Mike Rawlings Declares State of Emergency, Wants Entire City Blanketed With Pesticide

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There have been 111 documented human cases of the West Nile Virus in the city of Dallas this year, a full quarter of cases nationwide. The county declared a state of emergency a couple of days ago and, this morning, Mayor Mike Rawlings followed suit this morning. That puts the decision over whether to initiate aerial mosquito spraying solely in his hands, and he's already told us where he stands. He doubled down at a City Council briefing this morning.

"I cannot have any more deaths on my conscience because we did not take action at this point," he said.

So five chemical-laden planes are en route and will arrive Thursday. They will cover the entire city with Duet, a chemical used for mosquito control in Sacramento, Massachusetts, and New York City where, Rawlings noted, "you can't buy a Big Gulp."

The spraying will happen at night, but exactly when remains to be determined. (The city has set up an aerial spraying page on its website where the information will be posted). That's up to the state, and their decision depends largely on the weather. The state's going to pony up the $500,000 or so the spraying will cost, through unused disaster funds.

The elephant in the room, and the reason why every seat was filled, was the health and environmental effects of aerial spraying. Assistant city manager Joey Zapata said Duet has "no documented impact to human health," a statement that elicited scoffs from the audience.

But David Lakey, the Commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services who was listening in via phone, backed up the statement. The amount of spray amounts to an ounce or less per acre and is not enough to impact human health. The chemicals degrade with exposure to water or sunlight. Even for those with respiratory issues, Lakey said places like Sacramento haven't reported any problems.

Same story with the impact on organic gardens and beneficial insects, Lakey said. That's why the spraying happens at night. "It minimizes the impact on non-targeted insects."

Susan Pollard of the Texas Honey Bee Guild shot a disgusted "Are-they-stupid?" look to no one in particular, and Gene Helmick-Richardson, an entomologist and outspoken spraying opponent, muttered, "Yeah, they just go inside at night."

Councilman Scott Griggs got a round of applause when he questioned the efficacy of aerial spraying and wondered aloud why the city hadn't put the sneakers on the ground with a stronger public relations campaign.

The silent protests -- there was no opportunity for public comment -- were for naught. Rawlings has made his decision, and he's owning it. Council members can throw him under the bus if they want, but it's his decision. He said he would call County Judge Clay Jenkins immediately after the meeting and tell him the city is on board.

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30 comments
mewkins
mewkins

The August 16 press release from City Hall said the spraying of 49,000 acres in HP, UP and everything East of the DNT was going to begin tonite. And that an additional 20,000 "may be added" today. Anybody know when we'll know that?

mewkins
mewkins

So what happens to Duet in an explosion? I mean if one of them crop dusters flying along at 200 feet goes down is Duet flammable?

storage4747
storage4747

Well, I'm not defending the Mayor, but You people bitch because nothing is being done and a few people have died. Now something is being done, not saying it's the right thing, and You people bitch. What in the world should have been done? You people have all the answers, so tell me what should have been done.

engmofo
engmofo

The lawsuits will roll right in. Any data on how this will effect any outdoor animals (strays, chickens etc. )?

PeteRose
PeteRose

As a scary as this sounds, all of this spraying is literally a drop in the bucket for a city the size of Dallas.  At the end of this, the politicians will say they did something when they really didn’t so they can say they did.  And the $500,000 will be no more.

cynicaloldbastard
cynicaloldbastard

I guess we will all wake up the morning after the spraying and find out what sort of damage the spraying did to wildlife.  And if you find some dead birds, insects, lizards, or animals just pick 'em up, put 'em in a box and mail them to Mayor Mike and show him the death & destruction he caused.

arlo
arlo

Myrna, crop dusting is not done over populated areas. It is done by farmers to keep crops safe. When you go to the grocery store you can choose to eat organic or you can choose to eat crop dusted food.

 

The city of Dallas is not giving you a choice about what to breath.

 

One of the primary chemicals that is being sprayed is piperonyl butoxide. It has been proven to cause learning development problems in children. Not to link spam but here is the study.

