West Nile Fears Lead To Insecticide Questions
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NORTH TEXAS (CBS 11 News) – North Texan Mario Mendez loves to fish, but the 15-year-old says he would enjoy it even more if he didn’t have to deal with pesky mosquitoes.
“They’re always near where I’m at,” Mendez said. “They get on top of me and bite me on my neck.”
CBS 11 News talked with Mario and his mother, Maira Cante, as they spent the day at Dallas’ White Rock Lake.
Cante said mosquito repellent has now become a family priority; especially after she learned about the human cases of West Nile Virus popping up across the metroplex.
A number of municipalities have activated their mosquito spraying programs, most of which use a class of chemicals called pyrethroids. Pyrethroids are a synthetic version of a natural, plant-based insecticide.
“They are very toxic to certain insects especially very small flying insects,” explained Dr. Mike Merchant.
Merchant is an entomologist with the Texas Agrilife Research and Extension Center. He works with cities and counties to test for West Nile and says that pyrethroids generally are not harmful to people or pets.
“The pyrethroids are more toxic to cold-blooded animals. Humans have the ability to detoxify these chemicals rather quickly.”
Pyrethroids are also found in bug sprays that consumers can buy off-the-shelf.
All pesticides used in public health or for public spraying have to be approved by the Environmental Protection Agency.
“These products have been used safely for over 50 years in public health with very few cases of human toxicity,” Merchant said.
Residents with swimming pools shouldn’t have to worry about the chemical affecting the water
“It would float like oil on water and in that location it would be broken down rather quick because of sunlight.”
Merchant says the real danger is with mosquito born diseases and not insecticides.
The City of Dallas will spray for mosquitoes in parts of Oak Cliff and west and north Dallas Wednesday night, into Thursday morning.
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