Monday, January 29, 2018

Monday Thoughts: Miami's "Insect-Free" Winter: good, or, bad? ... by gimleteye

I can't be the only person to notice. After intensive bombing of Miami-Dade County with NALED in 2016, a toxic pesticide that kills mosquitoes including those bearing the Zika virus, this winter there are no flying insects. And fewer birds.

I've lived in Miami for over 25 years. While winter populations of mosquitoes are suppressed by cold and by dry weather, I've never experienced a complete absence of mosquitoes.

A dinner companion involved with public health told me, there have been no recent cases of Zika in Miami except for individuals treated for bites that occurred in the Caribbean or Latin America.

On the one hand, that is reassuring. I have friends who will not visit Miami for fear of contracting the Zika virus. On the other hand, the absence of air-borne insects in Miami today is unsettling. Combine that with the fact that exposure to environmental toxins is so lightly regulated by government as to be virtually non-existent and one arrives at another unsettling place: only by deliberately looking away, could one assert that using toxics to kill all the insects will not affect human health at a cellular level. The bottom line: carpet-bombing Miami-Dade with NALED is a giant experiment on millions of people. Is there any science, at all, tracking the outcomes to public health here?

There are troubling questions in Miami's insect-free winter that we ignore at our peril.

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