Pesky buggers

A One Man Mosquito Spray Ban Issues Warnings

You want breast cancer? A lowered sperm count? How about Parkinson’s Disease?

John Cunningham is on a one-man crusade to wake up Miamians to what he claims are the profound dangers of anti-mosquito spraying. On the website he runs out of his Kendall home, the 65-year-old former college math professor expounds on what he says is “senseless poisoning.” He points to studies by the Harvard School of Public Healthy and Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York among others as evidence.

It’s a thought-provoking contrast to the official line we usually get about spraying. “Everything just sounds rosy,” Cunningham said by way of description. “And these are dangerous chemicals and no one was saying anything.”

In addition to being risk factors for the ailments above, Cunningham says the chemicals sprayed from Miami-Dade mosquito control department trucks and planes kill threatened species such as the Florida Burrowing Owl, the Miami Blue and the Schaus Swallowtail butterflies. Spraying does little if anything to control West Nile Virus, the mosquito-borne bogeyman of so many news stories, Cunningham believes.

The county spends millions of dollars every year “doing irreparable damage through the spraying of mosquitoes,” Cunningham says.

The mosquito control department’s website says the insecticides used – primarily fyfanon – are EPA approved and biodegrade “into harmless byproducts.” Various mosquito types can transmit diseases such as Dengue Fever, Encephalitis, Malaria, and dog heartworm, according to the site.

Bullocks, Cunningham says. It’s time South Floridians own up to the fact that they live next door to the Everglades, home of prodigious mosquito swarms. Toxic spraying is temporary and ineffective against such odds, he says. “As soon as the next westerly wind blows in, you’re right back where you started.”

What to do? Wear long sleeves and pants during peak mosquito season and stay indoors during dawn and dusk during the summer, Cunningham advises.

Cunningham will be taping an appearance on Comcast Newsmakers this Friday with Dr. Tom Pliske, Professor of Environmental Studies at FIU. Stay tuned. --Rob Jordan

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