which claimed that this area – and this area alone – had been “treated with an adulticide due to a significant presence of Aedes albopictus, or Asian Tiger mosquitoes.”


This Asian Tiger mosquito is unusually finicky. It came all the way from Asia, but it only congregates in specific zip code areas of Manhattan…the ones with the highest concentration of Latino residents.

The Asian Tiger mosquito will only eat mofongo and asopao, and will date your sister if she has a college degree.

It will rarely venture below 155th street…and never, ever below 96th street, because it simply abhors white meat.


If this analysis of the Asian Tiger mosquito seems ridiculous – and it is ridiculous – then there is only one other explanation.

They sprayed only in Washington Heights and Inwood, because of the Latino population that lives there.

Apparently, the NYC Dept. of Health wants to combat Zika, by spraying the people rather than the mosquitoes.

Someone should explain to NYC, that spraying Dominicans will not contain the Zika virus.

Even if a Dominican in Washington Heights has Zika, spraying them with insecticides is useless.
You need to spray the mosquito, not the Latino.

The only thing accomplished by this racist spraying, is the following:

  • It causes pulmonary complications in the Dominican
  • It assuages the ignorance of white voters below 96th street
  • It enriches the producer of the insecticide, and the city contractor who delivers it

Here is the information which I found, about this nearly-secret spraying of Northern Manhattan.

The George Washington Bridge is the busiest bridge in the world, with 400,000 vehicles passing over it every day.

The fumes from the GWB have already triggered an asthma epidemic in Northern Manhattan.

In the future, when New York City decides to fumigate the Latinos in Northern Manhattan, we would appreciate being told about it.

We would also appreciate, if other people were fumigated too.

Visit the comments at the original post via War Against All Puerto Ricans here.

* * *

From No Spray Coalition:

Sadly, in addition to this neighborhood, many other New Yorkers through all the boroughs are being sprayed again this summer – it is true that the bulk of Manhattan rarely gets sprayed because this would surely attract mainstream media attention.

The city is up to the 8th pesticide spraying “event” by truck of Duet (a new pesticide in the equation) and Anvil 10+10 this season. The number of dousings seems to be something the city is boasting about in its press releases.

The next spraying will take place on August 29th, 2016 in Staten Island and Queens.

The Department of Health press releases continue to garner little media attention, and the notification to communities, as the War Against All Puerto Ricans site notes, remains poor; the police message, if you even hear it, once the spraying is underway, is very fast and typically garbled, and so basically none of these “notifications” mean anything and people remain being poisoned by these dangerous pesticides with no way to avoid it.


Goats eating weeds in Prospect Park

Not kidding around: Prospect Park-goers can watch these goats gobble up invasive species in Brooklyn’s backyard until October.

Enabling goats and sheep to graze areas instead of herbiciding — that was the gist of a proposal that the No Spray Coalition began making 12 years ago to the Parks Dept., the Board of Health, and at meetings with the Mayor’s office. All along the way, officials poo-pooed it. And now, finally, it’s actually happening.

Mitchel Cohen made that proposal after hearing a speaker at the Beyond Pesicides conference from Wyoming speak about how she’d transport hundreds of sheep and goats to areas needing weeding (so they say) instead of using toxic chemicals like Monsanto’s “Roundup” (glyphosate).

Mitchel and Cathryn Swan also made the proposal to a meeting with Mayor de Blasio‘s staff last year (they said, “seriously?”), and again to a meeting with Assistant Parks Commissioner Kavanaugh organized by the Poison Parks coalition. Kavanaugh scoffed. But here it is. There are of course many wrinkles to be ironed out, but …. Yay!


By Lauren Gill
reprinted from the Brooklyn Paper

It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s goat to do it!

A crew of eight goats will eat their way through Prospect Park’s weeds and poison ivy over the next five months ­ an ideal summer gig for kids of all ages, according to the animals’ owner.

“They get to live the goat dream,” said Annlilita Cihanek, co-owner of Green Goats in upstate New York, which rents out its munching mammals as lawn mowers. “They get to eat for a living and they’re doing what they all wish they’d get to do.”

Rhinebeck’’s team ­ which includes a mother-daughter duo and a pair of sisters ­ will graze near the Prospect Heights end of the park, in an area called the Vale of Cashmere, and will be separated from the public by an eight-foot construction fence.

The vexatious vegetation sprung up on the site after Hurricane Sandy knocked down around 50 trees in the area, according to Grace McCreight of the Prospect Park Alliance ­ the organization that maintains the park.

The Alliance is paying $15,000 to rent the hungry herd via a taxpayer-funded state grant aimed at cleaning up the 2012 superstorm’s mess.

The billies and nannies will have until October to scarf down the invasive species before Cihanek takes them back to the farm for the winter.

