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Archive for Thursday, October 18, 2007

Lawsuit aims to stop moth-spraying program

October 18, 2007

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— First, the state doused coastal communities with a pesticide aimed at a crop-eating moth that could cause billions of dollars in damage.

Two weeks later, a federal regulator said the mist coating residents' rooftops, gardens and playgrounds - a substance the government had certified as safe - actually contained a chemical thought to trigger asthma.

That landed the pest control program in court and grounded the planes for a week.

That moratorium is set to expire today, the day a hearing is set in Fresno for a lawsuit aimed at stopping the spraying. Federal and state authorities say the report about the pesticide's ingredients was incorrect, but the exact ingredients remain shrouded in mystery, partly because the manufacturer says they're a trade secret.

That has left some families questioning whether federal laws value intellectual property over public health.

Hundreds of residents reported shortness of breath and sharp stomach pains after planes dropped 1,695 pounds of the mixture on 60 square miles of California's central coast filled with organic farms and nurseries.

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