Updated May 9, 2021. Short version: dump standing water; larvicide water that can’t be dumped.
Here is the enemy:
But that photo shows mosquito larvae, which don’t bite.
Right, but once larvae hatch, they are harder to control. One female mosquito, with a protein infusion from blood, lays 100+ eggs. The eggs hatch into larvae, which fly away as adults in a few days. Continue reading →
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.)
Pesticides and herbicides applied by air drift, of course. That’s the point. If they just fall to the ground, they won’t kill off what they are designed to kill off.
If you are seeing plants on your property droop inexplicably, investigate immediately and try to determine if a neighboring property has been subjected to any recent application of herbicides. If you suspect drift, contact PennState Extension immediately for advice. They may be able to test the plants quickly and determine the cause. See more here.
Of course, keep an eye out for any potential toxics being applied anywhere near you and politely inform neighbors that if the wind is blowing your way, you will be documenting any damage to your plants.
If anyone in your family has a personal sensitivity to chemicals, they should apply to be on the state’s Registry of Pesticide Hypersensitive Individuals; see info here. This registry does not include herbicides and fungicides, but chances are, if your neighbor is into poisons of one sort, their or their “landscaping” company is applying others.
The registry does not prevent spraying, but it requires that you receive advance notice, so that you can act accordingly.
The manufacturer of one anti-mosquito spray commonly applied by truck says that it kills mosquitoes at 300 feet. Draw your own conclusions about the scope of potential damage from such sprays.
The Chesco Health Department has, in the past, been saying that if they did not spray us, the PA DEP would, whether our county or municipality wanted it or not. In fact, if that happened, it would be the first such case in the state since at least 2000. In December we filed a Right To Know request for DEP to find:
“Records, 2000-2020, of any cases of PA DEP itself spraying for mosquito control A) in counties and municipalities which opposed such spraying, or B) in counties that have their own health departments.”
The answer came back with no such cases of spraying adulticide (that is, spray released from trucks into the air), only 27 cases of PA DEP larviciding in Philadelphia between 2004 and 2016. Don’t Spray Me! supports the use of larvicide, as an environmental way to control mosquitoes before they take wing.
This information may be useful if you hear anyone tell you: “Someone will spray us anyhow, so what does it matter?”
Given the evidence, no community should be sprayed unless they make an informed judgment to accept it.
In 2015 the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer issued a report identifying glyphosate, malathion and diazinon as probable carcinogens and tetrachlorvinphos and parathion as possible carcinogens (Roundup contains glyphosate but also inert ingredients, some of which the manufacturer is allowed to keep secret):
A Working Group of 17 experts from 11 countries met at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) on 3–10 March 2015 to review the available published scientific evidence and evaluate the carcinogenicity of five organophosphate insecticides and herbicides: diazinon, glyphosate, malathion, parathion, and tetrachlorvinphos. A summary of the evaluations has now been published in The Lancet Oncology. The detailed assessments will be published as Volume 112 of the IARC Monographs….
[Update 24 hours later: kudos to whoever — Public Works, individuals, businesses — shoveled up all that salt, as it now is gone and will not drain into Plum Run after all!]
All this sodium chloride is headed for Plum Run, unless someone shovels it up for future use. And this, ironically, at a time when the Borough is expending a lot of effort to prevent Plum Run’s banks from eroding and is financing rain gardens to reduce runoff and attendant chemicals from entering streams.
The same day, the chloride level in Plum Run at the SW corner of the Borough measured 310ppm.
“In Rhode Island, the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) has set acceptable chloride concentration exposure limits for freshwater organisms at 860 ppm to prevent acute (immediate) exposure effects and at 230 ppm to prevent chronic (long-term) exposure effects. For drinking water, DEM has set a maximum contaminant level of 250 ppm chloride, which is the point at which water starts to taste salty.”
“Chloride is toxic to aquatic life, and even low concentrations can produce harmful effects in freshwater ecosystems. High chloride levels in water can inhibit aquatic species’ growth and reproduction, impact food sources, and disrupt osmoregulation in amphibians. Some 40 percent of urban streams in the U.S. already have chloride levels that exceed the safe guidelines for aquatic life.”
“Runoff containing road salt can also cause oxygen depletion in bodies of water. ‘If runoff containing salt goes into a freshwater lake or stream, it will tend to sink towards the bottom, creating a dense layer that can inhibit gas exchange with the overlying water,’ says Juhl. ‘This can lead to the development of low oxygen conditions that are detrimental to fish and other aquatic organisms.’”
Do you want to measure your own local stream’s chloride content ? See Isaak Walton League: Protect streams from salt! for how to get a free kit. Here’s the measurement from Plum Run (the chloride level is shown by the peak of the yellowish area in the sensor on the right of the photo):
Road salt (sodium chloride) is everywhere during winter months. It keeps us safe on roads and sidewalks, but it can also pose a threat to fish and wildlife as well as human health.
Fish and bugs that live in freshwater streams can’t survive in extra salty water. And many of us (more than 118 million Americans) depend on local streams for drinking water. Water treatment plants are not equipped to filter out the extra salt, so it can end up in your tap water and even corrode your pipes.
You can take action.
Request your FREE Salt Watch test kit….
(Sign up free for a kit to test a stream here. Salt in streams harms not only fish. but also other aquatic life… and humans!)
City passes restrictions to protect public health For Immediate Release
PHILADELPHIA — City parks and other public spaces throughout Philadelphia will be a lot safer soon after the city council banned the use of toxic herbicides on municipal property. Various provisions of the Healthy Outdoor Public Spaces Act passed on Thursday go into effect in phases over the next three years. Beginning next July, the city council and the public must be notified of any pesticide use on city grounds. More importantly, in 18 months, the law will prohibit certain toxic chemicals on all city property except golf courses and athletic fields, which must comply no more than 36 months from now. …
According to the chemical manufacturing giant DuPont, “U.S. Soy Launches The Pilot Phase Of Sustainably Grown U.S. Soy Mark.” This sounds like a useful idea:
Whatever you make, U.S. Soy makes you more sustainable. That is why the food industry is innovating to improve sustainability in their product supply chains from farm to fork. By labeling soy ingredients with the new Sustainably Grown U.S. Soy mark, you are recognizing that those soybeans originated from a system of continuous environmental improvement.
From January 19 through March 19, the United Soybean Board (USB) is teaming up with partners from Soylent and DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences (DuPont) that will be participating in a pilot program to market their products and ingredients as being made with Sustainably Grown U.S. Soy.
The new mark denotes agricultural practices, such as no-till and cover crops, that deliver sustainable outcomes in biodiversity, soil carbon, water management, and overall soil conservation. U.S. Soy delivers the food industry a quality ingredient to help them meet their sustainability goals by prioritizing soil health and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and energy usage.
Customers can be assured that products carrying the mark contain soy ingredients that:
Were grown in the United States
Are compliant with all U.S. environmental regulations
Protect highly erodible soils and wetlands
Were grown on family farms with responsible labor practices…
The plan bears watching and questioning:
• Sustainability is fine, but does this program permit herbicides, pesticides, and genetically engineered seeds?
• How are “family farms” defined? DuPont’s image below hardly looks like a family soy bean field:
Local sustainability activism panel: Fourth Annual Environmental Film and Forum Series at WCU sponsored by the Office of Sustainability at West Chester University and the West Chester Green Team, in memory of Graham Hudgings.
December 11, 7pm, via live internet: Local sustainability activism, featuring 5 local panelists on what campus and community groups can do to promote sustainability, outreach techniques, working successfully with non-profit and public entities, and Local Environmental Empowerment.