Pesticide spraying doesn’t just affect the mosquitoes

A biker enjoying Antelope Island. Recreationists utilizing our lands should not be at risk of pesticide exposure.

A Salt Lake Tribune letter to the editor outlines the troubling experience of a group of students out birding on the Antelope Island causeway, who witnessed pesticide spraying from a nearby  helicopter. No one should be exposed directly to pesticides. If you’re in the same general area as a helicopter spraying, you’re being exposed. No one out enjoying the lake should have to put up with being exposed to pesticides, especially school children.

Inhalation exposure to many pesticides can be as much as 20 times more toxic than ingestion, which we are all exposed to through our food. 

“I can’t guarantee the chemicals being sprayed were neurotoxins, but I would guess it was some sort of pesticide to kill the mosquitoes. I could smell the chemicals as the mist blew over us. The helicopter did not fly directly over us, but it did fly over and spray on the birds I could see in the distance,” Tena Rohr wrote to the Tribune.

“We were downwind of this spray, as were all of the Labor Day crowd birding, biking and driving along the causeway. Most of these people were unaware of the need to shower ASAP to remove residue from the poisons and so, perhaps, spent many hours with it on their skin.”

Salt Lake City Mosquito Abatement District (SLCMAD) conducts massive aerial spraying of pesticides over approximately 160,000 acres in the Northwest Quadrant of Salt Lake City, within a few miles of population centers on the West side, North Salt Lake, and West Bountiful. SLCMAD uses known neurotoxins: permethrin, the synergist piperonyl butoxide (PBO), and the organophosphate pesticide (OP), naled.

Click the image for a guide on submitting a no spray zone request.

In recent years numerous medical experts and entire medical societies have made strong position statements regarding the danger to humans of even small doses of chemicals, and their link to obesity, cancer, heart disease, birth defects, reproductive pathology, and neurologic and brain disorders such as Parkinson’s, impaired intellect, autism and attention deficit disorder. The American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Society for Reproductive Medicine, International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), World Health Organization, and the Endocrine Society are all mainstream medical organizations that have, in one form or another, called for a sharp reduction in human exposure to chemicals broadly, and pesticides in particular.

Landowners in Salt Lake City can submit no spray zone requests here.

Learn more about the effect of chemical pesticides sprayed in Utah here.

Full Tribune letter here.