Issue 24 – May 2001

NoSprayNewz #24

  • Giuliani Flip-Flops on West Nile Spraying
  • 5/4/2001 NY Post: W.Nile Tactics Shift Away from Just Spray
  • NY Times 5/4/2001 City to Look Beyond Spraying for West Nile
  • Giuliani illegally says poisons “harmless”: NY Times 9/10/99
  • 1/27/2000 Queens Tribune: Emergency Management Director Grilled On Mosquito Control
  • Newsday 3/10/2000: Queens Find Spurs West Nile Fears
  • Giuliani calls anti-sprayers “terrorists”: Daily News 9/18/99
  • Daily News 9/9/2000: Artist: I’m A Victim Of Skeeter Spraying
  • Daily News 9/8/2000: Asthma-Like Illness Spurs Spray Probe, By MICHAEL R. BLOOD
  • Fishkill: 8/31/2000 STATEN ISLAND ADVANCE
  • Hormonal Disruption on Bears: New Scientist magazine, 11 September 2000 “Bearly female”
  • From the Promed website
  • West Nile Virus Update. 1950’S Experiments Using West Nile Virus At Sloan Kettering, NYC
  • Newsday: Area Labs Have Long Studied Virus / Yale, Rockefeller began tests in ’50s,   09-29-1999 page A28
  • Damp weather won’t delay West Nile spraying schedule by Pamela Weber-Leaf, The Journal News 7/28/2000

Thursday, May 3, 2001 will turn out to have been a prophetic day in the
history of environmental activism in NYC. That is the day No Spray
Coalition activists forced the Mayor and Health Department to reverse
themselves and declare that they would attempt to limit pesticide spraying
this year, a testament to the impact made by the No Spray Coalition in
fighting City Hall.

Of course, their statements are just that: Words. Brooklyn, surprisingly,
is the largest user of pesticides (mostly indoors, and on golf courses and
lawns) of any county in the entire state of New York. The added Malathion
and Pyrethroid outdoor spraying for mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus
adds a new layer of toxins to an already ravaged county with the highest
asthma rates in the country.

Despite the media spin, and statements by officials acknowledging (finally)
the importance of NOT poisoning us further, they still have not ruled out
spraying. But unlike the previous two years, this year they will not have
the backing of the federal Centers for Disease Control, which has indicated
that much of the spraying done in the recent past was unnecessary and

Several NoSprayers attended a forum later in the afternoon, Thursday, at
which we ripped into the City administration’s statements. “Air conditioner
filters tested 4 months after the first round of spraying in 1999 were
found by our experts to have been saturated with pesticide residue,”
Mitchel Cohen said, during the comment period — which the City has stated
to be impossible, as the chemicals were said to decompose “within hours.”
(Sure, but what do they decompose into? In the case of Malathion, they form
the even more dangerous Malaoxin and Isomalathion, as we’ve written about
extensively in flyers and articles.) “Yet the City STILL has issued no
warnings not to turn on your air conditioner without changing the filter —
and this is the first hot day of the year,” Mitchel continued. “As soon as
they turn on the air conditioners, they are going to be blasted with the
residues of pesticides concentrated over the entire spray season last year.”

Mitchel also pointed out that NYC claimed in court to have closely
supervised the trucks as they were sent out to spray. Yet “fourteen workers
have now come forward with serious illnesses diagnosed by Mt. Sinai
Hospital as caused by exposure to pesticides. Either the City closely
supervised them, and thus knew about their lack of proper equipment,
training and protective gear (no gas masks), or it did not supervise them
but committed perjury during their testimony,” Cohen continued. “Either
way, the City is continuing to act in a totally irresponsible and reckless

The City refuses, even to this day, to set up a real hotline for people who
have been sickened by pesticides, while claiming that few people calling
the emergency numbers set up for spray schedules had indicated they had
been made ill from pesticide exposure. (Those phones were answered in
Pennsylvania by non-union, minimum wage workers who had no idea what was
going on in New York City or how to treat people for pesticide exposure.)
Instead, Health Department officials reported surveys they conducted that
indicated a majority of people in portions of the city surveyed were either
equally or more fearful of the spraying than they were of contracting West
Nile encephalitis. The obvious question: Why was the city spending so much
time taking public relations surveys, and not at the same time gathering
evidence from the same people on their actual exposure to pesticides and
their health reactions to it?