And McCreight is confident they are up to the challenge ­ goats eat about 25 percent of their body weight each day and can chew nonstop whenever they’re awake, she said.

To welcome the new residents to the neighborhood, the park will host a “bleat and greet” on May 22 ­ where local families can get to know the goats and their herder, and learn to make goat-milk ice-cream.

And Cihanek said her kids get along fine with the human kind ­ these goats love people, she said, and no butts about it.

“They’re very friendly, maybe a little too friendly,” she said. “A lot of times they’ll eat, and when they lay down and chew, they tend to lay right in front of where all the people are.”

Anti-Pesticides Activists Release Interactive Map Showing Where New York City Sprays Monsanto’s Cancer-Causing “RoundUp” | Action February 16th at Parks Department HQ

See if you are live near a carcinogenic park

See if you are live near a carcinogenic park in NYC

Anti-Pesticides Activists Release Interactive Map Showing Where New York City Sprays Monsanto’s Cancer-Causing “RoundUp”

Action TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2016
2:30 P.M.
Stop Shopping Choir and anti-spray activists at Parks Department in support of poison-free parks will meet, speak & sing on the steps directly in front of “the Arsenal,” headquarters of the NYC Parks Dept.
830 5th Ave. and 62nd St. in Manhattan, snow or shine!

In addition to Rev. Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir and the Lower East Side Girls Club choir, speakers include Bertha Lewis (The Black Institute) and Mitchel Cohen (No Spray Coalition).

New York City residents can now discover if New York City sprays Monsanto’s cancer-causing Roundup on their corners, parks, playgrounds, sidewalks and picnic areas. The interactive map is published at

The map will be presented to Parks Commissioner Silver at a meeting with the The Black Institute, Reverend Billy and The Stop Shopping Choir, No Spray Coalition and other members of the Coalition Against Poison Parks, on Tuesday afternoon following the gathering on the Parks Dept.’s front steps. The groups demand an end to the use of Roundup and glyphosate in New York City and full public disclosure.

Reverend Billy and The Stop Shopping Choir is pursuing legal options to force the City to reveal all locations where glyphosate is sprayed.

According to “Pesticide Use by New York City Agencies in 2014,” published in June 2015, New York City applied glyphosate 2,748 times. Through a Freedom of Information Law request, the City has revealed only 2,000 locations of glyphosate in 2014. Data from Central Park and other areas managed by non-profit private conservancies has not been shared with the public.

Before the meeting, there will be a choir performance in support of the proposed RoundUp Ban on the steps of the Parks Department headquarters at the Arsenal at Central Park. Members of the Lower East Side Girls Club and The Stop Shopping Choir will perform at 2:30pm. The public are welcome to join the Choirs in song.

Monsanto’s RoundUp continues to be the major weapon in the New York City Parks Department’s arsenal of dangerous herbicides. The World Health Organization now says that RoundUp’s key ingredient, glyphosate, is a probable carcinogen.

The frequency of Parks Department’s application of Monsanto’s RoundUp doubled since 2013 when 1,300 spraying events were reported, paralleling the laying off of hundreds of workers who used to “weed” by hand.

In 2014, overall herbicides use increased by 16% with a 9% increase in the volume of glyphosate applied — all at a time when the public is becoming increasingly concerned with synthetic pesticides and herbicides.

Studies have found glyphosate to also be linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other cancers, birth defects, and celiac disease, allergies, asthma, and chronic fatigue syndrome. Glyphosate is also one of the main causes of the devastation of the Monarch butterfly and the poisoning of pets and wildlife. Pesticides are hormone disruptors; many have been linked to Parkinson’s disease and other grave neurological disorders.

Glyphosate is persistent in body tissue, blood and breast milk. Exposure to RoundUp and other herbicides and pesticides has caused pregnancy problems, including stillbirths, infertility, and greatly lowered sperm counts.

The Coalition Against Poisoned Parks is calling on NYC’s government to stop its use of glyphosate in our public parks and other public areas.

Sign the petition to Ban Roundup in NYC Parks here.

Stop the Poisoning of New York City Parks [Petition Against Glyphosate/Roundup]

no glyposate reverend billy parks department arsenal

Reverend Billy Talen The Arsenal Parks Department No Round Up

A new petition has been started to get glyphosate, known commercially as Roundup, out of New York City Parks by NYC-based The Black Institute. Despite the information out there about health and environmental concerns related to the herbicide, manufactured by corporate behemoth Monsanto, the city agency thus far has been resistant to take the herbicide out of its, shall we say, arsenal (also the name of the building that houses NYC Parks offices at Central Park). The petition states:

In New York City, our parks are undeniable, timeless community magnets. Our parks provide recreation, relaxation, and a place to connect with others. Unfortunately, the New York City Parks Department has long used a chemical poison tied to causing cancer to control weeds. The toxic weed killer, glyphosate, widely used under its trade name, RoundUp, contains a chemical that is linked to irreversible neurological and endocrine-disrupting effects, severe kidney damage, asthma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and birth defects, amongst other grave and life altering conditions.

