After two days of delays due to wind, the city of Lodi received aerial spraying to combat the deadly West Nile Virus between 4 and 7 a.m. Monday, according to the San Joaquin County Mosquito Abatement District.
Dynamic Aviation, a private contractor from Virginia, sprayed the area of Lodi from Harney Lane to the Mokelumne River, and from Highway 99 to a quarter-mile west of Lower Sacramento Road.
There are no plans to spray any more in Lodi until district officials determine how effective the effort was, said district spokesman Aaron Devencenzi.
Though some residents expressed concerns for their pets and food grown in gardens, officials said the chemical, called Evergreen EC 60-6, was used properly and that there was no need for worry.
The agent is made of components that include an ingredient used in head lice shampoo, Devencenzi said. It also contains a chemical made of chrysanthemums, which is toxic to insects but not to humans, said Chris Riley, general counsel for McLaughlin Gormley King Company, which makes Evergreen.
San Joaquin County's health department received no calls or complaints of allergy problems, said Dr. Karen Furst. Devencenzi's office received a couple of complaints about allergy problems, but those calls came before the spraying actually happened, he said.
It takes about two thirds of an ounce of Evergreen to treat each acre, and it was misted from airplanes flying 300 feet in the air. Most of it dissipates in the air, and about 14 percent reaches the ground, Devencenzi said.
Riley said Evergreen has been subjected to a decade-long study, and the Environmental Protection Agency two years ago said the chemical may continue being used for mosquito control.
The company, operating under the name of K&K Aircraft, has treated more than 2.8 million acres of forest for gypsy moth since 1981. In recent years, Dynamic Aviation has partnered with private organizations, governments and health agencies to apply mosquito control pesticides. Included among these efforts was the treatment of approximately 520,000 acres near Boston to stop a mosquito-borne encephalitis outbreak and the treatment of 1.03 million acres in North Carolina after flooding from Hurricane Fran.
Dynamic Aviation operates Beechcraft airplanes from approximately 18 bases in six countries and employs more than 200.
Source: Dynamic Aviation.
To read product information on Evergreen EC60-6, go to: http://www.sjgov.org/oes/westnile/controlops/controlMSDS/EVER7448l.pdf http://www.sjgov.org/oes/westnile/controlops/controlMSDS/EVER7448m.pdf
Opponents point to the fact that one part of Evergreen, piperonyl butoxide, has been labeled a possible carcinogen, but Riley said that only happened after subjecting rats and mice to large amounts of Evergreen over their life span.
In order to meet EPA requirements, such a test continues until it reaches a "toxicity level," Riley said. In other words, to test anything from biohazards to orange juice, researchers would have to keep giving it to the rats in increasing amounts until they had some sort of reaction. Then the EPA determines at what point it is safe.
The testing showed a slight increase in benign liver tumors in mice, Riley said, adding that it took well over a year to reach that level - in other words, most of the rodent's life span.
How well Evergreen will work in Lodi remains to be seen, but that will be tested in the days to come.
Traps will be set to check for mosquitoes, with district officials hoping that few of them survived the pesticide spraying. They will also check for dead birds, test chickens and monitor any further horse and human cases, Devencenzi said.
Stockton was sprayed during the early hours of Sunday morning, and areas of the Delta were partially sprayed this morning, Devencenzi said. The plane, owned by Dynamic Aviation, will complete Delta spraying after 7:30 p.m. tonight as long as the wind doesn't exceed 10 mph, he added.
Manteca is also scheduled to be sprayed Monday night. If weather conditions didn't permit, spraying was to be scheduled for 4 to 7 p.m. today.