New York City Spray Program Lies About Risks to Children


The No Spray Coalition condemns the NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene’s new round of indiscriminate pesticide spraying.

The City is basing its actions on a document that received scant public review, titled: The New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene’s “Comprehensive Mosquito Surveillance and Control Plan, 2002.” (note: not at link any longer)

This document is a shoddy and disgraceful piece of disinformation, even worse than the “plans” of previous years. It’s as though the City has learned NOTHING from all the testimony, illnesses and protests from those affected by the spraying of pesticides.

DOH Assertion #1: Page 33 : “Since the effects of the ground and aerial spraying dissipate in a few hours, it is not necessary to wash off outdoor furniture or playground equipment before use, although doing so will not diminish the effectiveness of the pesticide applied.”

Experts working with the No Spray Coalition have found that the spray does NOT dissipate in a few hours: not in air conditioner filters, which toxicologist Dr. Robert Simon found were saturated with pesticides 6 months after the last round of spraying (as well as soil samples taken from Gracie Mansion, the city-owned mayor’s residence); not on seats or playground equipment on which the pesticides pool; and not even in the soil. Under real life circumstances it takes far longer than “a few hours” for the chemicals to break down. And even then, they do not simply “dissipate,” they break down into other chemicals, which are in some cases even more dangerous than the initial spray, which is dangerous enough!

Children, who would be using playground equipment, are most susceptible to pesticides. But – and here’s another fact that the Department of Health has not publicized — children, for reasons yet to be adequately explained, seem NOT to be susceptible to West Nile viral encephalitis.

In fact, since the US declared the “war on cancer” in 1971, childhood cancers have increased 26 percent overall. Rates of some specific cancers have increased even more dramatically: acute lymphocyte leukemia by 62 percent, brain cancer by 50 percent, and bone cancer by 40 percent. [Dr. Samuel Epstein, M.D., and Dr. Quentin Young, M.D., as quoted in “Pesticides and You” v.22 no.2, Summer 2002.] Increased exposure to pesticides is seen as the main reason for this cancer explosion in children.

To sum:

Pesticides do NOT dissipate in a few hours.

They affect all of us, but are even more dangerous to young children.

It is absolutely necessary to wash off outdoor playground equipment and furniture, and to do so properly so as not to contaminate clothing, water, skin, bathtub or sink, or land.

The “cure” – indiscriminate spraying of pesticides – is far worse, and puts far more people at risk, than the “disease.”

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