It is incumbent upon us to make our parks in NYC as safe as possible. Sign and share the petition today telling the Parks Department and New York City Council to stop poisoning our parks. We can and must do better because New Yorkers deserve poison free parks!

Photo:[October 5, 2015] – Coalition of activists led by Reverend Billy Talen stormed the Arsenal, which houses the offices of New York City’s Department of Parks and Recreation to raise the alarm of the unsafe use of toxic Roundup being sprayed by Parks personnel all over New York City.

Sign and share the petition today telling the Parks Department and New York City Council to stop poisoning our parks.

Sign the Petition: Stop Spraying toxic pesticides! Decrease cancer and asthma rates and save the pollinators!!

To sign the petition, CLICK HERE

Athena Malloy and Carolina Kroon collect signatures on THIS petition (sign it!) outside the Park Slope Food Coop on Halloween.

Athena Malloy and Carolina Kroon collect signatures on THIS petition (sign it!) outside the Park Slope Food Coop on Halloween.

We, the undersigned, sincerely request an end to the use of harmful pesticides, Anvil 10+10 and Dibrum.

Stop Spraying toxic pesticides! Decrease cancer and asthma rates and save the pollinators!!

These are used as an attempt to counteract the West Nile virus throughout NYC boroughs and many parts of the nation.

Anvil 10+10 states on its label that it is toxic to bees. Dibrum is an organophosphate that EPA research shows is not only harmful to bees, it’s also carcinogenic and detrimental to the endocrine system of humans.

Honeybee populations have declined by 40-50% in the last few years! And the Agriculture Department says a quarter of the American diet, from apples to cherries to watermelons to onions, depends on pollination by honeybees. Please stop the use of these dangerous pesticides and use alternative means to prevent and tend to the few who have been harmed by the West Nile Virus.

One factor that would lessen the population is to increase the presence of mosquito predators. Bats and dragonflies are natural predators of mosquitoes who are also being harmed by the use of pesticides.


Petition was initiated by Brooklynites Carolina Kroon and Athena Malloy.

In the News: Fighting West Nile Virus Shouldn’t Mean Poisoning People (Newsweek)

Spray Truck in Brentwood, California

Spray Truck in Brentwood, California

From this week’s Newsweek:

Fighting West Nile Virus Shouldn’t Mean Poisoning People

by Kristin Wartman

On September 21, at around 9 p.m., Keegan Stephan was biking home through the Sunnyside neighborhood of Queens, New York, when he decided to stop at a Mexican food truck to grab a quick dinner. As he waited in line with about five other customers, a police car crept by, warning pedestrians through a loudspeaker to get indoors immediately because pesticides for West Nile virus control were being administered. A truck trailed behind the police, spraying a fine mist into the air.

Local governments are supposed to give residents ample warning that pesticides will be sprayed in their area. A spokesman from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene tells Newsweek, “Our team does not spray in the presence of residents.” Yet as his food was being prepared, Stephan watched a thick cloud of pesticides waft up and then land on him and his fellow customers. “They sprayed people and food in the open air,” he says. “They literally gave us seconds to go anywhere because the truck was right behind the cop car.”

West Nile is usually transmitted to humans when an infected mosquito bites them. In rare cases, it can lead to serious neurological illnesses, such as encephalitis. However, according to the Mayo Clinic, fewer than 1 percent of people who are infected become severely ill. About 70 to 80 percent of people infected will never display symptoms, and many others experience only mild flu-like symptoms. In addition, the average person’s risk of contracting West Nile is extremely low; even in areas where the virus is present, only a very small number of mosquitoes carry the virus. In 2015 (as of September 29), there have been just 17 reported cases of West Nile in the state of New York and one death out of a population of about 20 million people. Nationally, there have been 1,028 cases and 54 deaths out of more than 320 million people.

Sprayings, on the other hand, are very common; the NYC health department sprayed neighborhoods across the city 22 times from June through September this year, and New York is just one of many places in the U.S. where pesticides are sprayed widely. Across the country, from counties all over California to Chicago and Dallas, communities and residential areas are being sprayed with an array of pesticides for mosquito control.

Public health agencies insist the sprayings are effective and an overall public health good: “Mosquito [pesticides] have been shown to be effective in reducing mosquito populations, the number of [West Nile virus] positive mosquito pools and preventing human cases of [the] disease, which provides a net economic benefit,” a health department spokesman says in an email to Newsweek.

