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State: Mosquito spray not a health risk to people; residents unsure

BARRY COUNTY, Mich. -- The state health department says the spray it will use to kill mosquitoes is not harmful, but there are still concerns.

Barry County resident Susan VanHorn is very worried about pesticides being sprayed from above.

"I don’t have the solution, I wish I did," VanHorn said. "I hope that we can come up with something else."

VanHorn says a friend of hers had an allergic reaction to similar spraying in Florida.

"I understand that there’s huge issues and we need to do something," VanHorn explained, "but seeing the effects of what that spray can do, people cannot be out in it if they're sensitive or, even if not, if they have allergies or immune issues or things like that. It's a concern of mine, and I really don’t want my home sprayed or my yard sprayed."

FOX 17 spoke with Clarke, the company contracted by the state for mosquito spraying. They maintain the product poses no risk to humans or the environment. "You don’t need to take any extra special instructions or steps to protect yourself during the application," Clarke spokesperson Laura McGowan said. "There’s no reason why you could not be outdoors while it’s being applied."

"Certainly people who have particularly sensitive immune systems or other health concerns should speak to their physician," McGowan added.  "You can go indoors, close your doors if you need to."

The company says the amount of pesticide is very small but effective in taking out nearly 90 percent of the mosquito population in areas where it's applied, significantly cutting down on the spread of the EEE virus.

“It’s going to be applied aerially in very small doses, about a tablespoon treating an area as big as a football field,” McGowan explained. “We’re talking about products that have very small amounts of active ingredient in droplet sizes designed to interact with mosquitos' biology."

The state says while its not necessary for pet owners to keep their pets inside, they certainly can do that during the application. They recommend ornamental fish ponds be covered.

Anyone with concerns about the application can reach out to the state health department. They also can opt out of having their property sprayed by emailing the state at EEE@michigan.gov 48 hours before spraying begins.

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7 comments

  • Bigredone

    They give a way to have you property an exclusion, but did not provide the information until after the deadline.

    The PTSD in me may cause me to fire on any aircraft attacking my land with a chemical or biological agent.

    • Madatwhitmer

      I was going to post the same thing, they did this so quick and right before offices close, you cant call and complain, you cannot exclude you property, even though they say so, its an abuse of power, and a chemical attack on my personally owned land.

      • Jane Young

        That was pretty sneaky of them wasn’t it? Too late to opt-out now! Anytime they rush like this makes me suspicious! What about it killing our butterflies and honeybees? And Tlaib is worried about vaping?

  • Tia Aeon

    It only takes a very small amount of some chemicals to destroy millions. Nobody is saying what chemicalsare being used. Does this mean organic farmers need to fear that their produce is no longer organic? The government really needs to advise people before they make a decision about the safety of a chemical. The public needs informed consent. At one point Round up was considered safe….and here we are. I think that we have had cases of west nile and EEE before now. We have 3 deaths and 11 cases and we are utilizing mass spraying? May as well outlaw cars they have caused more deaths. We are so prone to destroying our planet without regard as to how it will impact other species that are necessary to survival. Bats eat mosquitos…we will be taking their food away and they also pollinate for us….are bees going to be affected? Humans seem to be the only species able to “progress” our planet to extinction….we are also the only species who could save it. Why not start looking at environmental friendly ways to repel these mosquitos as well as a vaccine for west nile and eee? Why are we making this such a crisis now?

  • zkdr

    Cassie Majetic, Environmental Studies Department Chair at Saint Mary’s College: “This is one of very few chemicals that is approved for use in organic farming and one of the safest options they could go with.”

    You can either trust science, or you can let fear take over and put us all in danger. Thanks a lot, people who opted out! Just know that the next EEE victim is on your hands.

    • mikey

      Were they going to spray the whole state and kill every mosquito able to spread eee? Hard to believe this would all be over if they just sprayed a few random places.

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