Stop the attack on industrial safety rules that protect millions of Americans from chemical disasters

email from BlueGreen Alliance. We need to remember that all these chemicals floating around through our air, and pipelines are manufactured somewhere, including in Chester County, and the risks to the public and first responders must be minimized.

The EPA finalized a new Chemical Disaster Rule in January 2017, four years after an industrial explosion in West, Texas, killed 13 firefighters and two residents and leveled much of the town. The rule included new requirements for companies to prevent chemical releases, fires, and explosions, and required that companies work with first responders to improve emergency preparedness and coordination. Millions of Americans live close enough to an industrial facility to be affected by a chemical disaster.

The EPA put the new rule on hold last year, and now the agency is proposing to gut the rule, eliminating basic provisions that would protect workers and the communities around these facilities.

Tell the EPA to stop playing with fire. We need a strong Chemical Disaster Rule that will better protect millions of American workers and communities.

Roughly 177 million Americans live close enough to an industrial facility to be affected by a chemical accident, and that risk falls disproportionately on low-income and minority communities. One-in-three schoolchildren attend a school in the vulnerability zone for an industrial chemical accident, meaning they are potentially in the path of a lethal industrial chemical release. Workers are at greatest risk of injury or death, alongside first responders, who often have to put their lives on the line responding to the industrial fires, explosions, and chemical releases that continue to occur 150 times each year across the nation.

The EPA has shown that serious chemical accidents can be prevented if companies implement updated safety precautions. Submit your comment to the EPA today supporting a strong Chemical Disaster Rule.

The Chemical Disaster Rule will protect millions of residents and workers and must be implemented in its January 2017 form, not weakened or delayed as proposed by the administration.

Help make sure they get the message. Send your comment now.

Thank you!

Sincerely,

Dr. Mike Wilson
National Director for Occupational and Environmental Health

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Mosquito control treatment scheduled for Tredyffrin and Easttown Townships to prevent West Nile Virus

Update: spraying did occur on July 24 but now more spraying is scheduled for July 30 in the same areas.

Release from Chesco Health Department, 7/20/18. [The map there shows 4 spray areas, including one park, 2 residential areas, and one cemetery. As we have asked in the past, how does one “prevent” a virus? Residents of the affected area, please see Don’t Spray Me! needs your help when spraying occurs.]

West Chester, PA – The Chester County Health Department will conduct a mosquito control treatment spray in portions of Tredyffrin and Easttown Townships (see maps below). The treatment is scheduled for Tuesday, July 24th from 8:00 pm to 11:30 pm. The rain date for this event is Wednesday, July 25th from 8:00 pm to 11:30 pm.

The Chester County Health Department conducts mosquito control treatment in areas with high levels of mosquito activity and where multiple mosquito samples have tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV). After exhausting all other available mosquito control strategies, spraying is conducted to reduce residents’ risk of WNV infection. Anyone living in an area where mosquitoes are infected with WNV is at risk, but the risk of infection is highest for people who work outside or participate in outdoor activities. Less than 1% of people infected will develop serious illness. While serious illness can occur in people of any age, people over 60 years of age, people who have received organ transplants, and people with certain medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, and kidney disease are at the greatest risk for serious illness.

The Chester County Health Department uses a truck-mounted sprayer to apply .66 ounces of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-approved product (DeltaGard) per acre of land. The mosquito control spray becomes inactive in just a few hours or with sunshine. Sprays are conducted after sunset, when mosquitoes are most active and bees have returned to their hives. Sprayers are turned off near bodies of water and apiaries to protect aquatic life and bees. The Chester County Health Department also notifies registered beekeepers and residents who are listed as hypersensitive in a designated spray area prior to conducting a spray. People who are concerned about exposure to mosquito control products can reduce their potential for exposure by staying indoors with children and pets when their neighborhood is being sprayed….

read more at Chesco Health Department

A serious case

If you have anything like this on your property, it’s time for immediate action! This photo shows about 100 mosquito larvae. The corresponding video shows them happily snapping their way (that’s how they move) around the shallow water rich in organic organic matter, their ideal habitat.

