by Pete Bannan, Daily Local News, 9/10/16
WEST CHESTER >> Motorists driving through the streets of the borough this summer may have noticed the lawn signs with a baby wearing a gas mask stating ‘Don’t Spray Me.’ Those provocative signs belong to a group of community activists formed to stop Chester County from spraying pesticides in the borough.
Co-founders Margaret Hudgings and Nathaniel Smith recently sat down with a reporter to talk about the group.
“In 2012 the county sprayed in the southwest quadrant of the borough,” said Hudgings. “The morning after it was like silent spring, and we had a lot of people reporting illnesses.”
Three years later, Hudgings and Smith received reports of a plan by the county to spray in the Marshall Square Park area for West Nile mosquitoes which had been discovered in that neighborhood. County Health Department officials planned to use permethrin with permanone, sprayed by truck in the evening after winds had calmed down.
Concerned about the health effects on people and the environment, the two drew up a petition calling for a stop to spraying.
“We assembled a group of five volunteers who walked the southwest quadrant of the borough with a petition asking the county not to spray,” Hedging said. “We got a 98-percent signing rate. People don’t want to be sprayed.”
They presented it to West Chester Mayor Carolyn Comitta and county health officials…
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