Issue 26 – July 3, 2001

NoSpray Newz #25 July 3, 2001

Hotline: (718) 670-7110 Listserve: Website: Contact:
Please make checks payable to: No Spray Coalition, PO Box 334, Peck Slip Station, NYC 10272-0334

Volunteer help needed for the NoSpray Coalition music/poetry fundraiser
Saturday, July 7th, 2001
Time: 4 pm – 7 pm (Doors open at 3:45 pm. Open Mic signup at 4 pm)

*Leafletters needed during the week, and volunteers needed on Saturday to help with the different aspects. PLEASE BRING VEGETARIAN FOOD to share, if possible. Call sheryl simler 718/803-0297 to volunteer, by Thursday volunteers: please arrive 3 pm at church on Saturday Concert and Poetry Reading, organized by Sheryl Simler & Madeline Artenberg West Park Church, 86th Street at Amsterdam, Upper West Side, Manhattan Sliding Scale: $5-$25 (no one will be turned away) Many poets and musicians will be featured, including Madeline Artenberg, Eva Yaa Asantewaa, Pete Dolack, Dave Goldman, Bernadette McGowen, Mehuman, Mitch Cohen (a different one!), Alisha Ritt, Robert Ross, Sheryl Simler, Iris N. Schwartz, Tomasso, Angelo Verga, Chocolate Waters, Caroline Cutroneo


For information, call Sheryl (718) 803-0297 or (212) 732-3163.
The No Spray Coalition is working to stop mass pesticide spraying and continues to move forward in federal court with its lawsuit against the city and Giuliani.

Here’s the latest pesticide-related horror story from upstate NY that never made the news in New York City. I’ve bumped the articles on the murder of Corey Gregory (spray truck driver who had come forward and blasted the company), ongoing investigation of air pollution as source of West Nile-like disease, and the lawsuit until the next issue to bring you this breaking news, as covered in upstate (but not NYC) newspapers. Please note that no cholinesterase tests were done* on the 34 young people and 1 adult taken to the hospital after being sprayed with the nerve gas Malathion (Fyfanon ULV). And although reporters write as though everyone seems okay (except for the Coach of the baseball team who remains hospitalized), one of the kids writes about lying there naked in the hospital in front of all sorts of people — a traumatic experience in itself, apart from the short and longterm consequences of pesticide poisoning.

Meanwhile, in NYC and in many other urban areas, companies have told us they are refusing to bid on spray contracts because they are afraid of being sued. They are demanding that municipalities first indemnify them against No Spray and workers’ lawsuits, something the officials are not willing to do at this time. So that’s part of the good news — blocking the spraying. (In order to be put on a “NO SPRAY LIST” in Suffolk County NY, you have to sign a waiver of liability. Donna Reilly writes that she has been on the list since 1999 but they massively sprayed her street anyway. She says that she has no intentions of signing a waiver.)

On the legal front, the 3-judge panel, a subset of the Federal Court of Appeals, has ruled AGAINST US in our attempts to sue for an injunction against the spraying under a number of Federal laws. Our lawsuit still moves forward under the Clean Water Act, but not the other laws. We are considering appealing to the full Court of Appeals and to the US Supreme Court, but the lawyers who have been so helpful for so long say they want to concentrate on the Clean Water Act lawsuit, and that we’ll have to find new lawyers in the next 60 days to take it any further. So, IF THERE ARE ANY LAWYERS OUT THERE — if you know of any (please ask) — who would like to work with us in filing before the US Supreme Court, please get in touch with us immediately.

Thank you,
– Mitchel Cohen, for the No Spray Coalition

*Donna Reilly writes:
I’m quite sure antidote protocol was not administered either, which is listed in the EPA “recognition and magement of pesticide poisonings” May 1999 FREE order from site.

pg. 39 “blood samples should be drawn to measure plasma pseudocholinesterase and RBC AChE levels.”

HOWEVER THESE LAB RANGES ARE INACCURATE AS PREVIOUSLY POSTED, but will at least give you numbers to base any further testing on which should be monitored monthly by the same lab. (I contacted Paul Harding, attorney for Chris Olsen, but he has not returned my call. I will try again).

p.40 (Treatment) “Caution: persons attending the victim should avoid contact with heavily contaminated clothing and vomitus. WEAR RUBBER GLOVES while washing pesticide from skin and hair. Vinyl gloves provide NO PROTECTION.
1. AIRWAY PROTECTION (to improve tissue oxygenation)
2. ATROPINE SULFATE (gives dosage schedules P.42)
3. GLYCOPYROLATE (atropine alternative)
4. PRALIDOXIME (draw a blood sample for cholinesterase analysis (since
praladoxime tends to reverse the cholinesterase depression) Administer praladoxime(Protopam, 2-PAM) a cholinesterase reactivator………….
7. OBSERVATION Observe patient for at least 72 hours to ensure that symptoms (sweating, visual disturbances, vomiting, diarrhea, chest and abdominal distress, and sometimes pulmonary edema) do nt reocur as atropinization is withdrawn. In very severe poisonings by ingested OP’s, particularly the more lipophilic and slowly hydolyzed compounds, metabolic disposition of toxicant may require 5-14 days. In some cases, this slow elimination may combine with profound cholinesterase inhibition to require atropinixation for several days or even weeks. As dosage is reduced, the lung bases should be checked for crackles. If crackles are heard, or if there is a return of miosis, bradycardia, sweating, or other cholinergic signs, atropinization must be re-established promptly.