The good news is that an application of several tablets of the non-toxic larvicide Bti in a surface area of about 100 square feet virtually wiped out the larvae within 2 days.

With a bit of practice, it becomes easy to detect larvae in standing water. Sunlight helps show them, or a good flashlight. They are easily visible, about 3/8″ long, and a slight disruption of the water encourages them to zip around looking for shelter.

In case of spraying: Help us / Help yourself

Whenever the Chesco Health Department plans a spraying event, the public needs to observe to be sure that applicable procedures are scrupulously followed and that adverse effects are as limited as possible. In 2017, the Health Department agreed to give 48 hours notice before spraying (it was previously 24 hours). Even so, we find that most people in the spray area do not receive the information and that many municipalities do not take responsibility for relaying it to their citizens.

We encourage you to Sign up for the Health Department mailing list so you will get the maximum warning.

Anyone in a spray area, please try to observe (without exposing yourself directly to spray) and let us know:

• The releases say: “After exhausting all other available mosquito control strategies…” Do you know of strategies taken by the Health Department in your locality, such as working with the municipal government to educate residents, larviciding suspect bodies of standing water, or alerting property owners whose properties may be violating the Health Department’s regulation against allowing mosquitoes to breed in standing water?

• Were adequate warnings posted on affected streets so residents and visitors will know to stay out of the way of the spray and take protective measures, such as closing windows, turning off wall air conditioners, and bringing children inside? If so, how long in advance?

• Did you observe people who were not aware of the recommended precautions (such as joggers entering the area, students returning from class, people returning from shopping or jobs, etc., during or right after spraying)?

• Was there a lead truck in front of the spray truck and did it use a loud speaker to warn any visible people to leave the immediate vicinity or go indoors?

• Did the truck spray more than once in any street or on any area? Does it crisscross any area, thus delivering an extra dose to some addresses?

• Was the spray shut off as the truck approached a stream or body of water and if so, how many feet away on either side?

• In the days after spraying, what difference do you notice in the number of mosquitoes and other insects such as honey bees and dragonflies?

• Did you notice any effect, either immediate or after a few days, on pets, frogs, birds, bees, fish, or bats? Please try to video or photograph any evidence.

• How long did it take for the adult mosquito population to get back to about what it was before?

DSM needs you to help protect people and the environment and to let public officials know what you think.

Please also note these precautionary measures, which we base on extensive readings:

Spraying is always supposed to occur in the evening because bees are less active then and, if they know what is good for them, return to their hives (for what happens when spray is not scheduled properly see here). Beekeepers who have hives in the spray area need to take protective measures, as just one bee bringing pesticide back to the hive can be disastrous.

During the spraying (and ideally till the next day) residents should shut windows and close off all ways that outside air can enter their house (such as wall air conditioners unless you can set them securely to recycle indoor air). Pets should be brought inside, as they can be sensitive to pesticides. Remove children’s toys that are outdoors, any outdoor furniture, and clothes from outdoor clotheslines. The next day any furniture and outdoor play equipment should be washed off with soap and water before anyone comes in contact with it.

People who have a high level of chemical sensitivity may wish to plan an absence overnight or longer. To sign up for the Pesticide Hypersensitivity Registry (which gives you notification of not only County spraying but also commercial spraying in your vicinity), see here.

Mosquito control treatment scheduled for Uwchlan Township to prevent West Nile Virus

[n.b. rescheduled to July 26 due to weather]

Release from Chester County Health Department, 7/23/18 [The map there, copied below, shows a sizable residential area including 3 parks. As we have asked in the past, how does one “prevent” a virus? Residents of the affected area, please see Don’t Spray Me! needs your help when spraying occurs.]

West Chester, PA – The Chester County Health Department will conduct a mosquito control treatment spray in a portion of Uwchlan Township (see maps below). The treatment is scheduled for Wednesday, July 25th from 8:00 pm to 11:30 pm. The rain date for this event is Thursday, July 26th from 8:00 pm to 11:30 pm.

