The American Academy of Pediatrics recently released a report that stated that American children are currently exposed to too many pesticides and that those exposures are causing significant levels of disease in them (http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/130/6/e1757). This is important not because the research is new – much of it has been around for decades – but because the AAP is a conservative organization that only makes statements like these when the scientific evidence has achieved a high degree of certainty. The CDC Biomonitoring Project has long provided evidence of the rising contamination of American bodies with carcinogens, obesogenes, neurotoxins, and mutagenic chemicals (http://www.cdc.gov/exposurereport/pdf/FourthReport.pdf). The news on lead and nicotine is rosy, because of changing policy, but the news on much of the rest of the thousands of chemicals we are exposed to every day is dire. The President’s Cancer Panel, another highly respected authority, has come to the same conclusion, that a higher percentage of our cancers are caused by environmental contamination than has ever been acknowledged (http://deainfo.nci.nih.gov/advisory/pcp/annualReports/pcp08-09rpt/PCP_Report_08-09_508.pdf).
What can you do? First of all, find out if your city sprays for mosquitoes. Spraying should rarely, if ever, occur, and then only with widespread notification. Larvaciding mosquitoes in standing bodies of water with BT, as well as emptying standing water in yards every few days, is recommended. Individuals can make the decision to use repellents or not, depending on risk level.
In your own home, you can avoid use of pesticides inside, in the garden, and on your lawn. Excellent alternatives to common pest problems can be found at the Safer Pesticide Project at http://spcpweb.org/. Eating organic is another way to protect both your own family and the families of agricultural workers, who are often exposed to high levels of spray during production.
Do what you can to protect children and adults from cancer, autism, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, and learning disabilities, and ask your cities to do likewise. As the parent of a child who died of leukemia caused, we have every reason to believe, by exposure to mosquito spraying, I can tell you: it is not worth it.