 

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110210103715.htm

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

I bet the same people who are shvitzin' over the spray also refuse to get flu shots.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

They've been crop-dusting for decades and none of you have uttered a peep.

mavssam
mavssam

Someone can correct me if this math is wrong...but 2.5million people in Dallas...normal mortality rate of about 8 people per 1000 per year according to wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mortality_rate...so in a given month we would expect about 1,667 deaths in Dallas...so for a health problem that poses a 0.5% marginal increase in risk of death, we are supposed to Agent Orange the entire city? What's next, falling antivirals and antibioticsfor all the various communicable diseases??

concerned
concerned

I find it humorous that New York native Mike disses Bloomberg over a real health concern, obesity that eventually costs everyone. He most likely thinks that by playing the rogue Texan on this so called 'epidemic' will endear him to a greater number of residents. Actually, it's just the opposite.

Katarina
Katarina

Wish they had some sort of placebo spray they could use, which would placate the hysterical people while doing no damage to birds, bees, animals, humans and beneficial insects.  Fill up the planes with plain water, mist the city, assuage the fears of our mayor, and continue with mosquito education about standing water, using "donuts," attracting mosquito-eating frogs and insects, and so forth.

 

Jonc
Jonc

I just don't understand this. I'd like to know how many people die each winter merely b/c of the flu. It's 90% elderly, sick or very young as well. The bird flu, swine flu were all less than the typical "flu flu" season.

 

Are there any other major cities in the US who have done this aerial spraying? I'd love to see this go over in Chicago or San Francisco or someplace. We should be rioting in the streets.

JanM
JanM

Seems like we need to kill all the birds too, since they are the source of West Nile infection. As soon as the planes leave, newly hatched skeeters will rise up, bite a bird, and so it starts all over.

EdPoe
EdPoe

They said Agent Orange and DDT were perfectly safe, too.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

So what happens when they spend half a mil to poison outdoor pets and other animals, the errant human who dares venture out after dark, and all the millions of beneficial insects, amphibians, and reptiles that eat mosquitos, then more people contract WNV? WE all know more people will get sick. Step up to weekly bombardment?

engmofo
engmofo

@storage4747 Who the hell's bitching ? Keep that shit out of my neighborhood !! If I find any of my animals or friends animals affected by this I'll file suit in a fukin heartbeat

UnCoverUp
UnCoverUp

 @engmofo Maybe the DUET spraying in Highland Park will rid that community of the long-standing infestation by the parasitic symbiosis of judgeris-corruptus and their lawyeris-politicus.

LostReality
LostReality

 @mavssam Much less for WNV.  Based on what I've read here and other blogs, best way to get rid of it, is to let the buggers bite us so we can become immune. It has been introduced into the environment and it is not something we can nuke away. If people are allergic to bees and grass, some will probably be allergic to WNV and they will need to take precautions. Mike is part of the old school hysteria. Too bad all the bloggers couldn't educate the Mayor.

TexOHara
TexOHara

 @Jonc New York City, Houston, and Sacramento have all done this aerial spraying.

sigh
sigh

 @EdPoe Anyone on the receiving end of one from Jake the Snake Roberts might not agree with this.

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

 @EdPoe DDT is.  Do your research instead of just parroting summaries fed to you by people with an agenda.

EricNicholson4
EricNicholson4 moderator

 @Montemalone Pretty much. Suhm says they'll keep testing mosquito pools post-spray and determine if they need to call back in the planes.

engmofo
engmofo

@scarletohara @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz I think idiot may be being a little generous…

Double-O-Joe
Double-O-Joe

 @PlanoDave DDT is safe as long as it doesn't accumulate in the bodies of apex predators, such as birds of prey, and large game animals, such as tuna and other fish. 

 

Unfortunately, that's exactly what happens.  Bioaccumulation of DDT and other toxins and heavy metals is real, and well-documented (check with the USGS and the EPA, among others).  The long-term use of DDT is extremely harmful, even though individual doses in small concentrations are not.  Yes, it's an effective insecticide.  Unfortunately, its long-term negative effects far outweigh the benefits.

PaulTrevizo
PaulTrevizo

 @Double-O-Joe

 Various studies conducted in the 1990s showed that DDT does not accumulate in the bodies of apex predators.  DDT was banned primarily because it was believed to cause thinning of egg shells in various birds of prey.  The new research shows that the thinning egg shells was caused by the birds in the earlier studies were feed calcium deficient diets.  In fact, since I beleive 2000 the World Health Organization (WHO) and UN have argued that the benefits of reintroducing DDT, particularly in combating mosquitos that carry maleria would far outweigh any possible negtive side effects.   

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