June 29, 2001

1. Pesticide spraying sickens 34 at town park


MOREAU — More than 30 people at a softball game in the town park off Route 32 were sickened Monday evening after inhaling a pesticide that was being sprayed nearby to control mosquitoes.

A total of 35 people — including nine teen-age girls — sought treatment at Glens Falls Hospital after they had trouble breathing, hospital spokesman Jayson White said late Monday. Some patients were given oxygen and at least one passed out repeatedly, he said.

Moreau Emergency Squad Capt. Andre Delvaux said the chemical — identified by the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Department as FYFANON ULV, a brand name for the pesticide malathion — was being sprayed beyond the outfield about 6:30 p.m. by a crew from Tree Care by Stan Hunt. Malathion is an organophosphate, a class of insecticides that are chemical cousins of nerve gas.

About 7 p.m. Monday, people at the town park began complaining of dizziness, shortness of breath, nausea and dry mouth. One woman passed out while being interviewed by an emergency medical technician, Delvaux said.

“She was talking, and then all of a sudden, she said she didn’t feel good and fainted,” Delvaux said.

The people who were sickened were players and spectators at an Amateur Softball Association game at Harry J. Betar Jr. Recreational Park. They told rescue workers they were overcome by a sweet odor emanating from the outfield.

Efforts to contact Tree Care by Stan Hunt were unsuccessful Monday night. Calls to the company’s office were answered by a machine. But town officials said they contracted with Hunt earlier this year to conduct the town’s annual spraying program to kill mosquitoes.

Councilman Larry Bulman said the company was supposed to be operating under specific conditions. One condition was that the company send out a lead vehicle to make sure each area to be sprayed was clear of people. Bulman said he was told there was no lead vehicle Monday night. The other condition, he said, was that spraying in public parks and schools would take place before or after regular park hours to ensure that the least number of people would be affected.

“I was blown away,” Bulman said late Monday. “I was just shocked that they would do that. That’s not what we discussed.” He said the Town Board is scheduled to meet at 6:30 p.m. today, prior to its regular board meeting, and that Monday’s incident would likely be a topic of discussion.

White said the people being treated at the hospital each had to disrobe and take a shower to remove the pesticide from their skin. The hospital called in extra respiratory therapists to treat the patients, he said.

“It’s gone very smoothly under the circumstances,” he said. White said he expected that all of the patients would be released. “We don’t anticipate admitting anyone,” he said.

Moreau Supervisor Harry Gutheil said he visited the hospital Monday night.

“I’m sorry that it happened,” Gutheil said. “We’ve had a very successful spraying program over the years. People want spraying. We’ll know more about the incident (Tuesday).”

The girl softball players, who were 14 and 15 years old, felt ill and stopped playing almost immediately, officials said. Spectators also were affected. One team was from the Clifton Park area; the other team consisted of girls from the Glens Falls area. Police cleared the fields of players and spectators when they arrived on the scene.

A sheriff’s deputy said the Department of Environmental Conservation oversees the issuing of permits to use organophosphates.

Information on the DEC’s Web site warns that malathion is “harmful by swallowing, inhalation or skin contact” and urges people to “avoid breathing spray mist” or allowing the chemical to come into contact with skin. The DEC requires people using the chemical to wear long-sleeved shirts and pants and wear chemical-resistant gloves.

Rescue squads from Moreau, West Glens Falls and Fort Edward helped take the patients to Glens Falls Hospital. Wilton rescue was on standby. The incident remains under investigation by the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Department.


2. Town halts spraying program for now. Officials fault contractor for park illnesses


MOREAU — The Town Board has asked a contractor to stop spraying pesticides anywhere in town while it investigates an incident in which 35 people sought hospital treatment after being sickened at a town park Monday night. The board voted unanimously Tuesday night to send a letter to the contractor, Tree Care by Stan Hunt, asking the company to stop spraying until further notice.

The town has hired the company in recent years to spray pesticides along town roads to control mosquitoes. But the spraying program went awry Monday when at least 35 players and spectators at a softball game fell ill as workers sprayed insecticides near the ballfield at Harry J. Betar Jr. Recreational Park.

Town officials on Tuesday faulted Tree Care by Stan Hunt, saying the town’s contract required the company to notify officials of the approximate date and time when it would be spraying in specific areas. Officials said a specific time had been arranged for spraying around the park, but they said the company’s crews showed up and began spraying about three days early.

Jim Hunt, of Tree Care by Stan Hunt, would not comment when contacted Tuesday. Hunt and three officials of the state Department of Environmental Conservation met behind closed doors Tuesday morning with town Supervisor Harry Gutheil Jr. and Councilman Larry Bulman. Gutheil and Bulman said the meeting could be closed to the public because a quorum of the Town Board was not present.

Gutheil said the DEC requested the 11 a.m. meeting to make sure everybody was in compliance. After the meeting, Gutheil accompanied Hunt and the DEC officials to the park to show them exactly where the pesticide was sprayed.

Officials have said the chemical sprayed at the park Monday night was a pesticide called FYFANON ULV, which is 95 percent malathion. Malathion is an organophosphate, one of a class of chemicals that are considered chemical cousins of nerve gas.

