Wednesday, September 20, 2006

About That Nasty Brooklyn Mosquito Spraying...

This is turning out to be quite the week for Brooklyn environmental nastiness stories. First, we have the tests showing all the toxic muck under Greenpoint because of that old oil spill. Then, we have the more subtle story of mosquito spraying.

Among the many reasons we were happy to be far, far out on Cape Cod in late August, was the spraying of many parts of Brooklyn for mosquitoes. Not that we like mosquitoes or mosquito-borne disease, but we like getting doused with chemicals less.

We linked to some items about it then, but were reminded of it by Sunset Parker's outrage in an item about the "WMD" sprayed on Brooklynites. Of course, the city will tell you it's all about preventing West Nile Virus and snuffing out mosquitoes. Sunset calls it the "utterly horrendous and utterly unnecessary" spraying of "cancer causing chemicals...indiscriminantly all over pregnant women and children last month by the City." He continues with a very salient point:
Once again, its worth pointing out that not one Brooklyn resident was diagnosed with West Nile Virus this year, yet thousands (if not more) will potentially have their lives cut short. If you think the government gives a wit about your health, look at how they lied to people, guilting them to come down to the "pile" after 9/11, knowing full well (yes knowing full well) that they were sending them to an early (and most likely agonizing) death. This is a big deal (so was that.)
Sunset's item was motivated by an excellent piece in ZNet that provides graphic detail about the callous way in which poisons--some of them carcinogenic--were sprayed around Brooklyn:
The first spraying of the year in Brooklyn took place on the evening of August 21. The spray truck -- now driven by unionized NYC workers wearing DOHMH insignias -- recklessly spewed pesticides in a thick cloud down crowded 5th Avenue in Sunset Park and in the surrounding area in utter disregard of the hundreds of people walking the streets. The truck blasted pregnant women and many, many little children with the spray, and fogged people in dozens of restaurants without warning -- their doors wide open -- as they ate.
Among the things sprayed on Brooklynites were a cancer-causing chemical called piperonyl butoxide and the pesticide Anvil that has been found to be a hormone (endocrine) disruptor and neurotoxin as well as serious lung irritant. Every time we feel that nothing can amaze or shock us, something comes along that does. And then we wonder why every time we turn around someone we know is being diagnosed with or dying from some horrendous cancer?

Combine this with the fact that it took 30 years to do tests showing (surprise) that there are carcinogens and other toxins (not to metion potentially explosive methane gas) in Greenpoint because of the humongous decades-old oil spill, and the ongoing revelations about the possible Ground Zero air coverup, and one has quite a few environmental stories to mull with one's morning latte.

[Photo courtesy of NYC Indymedia, which also did excellent coverage of this issue back in August.]

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