The Insanity Begins Again – West Nile Fear (versus Virus)

April 14th, 2007

Birdsong is accompanied by the whine of mosquitoes. It is inevitable and, unless you are foolish enough to move to swampland, controllable without undue destruction to ourselves and the environment. The first news stories are emerging as notice goes out to populations everywhere that they are going to be poisoned in order to reduce their chances of being bitten by mosquitoes.

Does this sound hysterical? Perhaps, if you associate poisoning with Lucretia Borgia, slipping someone a fatal dose in his wine. But this is not the reality of poisoning that most of us need to fear.

A poison is any substance that either harms an organism directly (impairs or kills), or interferes with another physiological process essential to some aspect of functioning and therefore impairs the living person/animal through secondary effects. For instance, an endocrine disrupter, which increases estrogen in a person, can lead to various secondary adverse effects over time such as headache, altered fertility in males and females and even cancer. A poison can be a catalyst for harm over time in addition to immediate effects.

Pesticides are registered poisons, approved for sale for the purpose of killing living organisms. By definition, they are harmful. By federal mandate, it is illegal to declare that they are safe, even when used as directed. So why do we see case after case of municipalities like the one in the news story below, making light of a hazardous product always marked, “Keep out of reach of Children” alongside a list of hazardous effects.

If you are going to use a poison, call it like it is. My letter to the news service is copied below for your own reference. West Nile Virus can be a serious disease but it is most likely to harm those who are already sickened by pesticides — the effects are quite similar!


Subject: Please convey ALL related facts to this story

To the News Editors,

Your story regarding the start of insecticide applications to prevent WNV, was most misleading. You posted the typical press release stemming from official sources who do not want to assume any liability for the adverse effects of highly toxic materials on the population and groundwater supplies.

The ‘company line’ generally consists of the statement that the product in use is made of ‘flowers’. The fact remains that most of these products containing the natural or synthesized version of the toxin produced by chrysanthemum to kill insects, also contains a synergist that ‘turns off’ the biochemical defenses that animals and people have to counteract its toxicity. This synergist is called piperonyl butoxide and makes the formulation as much as ten times more toxic than the active ingredient originally approved for use/sale by the EPA. The entire formulation with this synergist and with a petrochemical delivery solvent (toxic in its own right) will not have been assessed by the EPA and, most likely, not even by the manufacturer as there would have been no compelling legal reason to do so.

This product kills insects by disrupting a portion of the nerve cell which stops it from firing over and over again until it becomes damaged or dies. This over stimulation of the central nervous system also affects people and many particularly sensitive populations (who often remain ignorant of their danger) should not be in contact with it. This includes children, pregnant women, the elderly or infirm, people with neurological problems like MS or Parkinson’s and those taking medications which also over stimulate the central nervous system. These medications are very common in the population (called anticholinergics) and are taken by asthmatics, Alzheimer’s patients and for other ailments as well.

Please report the entire story for the education and safety of your listeners and for journalistic integrity. Yes, WNV is here to stay — and the population becomes ever more resistant to it naturally. The risks of serious harm from the ailment are less than the risks to the general population from the insecticides used to prevent its spread. If you wish sources for this material, feel free to contact me.

Thank you for your attention.

Barbara Rubin

Categories: Letters

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