Below, please read Robert Lederman’s argument against the City’s new public
relations ploy. As he states, with the Appeal of last year’s denial of
Injunction now before the Federal Court of Appeals (the Judge’s had
reserved decision last week, and are scheduled to release their decision
any day now), City officials are moving into high gear to sound as
reasonable as possible …. before they spray us again.

With all this in mind, the No Spray Coalition is organizing the first in a
month of forums, this one on the Upper West Side, for Wednesday, May 23rd,
at 6 pm, Blessed Sacrament School, 147 W. 70th Street (between Columbus
Ave. and Broadway). Please drop me an email message with your phone number
if you’d like to help hand out leaflets or organize for it in other ways.
I’ll pass your number along to Jodi Friedman, whose coordinating this
forum. (She’s not on email.)

Also, please send additional contributions to the No Spray Coalition, PO
Box 334, Peck Slip Station, NYC 10272. We need every penny!! Thank you so
very much. (Feel free to reprint.)

Mitchel Cohen

Giuliani Flip-Flops on West Nile Spraying
by Robert Lederman

Watching Mayor Giuliani and NYC Department of Health Commissioner Neil
Cohen announcing their new improved West Nile Virus policy on 5/3/2001 was
like watching an amateur production of Alice In Wonderland. For these
“distinguished” officials, reality is whatever they say it is.

If the previous two years of poison spraying had never happened it might
sound like they were taking a reasonable and responsible position, assuring
New Yorkers and the assembled reporters that spraying toxic pesticides
would be a last resort – and even then be held to a minimum.

Their new West Nile Virus “battle plan” will focus on prevention – issuing
summonses for those whose property harbors standing pools of stagnant water
– the main mosquito breeding grounds – dropping larvicides in sewers and
only spraying pesticides in the actual areas where infected mosquitoes are
found – instead of randomly dosing 8 million human inhabitants with toxic
nerve gas every time a single infected mosquito is discovered.

Unfortunately, there is the issue of their 1999 and 2000 spray policy.

In 1999 when West Nile Virus was first “discovered” in NYC (nobody was
bothering to mention that at least three government sponsored bio-warfare
labs in the immediate area had been experimenting with it for decades) I
was sprayed with Malathion from a helicopter that strafed my house eight
times in a half-hour period. Although I had taped the windows and door
jambs the gas seeped right through the walls causing me to immediately
experience dizzyness, disorientation, numbness and breathing difficulty.

While the Mayor and Commissioner Cohen kept repeating that Malathion was
“completely safe” I went online and with very little effort found out that
the facts were quite different. Giuliani and Commissioner Cohen didn’t need
to go online to find out what I discovered.

Inside every NYC ambulance, fire truck and police precinct the Mayor had
thoughtfully provided a chemical contamination first-aid book – The
Chem-Bio Handbook – published by Jane’s, the world’s leading experts on
chemical and biological weapons such as nerve gasses which could be used by
terrorists. In that book, which proudly bore the seal of the City of New
York and the Mayor’s name on its cover, were page after page of first aid
instructions for victims of Malathion exposure.

The book described Malathion on pg. 76 as an, “…organophosphate
insecticide that causes the same biological effects as nerve agents.
Malathion itself is relatively non-toxic, but it is quickly metabolized in
the body to maloxin, which is the toxic material. This causes effects
similar to those caused by nerve agents…Malathion can be absorbed by
ingestion or through the skin.”

On page 113 the same book cautioned emergency response team members
treating those exposed to Malathion to, “…insure their own safety by
donning appropriate protective apparel before handling the patient.”

