Pesticide Use Concernes Columbia Residents
The first confirmed human case of West Nile in Columbia has health officials taking precautions. KOMU's Sarah Te Slaa shows us how those precautions are upsetting some Columbia residents.
Alex Maginness is worried about his family after the Boone County Health Department sprayed pesticides near his home.
"We don't feel like that is appropriate. We are worried about health," said Maginness. "There's a lot of unknown effects of these poisons."
The Boone County Heath Department started spraying pesticides to kill mosquitoes after the first confirmed human case of the West Nile virus in Boone County. This week, the department sprayed a half mile radius from where the virus was contracted.
"The CDC recommends that's what you do when you have a case of West Nile and the pesticide we use is approved by the ERA," said Heather Baer, representative from the Boone County Health Department. "It contains the lowest amount of chemicals possible in order for it to actually kill mosquitoes."
The department says the spray only affects mosquitoes.
"It has never really posed any threats to humans or wildlife but in general we only try to spray in those off times," said Baer
But Maginness isn't convinced.
"It's a bad chemical," said Maginness. "It's a poison and we don't feel it is appropriate for this use."
The Boone County Health Department says they've seen fewer cases of the virus this year than previous years. They spray the MKT trail in Columbia once a week during the mosquito season.
Also, there are several ways to protect yourself from the West Nile virus.The department suggests using mosquito repellents, draining standing water such as bird baths and play pools, wearing long sleeves and pants, and avoid being outside at dawn and dusk.