What’s this about Eastern Equine Encephalitis?

Eastern Equine Encephalitis, like many diseases, is not a good one to have. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

EEE virus is a rare cause of brain infections (encephalitis). Only a few cases are reported in the United States each year. Most occur in eastern or Gulf Coast states. Approximately 30% of people with EEE die and many survivors have ongoing neurologic problems.

The good news above is that this mosquito-transmitted disease is rare. And, CDC gives more good news, especially for people who do not live in swampy areas:

…Human EEEV cases occur relatively infrequently, largely because the primary transmission cycle takes place in and around swampy areas where human populations tend to be limited. All residents of and visitors to areas where EEEV activity has been identified are at risk of infection. People who engage in outdoor work and recreational activities in endemic areas are at increased risk of infection. Persons over age 50 and under age 15 seem to be at greatest risk for developing severe disease when infected with EEEV. Overall, only about 4-5% of human EEEV infections result in EEE. EEEV infection is thought to confer life-long immunity against re-infection.

So, as with West Nile Virus, only a fraction of infected humans have serious symptoms and it seems probable that even a low-grade and often unnoticeable infection confers subsequent immunity.

And in Pennsylvania? In 2009-18, the state has had 1 (one) reported case total and none in 2019. In the entire US, 2018 saw only 6 known cases and one death.

To put those figures in perspective, Chester County alone had 118 reported opioid overdose deaths in 2018.

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PA Public School Code sections on pesticide notification

[DSM note: the 2 sections below, added in 2002, are valuable in showing that the Commonwealth has recognized the value of protecting children in school settings against exposure to harmful pesticides and herbicides.]

PUBLIC SCHOOL CODE OF 1949
Excerpts re pesticides: sections 772.1 and 772.2PUBLIC SCHOOL CODE OF 1949 Act of Mar. 10, 1949, P.L. 30, No. 14 [as amended] 

Section 772.1.  Integrated Pest Management Programs.–a) Each school shall, by January 1, 2003, adopt an integrated pest management plan in accordance with the integrated pest management policies established by the department on the effective date of this section until regulations are promulgated by the department…

[DSM summary: The Department of Agriculture shall “maintain a hypersensitivity registry to assist in the notification of students and employes who are especially sensitive to pesticides” (defined to include herbicides) and work with schools for that purpose. A school is defined as “a school district, an intermediate unit, an area vocational-technical school or any of these entities acting jointly.”]

Section 772.2.  Notification of Pesticide Treatments at Schools.–(a)  The following apply to pesticide applicators:

[DSM summary: Pesticide (including herbicide) applicators must supply information about the pest control chemical plus a sign. The school must, at least 72 hours before the planned treatment, post the sign and provide the pest control information sheet to all working in the building plus all parents of students (or all parents who have requested notification, if the school sets up a notification system.

Also, ” pesticides may not be applied within a school building where students are expected to be present for normal academic instruction or organized extracurricular activities within seven (7) hours following the application or on school grounds where students will be in the immediate vicinity for normal academic instruction or organized extracurricular activities within seven (7) hours following the application.]

[Download the full wording of both sections here: School Code PA pesticides 772]

 

 

 

 

Monsanto’s Hit List

email from Organic Consumers Association, 8/24/19

We’ve known since at least June that Monsanto, now owned by Bayer, compiled hit lists containing hundreds of names and other personal information about journalists, politicians and scientists, including their opinions about pesticides and genetic engineering.

But newly revealed court documents expose an even more calculated and sinister plan—a 130-page plan involving 11 staff members plus high-powered public relations firms—to “slime and slander” anyone who criticized their products or operations.

Among the targets of Monsanto’s hit list strategy is U.S. Right to Know (USRTK), a nonprofit investigative research group focused on the food industry, for which OCA provides substantial funding….

read more on Mayer-Monsanto’s nefarious tactics in “Monsanto Hit List Exposed” at Organic Consumers Association

West Chester Green Team Strawberry Festival

West Chester Green Team Strawberry Festival
Sunday, May 19⋅1:00 – 4:00pm

Everhart Park, 601 W Union St., West Chester, PA 19382. About 2/3 of the way from S. Brandywine St. to S. Bradford Ave.

West Chester Green Team Strawberry Festival, 1-4 p.m. Sun. May 19. All activities structured around the principles of the Green Team: environment, sustainability, green living.

Everhart Park, 601 W Union St., West Chester, PA 19382. About 2/3 of the way from S. Brandywine St. to S. Bradford Ave.