However, it’s not clear how effective these efforts are in stymying West Nile. Most cities and counties use what is known as “ultra-low-volume spraying,” which sprays a fine mist of pesticides from trucks or planes. According to a report by Cornell University professor emeritus of ecology and evolutionary biology David Pimentel, the average mosquito kill rate when this method is used is only 21 to 45 percent. Research also shows that many pesticides end up killing or harming a lot of other species, including some that help to keep mosquito populations in check: birds, dragonflies and bats, for example. There’s also the well-documented problem of mosquitoes developing a resistance to commonly used pesticides.

Then there’s the much larger issue of human safety. The pesticides typically used are organophosphates, carbamates or pyrethroids—and they are likely endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), which are known to interfere with or disturb our natural hormonal systems. Government officials say the health risk posed by these chemicals, when used in mosquito sprayings, is minimal since people are being exposed to only low doses. For example, the NYC health department website says, “For these sprayings, the Health Department will use a very low concentration of Anvil 10+10, a synthetic pesticide. When properly used, this product poses no significant risks to human health.” The department, along with health agencies in cities such as Chicago and Dallas, points to prior regulatory consent for the chemicals it sprays, citing Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approval and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mosquito control guidelines.

But researchers who study pesticides say the assessment protocols that the EPS uses to determine whether a chemical is safe are fundamentally flawed. The major assumption used in these safety assessments is that if you expose animals to high doses of a certain chemical, you can extrapolate any effects that you see to smaller doses but eventually land on a dose where the exposure is so low that there are no harmful effects, says Laura Vandenberg, assistant professor of environmental health science at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. But, she says, there is “a large amount of literature on endocrine disruptors challenges this practice.”

The way EDCs and many other chemicals are currently evaluated for safety is based on the principle of “the dose makes the poison.” Bruce Blumberg, professor of pharmaceutical sciences and developmental and cell biology at University of California, Irvine, says, “This idea that there’s some threshold beneath which any given chemical is harmless is probably not true.”

What’s more, Andrea Gore, a professor of pharmacology at the University of Texas at Austin, says the EPA does not test at low doses and “virtually never” looks at effects of exposure during child development. “We know that vulnerability during development is so much higher that you really do need to look at fetal exposure,” she says.

Swampy areas near overhead power lines northwest of Chicago are visible in areas designated for spraying

Swampy areas near overhead power lines northwest of Chicago are visible in areas designated for spraying

The unborn children of pregnant women, babies and children are at heightened risk since many common pesticides are more harmful at crucial windows of development. A major 2014 study found that women who were exposed to pyrethroid pesticides (the pesticide sprayed in New York City this summer was sumithrin, a pyrethroid) both before conception and in the third trimester of pregnancy had increased odds of their child displaying autistic spectrum disorders and developmental delay. It also found that pregnant women in their second and third trimesters exposed to organophosphate pesticides—like chlorpyrifos, which is often used in mosquito sprayings—had an increased risk of having a baby with autistic spectrum disorder.

In fact, the EPA has banned chlorpyrifos from residential use and is considering banning it in agricultural contexts as well. In Gore’s laboratory model, she found that exposure to chlorpyrifos resulted in impaired reproductive function and infertility. It’s also a known neurotoxin and has been implicated in mental development delays and attention problems in children.

In a 1998 study done at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, researchers found that sumithrin demonstrated significant estrogenic activity at relatively high doses and “may contribute to reproductive dysfunction, developmental impairment, and cancer.” But that doesn’t mean low-dose exposure doesn’t matter. Vandenberg, who was not involved in that study, says since sumithrin is not water soluble, it can persist in the fat cells in our bodies, meaning that it can build up in our tissues with repeated exposure. In a 2006 review of the literature on pesticides, researchers found that over time, exposure “may be associated with menstrual cycle disturbances, reduced fertility, prolonged time-to-pregnancy, spontaneous abortion, stillbirths, and developmental defects.”

The NYC health department says its workers “ have been adulticiding and larvaciding since 1999 and have had no reported illnesses associated with our efforts.” But studies that evaluate the health effects of EDCs look for subtle and long-term changes, like the loss of fertility months after exposure, abnormal social behaviors or disruption to brain development, Vandenberg says. These effects often don’t appear until months, years or even decades later. For example, animal and cell studies of the now-banned pesticide DDT predicted increased risk for breast cancer. But it took more than 50 years to complete a study that found exposure in the womb to DDT was associated with increased breast cancer rates in women.

“This is the question of risk-benefit analysis,” says Gore. “What’s the balance of one or two people dying from West Nile verses 100,000 people, or half a million people in Brooklyn being exposed to low levels of a chemical that may or may not cause endocrine disruption in their body? How do you do the formula? What’s the calculation?”