As I soon discovered, the manufacturer’s instructions printed on the actual
canisters of the brand of Malathion that were used – Cheminova’s Malathion
FYFANON ULV – were disregarded by the City in virtually every detail. The
four page label, available on the NY State Department of Environmental
Control website, specifically states that it is not to be sprayed on people
or inhaled, that people should not be allowed access to areas that have
been sprayed for at least 12 hours, that it is never to be used near water,
that is not to be used so as to contaminate food supplies and that it is
not to be stored or used at temperatures of over 77 degrees Fahrenheit. No
one who read this label could mistake its message.

Nevertheless, as documented in hundreds of newspaper and television news
reports New Yorkers were directly sprayed on the street, in parks, through
the windows of their homes, driving in their cars, shopping, and while
attending school. Virtually every body of water within city limits was
covered with a fine mist of Malathion.

I immediately joined a group of activists, the No Spray Coalition, which
tried to bring the Mayor to his senses. We gave him, his staff and the
media hundreds of scientific studies on the harmful effects of Malathion.
Doctors, public health experts, epidemiologists and environmentalists
pleaded with him to rethink his policy. In response he called us,
“hysterical environmental terrorists” and denounced us as, “publicity

Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers were directly sprayed with Malathion
in 1999 and many became immediately ill not to mention the cancers and
other health problems which may not produce symptoms for decades. The City
didn’t even bother to keep records of emergency room visits from pesticide

As the 1999 mosquito season wore on and I and other No Spray Coalition
members continued our research, we uncovered some very disturbing facts.
The Mayor was being advised from day one of the “epidemic” by Thomas
Monath, a former U.S. Government bio-warfare scientist who was now V.P of
Oravax, a company that was developing a West Nile Virus vaccine. The West
Nile hysteria manufactured by the Mayor was a perfect environment for
promoting the vaccine.

Additionally, studies began to surface which showed that the kind of mass
spraying being done actually increased the number of mosquitoes, their
resistance to any kind of insecticide and their likelihood of being
infected with encephalitis. If the Mayor wanted to create a real epidemic,
his spray policy would have been an excellent technique.

Perhaps the most curious thing about the 1999 aspect of the “epidemic” was
how a very mild illness the City’s own press releases routinely described
as extremely difficult to become infected by and from which the vast
majority of those infected would have few if any symptoms and would fully
recover without any treatment became a “deadly disease” requiring
unprecedented emergency measures.

Of the seven people alleged to have died from West Nile Virus in New York
City in 1999, all had compromised immune systems, HIV or were taking
immuno-supressive cancer medications following surgery. In fact, only those
with a weak immune system can become infected.

Unmentioned in the Mayor’s press statements was that Malathion itself was
known in scientific circles as a potential cause of encephalitis and an
immune system supressor.

Eventually the No Spray Coalition filed a lawsuit in Federal Court seeking
an injunction to stop the spraying, which so far we have been denied.

As 1999 ended and cold weather prevailed, the West Nile issue ceased to be
of much concern for most New Yorkers or the media. Then the 2000 mosquito
season came around and it all began again.

This time the Mayor decided to treat the City to a different pesticide,
Anvil or sumerthrin, although never admitting that there was any problem
with Malathion. In 2000 the pesticide was sprayed from trucks, often
directly in people’s faces, rather than from helicopters.

As it turned out, Anvil was also far more dangerous than the Mayor was
telling the public. A pyrethroid nerve gas, it was thought by many
scientists to cause chromosomal abnormalities and sex hormone changes in
addition to skin irritation, breathing difficulties and the possibility of
cancer and other long-term diseases.

The public was again told by the Mayor – in defiance of NY state law – that
Anvil was, “completely safe”. Untrained pesticide operators were hired for
$10 an hour but were never warned about the risks or given any protective
gear to use as they spent eight hour shifts driving around in New York
traffic spraying poison from the back of trucks. Many of these men have
since become ill and have joined the No Spray lawsuit.

The spraying was often done under conditions like rain, extreme humidity
and dampness that the manufacturer warned the City Anvil was completely
useless in. Like Malathion, Anvil’s label states that it must not be
sprayed on people, that it’s fumes and vapors must not be breathed or
allowed to contact the skin and that it is not to be sprayed on food.
Videotapes entered as evidence in the No Spray lawsuit show it being
directly sprayed on people, on food stands, on hotdog carts, on pregnant
women, into the open doorways of stores and in a thousand other ways
contraindicated by the label.

