A panel of homeopathic doctors and practitioners is trying to mobilize the community in opposition to pesticide fogging for mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus, arguing that the treatment is more dangerous than the disease.
"There’s no doubt about the fact that it’s a toxic poison," author and researcher Doris Rapp of Scottsdale said during a panel discussion Saturday in Phoenix. "They cannot tell us this is like table salt — this is grossly untrue."
Rapp and five colleagues spoke at the Burton Barr Central Library before a group of about 60, most of whom appeared to share the same views on pesticides as evidenced by their frequent applause.
The panelists’ warnings about pyrethroids, the chemicals Maricopa County is using nightly to kill adult mosquitoes, stood in stark contrast to public health officials’ statements that the benefits of their use outweigh the risks.
State and county health experts working to combat the disease have reassured the public that ground-based spraying is a safe part of an orchestrated effort that also includes eliminating stagnant pools where mosquitoes breed and educating the community about prevention.
Still, the panelists said, officials have exaggerated both the human health risks of West Nile and the number of residents who have contracted the virus. They suggested contacting county and state elected officials to express opposition.
"We can’t stop what they’ve done, but we can stop them from doing any more if we can get their attention," Phoenixbased environmental medicine specialist Warren Levin said.
Dr. Alan Ketover of Paradise Valley said he has treated many patients recently who are sensitive to chemicals and are complaining of stomach problems, headaches, respiratory problems, mood disorders and more.
Rapp added that animal studies done on pyrethroids have uncovered a variety of disturbing side effects.
"Dogs had their testicles shrinking," she said. "You fellas should think about this."