The NYC health department sent Newsweek a multitude of studies that found human health risk from pesticide exposure was minimal. For example, the department cites a 2004 study that found spraying for West Nile virus in New York City did not result in increased visits to the emergency room for asthma. But this speaks to acute exposure, not low-dose exposure or long-term effects. It also cites a CDC report looking at pesticide exposure in Mississippi, North Carolina and Virginia in 2002 and 2003 that found that pesticide metabolites in urine did not increase significantly in residents who lived in areas that were sprayed. But that CDC report also pointed out that “ occupational studies suggest that excessive exposure to these pesticides can cause serious health effects.”

The NYC health department also cites a 2008 study assessing human pesticide exposure in Florida in 2004 and a 2010 study undertaken in Sacramento County, California, both of which found the risk from West Nile to outweigh the risk associated with pesticide exposure. Those studies, however, appeared in the Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association, an organization that represents corporations that manufacture pesticides for mosquito control, including, Clarke, which has a contract with New York City, as well as Orange County, California, and many other local governments.

On Friday, September 11, 2014, Prospect Park in Brooklyn, New York, was filled with people: children with parents, nannies with babies, pregnant women with toddlers in tow. In the early dawn of the previous day, the health department sprayed the park and surrounding neighborhoods with pesticides. Yet no signs to alert residents of the spraying were present. Several moms with small children in the park said they had no idea the park had been sprayed. The city posted notices on lampposts outside the park the day before the spraying, but they were removed by the following afternoon.

The active ingredient in the pesticide used by the NYC health department, according to a spokesman “generally breaks down quickly in sunlight and water and does not leave a toxic residue. Therefore, no special precautions or waiting periods are recommended for outdoor activities after the treatment.” However, according to the manufacturer’s label, while the chemical mix does degrade after nine to 14 hours in sunlight, it can also remain in the soil for 18 to 26 days after application.

There are viable and safer alternatives to indiscriminately spraying for adult mosquitoes; these include placing mosquito fish, which feed on the insects’ larvae, in bodies of water where they breed, as well as introducing or supporting the proliferation of other natural predators of mosquitoes. There are also bacterial agents that can be used to kill mosquito larvae, which appear to be far less detrimental to human health and the environment—and more effective—than spraying pesticides.

“The fundamental problem here is if you want to kill pests, the chemicals that kill them have some amount of toxicity for humans, no matter what the manufacturer tells you,” Blumberg says. “And they’ll say it’s safe based on this idea that ‘dose makes the poison’—but a lot of these chemicals have unexpected effects.”

Via Newsweek

Photo: Justin Sullivan
Bottom Photo: M. Spencer Green/AP

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

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 (, 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

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

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.

Ready for the “Round-up”? Saying “No” to Glyphosate in New York City’s Parks

Reverend Billy and Sister Dragonfly lead the protest in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park against the City’s use of Monsanto’s Roundup

Reverend Billy and Sister Dragonfly lead the protest in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park against the City’s use of Monsanto’s Roundup

When will the City re-examine and change its methods when it comes to its creation of environmental and health chaos?

On August 24, 2015, Reverend Billy drummed this theme (literally), as 40 members of the Church of Stop Shopping and No Spray activists flocked to Prospect Park to initiate a new campaign against the City’s use of the herbicide Glyphosate (Monsanto’s “Roundup”). This past March, the World Health Organization ruled that Roundup is a likely carcinogen, causing birth defects and other serious neurological and biological ailments. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is placing new restrictions on the herbicide. Stopping the use of Glyphosate is the focus of ecological activists worldwide, but the St. Louis-based corporation has its highly paid lobbyists who continue to press local, state and even federal governments to keep using its dangerous product.

Reverend Billy preached to the crowd, “This park is riddled with toxins. The Parks Commissioner can’t seem to pull gyphosate out of the herbicides.” Reverend Billy, Savitri D. and others spoke and the Stop Shopping choir sang about the dangers of Round Up, and especially its poisoning of bees and other beneficial insects. They led a parade through the park chanting and singing past the Parks Department’s beautiful old-time warehouses. The group stopped in the area where the spray trucks are stationed and then tied hot pink cards to the fence that read: “Round Up Kills. Stop Spraying.”


The No Spray Coalition against pesticides has for 14 years opposed the application of glyphosate (Roundup), particularly on sidewalks around schools and parks. In response to our letters and meetings, the City added a colored dye to the chemicals to warn people that it had been applied, so if you see blue or yellow dye on grassy areas, between sidewalk cracks, etc., you know to avoid it. However, young kids see that dye and stomp through it, roll around it it, ride their bikes through it, etc. It is an ATTRACTOR to children, despite the intent.