Wherever a single bird or mosquito was alleged to be infected with West
Nile Virus a massive spraying assault immediately began. Many parts of the
City such as Harlem were sprayed over and over and over again.

Now we come to 2001. The No Spray lawsuit just recently had a hearing in
Federal Court on our appeal of the denial for an immediate injunction. A
decision is pending.

Suddenly the Mayor and Commissioner Cohen have decided on a “new strategy”:
Prevention. Drying up standing water. Minimal spraying as a last resort and
even then only in the exact area where infection is found.

Did something change? Did West Nile Virus suddenly mutate into a less
deadly disease? What happened to the Mayor’s mass spraying policy? If it
was such a good idea in 1999 and 2000 to cover everyone in New York with
organophosphate and pyrethroid nerve gas, why not do it again in 2001?

Might the “hysterical environmental terrorists” of the No Spray Coalition
have been right all along? If we were right, should Giuliani and his
“health” Commissioner – a psychiatrist with no training in public health
let alone pesticides or mosquito control – be allowed to make any public
health decisions in 2001?

Are these men to be credited with creating a new “rational” policy or
should they more rightly be brought up on criminal charges for deliberately
and recklessly endangering the public health and safety of eight million
men, women and children?

Might the Mayor and Commissioner Cohen owe the No Spray Coalition and the
people of the City of New York a public apology?

5/4/2001 NY Post
— The city’s war against the West Nile virus will rage on this summer –
with less pesticide spraying, but stiff fines for those who let mosquitoes
breed. Mayor Giuliani and city officials unveiled their battle plan
yesterday, announcing that emergency regulations enacted last year making
water accumulations a public health nuisance will be vigorously enforced.
The first summons – fines range from $200 to $2,000 – has been issued to a
contractor on the old Alexander’s site on East 59th Street. Officials said
warnings to remove a standing pool of water there – a breeding ground for
the disease-spreading mosquitoes – were ignored.
For the last two years, officials have rushed to blanket neighborhoods with
a pesticide haze any time a dead bird infected with the mosquito-borne
virus turned up. Pesticides were used to cover a two-mile radius, about as
far as a mosquito could fly. But City Health Commissioner Dr. Neal Cohen
said new data indicates a one-mile spraying radius is sufficient – and even
that would be a last resort. “We have to not look to spraying as a panacea,
but look to prevention,” Cohen said. The city’s top health official said
when infected birds are detected this year, rapid response teams would move
in to “take all preventive and reduction measures,” such as spreading
larvicide and removing pools of water. Only if the population of
human-biting mosquitoes increases would the city begin spraying in
“targeted” green areas, such as parks and golf courses.
“While last year we had a formulaic and somewhat reflexive approach . . .
this year we’re going to look very carefully to determine where the
greatest risk to people is,” Cohen said. He insisted the change was made
“based upon the science. It doesn’t have any bearing whether certain
individuals are pro- or anti-spraying.”
NY Times: 5/4/2001 City to Look Beyond Spraying for West Nile
“To reduce the reliance on pesticides in the battle against West Nile
virus, the city will use a more conservative, concentrated approach to
spraying this summer, officials said yesterday. Last year, the city
generally sprayed pesticides within a two- mile radius of any location
where infection was found in birds or mosquitoes. This year, officials
said, the city plans to emphasize monitoring, public education and
prevention. For example, it will enforce a ban on standing water and use
larvicide to reduce mosquito populations…Dr. Neal L. Cohen, the city’s
health commissioner, said they could not predict how prevalent the virus
would be. “We do know that all these preventive measures make a very
important difference,” he said, “and we really have to not look to spraying
as a panacea, but look to prevention as the way to minimize the need to
spray.” Instead of spraying widely wherever the virus is detected, Dr.
Cohen said, team will investigate communities where dead birds or infected
mosquitoes are found to determine whether spraying is necessary.”

