Dallas County Declares State of Emergency, Requests Planes for Aerial Pesticide Spraying

Clay Jenkins West Nile press conference.jpg
Judge Clay Jenkins, backed by Commissioner John Wiley Price and Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Zach Thompson.
Dallas County escalated its war on mosquitoes today, with County Judge Clay Jenkins declaring a state of emergency and requesting that five planes be made available from the Texas Department of Emergency Management in order to begin spraying pesticide aerially over North Dallas and the Park Cities. The outbreak of West Nile virus this summer has killed nine people.

In a news conference this afternoon, Jenkins and Texas Department of Health Services Commissioner Dr. David Lakey called aerial spraying "totally safe." Individual cities will still be able to elect whether or not to spray within their boundaries, with the decision being subject to a vote by each City Council. For now, Dallas County doesn't plan to spray in any unincorporated areas.

Jenkins said county officials had spent the afternoon meeting with representatives from the state Health and Human Services division and the Dallas County Medical Society, as well as corresponding by phone with the CDC's "chief of mosquito-related diseases." Together, he said, they'd decided that the outbreak warrants aerial spraying to the affected cities, which include Highland Park, University Park and North Dallas where it's bounded by the tollway, 635 and Interstate 30.

"The recommendation of the top official in the United States of America tells us that [aerial spraying] is far more uniform," Jenkins said, "and is as safe or safer, and has a better chase of eradicating this disease that's claimed lives in Dallas County already." (However, as our own Jim Schutze has pointed out repeatedly, the chemical cocktail used is controversial, with dueling studies as to its safety and efficacy.)

Jenkins said that on Monday, the county will also begin a three-day intensive ground spray of the "hardest-hit areas." The planes aren't expected to be available until late next week.

Someone asked what Jenkins would do if cities "resisted" being sprayed.

"I believe in democracy," Jenkins responded, but added that it was his "lay opinion" that aerial spraying was the best option. "We will do everything in our power to protect the people of Dallas County from this epidemic."

Jenkins said the spraying will take place at night; both he and Lakey encouraged common-sense precautions, including keeping people and animals out of the spray. They also recommended wearing insect repellent and protective clothing, as well as limiting outdoor activity during dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.

"I firmly believe that aerial spraying is safe," Lakey said. He said that he didn't believe that the spray would affect other wildlife, including bees, butterflies and ladybugs. Nonetheless, he said, "I understand the inherent apprehension a lot of folks have when chemicals are released by airplanes."

The three-day spraying by trucks "may be enough of a resource" to address the issue of West Nile, he said, but added that Dallas County "can't wait" to request planes. He noted that West Nile has an incubation period of two to 14 days, meaning that even if spraying began today, there could still be potential new cases in two weeks.

"I think this is a public health emergency here in Dallas County," Lakey said.



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36 comments
judgeidiot
judgeidiot

Judge Jenkins comes across as a total idiot. He would poison us all to save a couple of 93 year old white people. Please king of the county, stop; you're not smart enough for your position

Lowestgreenviller
Lowestgreenviller

Show up  this Tues (14th) Dallas County Commissioners & this Wed (15th) Dallas City Council Meeting. We must stop this.

Taunus
Taunus

That reminds me of the swine flu in Germany a few years ago: the media made a big fuss about it and called it an epidemic because, unfortunately, some people died (don´t remember how many but definitely not hundreds or even fifties). Launched by the pharmaceutical industry, people were urged to get a shot, but only very few did, and then the so called epidemic just faded away and some pharma-providers suffered financial loss. At least we had the chance to decide on our own whether we wanted to believe the hysteria and get shots or not. I just can´t believe they even think of spraying poison from planes on everybody. Poor people, poor wildlife, poor nature!  

trudat
trudat

Why is it that when public officials make an "emergency" announcement like this, they always omit so many important details?  Is it because they don't ask the people they're supposed to represent for some input?  Are they trying to hide something? If they would just read the comments to this article, they'd get important input about how they could do a better job.  But do they read anything beside the Belo teleprompter?

 

Now; as for ME....I just want to know about one (1) thing....The Money Trail...where is the money for this "emergency" coming from - who is getting the money - how much is the money - when was this decision made - and why were they chosen to get the money????????????

 

...all that other info about health, etc. is good and important too but tell me about the MONEY.....

sidewalkastro
sidewalkastro

Hummmm I wonder why the Park cities is ground zero for these mosquitoes? Could be that they can afford large water bills from over watering those huge lawns? Who knew, Park Cites has mosquito farms. LOL!

Joni Espinoza
Joni Espinoza

Just spray your yards with Avon's Skin so Soft. Put in spray bottle and water it down. You won't have any insects anywhere near as they hate it. That's what we do out here in the country and why Avon is #1 seller in Brazil.

Kyla Bussey
Kyla Bussey

do the rich folk in Preston Hollow know you're going to kill all their flowers? No pollinators = no flowers.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

So, JWP gonna spray Park Cities and Preston Hollow with Agent Orange, Paraquat, and DDT.

Welcome to Hell, white folk.

Luis Rodriguez
Luis Rodriguez

Nothing like the smell of Poison to start of your day. My lungs are so grateful :)

lilblackcloud
lilblackcloud

nuke the bastards-bill pullman, independence day

Dathan Neumeyer
Dathan Neumeyer

Scare the sheep into letting you drug us all! Great plan government!

Hulon_Pate
Hulon_Pate

It is a serious matter. My father was infected with West Nile in 2006. He spent 31 days in ICU. He made a recovery but he also had to endure physical therapy to relearn how to walk. If people are smart just add some bleach if you see a standing pool of water.  I do not know if Air spraying is the answer however If Dallas is going to spray and declare "Emergency" . I think a public broadcast to inform the public is needed.   

