Courtesy Deborah Marks
During the night of June 24th (next Tuesday) a large area of Sunnyvale (somewhat west of 85, to Sunnyvale-Saratoga Rd., from Homestead Rd to El Camino) will be sprayed with a toxic chemical. For some areas this will be the second time within 3 weeks.
The pesticide is Zenivex and contains 4% Etofenprox as the active ingredient. Etofenprox is harmful to humans and to the environment esp. to bees and cats. Bees will not be directly exposed at night but the pesticide settles to the ground and on plants. Insects larger than flies will not be eliminated. There are though many small insects which are important in the food chain which will become ill or die. Birds may ingest these insects.
According to federal law the remaining 96% inert ingredients do not have to be disclosed. We do not know… and the Santa Clara County Vector Control District does not know… what the inert ingredients are. In talking this week with a senior scientist at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), these inert ingredients can be even more dangerous and present in even greater concentrations than the active ingredient.
In Santa Clara County last year there were two cases of West Nile Virus. Both persons had flu-like symptoms; that was all. Not one case of WNV has been reported this year. The spraying is only 50% to 80% effective. That means that up to 50% of adult mosquitoes could still be alive after the spraying. The larvae will survive and hatch in the days after. These mosquitoes may also carry WNV. But only 1 in 30 or even 1 in 100 (Russ Parman, Santa Clara County Vector Control District) even carry the WNV. The chances of getting bit by a mosquito are low and the chances of getting deathly ill are minimal: 1/10 of 1%.
At the company’s website which produces Zenivex (Zoecon) they state that in the year 2012 California had 451 cases of WNV and 16 deaths. In comparison for the flu season 2012-2013 in California there were 106 deaths (Sacramento Bee, June 10, 2014). One must ask: Is the chemical spraying effective and is it necessary?
On June 10th there was a County Board of Supervisors meeting in San Jose. Many residents spoke out at the meeting against spraying our environment with these chemicals. The Board asked the staff to prepare a report answering questions as to the safety of the spraying and its effectiveness.
If you would like to contact the Board of Supervisors and tell them your opinion, their tel. no. is 408-299-5001.
In Merced County a private resident can opt-out of the spraying. In Santa Clara County one cannot do this.
In 1975 there was a law passed in California to put flame-retardant chemicals in our furniture. That law is being changed because studies have linked these chemicals to fertility problems, neurological impairments and cancer. Hopefully we will not have a similar situation with these chemicals down the road.