New concerns are arising over a chemical being used to kill mosquitoes that carry Zika. The chemical is called Naled, and it is an insecticide that has been registered since 1959 for use in the United States. It is used primarily for controlling adult mosquitoes, but is also used on food and feed crops, and in greenhouses. For mosquito control, naled is applied as an ultra-low volume (ULV) spray. ULV sprayers dispense very fine aerosol droplets containing small quantities of active ingredient insecticide that drift through the air and kill mosquitoes on contact. The amount that reaches the ground is small.
But, a new study from the University of Michigan study found that Naled can stunt the development of motor skills in young infants. It’s dangerous and a hint ironic, as the mosquito control fighting zika is to obviously protect pregnant mothers, and the efforts can actually be causing as much harm as good.
A local mother named Jennie Donohue began to take all pesticides more seriously since becoming a mother. “When I had Ethan I thought, ‘what am I really putting on my skin? Do I want to put it on his skin?’” said Donohue. She tries to avoid contact with harmful chemicals, and for good reason. The scientists learned babies in China who were exposed to Naled suffered delays in learning fine motor skills.
“Its scary stuff. I think it’s very, very real,” said Donohue.
News channel Eight in sarisota learned that Naled is used in sarasota County and in most mosquito control departments across the state, and is affordable and effective in killing and controlling mosquito populations.
“All things that we spray to kill mosquitoes are toxic, they kill things, that’s their job,” said Matt Smith with Sarasota County Mosquito Management. Smith emphasizes the exposure is minimal. Naled is dispersed from airplanes, using only half an ounce per acre. It’s strictly regulated by the EPA. “It’s just like taking a medicine. I like to use that analogy, because no medication comes without some risk of side effects,” Smith explained. “It does of course give you cause for concern and it just reinforces our ongoing mission to reduce the use of products like this as much as possible,” said Smith. “[We] rotate [Naled] with some what we would consider less toxic compounds. But, those tend to be a lot more expensive,” Smith explained.
Donohue is doing her part. She makes her own mosquito spray with essential oils to use on her son. She feels state officials should be more cautious.
“I feel like we want to make sure the generations we’re raising are going to be quality people and so I think it would be worth their time to take the time to invest and research what they’re spraying. Even if it’s a temporary fix for the bugs, its not necessarily a great fix overtime,” she said.