Why people aren’t talking about West Nile Virus

As of 10/2/20 (after the end of the serious mosquito season), 8 WNV cases has been reported in PA in 2020 (none in Chester County), according to PA Dept. of Health, “2020 WNV Collection and Testing Status” (download under “Previous Year Surveillance Results”). The 2019 PA total was 2 (1 in Chester County).

According to the CDC, as of July 13, in 2021 the entire country has had 11 presumed WNV cases and one death (in Arkansas).

Meanwhile, “The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 5,172 overdose deaths in Pennsylvania last year, a jump of 16% from 4,444 in 2019” (WHYY).

And much worse, in 2020-21 to date, PA Covid cases totaled 1,220,671 with 27,827 deaths.

Mosquitoes may be unpleasant, especially if we wish to enjoy the outdoors in shorts and T-shorts, but in the scale of things, they are not a problem of health or life and death in Chester County, and public resources should be marshaled to deal with genuine emergencies like overdoses and Covid.

See the video of “Don’t Spray Us!: Panel Discussion on Moving Beyond Pesticides”

“Don’t Spray Us!: Panel Discussion on Moving Beyond Pesticides” on June 17, 2021, brought together knowledgeable panelists to speak to local issues concerning the use of pesticides and the alternatives that may exist. Panelists included Emma Horst-Martz with PennPIRG, Kara Rubio of Women for a Healthy Environment, and Drew Toher with Beyond Pesticides. The discussion was moderated by Professor Cheryl Wanko of West Chester University. View the full discussion at the WCU Office of Sustainability.

Sponsored by the WCU Office of Sustainability, West Chester Green Team, and members of the Chester County Environment Alliance.

 

Where is PA spraying Bifenthrin in Chester County?

Bifenthrin is a pyrethroid insecticide (thus in the same family as permethrin) which kills many insects (and of course it can’t tell the difference between spotted lantern flies or mosquitoes and bees and butterflies), toxic to fish, banned for agricultural use in the European Union.

And now our own state government is spraying it around us. The Department of Agriculture’s May 28 release begins:

“As Spotted Lanternflies hatch across much of the state, PA Department of Agriculture crews have begun to spray an insecticide that kills the insects on contact along railways, interstates and other transportation rights-of-way. Contact spraying is a new element of strategic efforts to slow the spread of the invasive pest, which moves primarily by hitching a ride on vehicles traveling out of infested areas….”

Well, good luck with that. It’s intriguing to picture the spotted lantern fly hordes lining up along route 30 to hitch a ride to the central part of the state. But how will spraying at the verge of a highway affect any SLFs that have already stowed away in the underneath and under-the-hood areas of trucks?

According to state law, people on the Hypersensitivity Registry list must receive advance notification of spraying within 500 feet of the residential, school, or employment locations they indicate. It’s hard to see how the law can be complied with in spraying at the side of a road, especially when the sprayer won’t tell us where they are spraying. Suppose a hypersensitive driver pulls over to change a tire or take a break?

And we have also learned that 13 non-highway locations in Chester County will be sprayed. For whatever reason, the Department of Agriculture has not chosen to publicly mention this aspect of its spraying program and does not publicly identify these locations. But here they are, so act accordingly:

L F Lambert Spawn Co Inc. 1507 Valley Rd., Coatesville

Lampart Limited Partnership, 1021 Charles St., Coatesville

Keehn Service Real Estate Limited, 99 Eleventh Ave., Coatesville

Old Coop, 1189 Old Schuylkill Rd., East Coventry

September Farm Cheese, 5287 Horseshoe Pike, Honey Brook

LCM-Mar Enterprises Llc, 749 Norway Rd., Kennett

Kennett Square Borough, 120 Marshall St., Kennett Square

New Garden Township, 1235 Newark Rd., New Garden

Shainline John J & Phyliss, E 800 Township Line Rd., Phoenixville

Clementine Realty, 35 Industrial Blvd., Tredyffrin

2480 LLC, 45 W Industrial Blvd., Tredyffrin

Pacer Industries Inc., 14 Laurel St., Valley

Codepeco Assoc, 1220 Wilson Dr., West Goshen

Get your 2021 T-shirt!

