Daily News Archive

Lawn Care Crew Harmed By Mosquito Spray
(Beyond Pesticides, October 8, 2004)
On Tuesday September 21, three lawn care crew members were sprayed with pesticide by a Health Department spray truck targeting mosquitoes as they worked in a front yard on an East Nashville street in Tennessee. “We didn’t know the trucks were going to be in the neighborhood. We were wearing ear protection so we didn’t hear the truck until it was right on us,” said Vaughn Moye. “We had no place to go so we ran into the backyard to get away from the spray. The spray still engulfed us. About 10 minutes later, our faces were red and burning from the pesticide. We quit work early to shower.”

Moye called the emergency room at Metro Hospital, who told him they weren’t aware of what spray was being used. They recommended he call Poison Control if he had a problem. Later that night, the three men experienced more adverse effects from the spray including nausea, a headache, sore throat and sinus drainage. The crew leader spoke to a Health Department employee the next morning. She assured him that spray was not harmful in the low dose they were using. She said the toxicologist was out but he and the supervisor for the spray trucks would get back to him. To date neither has called him back.

The crewmembers are additionally worried since about 15-20 children were playing football on the street that night.

The lawn care crew contacted the No Spray Coalition for assistance on October 1. No Spray has been collecting reports this year from citizens who claim to have had problems with the spray. Last year, reports came in from 13 people who claimed they were sickened by the spray. In addition, a number of people were sprayed or saw people who were sprayed by the trucks.

Rachel Sumner of the No Spray Coalition stated, “To date, the No Spray Coalition has spent a total of 14 months trying to get the Health Department to improve their notification policies. When people don’t know about when spraying is occurring in their neighborhoods it makes the risk greater that citizens will be taken by surprise by the trucks and suffer adverse effects. The crewmembers of that lawn care service, the children on that street and everyone in Nashville deserves to have proper notification when pesticides are being used in our city. “

TAKE ACTION: If you live in the Nashville area and are having problems with pesticide sprayings, contact the No Spray Coalition at 327-8515 or see www.nospraynashville.org. To take action on mosquito spraying in your area, see Beyond Pesticides Mosquito Management/West Nile Tools for Activists.