From all we can tell, the pesticide chlorpyrifos is very dangerous. Search for info online and see also “Add your name to demand the EPA stop Dow Chemical from poisoning our children!” on our site.
Nicholas Kristof in “Trump’s Legacy: Damaged Brains,” New York Times, 10/29/17, brings out its unsavory history:
“The pesticide, which belongs to a class of chemicals developed as a nerve gas made by Nazi Germany, is now found in food, air and drinking water. Human and animal studies show that it damages the brain and reduces I.Q.s while causing tremors among children. It has also been linked to lung cancer and Parkinson’s disease in adults.”
The EPA’s decision to ban all uses of chlorpyrifos has just been reversed, even though:
“Kids are told to eat fruits and vegetables, but E.P.A. scientists found levels of this pesticide on such foods at up to 140 times the limits deemed safe.”
We are surrounded by damaging chemicals, because the US government has been so slow to regulate them and so susceptible to the influences of manufacturers. Kristof compares to another recent scandal:
“Remember the brain-damaging lead that was ignored in drinking water in Flint, Mich.? What’s happening under the Trump administration is a nationwide echo of what was permitted in Flint: Officials are turning a blind eye to the spread of a number of toxic substances, including those linked to cancer and brain damage.”
We all have the duty now to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities. Don’t Spray Me! is part of a movement on many levels to assure a healthy future for human and environmental health. Others, for example, are promoting uncontaminated foods, fighting back gas pipelines, and cutting greenhouse gas consumption.
It’s a priority for our time, a necessity for the future.
Read Kristof’s full article (including alarming drops in sperm counts) at New York Times.
Don’t Spray Me! was founded in September 2015 by residents of West Chester PA and surrounding communities to raise awareness about the dangers of pesticides and other chemicals in the environment.
In August 2015, the Chester County Health Department announced that it planned to spray the insecticide Permanone in the northeast part of West Chester, on Marshall Square Park (which made particularly little sense as there is no standing water there; any mosquitoes would fly in from elsewhere), A group of concerned citizens circulated a petition requesting that the Borough ask the Department to cease and desist until more data about the human and environmental safety of the pesticide in question became available.
With the support of more than 400 signers, of our mayor at the time, Carolyn Comitta, and of our Borough Council, we won our first victor5. Borough officials agreed with us that the small risk of West Nile Virus was not worth risking the health of thousands of borough residents and the associated environmental damage, including the killing of bees and other beneficial insects, the poisoning of run-off water, and the danger to pets. The Department of Health agreed to not spray in West Chester at that time.
Later that year, a 2012 mosquito task force was revived, with County and Borough officials and concerned citizens. That committee made a series of recommendations to address the mosquito problem and reduce mosquito breeding in the Borough. In 2019, West Chester Borough took over from the County the responsibility of larviciding mosquito breeding spots in the Borough.
Don’t Spray Me! reaches out through social media, signs, regular events, and citizen action. We let people, businesses, and non-profits know how not to breed mosquitoes on their property and how to cut down on chemical use. We urge local governments to distribute similar information and to larvicide standing water rather than allowing spraying.
Our logo is a baby in a gas mask that was featured in our first yard signs (on the right below) in 2016. We introduced our “Happy Baby” signs (on the left below) in 2017 for those who wish to emphasize that in West Chester and many other locations we had in fact not been sprayed (although many locations, including West Chester, were sprayed late in the 2018 season).
Our signs symbolize our desire to protect the environment and people, particularly the young, who are most vulnerable from the dangers of chemical poisons.
We are now a group of about 400 concerned citizens with teams in West Chester Borough, East Bradford, West Goshen and Westtown working in our neighborhoods on these important environmental issues. We have branched out successfully into ending Roundup use by the Borough government. With the help of paid summer interns, we have also worked with young people on killing weeds in sidewalks without toxic chemicals, monitoring storm drains, and gardening organically. In implementing community education, we have organized several community picnics and cosponsored Earth Day observations and a regular fall environmental film festival at West Chester University.