This year Don’t Spray Me! and its associated groups are offering not a new yard sign (see past signs, still available, here) but our first T-shirt. As pictured, you can order it in black or lime green. They are 100% cotton, high quality, made in USA, and will last through many, many washes!

Cost: $15 each with pick-up in West Chester and $20 with delivery by mail or in person. Please email us HERE and specify color, price, and size (small, medium, large, extra large), and we will invoice you accordingly. (N.b.. the small runs small, about 14-16 in youth size; the others are more true to size.)

WEST CHESTER GREEN TEAM Silent Auction Nov. 25 – Dec. 5

Click HERE to view and bid on the 61 diverse and exciting items up for online auction to benefit environment and sustainability.  The West Chester Green Team, a CCEA member, is an alliance of four local environment-related citizen groups: Don’t Spray Me!Chester County Citizens for Climate Protection (4CP)Ready for 100 (i.e., 100% renewable energy), and Plastic-Free Please Action Group (PFP). Please boost our local initiatives… and enjoy holiday shopping at the same time!

CONTACT & DONATE

We need your help to fight unnecessary chemical toxins and promote healthy food and gardens!

To send a donation to support our activities, mail a check to Don’t Spray Me!, 513 W. Nields St., West Chester PA 19382. If you wish your donation to be tax-deductible, email here for information.

For comments and information overall or about West Chester Borough, email Margaret Hudgings.

Support your Green Team on December 7th!

Your chance to show your support for Don’t Spray Me! and the West Chester Green Team in a material way! This will be a memorable evening with excellent food, stimulating company, and exciting auctions and raffles. Attendance is limited to 75, so don’t put off signing up:

Click this link to purchase tickets: https://wcgreen.bpt.me

And thanks for helping defend the environment we all live in!

More details (please share with friends): West Chester Green Team auction fundraiser dinner at the Unitarian Congregation, 501 S. High St., West Chester PA, Saturday Dec. 7, 5-8 p.m.

Dinner by West Chester Co-op, auction, fundraiser to benefit West Chester Green Team. To fund 2020 summer interns, activities with kids, public education, and other Green Team projects.

Food by West Chester Co-op, drinks, French hand organ music by Phil Jamison, live auction by Lori Zytkowicz, lots of displays, conviviality, and much more.

High quality auction items: vacation house rentals, paintings, crafts, books….

Get your tickets for only $35 + service fee at https://wcgreen.bpt.me/.

Building on last year’s success and a fun auction event, we will continue with our new tradition of the GreenEd Auction – a fundraising event organized by Don’t Spray Me!/West Chester Green Team!

Last year’s contributions helped further the education of our West Chester area kids and adults on various environmental topics:
– Chemical-free gardening with our first Organic Garden Tour
– Kids Summer Gardening Program
– Rally to successfully ban single-use plastic bags and straws
– A speaker and film series at West Chester University
– Chester County Clean Energy Tour
– and many other activities

These events would not have happened without our three interns, Courtney, Kara and Paige, who helped us over the summer. They took on a lot of the work to plan and execute our ideas and events — paid for by the funds we raised last year!

To keep the momentum going, we are again calling all friends and supporters to join us at this year’s Green ED Auction event!

The event will feature a silent auction, live auction and raffles. You can bid on vacation home stays, event tickets, restaurant gift certificates, gift baskets and plenty more. A list of items will be available closer to the event.

There will be a light supper and dessert. Bread will be provided by La Baguette Magique. The desserts have been contributed and made by Kim Stack, former owner of 3 Little Pigs. Wine or beer will be provided with supper and a cash bar will be available afterwards and throughout the evening.

Come join us for a fun evening that can have a real impact in our community for generations to come!

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.