GMO poison to be carpet bombed across 10,000 acres of Western Washington to kill moths
Washington residents should brace themselves for an aerial assault of GMO poison that is being launched throughout the Western part of the state in an attempt to prevent a widespread gypsy moth infestation.
Last weekend saw the launch of a pesticide-bacteria spraying campaign that was authorized by Washington State’s Department of Agriculture (WSDA). The areas affected include around 7,000 acres near the Port of Tacoma, 640 acres along Old Pacific Highway SE near the Nisqually River, 600 acres near Gig Harbor, 640 acres near Kent, and 640 acres just north of the Lacey area.
The aim of this program is to kill European and Asian gypsy moths. The bacteria, which is known as Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) has pesticide properties. In fact, the gene that is used to kill insects in GM crops actually comes from this bacteria.
KOMO reports that the WSDA plans to use a fixed-wing red and white plane to drop the Bt strain Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki (Btk) pesticide from 250 feet in the air.
Gypsy moths blamed for environmental and economic problems
According to the WSDA, European and Asian gypsy moths are invasive and have an insatiable appetite for foliage from plants and trees such as oak and maple. They say that the damage caused by the moths could have significant environmental and economic implications.
The moths have not been seen in Washington since 1999, and they have never really established themselves anywhere in North America. Recently, an alarming number of male Asian gypsy moths have been caught in traps at the Port of Tacoma. These cousins to the problematic European gypsy moths prevalent in New England are known not only for defoliating shrubs and trees, but also for their ability to reproduce in big numbers. Experts theorize that they entered the country on container ships through the Port of Tacoma. It is believed that they could devastate the state’s environment if they manage to get a foothold, and they are also known to cause skin irritation in humans.
Outraged residents told to stay indoors
That said, many residents are opposed to the spraying. Back in 2000, a group of citizens tried to sue in King County Superior Court to put a stop to spraying in two Seattle neighborhoods, but their efforts were unsuccessful.
In addition to Saturday’s spraying, further sprayings are set for various dates at the end of this month and in early May, as long as the weather cooperates. The original plans were moved up on account of the recent warm weather, which prompted the gypsy moth eggs to hatch a lot earlier than expected. The caterpillar stage is the ideal time to apply the pesticide. In total, around 10,500 acres will be treated with Btk, which is fatal to caterpillars.
Citizens who want to avoid this poison can visit the WSDA website, where they can sign up for notifications via text, phone or email the day before applications. Residents will also receive postcards in the mail advising them of the situation. Concerned individuals can also send water samples to EPA Watch to see if this or other toxins make their way into the area’s water supply.
The WSDA website seems to contradict itself, claiming that the substance isn’t harmful, but advising people to remain indoors all in the same paragraph:
“Btk is not considered harmful to humans, pets, birds, fish, or bees. It is registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which considers it a low-risk product. Btk is found naturally in the environment and has an excellent safety record. Although the risk is low, the Washington State Department of Health, as a precaution, recommends that people can minimize their exposure by remaining indoors during spraying and for 30 minutes afterwards. If you come into contact with the product, wash with soap and water.”
That’s the least you should do. Around 500 people reported allergic and flu-like symptoms after being exposed to Bt spray in Vancouver and Washington. A similar outbreak occurred after Indian farm workers handled Bt cotton.
A recent study out of the University of Sherbrooke Hospital Centre in Quebec looking into how Bt toxin affects pregnant women and unborn babies, found that Bt toxin was present in pregnant women and their fetuses, and it actually killed human embryos inside of the women’s bodies! The toxin has also been linked to autism, cancer, autoimmune disease and food allergies.