In a conference call with reporters, Dr. Ann Haiden said the threat posed by the light brown apple moth is not serious enough to warrant aerial spraying.
"If we were dealing with the plague or something it might warrant this spray but this moth doesn't seem to warrant it," Haiden said.
Haiden said her research found the chemical being sprayed, a pheromone, could adversely affect the respiratory and endocrine systems. An unidentified percentage of the population might be genetically predisposed to health problems caused by the spray, she also said.
"A portion of the population, just by chance of genetics, are more likely to have health problems after being exposed to the spray," Haiden said.
Earlier this month and in April, judges in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties ruled against the California Department of Food and Agriculture's current spraying plans. The department is appealing those rulings.
"The light brown apple moth infestation is, in fact, an emergency that threatens our nation's food supply and our state's environment. Eradicating this pest with an aerial pheromone treatment has proven time and time again to be the most effective and safest way to eliminate the need to use conventional pesticides and demonstrate to the nation that California is a leader in environmentally sound eradication projects," California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary A.G. Kawamura said in a statement released earlier this month.