Town Recreational Director Edward Potter said he spoke with Hunt’s employees Monday evening and set up a time for them to spray while the park was closed –at 5 a.m. Thursday. He said he was supposed to leave the workers a key so they could enter the park, as the town requires pesticide spraying to take place only before or after park hours. Instead, the spraying began Monday evening. Bulman said the town had made extra efforts to prevent spraying at times when people at the park might be exposed to insecticides.

“The DEC doesn’t have any regulations when you can (spray),” Bulman said. “But the board, for the interests of our children and for our families, we did not want spraying done in that park — and we do not want spraying from this day forward in that park during operating hours.”

At the same time, though, Bulman and Gutheil each went out of their way to praise the work done by Tree Care by Stan Hunt prior to Monday’s incident. Bulman said the firm has done a great job for the town and that no complaints have ever been filed against them. On the contrary, people in town usually call to request pesticide spraying to kill mosquitoes in their neighborhoods, he said.

Gutheil said Hunt’s company was in high demand last year because of the West Nile virus scare. He also said the applicators intended to spray only the peripheral areas of the park, away from people. “Somehow it ended up in the area where these children were playing, I don’t think intentionally,” Gutheil said.

He said town officials are concerned about the people who were affected by the spraying. “We’re sorry that it happened, and we’re gathering all the facts,” he said. “If we get any other new information, certainly we’ll make it available.”

Bulman also said he feels bad for the parents and families who were at the park Monday evening. “I addressed this when we contracted with Hunts,” Bulman said. “There was to be no spraying within the confines of the park in any way, shape or form, not even if this ballfield’s not being used. As long as the park is open, there was to be no spraying within the town park.”


3. Expert says risk of pesticide worse than West Nile


MOREAU — A Canadian doctor who has studied pesticides for the last 20 years said Wednesday that the chemical used to kill mosquitoes in Moreau is much more dangerous than the West Nile virus that mosquitoes can carry.

Dr. Libuse Gilka, an Ottawa physician who has practiced in both Europe and Canada for 40 years, recommends that a ban be placed on the pesticide, malathion, which sickened at least 35 people at the Moreau town park this week. She said the recent “hysteria” over West Nile virus has many government bodies using dangerous chemicals to kill insects.

“The problem is people think if something is legally approved and sold, then it must be safe,” Gilka said. “They don’t realize that those approving these things are only slowly learning about the side-effects.”

Meanwhile, town officials and officers from the state Department of Environmental Conservation are continuing the investigation into what went wrong during Monday’s softball game at Harry J. Betar Jr. Recreational Park involving 13- and 14-year-old girls. Players and spectators fell ill after a town-hired contractor, Tree Care by Stan Hunt, sprayed the pesticide along a tree line behind a playing field as part of the town’s mosquito prevention program.

The people at the game inhaled the brand name pesticide, FYFANON ULV, whose main ingredient is malathion.

Gilka said malathion is a chemical cousin of sarin, a highly toxic nerve gas that’s been used in war.

Malathion can have dangerous long-term health effects, Gilka said, whereas the threat from the mosquito-borne West Nile virus is much less serious.

Gilka said that statistics from last year showed that in New York City only seven people died of West Nile virus, but 2,800 died of the flu. She said five of the people who died from West Nile virus were elderly, already sick and had weakened immune systems.

The state Health Department also recommended this year that pesticide spraying be used as a last resort in preventing the spread of the virus. Part of the Health Department’s plan is also to monitor complaints about spraying.

Scientists from Cornell University’s Environmental Risk Analysis Program last year said pesticides pose a possible risk to humans and the environment, and insects could also develop resistance to them.

On Monday night, players and spectators were treated and released from Glens Falls Hospital after complaining of nausea, burning sensation, dizziness and shortness of breath.

Coach Jeff Baker said one spectator was admitted overnight to St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany.

“We’re working with the DEC to find out what happened,” Moreau town Supervisor Harry Gutheil said. “We didn’t expect the contractor to be in the park at that time.”

The Moreau Town Board has halted mosquito spraying while the DEC conducts its investigation. “We’re looking into the whole aspect,” DEC spokesman Peter Constantakes said. “We’re looking into the equipment, whether or not the people were trained and the pesticide application. … The people involved have been cooperating, and we’re hoping to have answers shortly.”

4. Woman still in hospital after pesticide spraying


MOREAU — An Albany County woman who inhaled a pesticide Monday at the town park remained hospitalized Thursday night in Schenectady, and an Albany law firm confirmed she has hired a personal injury lawyer to represent her.

Chris Olsen, 37, was listed in stable condition Thursday night at St. Clare’s Hospital in Schenectady. She was admitted to the hospital Tuesday after complaining of dizziness and respiratory problems, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Olsen, of Altamont, was one of at least 35 people who were sickened after being exposed to the pesticide Fyfanon ULV at a softball game Monday night in Harry J. Betar Jr. Recreational Park. Fyfanon ULV’s main ingredient is malathion, a chemical related to nerve gas.

The group was sickened after a contractor hired by the town sprayed a treeline behind the outfield. Eleven people were taken by ambulance to Glens Falls Hospital, and many more sought treatment there later.

Sharon Lapier, an employee of the law firm Martin Harding & Mazzotti, confirmed Thursday that Olsen has retained personal injury lawyer Paul Harding to represent her.

