North Carolina:  City sprays its citizens with poisons weekly  

In case you've ever thought of visiting the Outer Banks of NC (with Hatteras Lighthouse, Jockey's Ridge, the Lost Colony, Etc), just thought you might like to know that trucks drive up and down the streets of this lovely vacation spot, up to 3 times a week, spraying permethrin with piperonyl butoxide and petroleum solvents (also undisclosed inert ingredients. The trucks are not specially marked, just small beige pickup trucks with the sprayer on the back, no light, and absolutely no prior notice to residents. Joggers, bikers, campers, and even children playing in yards sometimes are directly sprayed; I have personal accounts of these incidents which I, other witnesses,  and the victims themselves have reported to the NC Pesticide enforcement agency which is affiliated with the Dept of Ag in our state, not the EPA as in some other states. The Product's brand name is Aqua Reslin, and it's made by AgrEvo, a subsidiary of Hoechst (formerly IG Farben).   I and my daughter are chemically sensitive and every year I and other chemically sensitive residents request that our property not be sprayed. Below I have pasted my letter to the County Mosquito Control Administrator and his response. If you plan to vacation here this year or in the future, and you are opposed to this practice, your letter to our board of commissioners and/or county public works administrators, and especially copied to the Tourist Bureau might make them sit up and take notice -- tourism is #1 here.

Here's a website (you'll find that the Dare County Staff is listed by first name ---??)  


Dear Mr. Sawyer.

Please send me asap information on what will be used for mosquito control in Dare County this season, including material safety data sheets and product labels for all products to be used.

As always, my health and the health of other family members require that all hazardous products be kept as far away as possible from my residence.

This in itself does not protect us from the poisoning of the air that occurs when trucks spray, it is simply the minimum requirement to avoid the highest levels of exposure.

I will need a letter from you stating that you will comply to this request and that you will never spray within 500 feet of my residence.

Because of severe sensitivity to humidity in the air as well as hazardous chemicals, I must run my air conditioner most of the summer. I'm sure you realize that spraying near my house would draw poisons indoors through the air system and put us at risk for severe illness.

Last year I visited a friend off 3rd Street in KDH just to drop off something, forgetting that that area is heavily sprayed. Before I could get home I was gripped with stomach cramps and nausea and was in bed the rest of the evening. Nausea is a very rare symptom for me; it usually takes food poisoning for me to get this response.

I also want to point out again that this method of control is outdated and ineffective as well as dangerous and should be replaced with safer means of control.

Permethrin, used last year is now highly suspected of being a factor in thyroid cancer. After last year's use of permethrin, I now have 3 tumors on my thyroid gland. Since our county does not study effects of this practice of spraying poisons among its residents, we have no official means for reasonably determining what adverse health effects might be connected. This negligence should not continue.

Here is more info on permethrin and other poisons used commonly in mosquito "control" programs:

I will expect the requested information from you this year within a reasonable time, not months later as happened last year. Seven days from the date of this email I believe is reasonable.

Susan Vaughan  
Kill Devil Hills, NC


Dear Mrs. Vaughan,

This e-mail is to address your request sent to me on Tuesday, April 18, 2000 at 10:15 PM.  Please be advised that the Dare County Mosquito Control Department will be utilizing the same product for control this season as last.  Since you requested and received the same information last year from this department, I will not be sending out any additional data sheets or labels.  If you have misplaced any or all of the above information, please contact me and I will forward a second set.

I am aware of your request for "no-spray" at your address.  My drivers have also been made aware and will not spray in front of or around your property line.  However, I will not discontinue spraying within 500 feet of your residence from any direction.  It is the policy of Dare County to provide this service to the residents and guest of the county and they have the right to request this service.  Since others choose to have their property sprayed, I have an obligation to honor this request.  This department will continue to stop the flow of the chemical when the driver feels that it may drift onto your property, although this will be done at the drivers discretion and with his or her best intentions in mind.  As you recall, after you asked the NC Pesticide enforcement section to sample your yard for presence of mosquito control chemical used last year, It is my understanding that no traces of the product were discovered.  This "discovery" should convince you that the Dare County Mosquito Control Department is making every effort to avoid your immediate property and will continue to do so.

Thank you

Scott Sawyer  

(Also PS to Sawyer's BS is that they spray up and down the streets whether there's a request for spraying or not. Sawyer made it sound like he sprays only because people request it. - Susan)



To: Scott Sawyer <>

References:  1

 Having the NC Pesticide enforcement section sample my yard for evidence of pesticide contamination is like asking the fox to guard the hen house. The test meant nothing to me. I cannot prove that there was any evidence for even a non-partial investigation, but neither can I put any faith in a partial one. I did find an upturned seashell full of dead bugs in the middle of my yard, and no one bothered to test those.

Your drivers have broken regulations by spraying people directly, spraying with winds over 10 mph, and spraying too near the water.

Have you seen any action from the NC Pesticide enforcement section for these violations? I haven't.

Susan Vaughan

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