Anti-Zika Pesticide Spraying Turns Wynwood Into A Ghost Town

Tere has been a lot of commotion about Zika virus recently. Many individuals think that it is a severe and imminent threat. Others believe there is much we don’t know about it. Mostly known fact is that it spreads by the bite of an infected Aedes species of mosquito, which are aggressive daytime biters. It can be passed to a fetus of a pregnant woman, and cause certain birth defects. There is no medicine or vaccine, so the only way of preventing an outbreak is by spraying pesticide to kill off this species.

One neighborhood of Miami, Wynwood, has been identified by the Florida Department of Health as a spreading area of Zika virus. According to people living here, the town is noticeably empty, without the usual travelers visiting it to shop at popular stores. The reason for this is the effort made to fight Aedes species of mosquito, by using a pesticide called Naled.

 

One electric plant shop owner complains that the business has stopped. She told the CBS Miami off camera that the weekend was very slow. She had only one sale, and it wasn’t until late afternoon, stating “It’s actually been pretty much a ghost town.”

Expectant mothers are on the edge, and openly expressing their worries. “My biggest concern is, the most fearful thing is, I don’t want to have a child with some of the severe cerebral defects that are being talked about, including microcephaly,” said Leah Acero, one of the mothers.

It is believed that 15 Wynwood residents have been infected through bites of Aedes mosquito species. A campaign of using Naled over this area to kill them off had started. However, the worrying fact is that this insecticide acts by interfering with the activities of cholinesterase. It is an essential enzyme responsible for the proper working of the nervous system of both insects and humans. It is toxic by inhalation, dermal absorption, and ingestion, and it is corrosive to the membranes lining the throat, lungs, and mouth.

Health consequences

From Cornell.edu:

When inhaled, the first effects are usually respiratory and may include bloody or a runny nose, coughing, chest discomfort, difficult or short breath, and wheezing due to constriction or excess fluid in the bronchial tubes. Skin contact with organophosphates may cause localized sweating and involuntary muscle contractions. Eye contact will cause pain, bleeding, tears, pupil constriction, and blurred vision.

Exposure to Naled can also cause insomnia, delayed reaction times, speech difficulties, confusion, and disorientation.

According to No Spray Coalition:

Naled is more toxic when exposure occurs by breathing contaminated air than through other kinds of exposure. In laboratory tests, Naled exposure caused increased aggressiveness and a deterioration of memory and learning.

Naled’s breakdown product DICHLORVOS (another organophosphate insecticide) interferes with prenatal brain development. In laboratory animals, exposure for just 3 days during pregnancy when the brain is growing quickly reduced brain size 15 percent.

DICHLORVOS also causes cancer, according to the International Agency for Research on Carcinogens. In laboratory tests, it caused leukemia and pancreatic cancer.

 

In addition, Naled reduces egg production in birds, and growth in tests with juvenile fish. Since it can drift up to a half mile during aerial applications, it is no wonder people avoid visiting Wynwood. They don’t want to risk exposure to toxic chemicals that can have an adverse impact on their health.

Naled poses many potential dangers to our well-being. Therefore, it can be counterproductive, not to mention hazardous to fight Aedes species of mosquito with this insecticide.

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