Fooliani illegally pronounces poisons “harmless” NY Times 9/10/99
“I ask you not to create any undue or unnecessary alarm or panic,” Giuliani
said at a City Hall news conference on Thursday morning. “There’s no point
in not spraying, because there’s no harm in spraying. So even if we’re
overdoing it, there’s no risk to anyone in overdoing it…The more dead
mosquitoes,” he added, “the better. I don’t think the media should try to
push this out of proportion”.

1/27/2000 Queens Tribune
Emergency Management Director Grilled On Mosquito Control
“I have nothing to hide,”  “I’m very comfortable with the spraying of
Malathion. If we had to do it again, we would do it the same way”. Jerome
Hauer, director of the Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management .”

Newsday 3/10/2000 Queens Find Spurs West Nile Fears
“Mayor Rudolph Giuliani refused to rule out the need for widespread
insecticide spraying in the event there is another outbreak this
year…Seeking to blunt criticism of last year’s spraying, Giuliani brought
Deputy Mayor Rudy Washington to the podium at City Hall and said, “This man
here, right here, was sprayed with malathion five times. See? Does he look
good? All right? And I was sprayed with him. Five times.”

[Note: Shortly after making this statement the Mayor was diagnosed with
prostate cancer – a known side-effect of Malathion exposure.]

Giuliani calls anti-sprayers “terrorists”: Daily News 9/18/99
“The mayor dismissed complaints from environmental advocates about the
spraying, referring to them as hysterical “environmental terrorists” who
“like to get you angry because it gets them on television.” The spraying is
harmless, he insisted.”

Daily News 9/9/2000
Artist: I’m A Victim Of Skeeter Spraying
“She wanted to make a phone call. Instead, a Manhattan woman standing near
a phone booth on Eighth Ave. Sunday ended up in the hospital after she said
she was drenched, point-blank, with a blast of pesticide intended to kill
mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus. “It burned. It itched. I was coughing,
I was choking,” said the woman, an artist who lives in Inwood but asked
that her name be withheld. “My vision is blurry. I have terrible nausea. I
threw up three days in a row,” she said. It was “a straight shot into my
face, my eyes, my nose, my mouth – drenching me. I really thought I was
going to die.”

Daily News 9/8/2000
Asthma-Like Illness Spurs Spray Probe
“Four cases of reported pesticide poisoning in New York State are being
investigated to see whether they may be linked to spraying for mosquitoes
carrying the West Nile virus, state officials said yesterday…The state
probe comes as the city Health Department is quietly beginning its own
survey that will examine whether the pesticide has sickened New
Yorkers…The city’s survey seems in contrast with the repeated assurances
from Mayor Giuliani, as well as many medical experts, that the pesticides
being used to kill mosquitoes are safe…The city declined to disclose any
information gathered so far for the study. Since the virus appeared in New
York last year, this is the first time the city has undertaken a study to
assess the potential health risks of pesticides. As of late August, more
than 860 gallons of Anvil had been sprayed in New York.”

Fishkill: 8/31/2000 STATEN ISLAND ADVANCE
“Helicopters that city officials said would only spray over “unpopulated
areas” instead spewed their pesticide cloud over surprised and frightened
Islanders yesterday. Hundreds of children playing on football and baseball
fields in Travis had to dodge the mist…The city has said that helicopter
spraying takes place during daylight hours so pilots can avoid populated or
environmentally sensitive areas. How they failed to recognize a golf
course, youth ball fields and the residential area near High Rock Park —
all areas where people claimed choppers doused them last night — remains
unclear…”The helicopter flew by four times. I think the borough president
needs to get a call,” said Kathleen Collins of West Brighton, who was
watching her 8-year-old son, Michael, play. She said she sat in her car,
cradling her 1-month-old daughter, Kayla, during the dousing. “This is a
field full of children — and many of them aren’t even playing.” It was
unclear last night who in city government, if anyone, is responsible for
notifying specific youth leagues or public recreation areas — like
city-owned LaTourette Golf Course, where complaints from pesticide-covered
golfers were heard — that they are in or near a spray zone…But Borough
President Guy V. Molinari said the Health Department “never asked us to
notify anyone.” He said the notion of contacting every league is
“outrageous.” “We just don’t have the resources and staff to do this,” said
the borough president. “All we can do is take information from the Health
Department and relay it to the public.”