The Chester County Health Department conducts mosquito control treatment in areas with high levels of mosquito activity and where multiple mosquito samples have tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV). After exhausting all other available mosquito control strategies, spraying is conducted to reduce residents’ risk of WNV infection. Anyone living in an area where mosquitoes are infected with WNV is at risk, but the risk of infection is highest for people who work outside or participate in outdoor activities. Less than 1% of people infected will develop serious illness. While serious illness can occur in people of any age, people over 60 years of age, people who have received organ transplants, and people with certain medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, and kidney disease are at the greatest risk for serious illness….

read more at http://hosted-p0.vresp.com/434903/54e5dbdaa2/ARCHIVE

Pesticide Hypersensitivity Registry and Application

Public and commercial spray operators are required to give advance notice of spraying to registered individuals. In addition, the Chester County Health Department grants registered hypersensitive individuals an exclusion zone around their residence to spare them from chemical exposure.

If you feel you qualify, to register you can download the form here: Pesticide Hypersensitivity Application Form(2). Then print and fill it out, get a physician’s signed approval, and submit it.

Background info at Penn State Extension includes:

“The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) maintains a registry of individuals hypersensitive to pesticides. It is a listing of locations for people who have been verified by a physician to be excessively or abnormally sensitive to pesticides. These hypersensitive individuals may request to have listings of their home, place of employment, school (if a student), and vacation home placed in the Registry. A person will not be considered included in the Registry unless their name appears in the current published Registry.”

Note that you can register not just your home address but up to 4 locations.

Prevention of Mosquito Breeding at Sartomer’s West Chester Site

The Sartomer Company, which has a production facility at 610 S. Bolmar St., West Chester, Pennsylvania, informs us that:

“The Sartomer site in West Chester is diligent about controlling standing water that could potentially harbor mosquito larvae. Dikes containing storm water runoff at the site are drained daily to eliminate standing water. The site’s waste water treatment holding pond, which has standing water by design, is treated with biological agents to control the potential for mosquito breeding. These efforts are among many actions that the site takes in order maintain a safe workplace and to be a good member of the community.”

Don’t Spray Me! will welcome, and will gladly post, similar statements from other Chester County businesses.


Sartomer in its neighborhood, courtesy of Sartomer Co. (S. Bolmar St., at the bottom, E. Union St. at the right, Goose Creek at the back, then S. Adams and other streets).

Human immunity to West Nile Virus

We’ve seen prior references to some or all people bitten by WNV-positive mosquitoes acquiring immunity to WNV (see, e.g., WEbMD and a California State site). Most WNV cases have unnoticed symptoms but as in the case of other viruses, one can assume the affected individual acquires immunity. Below is the most positive statement we have seen so far, from “Mosquitoes with West Nile Virus popping up across PA” by Jack Eble, Fox43 News, 7/5/18:

…there are no confirmed cases of West Nile Virus in people, statewide.

Dr. John Goldman, infectious disease specialist with UPMC-Pinnacle, said finding a positive case in a person can be hard to find.

“Most people who’ve had [West Nile Virus] aren’t aware of it. Once you’ve had it, you’re immune. You can’t get it again,” said Dr. Goldman.

He believes most people have become immune to West Nile Virus, slowing the spread of the illness.

In 2003, Pennsylvania had 236 people test positive for West Nile Virus.

But since then, the most confirmed cases was 60 in 2012….

This plastic isn’t just harming wildlife anymore

email from Environmental Action, 7/8/18 [We also need to point out that it’s not just about pollution, because discarded plastics can favor mosquito breeding. Plastic containers and bags in the street can hold rainwater; plastic that enters storm drains can clog the drains and cause standing water retention; and plastic in waterways can clog flow and produce stagnant surface areas.]

A World Health Organization (WHO) working group just announced that they have concluded that styrene, a foundational component of polystyrene foam, probably causes cancer. 1

In addition to this plastic foam polluting our rivers, lakes and oceans, and harming wildlife, it also risks human health.

If enough of us speak up, we can convince our leaders to ban harmful plastic foam. Add your name today.

