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Open letter to Jamaican minister of health: Stop the daily chemical attacks against innocent citizens
Published on August 9, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

Dear Minister Fenton Ferguson,

I write you to ask that you immediately suspend the policy in regard to Ministry of Health mosquito spraying programme.

This method of constant spraying without warning to residents is an absolute criminal assault, especially against those who have respiratory problems.

It is absolutely necessary that your ministry publicly publish and discuss this spraying programme so that those who believe that their health might be affected by indiscriminate spraying be allowed to exempt themselves from the area at the time that the spraying is to take place. This is the minimum courtesy that your ministry can extend to citizens of this country.

I think it is also the right of citizens to know precisely what is the chemical content of the spray being used so that potential harm to humans can be evaluated.

It is my observation that workers on the vans that do the spraying do not wear gasmasks as should be required and this has got to be an absolute assault on their health.

Studies have shown that pesticides used to control or kill mosquitoes are not only harmful to the environment but are potentially carcinogenic for human beings, not to mention the ineffectiveness of this method. Malathion for example is an organophosphate that can cause long term neurological health problems.

Indeed, in other jurisdictions such as the United States, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) demands that there first be a surveillance programme to determine "levels of mosquito activity" and a "community outreach and public education" programme before any such spraying can be carried out. In other words are all communities equal in terms of mosquito threat?

I challenge you to show how or where such a scientific approach has been adopted by your ministry. This is in contrast to your extensive public discussion about the dangers of cigarette smoking and coming regulations regarding carbon monoxide emission from motor vehicles.

It is my experience in the neighbourhood where I live that spraying has been continuing for months and is carried out several times per week. This has got to be totally excessive and is a reflection of the absolute ineffectiveness of this method where killing mosquitoes is concerned.

I urge you minister to immediately suspend this programme and to engage in a public review and discussion.

To ignore this plea, and to continue with this indiscriminate spraying has to be recognized as a chemical attack against innocent citizens and is criminal in nature.

As the one who sets policy, the buck stops with you, and makes you criminally liable for damage done to citizens.

Lloyd D'Aguilar
Reads: 18157

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