[Note Anvil-and pyrethroids generally-are endocrine disruptors causing
feminizing effects in males and masculining effects in females]
Wednesday, 6 September, 2000, 16:11 GMT 17:11 UK – ‘Gender-bender’ fish
problem widens. There could be an effect up the food chain – By BBC News
Online’s Helen Briggs.
“The entire male fish population of some European rivers show feminising
effects from so-called “gender-bending” chemicals, according to new
research. Freshwater fish in five out of seven northern European countries
surveyed so far showed some signs of exposure to the chemicals, which mimic
female hormones and are present in sewage effluents.

“We are finding this problem right across northern Europe, it is clearly

Professor Alan Pickering of the Natural Environment Research Council’s
Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, UK, said. He was addressing the British
Association’s Festival of Science in London…Symptoms of exposure to the
chemicals, known as endocrine-disrupters, ranged from relatively minor
effects to, in the worst cases, fish developing both male and female
reproductive organs. In some places, such as the River Aire, Yorkshire, UK,
100% of male fish were found to show evidence of feminisation…

This has raised concern that predators that eat the fish, such as otters
and kingfishers, could also be at risk.”

Hormonal Disruption on Bears
New Scientist magazine, 11 September 2000 “Bearly female”
“Female polar bears in the Norwegian Arctic are growing male genitalia,
report scientists from the Norwegian Polar Institute in Svalbard. The main
cause is likely to be high levels of pollutants, including polychlorinated
biphenyls (PCBs), transported to the Arctic in water and air from Europe,
North America and Russia. PCBs damage the bears’ immune systems and affect
their hormone levels, causing them to grow penis-like stumps. The
researchers found that 1.2 per cent of Svalbard’s 3000 or so bears have
been affected so far. The researchers warn that polar bear numbers could
“go into slow decline”.for any errors or delays in the content, or for any
actions taken in reliance thereon.”

From the Promed website
In the 1950’s, experiments with WNV were carried out on human volunteers at
the Sloan- Kettering Institute of the Memorial Center for Cancer and Allied
Diseases, New York. A total of 95 patients with neoplastic disease were
inoculated intramuscularly with the WNV topotype strain Eg-101 in an effort
to achieve therapeutic pyrexia and oncolysis in them.<
Area Labs Have Long Studied Virus / Yale, Rockefeller began tests in ’50s
09-29-1999 page A28
“Epidemiologists suspect that the West Nile virus has for the first time
been isolated in humans or animals in the Western Hemisphere, but the virus
has for decades made its home in several U.S. research laboratories,
including Rockefeller University in Manhattan and Yale University in New
Haven, Conn. In fact, investigators there were the first to grow and study
the West Nile virus in the United States. The work began in the 1950s when
unidentified viral samples from around the world arrived at Rockefeller on
a steady basis.”

From: Damp weather won’t delay West Nile spraying schedule
By Pamela Weber-Leaf
The Journal News 7/28/2000
“But the company that manufactures Anvil cautioned that any moisture at all
in the air could render the spraying useless. “You cannot do it during rain
or even misting,” said George Balis, an entomologist for Clarke Mosquito
Control, which gained approval for the product in 1997 from the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency. “You’re putting out a small droplet (of
the chemical) that you’re trying to impinge on mosquitoes, and drops of
water will knock it down.”


[Note: Robert Lederman is a plaintiff in the No Spray Coalition lawsuit,
however, this article represents his individual opinion and is not an
official No Spray statement.]

For numerous referenced articles on the so-called West Nile Virus epidemic
Bush/Giuliani-Nazi connection, the CIA’s Manhattan Institute, eugenics,
West Nile Virus information

(earlier West Nile Virus articles)

No Spray Coalition website

Sprayno mailing list and archives (contains thousands of articles on this

Street artist information
Robert Lederman, President of A.R.T.I.S.T.
(Artists’ Response To Illegal State Tactics) (718) 743-3722

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