KTLA reported that in New Orleans “federal public safety
officials said that a military C-130 cargo plane was to begin spraying
clouds of insecticide . . . to kill a growing population of
disease-bearing mosquitoes.” The authorities noted that this spraying
“would not pose a health threat.” Really?
in his article, “Jackbooted
Police State Emerging in New Orleans,” writes about an
interview which Jeremy Scahill gave to Amy Goodman
Now!, “The Militarization of New Orleans”) which mentions the
mosquito spray, Naled. Mr. Nimmo, giving various sources, notes that such
“chemicals are carcinogens and induce ‘structural chromosome
aberrations’.” He adds: “the military seems to be using NALED (and who
knows what other chemicals) with the same cavalier disregard they used
Agent Orange (a herbicide) in Vietnam.” Quite.
I shall investigate further this poison being used on the mosquitoes and
people of New Orleans.
What is Naled?
Naled is an organophosphate. Its trade names are: Bromex, Dibrom,
Dibromfos, Fly Killer-D, Lucanal and RE4355. Broken down, it produces
Dichlorvus (DDVP). Its inert substances are: naphthalene and 1-2-4
Information on this, and other pesticides available here. Its
chemical name is
dichlorovinyl dimethyl phosphoric acid ester.
Who sells Naled?
Valent sold its US Naled/Dibrom business to American Vanguard Corporation
with effect from November 1998.
AMVAC, located in Los Angeles, specialises in pesticides and herbicides.
AMVAC is also involved with “toxic waste management” though a sub-company,
Environmental Mediation, Inc. (a convenient arrangement).
Naled is a PAN Bad Actor (Pesticide
Action Network) with ‘high toxicity’ in two areas. (Further
Naled can be found here.)
What is the story of Naled?
Naled has been used mostly on cotton and grapes. “Aerial applications can
last for several days and can drift up to half a mile.” (What about in a
strong breeze?) Breathing contaminated air is Naled’s most toxic form.
Mosquito spraying uses small droplets, which are about four times more
acutely dangerous than the larger droplets. (Publications,
factsheets, articles NCAP North)
What is Naled's threat to New Orleans and its people?
potential health and environmental effects outlined below strongly
support the importance of finding alternatives to these pesticides as soon
Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides gives the
following list of Naled dangers. They note that females are more sensitive
than males, and that malnourished people and asthmatics are especially
Physical: Headaches, eye and skin irritation, nausea and diarrhoea;
muscle twitching and reduced strength, anaemia, difficult breathing.
Cancer, also caused by Dichlorvus (stomach, pancreas; leukaemia).
Mental: increased aggression, seizures, slow responses, a
deterioration of memory and learning, unconsciousness.
Prenatal dangers: the organophosphate breakdown of Naled,
Dichlorvus, “interferes with prenatal brain development. The brain in
tested pregnant animals was affected after 3 days of exposure, showing 15%
of reduced brain size.”
Children: Naled and Dichlorvus can be passed on to children through
breast feeding. Children exposed to Naled have an increased cancer risk.
Food Contamination: particularly strawberries, beans, celery and
Genetic: damage to the liver; chromosome abnormalities can be found
in sperm and the spleen.
Environmental: No proper testing of water contamination in wells,
streams or rivers has been done. The Environmental Protection Agency (sic)
says that Naled “is toxic to birds and fish.” Reduced growth has been
noted, as has the reduction of egg production and hatching.
recent report reveals devastating harm done to fish, shrimp and
turtles (tumours). Further, sprays do not harm just
‘bad’ insects, they also harm ‘good’ ones. Stoneflies, which
cycle nutrients in water and waterstriders, which scavenge, are affected.
Naled affects bees, and the wasps that paralyse fruit flies. Endangered
species are threatened.
What does the Environmental Protection Agency say?
Naled is listed by the EPA as a “moderate” poison and “must bear the
DANGER -- POISON because it is corrosive to the eyes.”
A full document, by
Robert Rose, Pesticides and Human Health discusses the EPA
“integrated methods of mosquito management”.
Risk to Humans
another document, the EPA
says: “Naled can be used for public health mosquito control programs
without posing unreasonable risks to the general population when
applied according to the label….” It continues: “However, at high doses,
Naled, like other organophosphates, can over-stimulate the nervous system
causing nausea, dizziness, or confusion. Severe high-dose poisoning with
any organophosphate can cause convulsions, respiratory paralysis, and
Researchers at the
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, North Carolina
state: "Different views on the carcinogenicity data have been
published; most indicate that the earlier studies were inadequate…, flawed
… or showed unequivocal carcinogenicity… According to the EPA (using all
the available data)"dichlorvos has been classified as a carcinogen based
on oncogenic effects in mice and rats...... Increased incidences of
mononuclear cell leukemia was observed in dosed male and female rats. In
the male rats the increase in incidence was dose-related and statistically
significant. Incidences of multiple fibroademonmas were seen in 9 exposed
female rats whereas none were observed in the controls.”
Risk to Environment
The EPA says, “Naled, used in
mosquito control programs, does not pose unreasonable risks to
wildlife or the environment...” and later then adds “Naled is highly toxic
to insects, including beneficial insects such as honeybees.” Further EPA
documents on Naled can be found at:
What is Naled's future?
There is “strong
evidence of how mosquito control pesticides (once applied to a
"pristine" wildlife habitat) can then result in a dramatic increase in the
incidence rate of encephalitis carrying mosquitoes in the area.“
The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention has written that the
killing of adult mosquitoes by aerial spray is the least efficient control
technique. Naled is not an exception.
“The potential for irreversible damage to public health, wildlife and
marine life must be considered” in light of
“The fact that Agrow, one of the main agrochemical industry
analysts, is questioning international regulatory status of OP
insecticides, signals that this sector of the market is indeed in
Book Reviews: Pesticdes News 42
recent Guardian headline reads: “Fears about exposure to crop spraying
gain ground.” These very same doubts about chemical crop spraying should
also apply to aerial Naled spraying for mosquitoes in New Orleans.
The producer of the dangerous Naled/Dibrom aerial spray primarily makes
money killing mosquitoes. People become ill. The company makes yet more
money again selling them drugs. Why does no one question the preposterous
amorality of Pharmaceutical Corporations? What safe alternative can we
find to Naled, and to all the other chemicals that are poisoning us, and
our environment? Or is it too late?
hoping for the best with the new head of the EPA, Stephen Johnson, one
suspects that a man with dedicated integrity to the greening of the EPA
will succumb to the destructive and corporate will of the Bush
Sarah Meyer is
a writer and researcher based in Sussex, UK. She can be reached at:
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