March 4, 2008

moth spraying

This topic is so overwhelming to me. If you don't live in the Bay Area, perhaps you can be thankful. Seems there is a pesky moth threatening the area's agriculture crops (the light brown apple moth). The state of California has decided to spray many communities and cities from the air with a chemical to stop the moth from breeding.

You can imagine how well this plan is going over with the public. The thing that I find so overwhelming is the lack of power to stop it. People are contacting their representatives and holding meetings and rallies.

I've even heard of one woman who says that if they go ahead with the plan she will permanently move her family out of the area. The chemicals are made to linger in the air, you see. You can't just evacuate for the spraying.

They plan to spray something called Checkmate (they've actually already sprayed it in Santa Cruz and Monterrey). The manufacturer and the Department of Agriculture says it is safe. Here is what it contains:

(E)-11-Tetradecen-1-yl acetate, (E,E)-9, 11-Tetradecadien-1-yl-acetate; cross linked polyurea polymer; butylated hydroxytoluene; polyvinyl alcohol; tricaprylyl methyl ammonium chloride; sodium phosphate; ammonium phosphate; 1,2-benzisothiozolin3-one; 2-hydroxyl-4-n-octyloxybenzophenone.

Here is a bit I pulled from the San Francisco Chronicle's website:

"Ammonium and sodium phosphates can irritate or burn the skin, eyes and respiratory tract. So can tricaprylyl methyl ammonium chloride, which is used to mothproof clothing and degrades into chemicals that are more environmentally toxic. Polyvinyl alcohol has caused cancerous tumors in lab animals. It's also labeled as an irritant - as is another Checkmate inert, butylated hydroxytoluene, which may be linked to a spectrum of symptoms including asthma, gene mutations and cancer. The little-studied 1,2-benzisothiozolin-3-one, a germicide, is considered highly toxic to green algae and marine invertebrates, according to a 2005 EPA re-registration document. And while there's not much data on UV-absorbing 2-hydroxy-4-n-octyloxybenzophenone, the family of chemicals to which it belongs is linked to the disruption of hormones, including estrogen, according to a 2003 report in the Journal of Health Science.

According to an article in The Chronicle ("State plans Bay Area pesticide spraying," Feb. 15), "state officials say the amount of pesticide applied shouldn't pose severe health risks, but they've also refused to rule out that the spray can affect humans, particularly sensitive people such as children and the elderly." (To see the complete article, go to "

Does anyone else think this just sounds like a really, really bad idea?


No LBAM Spray said...

I agree with you completely! I am totally freaked out about this beyond belief. And many many people are fighting VERY hard to stop this... you can join and help fight it. Go to: or email me directly: and I can tell you how you can help. I would permanently move out of the area the we have a 50/50 custody situation and thus am trapped in the area... so I am even more freaked out!!!

Anonymous said...

Sounds bad. If they go ahead with it I'd say take a few months vacation and send the city the bill.

Have they considered how many health problems they can (might, will, etc) cause? And the lawsuits they'll get if they go ahead with it.

Sincerely hope the do not go through with this.

Anonymous said...

Yes, this is a really bad idea, and No, we are not powerless!

Sign the petition calling for informed consent of the people as a prerequisite for any aerial spray program at

To quote John Russo, author of this petition: "The authority may lie with the State, but the Power lies with the People!"

This LBAM issue is impacting women in particular. Many of us are mothers and caretakers of those most likely to be affected by the spray (children and the elderly). There is also the issue of endocrine disruptors in the spray, a known trigger for breast cancer and a common side-effect of pesticide exposure. While this is very scary stuff I do encourage you to keep up the good fight!

Donna Kuhn said...

no lbam spray,

i have a similar custody arrangement although not legal and i made it quite clear i do not intend to stay here and get sprayed again. the govt is making it hard for me to even live close by due to spraying such an obscenely large area (which can change at any time.) i have heard of a few other women in the same situation. i would hope you health can take precedent.

If it's not healthy it's not green said...


In answer to the health question, no they haven't considered anything about the problems it might cause, but what they have done is to spend something like $500,000 of the people's money to hire a PR firm to disseminate industry propaganda saying it's "safe," despite the fact that this kind of polymer micro encapsulated pesticide has never been sprayed over urban areas before!!

Oh and about leaving to go on a long vacation - since they're planning to spray at least once a month in every month that it doesn't rain, and to continue for the next 5-10 years(!!!!), that would have to be one whale of a vacation!!!