Olsen’s daughter, Renee, is a player on an area girls softball team, the Invaders, that was playing at the Moreau park Monday evening. Terry Middleton of Fort Edward, another parent of a player on the team, said Olsen’s daughter was among two who missed a game Wednesday because of their exposure to the pesticides.

Both girls, however, are expected to travel with the team to a double-elimination tournament in Syracuse today, coach Jeff Baker said. “All the kids seem OK, and all of them plan to go to Syracuse,” Baker said. Middleton said his own wife and daughter were treated after Monday’s game.

The team is made up of 13- and 14-year-old girls. Meanwhile, town officials and the state Department of Environmental Conservation are investigating what went wrong with the spraying. The work was done by Tree Care by Stan Hunt Inc., a contractor the town hired for an annual roadside spraying program to control mosquitoes.

Repeated attempts to arrange an interview with town Supervisor Harry Gutheil Jr. were unsuccessful Thursday, and DEC officials did not return calls seeking information.

Town officials have halted the pesticide spraying program for now. Gutheil previously has expressed concern about controlling the town’s mosquito population, citing the discovery of the mosquito-borne West Nile virus in bird carcasses found in Saratoga County last year. Fourteen people in the New York City area were sickened by the virus last year.

But Dr. Libuse Gilka, an Canadian physician who has studied West Nile virus and pesticides, said Thursday that thousands of people in New York City tested positive for the virus last year but showed no illness. She said a normal immune system can combat the virus, and she contends pesticides like malathion pose a greater health risk than the virus.


5. Town Probes Park’s Spraying
By Jim Rogalski – Saratoga bureau chief /Times Union (Albany)

Moreau– Supervisor says field wasn’t to be sprayed during game; 37 people were hospitalized.

The mosquito pesticide that apparently sent 37 young ball players and spectators to the hospital was not supposed to be sprayed on a softball field during a game, the town supervisor said. “We wouldn’t have sent anyone in to spray fields with people in there,” Town Supervisor Harry Guthiel Jr. said Tuesday, as officials tried to piece together what happened.

By the time the fog cleared Monday evening at the Moreau Town Park, a total of 37 youth softball players and spectators ranging in age from 6 to 52 were rushed to Glens Falls Hospital for respiratory problems from exposure to anti-mosquito fog sprayed from a truck. Guthiel said private contractor Tree Care by Stan Hunt Inc. of Queensbury was dispensing the pesticide Malathion Fyfanon ULV as part of the town’s battle against mosquitoes.

Guthiel said the softball field was not scheduled to be sprayed, and he was still investigating what happened.

At the hospital all 37 people received decontamination showers, given new clothes and released, according to hospital spokesman Jason White.

“It was a madhouse at the hospital. Everyone was upset,” said Michael Tirado, who was at the game. “It was embarrassing. There were people with masks and shields and gowns, and you’re laying there naked.”

One victim, Chris Olsen, 37, of Altamont, was admitted to St. Clare’s Hospital in Schenectady on Tuesday afternoon with dizziness and respiratory difficulty, her attorney Paul Harding said.

She was listed in stable condition and was expected to be admitted to the Intensive Care Unit, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Moreau has ordered anti-mosquito spraying in the spring and summer for several years, Guthiel said. “We sign a contract with a vendor to spray on an as-needed basis. It’s been very successful.”

The softball game was between the 14-under Miss Shen Sparks and the Invaders, made up of players from around the region.

Officials from Tree Care by Stan Hunt Inc. did not return phone calls Tuesday.


NoSpray researcher Donna Reilly writes:

THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS, ESPECIALLY FOR THE PERSON WHO CONTINUED TO BLACKOUT Where is the assurance through testing that the agent sprayed was not contaminated with high levels of isomalathion and that it was sprayed properly and were blood levels done on any of those poisoned? “NO VICTIM FOLLOW UP IS PLANNED AT THIS TIME”.

Does anyone have a direct contact for any of the spray victims???
Rensselaer Green & Upstate NoSpray activist Eric Daillie responds:
The lawyer representing one of the victim is Paul Harding, of Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, 501 New Karner Rd. Albany, NY. Tel: (518) 862-1200.

The victim is Chris Olsen, 37, of Altamont, NY.
Donna Reilly writes to thank Eric, and to state that she has contacted the lawyer for the spray survivors.


6. No firm willing to sign up for skeeter wars. City is ready to spray on its own if West Nile virus returns.

Friday June 29, 2001

Staten Island Advance

Scared off by either the threat of lawsuits or the size of the project, no mosquito control company will touch New York City with a 10-foot bug zapper.

For the third time this year, the city has tried to entice skeeter-killers to take on the job, worth about $3.5 million, of controlling mosquitoes that can spread West Nile virus. And yesterday, for the second time in a row, the deadline for applications came and went, and again there were no bidders.

“Hope springs eternal,” sighed Allan Goldberg, the assistant health commissioner in charge of the bidding process, shortly after learning that nobody wanted the year-long contract.

He said the city might still entice a company to take on part of the burden.

“It’s interesting that no one is willing to bid,” said Joel Kupferman, who is suing the city to stop future spraying on behalf of the New York Environmental Law and Justice Project. “I’m just wondering if they’re scared to bid because they know they’re going to be supervised like they were supposed to have been in the past.”