Ryan Millard
Ryan Millard

9 people is an epidemic? They've already stated this sort of solution doesn't eradicate the problem and causes more harm than good.

AreYouKidding
AreYouKidding

We cannot count on Belo to report or research properly. Please find out what Dallas firm is brokering the deal for the chemicals and airplanes. This push with no public input does not make sense.

Lowestgreenviller
Lowestgreenviller

Why spray at night when we all know that mosquitoes are active at dawn & dusk? What effect will this have on the local bat population as they are one of our best defenses? What about dragonflies? I have seen clouds around my house munching down on those West Nile carriers. What about outdoor pets? Mine are indoors but I know a lot of our citizenry leave their critters out at night. What's in this cocktail that they plan on spraying? What are the consequences to breathing this cocktail? Why doesn't Fort Worth spray? Come on people. We need answers and Clay Jenkins reassurances aren't doing it for me. We need real answers & not knee jerk reactions from politicians.

CommonSensePlease
CommonSensePlease

Let's show some common sense and say "No to Aerial Spraying".... Every year people die from the Flu. It is horrible, but they are people who have compromised immune systems. Sadly, that is also true regarding the West Nile virus. Twelve people have died in Dallas County, however, there are over 6 million people in Dallas County, who have not.

 

Please contact the City of Dallas and tell them not to jeopardize healthy people, gardens, swimming pools, wild life, and much needed insects such as bees, lady bugs, butterflies, locusts and frogs. Yeah, they are a pain, but they are an important biomass in our ecosystem. They and their larvae feed many things, including the fish, in our lakes, streams and creeks. Getting rid of them would have a tremendous affect on the local Eco-system.

 

Contact

mike.rawlings@dallascityhall.com

mary.suhm@dallascityhall.com

Clay.Jenkins@dallascounty.org

 

No one knows the long term effects of aerial spraying of these chemicals. They sprayed a chemical they told the public, was safe, when we were kids. Breast cancer and other cancers are much higher on average, today.

 

I am not saying there is a direct correlation, but no one can say, there is not. Please think about it. Thank you!

MissyFranklin
MissyFranklin

We didn't mind when they were spraying down off Williamson Road because it was horrible, but now that it is hotter, the mosquitoes are not as bad. Either that or it worked, however, we have a swimming pool and we definitely do not want fly-over spraying.

 

Has anyone thought about that? Is the city going to issue plastic non-porous covers for our pools? How will the chemicals mix with Chlorine?

trudat
trudat

 @cherylkellis

 ...nothing like a little good ole' nonviolent direct action to get some results....but my massa already told me I couldn't be off the plantation at that time...

darrd2010
darrd2010

@Montemalone I love that the Mayor is going to be the one to pull that trigger mechanism to make it happen in North Dallas, and HP/PC. I'm sure the DCC members will have all left town for Santa Fe before it begins.

GetReal
GetReal

 @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz When talking 9 people in out of millions, state of emergencies are generally driven by someone making money. Maybe even the county of Dallas....

Jane
Jane

I agree, the citizens of Dallas need to get informed and be involved in these drastic decisions. I haven't yet read any compelling evidence that aerial spraying has ever resulted in a reduction of human contraction of West Nile and common sense tells me it will have a negative effect on my family's health and our environment. We need to hold our authorities accountable; proof of safety and efficacy of a desperate program such as this should be made public and debated before it is enacted. It is always distressing when we or the ones we love become very ill. When it comes to public policy, certainly difficult cost/benefit analyses must be made. Aerial spraying of pesticides has serious short and long-term consequences that need to be considered before we allow it. Also I prefer mosquito "Dunks" for standing water. They are non-toxic, inexpensive, and readily available.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

 @StopTheSpray Why not start petitions to stop nitrates in cured meats as well; or many other known cancer-causing carcinogens dumped into food products?

CliffDweller
CliffDweller

 @CommonSensePlease Remember this is a County issue; contacting Mary and Mike might help some, but here are the people directly in charge:

Commissioners Court 411 Elm St., Dallas, TX 75202 - 214-653-7361

County Judge Clay Jenkins - 214-653-7949

Dist. 1 Maurine Dickey - 214-653-7552

Dist. 2 Mike Cantrell - 214-653-6100

Dist. 3 John Wiley Price - 214-653-6671 Dist. 4

Dr. Elba Garcia - 214-653-6670

Administrator - 214-653-7327

Commissioners Court is held every Tuesday, beginning at 9 a.m.

StopTheSpray
StopTheSpray

 @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz I can't tell if you're trolling or if you are actually unable to think in a logical way. What you said makes absolutely no sense. The two are not similar at all. Personally, I don't eat crap like that. And nobody forces me to. County officials don't come to my house to cram bologna down my throat. (not meant as a double entendre)However, if I did want to start a petition against carcinogens in food, that would be my right to do so. The two are not mutually exclusive. 

GetReal
GetReal

 @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz Huuuuh, this is not the same thing.  People choose to put  those in their mouth.  I don't, but some people do.  

 

I choose to take my chances with West Nile, given how few people have actually died.

GetReal
GetReal

 @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz You are incorrect. According to their web site, only 12 have died. 190 may have been infected,  but they did not die and now they are immune for life. That is actually a good thing. Still 190 out of a county that has around 3 million people, is not an epidemic or state of emergency.

GetReal
GetReal

 @CliffDweller The county issued the state, however,  according to the press releases and the news casts, each of the Mayors and City have to be the one that make the actual decision to drop the poison.  Seems the County doesn't want the responsibility. 

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