Thursday, September 14, 2017

Air Force spraying insecticide over 6 million acres in Texas to combat post-Harvey mosquitoes


Texas is using huge U.S. Air Force planes to spray 6 million acres for mosquitoes breeding in the standing water left by Hurricane Harvey.

Devika Krishna Kumar reports for Reuters, "C-130 cargo planes began spraying insecticides over three eastern Texas counties over the weekend and will expand to other areas over the next two weeks, officials from the Texas Department of State Health Services said. . . . Most mosquitoes that appear after floods are not the disease-carrying varieties but can hurt recovery operations by swarming residents and disaster workers during cleanup efforts."

The spraying is using naled, an insecticide banned in the European Union but commonly used in the U.S. and supported by American health officials. "Both the Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency stand behind naled, saying the small amount of the insecticide sprayed from planes doesn’t expose people enough to pose a health concern," Zoe Schlanger of Quartz writes for Route Fifty. "The chemical has caused controversy in recent years. In 2016, naled spraying inadvertently caused millions of honeybee deaths in South Carolina."

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