We are in agreement with the large and growing body of research showing that spraying airborne pesticides for mosquito control poses serious threats to the environment and human health and is the least effective form of mosquito control. We favor non-toxic measures, such as larviciding and reducing mosquito breeding sites by education of residents. We are following the lead of many communities across the nation that have banned spraying for mosquitoes, some more than 15 years ago, with no adverse human health consequences. The resolution in Lyndhurst OH and the plan in Shaker Heights OH have inspired our work here in Chester County PA. We are also following the lead of the state of California in warning people about the dangers of RoundUp/glysophate. Young people are interested and involved in all these efforts.
Our very recognizable signs have been very successful in getting out our message, with hundreds in place across the County during the mosquito season. The mood of our 2018 sign, pictured below, is in the middle between 2016 and 2017, pictured above.
We urge all municipalities to examine these issues, to create detailed plans to control mosquitoes without spray, and thus to protect residents and the environment.
by Alexa Brennan, The Quad, West Chester University, October 15, 2017
For decades American society has had a substance that could be sprayed on properties to decrease homeowners’ chances of contracting a mosquito-borne illness. However, this substance has met controversy as it could have long lasting negative effects on your health and other living beings, such as: bees, butterflies, dragonflies, cats, frogs, small children and hyper-allergic individuals. Given that risk, some argue that we shouldn’t spray. Don’t Spray Me is an organization in Chester County that fights to stop the use of dangerous pesticides; instead, they educate the community on safer and more effective means of controlling mosquitoes.
Throughout the Borough of West Chester, their lawn signage can be seen. It features a cartoon baby in a gas mask. When looking for a logo, Founder Margaret Hudgings wanted to find something that represented the dangers pesticide spraying had on children, so she searched Google Images for “baby in gas mask” and that image popped up. They got permission from Slovenian artist Daniel Ferencak to use his work, and that is how the baby in the gas mask came about.
Pesticide spraying can be life threatening. These pesticides have been linked with Autism, ADHD, Parkinsons and other kinds of cancers. Hudgings lost her son, Graham, to multiple chemical sensitivity due to spraying. “My son died five months ago after being sick for over 20 years from exposure to pesticide spraying,” said Hudgings. This has been a huge motivation for her and she is passionate about educating others….
Public health advocates and the EPA have been pushing to ban the use of the harmful pesticide chlorpyrifos for years. But even with substantial evidence that chlorpyrifos can interfere with children’s brain development and expose farmworkers to serious health risks, Dow Chemical – a company that sells these harmful pesticides regardless of the dangerous consequences – has been pushing the Trump administration to ignore the facts and let this poisoning continue unchecked.
Now, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is siding with Dow instead of the American people, reversing a proposed ban to prevent the use of this hazardous chemical on our food. We can’t stand idly by as Dow Chemical buys its way into the ear of Donald Trump to keep destroying our people and our planet with these highly toxic chemicals.
Scientists agree this pesticide shouldn’t be anywhere near the foods we eat, and even doctors are speaking out against this dangerous decision. The EPA exists to protect Americans – but under Scott Pruitt, all it’s doing is protecting the profits of corporations like Dow at the expense of everyone else. We need 100,000 people to speak out and show the EPA that we won’t stand for this dangerous scheme.
Add your name to demand the EPA stop Dow Chemical from poisoning our children!
Environmental Working Group
Friends of the Earth
League of Conservation Voters
Organic Consumers Association
The raffle will be held at October 12 film screening. Tickets $2 ea or 3 for $5 will be available before the film. If you win and can’t use the $100 credit, you can give it to someone else: a nice present for a food-minded friend or relative!
“Unacceptable Levels” (which should lead us all to scrutinize anew the pesticide residues in what we eat, drink, and breathe) was shown on Sept. 14, 2017, sponsored by the Sierra Club, Don’t Spray Me!, the WCU Sustainability Program, the WCU Geography & Planning Club, and 4CP, in memory of Graham Hudgings.
Included were an Introduction by State Rep. Carolyn Comitta and Q&A led by Dr. Joan Welch of WCU, as well as food and granting of awards by Dianne Herrin, chair of the West Chester Sustainability Advisory Committee. Photos by Taka Nagai: