Residents don't trust apple moth spray

April 15, 2008 10:31:18 AM PDT
To spray or not to spray? The City of San Francisco is getting ready to vote on a resolution opposing the state's plan to eradicate the light brown apple moth by aerial spraying. There is concern over possible health threats, but the State insists it's safe. So who's science is right?

This rally on Monday was in support of a resolution San Francisco supervisors will consider on Tuesday opposing the state's light brown apple moth eradication plan.

The state plans to do aerial spraying of 750 acres across many Bay Area counties. It wants to use a pheromone to confuse the male apple moths and prevent them from mating.

The pheromone would be delivered in a product called CheckMate LBAM-F.

Mill Valley Pediatrician Stacia Iansman thinks it could be harmful to humans in part because it has never been tested on humans.

"What concerns me is they say the pheromone is safe. I don't believe that. They say the inert ingredients are safe. I don't believe that. It's encapsulated in plastic we breathe in the plastic, plastic is not safe in our body," said Iansman.

State Food and Agriculture Secretary A.G. Kawamura says the pheromone, and the ingredients that with it make up CheckMate have "negligible toxicity", and that pesticides are never tested on humans.

"We continue to rely on the science and scientists who study this material and they continue to say this is negligible toxicity. It's one of the safest products we've ever used in anything like this application," said Kawamura.

The Federal EPA and State Department of Pesticide Regulation have studied and approved CheckMate. It's been accepted for use by a broad group of state environmental agencies like the US Fish and Wildlife Service and by some independent environmental groups including the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Kawamura thinks there is a lot of misinformation out about CheckMate. And he says if the moth is not eradicated now, it will flourish, and gardeners, landscapers and farmers will eventually use much greater amounts of much more toxic pesticides than what the state is now proposing.

"In this case our pheromone product is the safest product we've ever been able to use," said Kawamura.

Information from the State:
http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/phpps/PDEP/lbam/lbam_main.html

From the Pesticide Action Network page:
http://www.panna.org/resources/lbam

From the makers of CheckMate LBAM-F:
http://www.suterra.com/.docs/rid/10007/pg/press_releases.html

From the EPA:
http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/local/region9/lbam_quarantine.htm


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