Kupferman was referring to a state investigation into Clarke Environmental Mosquito Management, Inc., the Illinois-based firm that conducted last year’s spraying. The company was fined nearly $1 million after environmental authorities found its workers weren’t given the proper training or safety gear.

In refusing to apply for the current contract, several mosquito-controllers told the Advance last month that they were daunted by the size of the project, tighter restrictions on spraying or the threat of lawsuits by environmentalists.

Goldberg, however, said the city is prepared to act on its own. Since May, when mosquitoes began laying eggs in storm drains, abandoned tires and other areas of stagnant water, city workers have been deployed with pellets of larvicide to kill the immature mosquitoes. Sixty-one workers are being transferred from the Health Department’s rat-control program, and will be replaced gradually with half as many new workers.

The controversial part of the city’s plan — spraying to kill adult mosquitoes — will be trickier, Goldberg said. No one knows yet whether the city will deem spraying necessary this year, but if so, the plan is to focus more on swaths of greenery such as parks and golf courses, and less on neighborhoods.

In the two years that West Nile has been a presence in the U.S., hard-to-reach parts of the Greenbelt and other wooded areas have been sprayed by helicopter, but the city can’t pull off such a feat on its own, Goldberg acknowledged. So he hopes it will be easier to convince a private operator to take on that task, if and when health officials deem it necessary.

The Health Department also owns two all-terrain vehicles that could reach off-road spots, he added.

The city is relying on three courses of action to stave off large-scale spraying this year: Killing mosquito larvae; eliminating the stagnant water that provides a breeding ground for mosquitoes, and pinpointing areas with dead birds that could turn out to be West Nile trouble spots.

Health officials say that to be effective, they are depending on people to call them when they spot dead birds. So far this year, 1,200 dead birds across the city have been reported to the Health Department, 350 of them from Staten Island. About a third were picked up for testing and 30 were actually tested. None were infected with the disease.

Last year, when Staten Island became the epicenter of the West Nile virus outbreak, the first infected birds were found in early July. The first batch of mosquitoes harboring the virus were found in mid-July. By the end of the month, the first of 10 Staten Islanders had come down with the illness, which can be dangerous for the elderly or people with chronic health problems.

As for standing water, about 1,000 reports have been logged across the city so far this year, one-quarter from Staten Island. Health officials respond to each complaint with a letter to the property owner, or by notifying the appropriate agency, if the land is government-owned.


6. Golf course foes appeal environmental ruling

(Original publication: June 20, 2001)

Stony Point – Environmentalists and neighbors near the site of the municipal golf course are appealing a court decision upholding the town’s determination that the course would not endanger drinking water supplies.

The appeal filed Friday to the Appellate Division argues that the town has not properly addressed the issue of how pesticides used on the course may affect local wells, Neal Lewis, the attorney representing the plaintiffs, said yesterday.

The appeal was filed by the Stony Point Action Committee for the Environment, neighbors Frank Collyer, Chris Scott, David Derfel, and Robert Stata; and the Neighborhood Network Research Center, a Long Island-based environmental organization that has pushed for pesticide-free golf courses.

The same neighbors and organizations lost a lawsuit against the town in November that asked the state Supreme Court to throw out the Town Board’s approval of the course and order new studies.

They challenged the Town Board’s August determination that no negative environmental impact would result from the course, contending the town did not have storm-water management, erosion and sediment control plans. The ruling allowed the project to move forward.

Residents living near the course rely on wells for their drinking water and are concerned that chemicals used to kill pests and keep the course green could poison their water source, Lewis said.

The appeal only focuses on the issue of pesticides and their threat to the wells and seeks to have the court order the town to complete a full Environmental Impact Statement. This statement requires a detailed assessment of potential impact and solutions for avoiding or significantly reducing that impact.

“It seems that the town of Stony Point is more interested in killing bugs than in protecting my family’s drinking water,” Collyer said in a prepared statement.

The town maintains that pesticides will not affect drinking water, but it hasn’t conducted or provided any studies to support that conclusion, he said.

“What if they are wrong? Who pays the price when our drinking water is contaminated?” Collyer said.

Town Supervisor Steven Hurley disputed Lewis’ argument yesterday, insisting that the town had conducted the tests that are necessary to protect the wells.

“I don’t want anyone in town to think we’re just rushing a golf course through without concern,” Hurley said. “We spent a lot of money and time making sure nobody would be negatively impacted.”

Hurley pointed out that state Supreme Court Justice Robert Meehan determined last year that the town had met its obligations for reviewing potential impact. He said he felt the Appellate Division would uphold Meehan’s ruling.

Lewis said the town is relying on false conclusions by its golf course consultant, including university studies concluding pesticides can’t get into the drinking water source. The consultant, Clough-Harbour Associates of Albany, could not provide the study or the name of the university that conducted it, Lewis said.

Hurley said that no matter how many tests are conducted, those filing the appeal won’t be happy because they don’t really support construction of the course.

Lewis said that was not true. “Our goal is to see golf courses without pesticides,” Lewis said. “We’re not anti-golf. We’re anti-pesticide.”

The town must provide a response to the appeal to the Appellate Division by July 16. Lewis then has 10 days to submit a response to the town’s response. The court then sets a date for oral arguments to be made.

Stony Point is constructing an 18-hole golf course on the grounds of Letchworth Village, a former state facility that housed people with developmental disabilities.


