Last night I happened to catch a brief segment of the television local news. I was shocked to hear the DEP in my state was spraying for mosquitoes the same night between 8 & 12 PM. No advance notice, nothing. The news was to close all windows & turn off ACs, cover any plants you wanted to protect, keep kids & pregnant women inside, etc. Fortunately it was a lovely cool night, but it was exactly the reason why people would be outside. I scurried to put veggies on the porch & to pick as many veggies as I could. I have an organic garden & have never used pesticides in my yard. I also was inside about 30 minutes before the announced start time. From 8 to 12:30 the planes flew overhead - 300 feet off the ground. Supposedly you could open the windows 30 minutes after the last spray, but you never knew when the last spray was. Today I was so mad I called the county department of health to complain. As someone diagnosed with multiple chemical sensitivity I wanted some answers. (The health officer suggested I either really wash the veggies or give them away to someone else...) (Definitely reassuring!) Anyhow, it turns out there is a "hypersensitivity list" kept by the deparment of agriculture. Persons on the list receive advance notice of spraying. (Do I sense an evacuation plan?) Even better, spraying must stop on the street you live on, plus on the streets on either side of your residence. Incredible, no doctor has ever told me about this list, nor have I heard it mentioned elsewhere. Tomorrow I'm phoning the Ag department to see what this is all about. Just letting everyone here know, as so many of us have many major issues - MCS, allergies, autoimmune problems, etc. Below is the article from the Philadelphia Inquirer, 8/27/08, which has some details on the chemicals & how it was sprayed. Mosquito control plan confuses Residents got mixed messages on the safety of a pesticide aimed at preventing a W. Nile virus outbreak. By Sandy Bauers Eleanor Stanford is so worried that she's taking her sons, ages 2 and 4, out of town. She found out just yesterday morning that come evening, the state would spray an insecticide from low-flying airplanes over her home in Lower Merion, plus portions of Philadelphia and elsewhere in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Officials say the plan is needed to knock back the highest number of West Nile-infected mosquitos they have seen in years and to reduce the risk for humans. They say the spraying at the low dose they plan is safe for people, plants and wildlife. But the lack of warning is proving to be controversial. State officials announced at 6 p.m. Monday that spraying would begin at 8 p.m. yesterday. Many, including Stanford, did not find out until yesterday morning. That ramped up the anxiety factor. With little else to go on, residents activated phone networks and went on the Internet, finding distressing Web sites that said the chemical to be used - resmethrin, with the unfortunate trade name of Scourge - was toxic to bees and fish, and should not be applied to crops. While the state notification, published in yesterday's Inquirer, assured that the chemical was safe, it also advised pregnant women and children to stay indoors for the spraying, from 8 p.m. to midnight last night and tonight. Stanford's husband, Dan Imaizumi, a high school math teacher, ended the day baffled and angry. "They all want to put West Nile virus to rest, which makes complete sense," he said. "But this process of informing people does not. I can't believe it was done so suddenly." "Nobody knows it's going to happen," he said. "We're talking people walking their dogs . . . eating dinner outside. This is perfect weather to leave your windows open." Much angst emanated from Radnor, which has spent millions of dollars to green its buildings and practices. Even considering spraying a pesticide "is astounding," said resident Brucie Rapoport. "It's a true irony." Township Manager Dave Bashore was worried regardless of what the statistics may show about the safety of these chemicals: "What's going to happen to the elderly couple out for their evening walk, and all of a sudden this low-flying plane is dropping a mist on them?" State Rep. Bryan Lentz (D., Delaware) said information should be out for "days, at least, before action is taken. It's not like they're tipping off the mosquitoes." DEP spokeswoman Deborah Fries said officials were squeezed between the biology of the mosquito and complicated spraying logistics. The spraying needs to be in calm, dry weather and before the mosquitoes begin to overwinter, the insect version of hibernation. But it took time to coordinate with the Arkansas sprayer and bring in planes from out of state. The state had been spraying insecticide from trucks, but still the populations grew. While aerial spraying is "a last resort," said the Montgomery County Health Department's deputy director, Kevin Smith, "our fear is that right now . . . we run a high risk of this jumping into the human population." Surveys show the virus is more concentrated in the mosquito populations than in 2003, when 237 people in Pennsylvania were infected. Officials say while 80 percent of people show no signs of infection and are immune afterward, 20 percent have symptoms ranging from fever to paralysis. In 2003, nine Pennsylvanians died. Smith said the precautionary information "is just that: a good precaution. Does it mean that if you stay outdoors, you'll have an adverse reaction? No. But to be absolutely certain and put everybody at ease, you can simply go indoors." Rob Snyder, the Department of Agriculture's bee inspector, confirmed that bees would likely be safe, given the half-strength dose and the fact that most bees are in their nests that time of night. Cornell University pesticide expert Ronald Gardner called the state's planned application of 0.0035 of a pound per acre "extremely low." He said the mist "is meant to stay in the air where the mosquitoes fly." While some might fall to the ground, its dilution would "reduce the risk of any complications to a very small number." He said he knew of no cases where birds were harmed after eating dead mosquitoes. "You can never say there's no risk," Gardner said. "But goodness, this sounds like a very responsible application." Radnor got a one-day reprieve. Its spraying will start tonight. Still, Township Commissioner John Fisher was unhappy. He said the DEP not only bungled the job of notifying the public, but has not done enough to educate residents about how they can prevent the spread of mosquitoes by removing standing water in their yards. "We're about to fly planes over Radnor," he said, "but we haven't asked residents to flip their trash cans over."