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Fogging for West Nile virus

Original post made on Jun 23, 2014

The Santa Clara County Vector Control District is scheduled to do a mosquito fogging treatment on Tuesday, June 24 at 1 p.m.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, June 23, 2014, 11:58 AM

Comments (9)

Posted by Phineas Fog
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Jun 23, 2014 at 1:27 pm

You can subscribe to notifications of west nile foggings by sending email to
[email protected]

Posted by Mtviewresident
a resident of North Whisman
on Jun 23, 2014 at 6:21 pm

Mtviewresident is a registered user.

Is there any way for Mountain View to opt of this insanity? Tine after time, these new pesticides are proven unsafe for humans. I'm wondering who's brilliant idea it was to use a known neurotoxin to kill the adult mosquitos that may carry West-Niles virus, that may cause light flu-like symptoms, or maybe cause neurological damage.

We know this pesticide is a neurotoxin, we know it kills other good insects such as bees. What can we do to stop this? I'll take my chances with the possible virus over a definite neurotoxin.

Posted by Common sense
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 23, 2014 at 8:08 pm

Is there any way for Mountain View to opt out of irrational fear-mongering? People throwing around claims on topics they clearly don't understand, apparently because they like the sound of the rhetoric?

Public information sources have improved radically since the Middle Ages, so there is no longer any excuse for asserting claims as if accountable only to the writer's ego.

Do people like "Mtviewresident" have any clue at all about the diversity of materials classified as "pesticides," which even includes products that are essential nutrients to humans? Do they know anything about the pyrethrin insecticides, their history and properties? If not, why are they spouting off about subjects they know nothing about; if so, why are they acting obtuse or disingenuous?

Among the diverse products used against dangerous insects, the pyrethroids (one of which will be used in ultralow doses in this fogging) have long been the gold standard, precisely because they are very selectively toxic to insects. These chemicals occur naturally in the Crysanthemum (pyrethrum) flower family, which evolved them as a natural defense against insect predators. Until the early 1900s, the pyrethrin insecticides were extracted from Crysanthemum plants, which made them too expensive for many potential uses. Now they're made synthetically, and are further tailored for properties like quick degradation in sunlight. They are selectively toxic to insects (including bees, which is why they are applied at night when mosquitos, but not bees, are flying). They are not significantly toxic to humans or other mammals, but if they were, you'd need to worry first about their main occurrence -- in decorative Crysanthemum plants.

West Nile Virus, on the other hand, has killed 145 Californians and counting. Evidently, in an irrational anxiety over anything and everything labeled "pesticide," there is no room for concern over a mere 145 dead humans.

Posted by David
a resident of Gemello
on Jun 24, 2014 at 12:49 am

You can read more about the pesticide here: Web Link and Web Link Nothing there contradicts Common sense's more detailed answer above. Thank you to Common sense.

Posted by Wiley Wiggins
a resident of The Crossings
on Jun 24, 2014 at 9:36 am

In related news, Foghat is coming to Shoreline.

Posted by @Commonsense
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 25, 2014 at 9:03 pm

But I just read that there is a risk that pyrethroids increase the risk of autism when babies are exposed during their 3rd trimester! It is so hard to know who to believe, but I think I'd rather be out of town during the fogging just to be safe.

Web Link

From the article:
But based on her study, she said pregnant women should be aware that some of the chemicals found in commercial pesticides, like pyrethroids, are also sold for use around the home.

Even worse, they're sometimes labeled as "all natural" products, because they're based on a chemical that comes from chrysanthemum flowers. But Hertz-Picciotto says there's nothing natural about them.

"It's a synthetic product that's been designed to be more toxic than the natural product it's imitating," she said.

Hertz-Picciotto recommends that pregnant women with insect problems play it safe by looking for less toxic alternatives, like a powder called diatomaceous earth, which kills insects by dehydrating them.

Posted by Common sense
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 26, 2014 at 2:20 pm

It may be "so hard to know who to believe," yet a constructive start is to educate yourself on fundamentals involved, RATHER than be swayed, as many people are, by the emotionally appealing anxiety du jour.

It's easy to Google countless online comments to support Absolutely Any Notion Whatever that you've already bought into emotionally. That is how many people use the internet in these situations, and it's exactly the opposite of real research. Research is about learning relevant realities that you didn't know or suspect. Not finding sources to buttress notions you've already bought into emotionally (a process that shuts down reason).

Coincidentally, autism is a demon of choice today. While shifts in diagnostic methods bring publicity, and more children being classified autistic (developments that complacent people misinterpret as a rapid rise in autism incidence), fashionable anxieties over childhood vaccination lead some parents, against all medical consensus, to skip standard childhood immunizations. Result: kids who wouldn't be classed autistic anyway are now contracting grave diseases, formerly almost eliminated in the US.

It's never easy to believe you've been taken in by a fad, or irrational anxiety, especially when that's the case. Statements like the one above by "Mtviewresident" stubbornly ignore that real-world decisions require choosing between real (not fantasy) alternatives. Just as most people who actually know about the subjects believe childhood immunization offers the safest path, most people informed and compassionate about public health consider using low-dose contact insecticides against mosquitos preferable to allowing mosquitos to carry the diseases that have scourged humanity and wrecked lives throughout history, in this case killing 145 Californians in recent years. Are pyrethrin-based insecticides more toxic to some creatures than water? Of course. They are also far _less_ toxic than the generations of insecticides they replaced, and that's why they're used in this real-world compromise (which is characterized so casually earlier in the thread as "insanity").

Posted by JakiChan
a resident of another community
on Jun 26, 2014 at 11:09 pm

It kills bees. And we wonder where they went...

Web Link

"This product is highly toxic to bees exposed to direct treatment on blooming crops or weeds."

Posted by Common sense
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 27, 2014 at 11:44 am

Jaki, if you'd read the previous comments here, you'd have known already that the bee toxicity is (1) old news and (2) a completely moot point. As I wrote a few days ago, pyrethrins (which are contact insecticides in this application) are used at night, when mosquitos are out and flying, and bees are not. This information adds nothing to the CENTRAL question of which imperfect alternative society prefers: killing mosquitos as cleanly as current methods allow, or leaving them free to act as disease vectors. Today West Nile, tomorrow tularemia, typhoid fever, encephalitis. (Even then, people can be relied upon to post arguments against fogging based on very "foggy" armchair understanding of the issues.)

Again: Anyone can conjure online factoids that seem to them to buttress a preferred notion of the moment. The way to break out of such pseudo-thinking and pseudo-research is to learn something about the fundamentals of the subject and let the facts drive the emotions, instead of vice versa

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