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State Moves Closer To Banning Moth Spraying

POSTED: 12:11 pm PDT June 17, 2008
UPDATED: 1:28 pm PDT June 17, 2008

By John Boitnott, Web Producer

The state Senate’s Agriculture Committee Tuesday approved a ban on spraying for the light brown apple moth statewide.

The committee passed the proposal on a 4-0 vote.

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Senate Resolution 87 calls for a moratorium on aerial spraying of the moth until the state can prove the spray is both safe for humans and the environment and effective against the moth.

It was written by state Sen. Carole Migden, D-San Francisco.

“Bay Area residents ought not to serve as guinea pigs and have their health jeopardized for an ill-conceived program and an unproven approach,” said Migden.

In late April, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger met with Migden and agreed that additional safety studies would be conducted.

However, despite delaying the release of the results of those tests, the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) is still scheduled to start spraying 10 Bay Area counties in the fall.

That project is expected to result in monthly spraying for at least three years.

In the past few months, 29 cities and three counties have passed resolutions against the spray.

SCR 87 will next be heard by the full state Senate.

The cities to be sprayed include:

  • Alameda County:

  • Albany
  • Alameda
  • Piedmont
  • Emeryville
  • Oakland

  • Contra Costa County:

  • El Cerrito
  • El Sobrante
  • Hercules
  • Kensington
  • Pinole N Richmond
  • San Pablo

  • San Mateo County:

  • Daly City
  • Colma
  • Pacifica
  • San Bruno
  • South San Francisco

  • Marin County:

  • Tiburon
  • Belvedere
  • San Pablo
  • Corte Madera
  • Larkspur
  • Sausalito

Santa Cruz Spraying Problems

Hundreds of people in Santa Cruz and Monterey County reported feeling sick in 2007 after the state began spraying communities along the coast.

Dozens of people complained of feeling short of breath and experiencing sharp stomach pains after the first application of a pheromone spray called CheckMate.

Those numbers quickly grew as the aerial spraying continued.

The state Department of Food and Agriculture received a total of 330 illness reports since the pest eradication program began in September, spokesman Steve Lyle said.

Some of those reports may be duplicative, and many don't include comprehensive data about people's symptoms or personal information, he said.

"The agencies with the jurisdiction to review the product have told us it's safe to use," Lyle said. "[They] came to the conclusion that the Checkmate products were unlikely the cause of the illnesses reported."

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