7. Pesticide Fishing Spreading in Mexico

June 29, 2001

A report released in May by the Mexican Environmental Enforcement Agency (PROFEPA) documents illegal use of pesticides for fishing in the pacific coast state of Michoacan. The report, the result of a four-month investigation, reveals that at least two insecticides are being used in fishing for “langostino,” a lobster-like crustacean. Langostinos are considered a delicacy and are served primarily in expensive restaurants.

The chemicals being used for fishing in the region are the veterinary insecticides “Batestan plus” (deltamethrin) and “Asuntol” (coumaphos), both widely available in the region.

Deltamethrin, a pyrethroid, bioaccumulates and is considered moderately toxic to humans and a suspected endocrine disruptor. It is known to be highly toxic to aquatic species, including fish, amphibeans, aquatic insects and zooplankton. Coumaphos is an organophosphate rated “highly toxic” to humans by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and classified as an “extremely hazardous” substance by the World Health Organization. It is also a cholinesterase inhibitor.

PROFEPA condemned the practice of pesticide fishing but did not address the question of whether fish caught through this method posed a health risk to consumers. The agency did not investigate whether langostinos collected by pesticide fishing have been served at restaurants in tourist areas such as nearby Puerto Vallarta.

Additional evidence suggests that the practice of pesticide fishing may be widespread in Mexico. In late March of this year, two men were arrested in separate incidents in Michoacan for use of Batestan plus in fishing, and more than 340 langostinos were confiscated. Anecdotal reports indicate use of unidentified pesticides in at least two communities near the “El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve” in the state of Chiapas. According to a government biologist working on the Pacific side of the Sierra Madre de Chiapas, people are fishing with pesticides to catch a shrimp-like crustacean locally known as “piguas.”

In addition, in mid-2000, a Mexican environmental law nongovernmental organization, the Centro de Derecho Ambiental e Integración Económica del Sur (DASSUR), documented pesticide fishing in the Uxpanapa River, at the heart of biodiversity-rich Uxpanapa Valley in southern Veracruz near the Gulf of Mexico.

In this case, health effects from consumption of contaminated fish were documented. Fishers were using “Butox” which, like Batestan plus, has deltamethrin as an active ingredient. Acute illnesses of both adults and children linked to consumption of contaminated fish and shrimp were documented in various townships near Ejido Palancares, where the pesticide fishing takes place. Researchers frequently heard unconfirmed rumors of frequent abortions and developmental effects in children in the region. Additional research is needed to document these impacts.

DASSUR’s investigation, a joint effort with PAN North America, resulted in a report and video documenting pesticide fishing in the Uxpanapa river and its effects. The project’s next stage will involve further documentation of health effects, as well as education about the risks of pesticide fishing in other affected communities in Michoacan, Oaxaca and Chiapas. The project will also work to enhance the capacity of affected communities to recognize and report pesticide fishing to the proper authorities and to use local press to raise awareness about the issue.

Sources: “Pesca con garrapaticidas en la Selva de Uxpanapa” by DASSUR in video and printed report. Available upon request from DASSUR. “Denuncia PROFEPA Envenenamiento de Peces,” Grupo Reforma Servicio Informativo (

Letter to Mr. Claudio Torres Nachón from Ing. Ambrosio Mayorg Guillen, from PROFEPA–Michoacan “Envenenamiento de Rios en el Municipio de Arteaga para la Captura del Langostino” June 19 2001, and confidential sources.

For toxicity and health effect data on the pesticides, visit PANNA’s pesticide database at

Contact: Claudio Torres Nachón- Director DASSUR, Primo Verdad 23-4, Xalapa, Ver. Mexico 91000; phone (+52)28 18 2388; fax (+52) 28 18 2028; email


PANUPS is a weekly email news service providing resource guides and reporting on pesticide issues that don’t always get coverage by the mainstream media. It’s produced by Pesticide Action Network North America, a non-profit and non-governmental organization working to advance sustainable alternatives to pesticides worldwide:

Contact: Erika Schreder, Washington Toxics Coalition 206-632-1545 x19

Six Seattle Parks Go Pesticide-Free Environmental and Community Groups Applaud City’s Efforts

The City of Seattle announced today the creation of six completely pesticide-free parks. The City also announced a 46% reduction in overall pesticide use in the year 2000, a result of its 1999 commitment to cut the use of pesticides to maintain parks, roadsides, and other city property.

“Seattle is leading the way in showing that we can have beautiful parks without using poisons,” said Erika Schreder of Washington Toxics Coalition.

“Pesticide-free parks mean healthy kids and clean water.”

The City began intensive efforts to reduce pesticide use in October 1999, when it responded to public calls for reducing pesticides with a commitment to a 2000 phase-out of the use of the most hazardous pesticides and a 30% decrease in overall pesticide use by 2002. The City has implemented an aggressive program to use alternatives to pesticides in order to achieve its goal.

Seattle community groups and residents applauded the City for its success in reducing the use of harmful pesticides, and called for additional pesticide-free parks in the future.

“The City is taking an important step in the direction of becoming pesticide free. The parks where our children play is the best place to start, and the benefits reach beyond kids and other park users,” said Pam Johnson of People for Puget Sound. “The fish and wildlife that live downstream from pesticide-laden runoff need this effort and more like it to protect their homes.”