Around 10 years ago, the No Spray Coalition met with former Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Julius Spiegel, and he agreed to at least have announcements made over the speakers in every public school if glyphosate — or any herbicide — was applied in the general vicinity. This seemed to be a cost-effective no-brainer. But this never happened despite the agreement with Spiegel. His right-hand man, a biochemical “specialist”, engaged us in a debate over glyphosate, saying how “safe” the chemical was despite the written and very thorough information provided from Greenpeace and Beyond Pesticides (one of the co-Plaintiffs in the NoSpray Coalition’s lawsuit against the City, which was settled seven years after filing) showing it to be a dangerous and potential carcinogen.

Those meetings with Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Spiegel were ten years ago. Now, finally, we’re vindicated by an important international agency which has condemned the use of glyphosate, but how many people have been injured in the meantime?

on the walk there ... through the fields...

on the walk there … through the fields…



Brooklyn’s jewel, Prospect Park, is managed by a private organization, the Prospect Park Alliance. The PPA had previously denied using Roundup within the 585 acre park, but a spokesperson for the Alliance now states that the Parks Department does use “small amounts” in the park. For years, the No Spray Coalition and the Brooklyn Greens had met with officials to ban the application of Roundup and other herbicides and pesticides to the perimeter to kill weeds. Workers used to weed the “undesirable flora” by hand, until Parks Department budget cuts over the last 25 years caused them to axe 70 percent of the workforce and replaced their methodical work with the spraying of chemical poisons.

Brooklyn remains the most heavily pesticided and herbicided county in the entire state, a situation exacerbated by the switch to chemical pest controls to substitute for the workers who were laid off.

When something is known to have dangerous environmental and health impacts, no matter what the reason, it should be eliminated from usage. Apparently, the City Council is working on a bill around Round Up and may hold a hearing. It can’t happen soon enough.

It is wonderful the Rev. Billy & co. have picked up this campaign to end Glyphosate and pesticides in New York City.

Listen here for

Listen here to Mitchel’s interview with 10 year old participant (audio to come)


Learn about the dangers of glyphosate and the campaigns against it, here:

International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) concluded “there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity based on laboratory studies.” March 2015

Will City’s Parks Department Stop use of Monsanto’s Roundup After International Report Declares Chemical a Carcinogen?; Washington Square Park Blog, March 27, 2015

Lobbyist claims Monsanto Roundup ingredient Glyphosate safe to drink, then refuses to drink it via BoingBoing, March 27, 2015

Monsanto’s Roundup Is the Most Used Herbicide in NYC Parks Mother Jones, September 2012

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

Spray Truck Spews Pesticides in Brooklyn

Spray truck spews pesticides in Brooklyn (2006)

For the eighth time this summer, New York City government is spraying toxic pesticides, this time in Brooklyn Wednesday night, August 19th. It is one of hundreds of times pesticides have been sprayed throughout NYC over the last 16 years allegedly to control West Nile virus.

The De Blasio Administration has continued in the same manner as the Mayor’s predecessors in the Bloomberg Administration, and the Giuliani Administration which started it all.

Original artwork by Robert Lederman

Original artwork by Robert Lederman

The City is downplaying the dangers of these pesticides, primarily the pyrethroid Anvil 10 + 10 and the carcinogen Piperonyl Butoxide, among other dangerous chemicals in their composition. That’s the City’s propaganda.

These chemicals inflict great harm to human health and the environment. They also kill beneficial insects including dragonflies, butterflies, bees, and harm wildlife, animals, fish and pets.

As was the case with the previous administrations, there is a continued lack of notification. And because there is so little media coverage of this, most people are likely unaware that the spraying is even occurring. They first become aware when they return home from the subway, are out walking their dog, playing basketball, eating in an outdoor restaurant, or as they have their windows open and see or hear the spray truck whizzing by with no notice beforehand (there may be a police car which emits a muffled announcement seconds before). The chemicals remain on playground equipment that their children play on the next day.

Several studies show that mosquito spraying actually increases the number of mosquitoes. Manhattan has not been sprayed in years and has zero “mosquito pools.”

And the City continues to advocate the use of DEET. DEET is absolute poison for children especially. Meanwhile, the Health Department states that children’s toys and play equipment left outside in the spray can be cleaned of pesticides by “washing with soap and water.” That’s it? No gloves? No special preparations needed? If the spraying is safe, as the City maintains, why the concern with washing off the children’s playthings? Shutting windows? Keeping your air conditioner on, with the outside vent closed?

A press release from the NYC Dept of Health issued August 16, 2015 states that the first human case of West Nile Virus Infection for 2015 resulted in the New York resident being briefly hospitalized, treated, and discharged. And now they’re poisoning thousands of people?!

“This first case of West Nile virus disease in New York City provides a vital reminder to protect ourselves against mosquito bites,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “Wearing mosquito repellent when you are outdoors, and long sleeves and pants in the morning and evening will reduce your risk of infection. New Yorkers age 60 and older or persons with weakened immune systems should be especially careful as they are more likely to become seriously ill, and in rare instances die, if infected.”