From coffee cups to fast food containers, polystyrene foam — what most of us call Styrofoam — is used every day all across the country. And this plastic foam often ends up polluting our water, and risking our health and wildlife. 2

In early April, a young sperm whale washed up on a beach in Spain with 64 pounds of human-made trash in its digestive system. 3 In June, a pilot whale was found in a canal in Thailand, with 80 plastic bags and other plastic debris in its stomach, unable to swim or breathe. 4

It’s stories like these that make it clear, it’s time to act to reduce and rid our planet of plastic pollution.

One place we can start is to not use plastics that end up in our oceans in the first place. One of the worst forms of plastic pollution comes from plastic polystyrene foam. This foam never fully degrades — every single bit of polystyrene foam ever made is still out there. 5

We shouldn’t allow plastic foam to threaten our health, wildlife and the planet. The time to act is now. Add your name opposing plastic foam today.

Thank you for taking environmental action,

The Environmental Action team

1. Aarhus University, ” After 40 Years in Limbo: Styrene Is Probably Carcinogenic ,” ScienceDaily, May 30, 2018.
2. Jose G.B Derraik, ” The Pollution Of The Marine Environment By Plastic Debris: A Review ,” Marine Pollution Bulletin, September 2002.
3. Kristine Phillips, ” A Dead Sperm Whale Was Found With 64 Pounds Of Trash In Its Digestive System ,” The Washington Post, April 11, 2018.
4. Elaina Zachos, ” How This Whale Got Nearly 20 Pounds Of Plastic In Its Stomach ,” National Geographic, June 4, 2018.
5. ” Plastic Marine Debris ,” Oceanic and Atmospheric Association Marine Debris Program, September 2011.

“Adopt a Drain” in West Chester

by Rachel Davis, geologist and environmental professional

“Adopt a Drain” is a free, community-driven service program for West Chester Borough started in May 2018 by the Chester County Sierra Club-sponsored Don’t Spray Me! Group and is supported by West Chester Borough Council. Our goal is to educate citizens of all ages, but concentrating mostly on the youth, on how to maintain their local waterways by first caring about the direct avenues to those waterways: the storm water drains. Most people pass drains by without a thought — because drains are flush with the ground and easily overlooked. However, with enough time and education, one can truly begin to understand how important these vital pathways are to our community’s health and well-being.

The program is based on the nationwide concept called “Adopt a Drain” as featured from Nashville to Burlington to St. Louis. Cities throughout the United States are making it viable and accessible to citizens to perform voluntary drain cleaning activities by incorporating debris collection and notation with computer-based mapping software. When the hands-on aspect joins with the technological, a comprehensive city- or town-wide view of the drain quality can be constructed.

The West Chester Borough “Adopt a Drain” program has thus far completed two two-hour events in which we worked as a team to find, observe, take notes on and then clean the surficial area around the storm drains in the borough in Ward 3. We are working to complete this same activity per ward per section until all 1000+ drains are completed within the Borough by the end of the summer 2018. At each drain, we note if there is organic debris (leaves, sticks, etc.), plastic debris/trash (bags, straws, cups, lids, etc.) and/or standing water in and/or around the drain. By combining the physical removal of waste from the drains and the observing of the standing water inside the drains, we hope to identify which drains need attention from the borough to be cleaned further, fixed, dredged, or larvicided.

By the end of summer 2018, “Adopt a Drain” plans to present our data to the West Chester Borough Council and Public Works Department with the help of a West Chester University Graduate Student concentrating in Geographical Information Systems. Additionally, we hope to address the problem of mosquito larvae in the standing water within the drains and share a detailed view of trash in the borough’s drains too. Given the success of the program thus far, we hope that our observations continue to educate citizens for years to come and that the program is embedded in West Chester’s sustainable culture.

The program is open and available to all ages and but is prepared if the participant is less than age 12 that there be a parent or guardian there to support the event. If you are interested in joining in our events, please email me. Meetings at 1 pm on Sundays are confirmed through an email blast. We hope to see you there!