As West Nile Virus Spreads, Is the Cure Worse Than the Disease?

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As West Nile Virus Spreads, Is the Cure Worse Than the Disease?

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(Beyond Pesticides, August 27, 2003) As West Nile virus (WNv) spreads west across the country, the media and the public should keep in mind the real risks of the virus and the pesticides commonly used against them. Beyond Pesticides’ executive director, Jay Feldman, was on CNN on August 24th to debate the issue along with Allen James, President of Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment, a chemical pesticide industry association. Throughout the short segment, Mr. James stated that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have “declared that we should use insecticides, and that they are effective with virtually no risk to the human population.” Later he again stated “pesticide risks are minimal and have been declared safe by CDC and EPA.” Yet there is a common misconception that if pesticides are registered by EPA, then they are safe to use. The U.S. General Accounting Office has told Congress on several occasions that, “The general p