What Dr. Bassett leaves out is that this same demographic — and add children to it — are even more greatly affected by the pesticides spraying. Why omit that obvious point if human health is the concern?

Human cases of West Nile virus occur each year in New York City, typically from July through October. A total of 318 New Yorkers have been diagnosed with West Nile virus since it was first found in the United States in 1999. That’s an average of around 20 people per year, and most of those people have fully recovered. Which is not to minimize the tragic consequences of WNV to a few people. But poisoning an entire population is not the way to deal with this situation. It is insane.

The City government also stresses that it is applying just a small amount of chemical pesticides (adulticides) to kill adult mosquitoes. Those “small amounts” are just as poisonous — and they bio-accumulate in the body’s tissues year after year — as any other “small amount” of poison. The minimizing of the dangers by the City is completely misleading. It is propaganda and anti-scientific, and Dr. Bassett should (and probably does) know better. It is designed to make the spraying seem OK to the average New Yorker who trusts health officials not to lie to them in this way.

The Dept of Health staff are now issuing reports advocating their spray program. These are often secretarial workers with no expertise or health “experts” who are invested ideologically in the charade of spraying and thus cannot afford to believe that there are untenable risks. There has been no independent review or analysis of pesticides’ impacts on the environment and human health commissioned by NY City officials since the spray program began. Meanwhile, the Health Department would have the general public believe that “there is no significant risk.”

There is great risk. Mass spraying of pesticides is no way to deal with the incidence of mosquitoes said to be carrying West Nile Virus. Increasing, instead, the natural predators of mosquitoes — dragonflies, birds, bats, frogs — is far more effective and much less dangerous.

The harm being done by this spraying needs to end and a new framework be put into place.

The No Spray Coalition demands that the City stop its deadly pesticides spraying program Now — stop poisoning humans and the environment as well as the entire eco-system, animals, wildlife and insects.

* * *

Here is a map of the area in Brooklyn to be sprayed Wednesday night August 19th which includes zip codes: 11210, 11229, 11234, and 11235 which includes parts of Georgetown, Mill Basin, Flatlands, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Marine Park, Midwood, and Mill Island and zip codes 11204, 11209, 11214, 11219, 11223, and 11228 which includes parts of Bath Beach, Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights, Gravesend, Fort Hamilton, and New Utrecht.

Stop NYC’s New Round of Pesticide Spraying, Now

While being sprayed with Anvil 10+10 pesticides including carcinogenic piperonyl butoxide (2006) without warning, young Sunset Park Brooklyn residents try to cover up.

August 11, 2015 — The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOH) renews its annual pesticide-spraying assault on the people of New York City tonight in Staten Island and Queens.

Areas of New Jersey are also being widely sprayed.

All mass spraying of pyrethroid and organophosphate pesticides are dangerous to human health (especially to children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems), as well as to pets, fish, and other animals. The spraying must be halted immediately.


Every year, the NYC DOH grants itself waivers from New York City Local Law 37, a law passed in 2005 in response to growing concerns over the health and environmental consequences of mass-spraying of Malathion (and other organophosphates) and Anvil 10+10 (and other pyrethroids, especially those containing the carcinogen Piperonyl Butoxide).

Only through application and granting of such waivers is the Department of Health enabled to legally conduct the pesticides spraying.

But the NYC DOH is circumventing the law. It applies for a waiver to itself, and then it grants itself pro forma the right and authority to spray deadly pesticides in NYC. No other agency reviews its application. The checks and balances envisioned in Local Law 37 are thus thwarted.

See, especially, a powerful review in City Limits of the waivers to Local Law 37, here.

The No Spray Coalition, which won its lawsuit against the City government in federal court in 2005 and achieved a settlement agreement two years later, is outraged by the spraying. The City’s Department of Health has failed to seriously consider:

a) the admissions it made concerning the dangers of pesticides in the 2007 stipulated Settlement Agreement with the No Spray Coalition, et al. in federal court; and

b) the 4 pillars for waivers in Local Law 37 (referenced also as a separate point in the Settlement Agreement).

These amount to a violation of the terms of the Settlement Agreement as well as key provisions of Local Law 37.

This year’s spray of choice is, once again, Anvil 10+10. It is listed in Local Law 37 as containing piperonyl butoxide and MGK-284. These are both “synergists” in Anvil 10+10, and they are both classified as possible human carcinogens by the EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs.

Local Law 37 prohibits the use of pesticides by NYC in public places if they contain PBO and/or MGK-264. Why are they violating their own law?

