Letter: County Response Lacks Answers

Editor’s note: The following letter is in response to the letter “Mosquito Control Efforts To Fight Zika” by Palm Beach County Department of Environmental Resources Management Director Rob Robbins published Sept. 30.

The county’s response to my letter “County Is Aerial Spraying Naled On Our Area” lacks answers. The response was written like a public service announcement and appears to have been carefully crafted by an attorney to put the issue of the county’s aerial spraying of Naled on our area to rest. This is very troubling.

Mr. Robbins, the director of Environmental Resources Management, gave no specific answers to the questions posed, except for telling us that the county has “used it [Naled] for many years” for “nuisance mosquitoes,” “which don’t carry human disease.” I am sure that Mr. Robbins knows, or should know, that Naled is in a class of pesticides called organophosphates (OP), and no matter how small of an amount the county uses, OP pesticides have cumulative risks when used with other pesticides in the same class. This means that if other OP pesticides are used in our homes, businesses and in agriculture, the addition of Naled will create a greater risk. Furthermore, individuals in poor health, the elderly, pregnant women, babies and young children should take extra precautions to limit exposure to OP pesticides. A decision by the county not to use Naled would limit our total cumulative risk. Yet, the county chooses to use Naled routinely.

In the interest of transparency, the people living in the western communities of Palm Beach County deserve answers from the county to these eight questions, as summarized from my original letter:

1. Why is it that other South Florida counties (Broward) and cities are choosing not to use Naled?

2. Why did the county choose Naled over other safer, organic options?

3. How long has the county been aerial spraying Naled on the western communities?

4. Who decided to use Naled in Palm Beach County, and why was the public not part of the decision?

5. What logic did the county use to determine which communities (and cities) to aerial spray with Naled?

6. Why did the county choose to use Naled pesticides only west of State Road 7 and only on specific western communities, when the aerial spraying coverage was previously all areas west of Military Trail?

7. When did the target area for aerial spraying change, and why?

8. Why was the public not notified of the dangers and precautions required for Naled aerial spraying?

Anne Kuhl, The Acreage