Daily News Archive
From September 16, 2005                                                                                                           

Nashville Citizens Take Legal Action to Protect Against Spraying
(Beyond Pesticides, September 16, 2005) The No Spray Nashville Coalition, a citizen’s action group in Nashville, Tennessee took legal action against the Metro Public Health Department to protect residential neighborhoods from the harmful impacts of pesticides sprayed for mosquito control. Many of the citizens involved in this action have been physically injured or sickened as a direct result the pesticide spraying.

Citizens impacted by the spraying contacted the Health Department notifying them of their adverse health impacts encountered such as burning skin, nausea, headaches, sore throats and respiratory problems, and were told by Health Department officials that the pesticide was safe and could not cause problems. After further checking the citizens learned an insecticide containing the active ingredient sumithrin was used by the city for mosquito control. Mosquito sprays containing synthetic pyrethroids, are also believed to exacerbate asthma (see Daily News story).

According to the group, they were never informed that the adverse health symptoms of concern and emergency first aid treatments for these symptoms, could be found under the "Health Hazard Data" section of the Material Safety Data Sheets for the chemical sprayed. Health Hazard Data information states that exposure to sumithrin can cause a burning sensations to the skin, temporary irritation, tearing, and blurred vision to the eyes and cause stomach irritation resulting in nausea, cramps and vomiting.

In 2003 and 2004, when the citizens called or visited emergency rooms regarding their symptoms, the medical personnel had no knowledge of the chemical used. Again the Health Department had never contacted them to provide this information.

According to Carol Frazier of the No Spray Coalition, "We continue to hear the same claims over and over from victims. For over two years, we have tried to get the Health Department to address these problems. There has been very little response. Their constant denial of risk and their failure to inform victims are totally unacceptable. No matter what your opinion is on the pesticide issue, I think we can all agree that something needs to be done to protect citizens and assure that their health concerns are addressed in a medically
responsible manner."

The Board of Health was to review their appeal on Tuesday September 13, 4:00PM at the Lentz Public Health in Nashville, Tennessee. For more information please contact [email protected].

No Spray Nashville is a member of the national Alliance for Informed Mosquito Management (AIMM). For more information on how to protect yourself and your family and pets from exposure to hazardous mosquito sprays, see Beyond Pesticides Public Health Mosquito Management Strategy: For Decision Makers and Communities. To join AIMM, contact Eileen Gunn at Beyond Pesticides.