“After years of litigation to stop this reckless spraying of pesticides which has contributed to skyrocketing increases in cancer and asthma, and now the collapse of bee colonies in the New York area, I am outraged that the New York City government is renewing its mindless criminal poisoning of the people and environment of our City,”

said Howard Brandstein, coordinator of SOS-FOOD, NY State Against Genetic Engineering, and a plaintiff in the federal lawsuit brought in 2000 by the No Spray Coalition and other organizations against the New York City government’s pesticide-spraying campaign. That lawsuit ended in April 2007 when NYC signed a settlement agreement acknowledging, among other stipulations, that pesticides:

  • may remain in the environment beyond their intended purpose
  • cause adverse health effects
  • kill mosquitoes’ natural predators (such as dragonflies, bats, frogs and birds)
  • increase mosquitoes’ resistance to the sprays, and
  • are not presently approved for direct application to waterways.

The Department of Health contravenes that settlement by now stating that there are “no significant risks” of adverse impact to human health associated with the proper use of this product. Levi Fishman, deputy press secretary at the Dept. of Health, explained to City Limits reporter Elah Feder:

“When properly used, this product poses no significant risks to human health. It degrades rapidly in sunlight, provides little or no residual activity, and does not accumulate in the environment.”

Feder immediately pointed out that “nevertheless, the city advises residents to bring children’s toys, outdoor equipment, and clothing indoors before spraying takes place, and to wash anything that has come in contact with Anvil.” If there are no significant risks, why all that advice?

The fact is, the spraying puts many New York City residents and visitors at grave risk.

“These ignorant and lying politicians and bureaucrats apparently have no problem destroying our health in order to ‘save’ us from the so-called West Nile virus,”

said Howard Brandstein, adding:

“Clearly, the spraying jeopardizes a thousand times more people than the disease.”

The pesticide the City is spraying — “Anvil 10 + 10 — belongs to a class of adulticides known as pyrethroids, which are endocrine disruptors. They mimic hormones such as estrogen, and may cause breast cancer in women and drastically lower sperm counts in men. Pyrethroids have also been associated with prostate cancer, miscarriages and preterm delivery, asthma, toxicity to many vital organs including the nervous system, liver, kidneys and the gastro-intestinal tract, skin rashes, itching and blisters, and nausea and vomiting.

Anvil contains the cancer-causing chemical piperonyl butoxide, which the Environmental Protection Agency lists as a suspected carcinogen. It also contains Sumithrin — a synthetic toxin (not a naturally occurring pyrethrin), made in the laboratory — as well as dangerous benzene-related chemicals (which the label calls “inert ingredients.”)

Thousands of New Yorkers are severely sickened by the spraying every year, but they go unrecorded and unreported. Several members of the No Spray Coalition, including two of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, died from pesticide-related illnesses. Many suffer from Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS) or Asthma caused or exacerbated by the spraying.

The City administration must be made to understand that pesticides are extremely dangerous to human health as well as to the natural environment, and have long-term consequences.

The No Spray Coalition details the reasons for vacating NYC DOH’s waivers as follows:

  1. The Department of Health has illegally circumvented Local Law 37’s attempt to protect against health and environmental dangers;
  2. The City has entered into a multi-year pattern that misinterprets and misuses blindspots in the law, which in general forbids spraying of toxic pesticides on City lands;
  3. The City has failed to abide by its own admissions in the Settlement Agreement with the No Spray Coalition et al. in 2007, review the latest scientific research, and participate in discussions with the No Spray Coalition in good faith;
  4. The City has failed to evaluate the “public health threat” from pesticide spraying as well as West Nile virus. There has been no Environmental Impact Statement in the last 15 years on which to examine the effects of the spraying;
  5. There have been no public hearings in contradiction to the requirements in Local Law 37 and other regulations;
  6. The City has repeatedly failed to adequately notify the public before spraying pesticides, in violation of Local Law 37 and other regulations, and in violation of the Settlement Agreement;
  7. The City has failed to seriously utilize safer alternatives to pesticide spraying;
  8. The City has failed to respond in a timely fashion to important questions and concerns from NY Assembly member William Colton, and others;
  9. The City is illegally spraying toxic pesticides on the people and environment of New York.

The No Spray Coalition strongly urges the City to stop pesticide spraying immediately, reconsider its entire approach, and seek alternative, safe means to control mosquitoes. There are natural, safe ways for each person to ward off mosquitoes. The City should not be poisoning the entire population.

We call on the Mayor and City Council to hold the DOH in violation of the intent of Local Law 37 and other laws, and of the Court-mandated “Settlement Agreement” with the No Spray Coalition, et al., and urge City officials to stop the spraying NOW. Please protect the residents and visitors to New York and the natural environment from the extremely dangerous, unnecessary, ineffective and illegal mass spraying of toxic pesticides.

Stop spraying now. Stop poisoning people, animals and the environment.


This post also appeared at