“Every year in the U.S., 70,000 birds are killed by pesticides,” said Lauren Braden of Seattle Audubon Society. “Reducing pesticides invites more life into parks and yards.”

Seattle residents Maxine Centala and Jennifer Kropack were among a group of advocates that inspired the pesticide-free parks program. They requested it in early 1999 after the group purchased a meeting with Mayor Schell at a charity auction.

Community advocate Nancy Morris was part of the group. She said, “I hope one day all parks will be pesticide free. I look forward to the day when I can walk in a large park like Green Lake or Discovery Park and know that no pesticides have been used.”

Groups also urged Seattle residents to work toward making their local parks pesticide-free. Residents can contact the Parks Department for summary information of what pesticides are used in their local park and for what purpose, and work with Parks to reduce pesticide use.


9.West Nile Virus: Silent Summer? From Raleigh to Bangor reaction to the latest threat of mosquito borne West Nile Virus encephalitis (WNV) has been diverse.

From the May-June Atlantic CoastWatch newsletter.

For most people living in WNV endemic areas, risks are very low. One in a thousand mosquitoes carry the virus, having drawn blood from infected birds. One in 300 people bitten by WNV infected mosquitoes shows any sign of illness, usually a mild flu and skin rash. In 1999 and 2000 eight people, most between the ages of 67 and 87, died of WNV in the New York metropolitan region with its population of 7 million. [Actually, the NY metro area is considered to be 20 million people. – MC] Notwithstanding, media-driven calls for action and controversial public health campaigns have ensued, pitting environmentalists, wildlife related agencies and concerned citizens against the actions that health agencies, local and state governments feel obliged to take. At issue is whether the risk from WNV warrants broad scale applications of pesticides.

A signal of broader problems possibly stemming from counter-WNV pesticide use came in the fall of 1999 when 90% of western Long Island Sound’s lobsters inexplicably died. EPA and the states of New York and Connecticut funded research to examine whether pesticides, particularly pyrethroids, temephos and methoprene, played a role. Lobstermen filed a $125 million class action lawsuit against manufacturers. Observed Hans Laufer, an expert in crustacean hormones, in a Hartford Courant interview: “In mosquitoes, it [methoprene/Altosid] acts as an anti-hormone, and that’s what’s killing them. It’s doing exactly the same thing to lobsters.” University of Connecticut researcher Richard French found a paramoeba at work, pointing out “the insecticide probably lowered their immune system, allowing the infection to overwhelm the population.” [Methoprene/Altosid is being used in NYC as part of the larviciding program. – MC]

Other recent findings document the negative role of mosquito control pesticides in ecosystems. EPA, for example, has determined that many of the same chemicals used for mosquito control, widely present in key Washington state watersheds, harm salmon and aquatic habitats. Yet EPA had taken no steps to protect endangered salmon from 48 “legal” but harmful pesticides, while USGS found 13 in watersheds above levels set to protect fish and other aquatic life.

Monitoring birds for WNV also turned up a surprise. More die from pesticides, herbicides and lead than from WNV according to a study conducted by New York’s Department of Environment Conservation. While 1,263 birds in the sample died of WNV in fiscal year 2000, 1,953 died of toxins from pesticides and herbicides such as the now banned Dursban as well as Diazinon, to be banned in 2003. Though some of the deaths were attributed to intentional poisoning or pesticide and herbicide mis-application, many more resulted from the ingestion of prey containing high levels of toxins. William Cooke of Audubon-NY told Newsday: “I was rocked. If they are whacking birds, I think it’s reasonable to assume they’re doing a job on butterflies and others.”

According to a report by the Maine Environmental Policy Institute (MEPI), all pesticides used to control mosquitoes have well established detrimental impacts on human health and on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, and are of limited efficacy killing mosquitoes. Pesticide companies claim an 80% kill rate from spraying. MEPI cited studies in New Jersey and Texas suggesting that a more likely level is 30% and suggested repeated spraying leads to pesticide resistance.

State and local responses have varied. In Long Island’s Suffolk County, homeowners concerned about health impacts can have their homes listed next year as no spray zones, with a 150 foot buffers extending from their property. The county is also setting up committees to deal with aerial spraying. At the same time, pesticides are showing up in 25% of Suffolk’s public wells and 35% of its private wells, according to the New York Daily News. In New Hampshire, state agencies are divided over what measures to take, if any, beyond monitoring. Said Karen Cleveland, NH Fish and Game Service, “When you spray, you kill mosquitoes but you also kill other insects at the same time, as well as fish and amphibians.”

In most states, it is county and municipal authorities that decide whether to spray or not, using state developed guidelines. On Maryland’s eastern shore spraying is available for communities that request it, with an estimated 40,000 acres slated to be covered in June. South Carolina’s war on mosquitoes is perpetual. WNV has yet to arrive.


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Maine group educates towns on WNV/pesticides

Maine Toxics Action Coalition
32 Wildes Rd. Bowdoinham, Maine 04008 666-3598

Kathleen McGee, Director 207-666-3598

West Nile Virus: The Epidemic That Wasn’t

MTAC Educates Municipalities on the Harmful Effects of Pesticide Spraying for WNV

The Maine Toxics Action Coalition has been educating the public on issues of toxic concern for several years. MTAC continues that educational process with West Nile Virus and the use of toxic pesticides to “control” the disease.

