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Daily News Blog

22
Jun

For Pollinator Week, Help Ban Pesticide Misters in Your State

(Beyond Pesticides, June 22, 2018) Mosquito misters pose a threat to human health. They also harm bees and other flying pollinators and are the least effective way to deal with biting mosquitoes. These devices are typically placed outdoors and spray insecticides –mostly in an attempt to control mosquitoes.  In May, the Connecticut state legislature voted to ban the use of residential pesticide misting systems.

Urge your Governor and state legislators to ban pesticide misters.

In addition to the threat to people’s health, misters harm pollinators who may be foraging in an area where the devices are used. Studies find that sublethal concentrations of synthetic pyrethroids significantly reduce bee fecundity and decrease the rate at which bees develop to adulthood and reproduce. Field and laboratory studies using pyrethroids have consistently documented decreases in foraging activity and activity at the hive entrance after exposure.

While pesticides are regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), pesticide misters and other application devices are not subject to EPA oversight, leaving states with the authority to control their use. Connecticut appears to be the first state to restrict pesticide misting machines through legislation. The state of New York took an administrative approach to regulating these devices, as the commissioner of the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation used his authority to deem pesticides used in misting systems as restricted use (only available to certified applicators).

In 2015, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, detailing false and deceptive claims by manufacturers of pesticide misters. Specifically, PEER noted that manufacturers claim that these misters (1) are effective in controlling mosquitoes despite contention from experts and even the American Mosquito Control Association that they are not effective, (2) have the ability to kill ticks, of which there is no evidence, and (3) are “safe” and “natural,” despite their use of highly toxic pesticides. Absent federal action, the responsibility to regulate these dangerous devices falls to the states.

Urge your Governor and state legislators to ban pesticide misters.

Staying mosquito-free in one’s backyard requires both individual and community efforts. For the individual, during mosquito season use least-toxic repellents like oil of lemon eucalyptus. If possible, wear loose, light colored long-sleeved clothing. If you want to spend protected periods outside sipping lemonade during a hot summer evening, sit next to an oscillating fan, as mosquitoes are not great fliers. For more protection, sit inside a screened deck, or pop-up tent.

At the community level, you can achieve neighborhood-level reductions in mosquitoes by joining with your neighbors in regularly dumping out standing water and encouraging flying and swimming predators. Larvaciding sites that cannot be drained is more effective than spraying adults, but still disrupts ecological forces that maintain balance. Most common mosquitoes don’t fly too far from where they hatched, and often one location in a community, such as stagnant water in a neighbor’s old pool, can be a major source for mosquito breeding throughout the neighborhood.

Use Beyond Pesticides’ mosquito doorknob hangers to get the word out. Contact the office for 25 free hangers, or purchase more at Beyond Pesticides’ Storefront. If you are concerned about broader aerial or truck-mounted spraying campaigns by governments or vector control districts, also reach out to Beyond Pesticides at [email protected] or 202-543-5450 for organizing strategies to stop toxic mosquito spray in your community.

Model Legislative Language: Connecticut General Assembly SB104.

Letters (two options):

For Connecticut residents, to Connecticut legislators and governor:

Pesticide misters harm bees and other flying pollinators and are the least effective way to deal with biting mosquitoes. These devices are typically placed outdoors and spray insecticides –mostly in an attempt to control mosquitoes, putting people and other species at risk.  In May, the Connecticut state legislature voted to ban the use of residential pesticide misting systems. The vote was unanimous in the state Senate, and won by a count of 132-17 in the state House.

Thank you for protecting Connecticut residents!

Sincerely,

For other states:

Mosquito misters pose a threat to human health. They also harm bees and other flying pollinators and are the least effective way to deal with biting mosquitoes. These devices are typically placed outdoors and spray insecticides –mostly in an attempt to control mosquitoes.)  In May, the Connecticut state legislature voted to ban the use of residential pesticide misting systems.

In addition to the threat to people’s health, misters harm pollinators who may be foraging in an area where the devices are used. Studies find that sublethal concentrations of synthetic pyrethroids significantly reduce bee fecundity and decrease the rate at which bees develop to adulthood and reproduce. Field and laboratory studies using pyrethroids have consistently documented decreases in foraging activity and activity at the hive entrance after exposure.

While pesticides are regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), pesticide misters and other application devices are not subject to EPA oversight, leaving states with the authority to control their use. Connecticut appears to be the first state to restrict pesticide misting machines through legislation. The state of New York took an administrative approach to regulating these devices, as the commissioner of the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation used his authority to deem pesticides used in misting systems as restricted use (only available to certified applicators).

In 2015, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, detailing false and deceptive claims by manufacturers of pesticide misters. Specifically, PEER noted that manufacturers claim that these misters (1) are effective in controlling mosquitoes despite contention from experts and even the American Mosquito Control Association that they are not effective, (2) have the ability to kill ticks, of which there is no evidence, and (3) are “safe” and “natural,” despite their use of highly toxic pesticides. Absent federal action, the responsibility to regulate these dangerous devices falls to the states.

The Connecticut law consists of two short paragraphs:

“(a) On and after January 1, 2019, no person shall install or utilize any residential automatic pesticide misting system in this state. For purposes of this section, “residential automatic pesticide misting system” means any device that is designed to be installed on, near or around the exterior of any residential dwelling or the grounds of such residential dwelling and to automatically spray any pesticide solution at timed intervals.

“(b) The Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection may adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54 of the general statutes, to implement the provisions of subsection (a) of this section. Such regulations may include, but shall not be limited to, the establishment of a fine for the violation of subsection (a) of this section.”

I urge you to follow the example of Connecticut and ban the use of residential pesticide misting systems.

Sincerely,

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