Some Jacksonville residents concerned with the city’s mosquito spraying, are looking to educate the city out of its mosquito problem so spraying pesticides won’t be necessary.
Beaches resident Meghan Fiveash isn’t comfortable with the city’s aerial spraying of a pesticide called Naled, which kills mosquitoes. She’s part of the “Citizens Against Organophosphate Spraying- Jacksonville” group. Organophosphates are the basis of many insecticides.
“I’d like to see (Naled) not used at all,” Fiveash said. “If that’s not an option keep, it very limited.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Environmental Protection Agency says Naled is safe when used according to instructions. At the same time, the EPA is re-evaluating Naled as part of a routine review process and will issue new health risk assets by the end of the year.
Entomologist Mara Clark, with Jacksonville’s mosquito control division, told WJCT last year, “The amount that we’re putting out is about half-an-ounce per acre. So it’s a very, very small amount. It’s also a very small droplet size that we’re using as well. We’re talking microns."
But the pesticide has drawn lots of pushback from concerned citizens. As The Florida Times-Union reported, Clay County held off on using it following Hurricane Irma after pushback.
Fiveash, who is nine-months pregnant, said she’s worried how it could affect the baby she’s carrying. University of Michigan researchers found some children in China who had prenatal exposure to Naled were below average on motor skills tests. But those children studied also had very high exposure to the pesticide.
The city’s mosquito control division said it only sprays when it detects high activity levels of mosquitos, which is the case lately after Irma’s flooding. But Fiveash wants to make sure the levels stay low.
“I have been trying to work on getting information out to people on how to reduce the amount of mosquitos,” she said.
That can be done by reducing amounts of standing water, and checking objects like tires used as playground swings. Those can have holes drilled in them. It’s also important to keep gutters replace birdbath of pet dish water at least once a week.
She’s been passing around a list of tips from the health department.
Fiveash said her next goal is to get the city to notify every person before a spray.
Currently, residents are only notified if they ask to be on a list, many of which are beekeepers. Future sprays are posted on the city’s website.