There continues to be a great deal of media hype in New York and around New England about West Nile Virus [WNV]. However, we are by no means in a public health emergency! According to the Center for Disease Control, NY Department of Health and others, WNV is a mild illness not easily contracted by humans and is almost invariably asymptomatic [showing no symptoms].

While the threat of contracting WNV is very small and the possibility of that translating to encephalitis is extremely rare, for those who are concerned, there are inexpensive, safe, and effective alternatives to controlling potential virus carrying mosquitoes other than using neurotoxins and endocrine disrupters.

Michael Gochfeld, a Professor of Environmental and Community Medicine at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and School of Public Health claims that, “less than one tenth of one percent of people bitten by infected mosquitoes ever develop any clinical signs of the disease. Exposure to WNV tends to be asymptomatic. Those who do develop the disease rarely end up with encephalitis. Less than 1% of mosquitoes even carry the disease.”

MTAC has mailed to every municipality in Maine a comprehensive report on WNV published by the Maine Environmental Policy Institute; a WNV brochure developed by MTAC and fact sheets about WNV. The report can be found at: and the brochure and other information can be obtained by calling MTAC. As indicated in our research, there is little to fear from West Nile Virus. The far greater threat to public health and the environment is the wholesale spraying of pesticides, which has long-term impacts, especially to our children.

“MTAC hopes to counteract the disinformation that is being disseminated through the chemical companies that have contacted towns in the effort to convince them that the only way to protect themselves from this “deadly disease” is to spray toxic chemicals. Nothing could be further from the truth,” stated Kathleen McGee, Director of the Maine Toxics Action Coalition, “there is absolutely no proof that these toxic pesticides are even effective in controlling the WNV carrying mosquitoes.”

There is evidence that suggests that using chemicals to control mosquitoes have actually increased the mosquito population thereby increasing exposure to various mosquito borne illness. Furthermore, the Culex species of mosquito, which tends to carry the virus, breeds in stagnant standing water. They are not found in salt marshes and breeding habitats are easy to eliminate [see report].

The WNV mailing is a continued service of MTAC whose campaign “Educating the Educators” began several years ago. This program informs those dealing with the public of toxic issues and the public health consequences of toxic exposure. MTAC started with mailings to health care providers in relation to dioxin, and has followed with subsequent education efforts focused on mercury, PCB’s and now pesticides. The WNV mailing to municipalities follows a comprehensive mailing to 1000 health care providers in Maine done earlier this year which addressed mercury exposure through fish consumption, pesticide abuse and effects and also WNV.

MTAC continues its’ responsibility for posting Maine’s waters warning of the hazards of eating fish contaminated by dioxin, PCB’s, mercury, DDT and DDE.

Please be advised, the bug repellent DEET should NOT be used on children. A safe “dose” has not been determined. Apply DEET products to clothing [not nylon]. Do not apply to bare skin.


10. Canada Supreme Court Allows Ban on Lawn Pesticides
Thursday, June 28, 2001

By David Ljunggren / Reuters

OTTAWA (Reuters) – In a landmark decision that environmentalists hailed as “a great step forward” for the health of Canadians, the country’s Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that municipalities across Canada have the right to ban the residential use of pesticides.

The court said the leafy Montreal suburb of Hudson — in the French-speaking province of Quebec — had been within its rights when in 1991 it became the first Canadian municipality to outlaw the use of pesticides on lawns.

Crucially, the court also said the Quebec legislation that Hudson used to implement the ban was very similar to laws in many other parts of Canada. In effect, this gives local authorities all over the country the right to follow suit.

“We’re thrilled. We’ve had municipalities across Canada just waiting with their fingers crossed for this decision,” said Angela Rickman, head of the pesticide reduction campaign at the Sierra Club of Canada environmental group.

“A number of other communities will now be able to move ahead without worrying about negative financial consequences. I think it’s a great step forward for the health of Canadians,” she told Reuters.

Some 36 other Quebec towns, as well as the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, have enacted similar bans since 1991.

Opponents say pesticides can affect the brain and nerve development of children, can block or mimic natural hormones and can harm household pets.

Landscapers disagreed, saying a judicious use of pesticides should be allowed. The case was brought to the Supreme Court by two Quebec lawn-care companies, who said Hudson had been wrong to block the use of chemicals that had been approved by federal and provincial authorities.

The court disagreed, saying in a unanimous decision that “our common future, that of every Canadian community, depends on a healthy environment.

Municipal authorities are closest to the everyday lives of citizens and most responsive to their needs, it added.

“Based on the distinction between essential and nonessential uses of pesticides, it is reasonable to conclude that the town bylaw’s purpose is to minimize the use of allegedly harmful pesticides in order to promote the health of its inhabitants,” it said.

The 1991 Hudson bylaw did not apply to farmland and gave golf courses a five-year exemption.

Officials at the two lawn-care companies at the center of the case were not immediately available for comment.

The court noted the Quebec legislation was very similar to laws in such powerful provinces as Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia as well as Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Manitoba and two of Canada’s three Arctic territories.

Rickman said Canada’s regulations on pesticides use are outdated and urgently need to be changed.

“This ruling raises public awareness of the health and environmental consequences of pesticide use. Until now a lot of Canadians have assumed that because the government permits pesticides, they were safe. A lot of people don’t read the warning labels,” she said.

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