Strawberry shortcake with ice cream by the West Chester Co-operative. Friends of Everhart Park will offer a botanical walk around the park at 2 p.m. Lots of environmental booths sharing information. Displays, games, demonstrations, botanical walk, info on making bat houses, decorating reusable shopping bags, endangered species art activity, pedal power to light bulbs and see energy usage, face painting, yoga in the park, bean bag toss….

Also talks on attracting wildlife to your yard–one for birds and one for butterflies. And Rob Montgomery of Montgomery Landscape Nurseries will conduct a potting activity–organic and plastic free–with peat pots. Information on making bat houses. Buy Nothing West Chester will hold a clothing repair and enhancement workshop to keep old clothes out of landfills and a White Elephant fish pond.

Co-sponsors: West Chester Green Team and its member groups: Chester County Citizens for Climate Protection (4CP), Don’t Spray Me!, Green Team Youth Corps, Plastic-Free Please, Ready for 100, plus Sierra Club and West Chester Co-operative.

If you wish to enjoy a picnic, please bring your own food, drink, and utensils.

More info about the event: mhudgings@gmail.com. About the Green Team: https://wcgreenteam.wordpress.com/.

West Chester Green Team

The West Chester Green Team is a new organization in the West Chester PA area supporting a renewable future and residents’ desire to lead a greener life style.

Component organizations:

Don’t Spray Me! (DSM) raises awareness about the dangers of pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals, and promotes natural gardens and lawns, and healthy food.

Plastic-Free Please Action Group (Facebook: here) informs residents and businesses about reducing plastic use in our everyday lives and encourages retailers to reduce single-use bags and packaging.

Chester County Citizens for Climate Protection (4CP) educates the community on the serious consequences of climate change and promotes actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Ready for 100 works with local leaders and helps cities and communities to transition to 100% clean, renewable energy.

See more on WCGT here.

West Chester Green Team and its component groups are members of the Chester County Environment Alliance (CCEA), which includes a detailed countywide environment calendar.

Download a pdf with the above info here: WCGT handout 2 pdf

A Green Idea: Beeting the Ice

from West Goshen Township Newsletter, vol. 20, no. 1 (summer 2010) [A new idea in West Goshen 9 years ago, but not yet in West Chester, it seems…]

West Goshen Township has added a new weapon in its arsenal against ice: beet juice. Dry salt is effective at lowering the melting temperature of ice to about 15 degrees Fahrenheit—that is, it will melt ice at temperatures of 15 degrees or above. De-sugared beet molasses, when added to dry salt or brine, can melt ice at temperatures as low as -25 degrees, while adding traction, acting as a corrosion inhibitor, and not harming the environment like other brine additives. The beet juice solution is not slippery and doesn’t stain roads or cars. The salt brine and beet juice combination provide optimal results, allowing maximum melting while releasing the least amount of salt onto the roadways. Because the brine solution does not need to be spread as heavily as road salt, trucks do not need to refill as often, meaning additional fuel savings.

Pollinator Disappearance Documented in Vermont, Confirming Insect Apocalypse

Beyond Pesticides, 12/14/18. [Climate change + pesticides: a deadly combination for bumblebees… and flowering plants]

(Beyond Pesticides, December 14, 2018) The richness, diversity, and abundance of wild bumblebees in Vermont has plummeted over the last century, according to an analysis from researchers at the University of Vermont and Vermont Center for Ecostudies (VCE). This research adds fresh evidence to the growing realization that mankind is witnessing and contributing to, as the New York Times recently labeled, a worldwide insect apocalypse. “We’re losing bumblebees even before we fully understand their benefits to our economy and well-being, or how they fit into ecosystems,” said Kent McFarland, study coauthor and conservation biologist at VCE in a press release.

Researchers conducted surveys with the help of 53 trained citizen scientists. Alongside the researchers, these individuals surveyed bumblebee populations through a combination of photos of wild bees and net collections. In total, over 81% of the state’s municipalities were included in the survey, representing all of Vermont pollinator’s biophysical regions….

Read more at Beyond Pesticides.

Please join us Fri. Aug. 31!

Friday Aug. 31, 11:30am to 1pm, rain or shine.

Show our views about pesticide spraying at the weekly Concerned Constituent Action Group rally.

Location: NW Corner of High Street and Market Street, at the Historic Chester County Courthouse, West Chester.

Bring a poster or DSM sign, or pick up one there.

On-street parking or park at the Bicentennial Parking Garage at 20 S. High Street, West Chester.