Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Mosquito fogger trucks bring potential harm

Taylor Falgout

Louisiana’s hot and humid summers create the perfect breeding ground for disease-carrying mosquitoes, which are not just nuisances but can be deadly.

Mosquitoes can carry serious viruses such as Zika, West Nile, and Chikungunya, as well as diseases like dengue and malaria, according to the CDC. Several of these diseases were considered to be eradicated in the US, but have recently resurged due to rising temperatures, according to the National Geographic. In Louisiana, West Nile is the most reported of these illnesses.

The City of New Orleans closely monitors the amount of mosquitos in the area and remains alert to service requests from the public. Through a variety of methods, such as egg/larvae trapping and risk assessments, the city plans routes for fogger trucks, a type of vehicle used to spray the affected area with insecticides, which kill mosquitos by preventing their nervous systems from working, according to the New Orleans Mosquito, Termite and Rodent Control Board.

However, in New Orleans’ quest to get rid of the insects, they brought an additional, potentially deadly element to the area: organophosphates.

Insecticides are the class of bug killer that contain organophosphates that have been used since the 1940s to rid regions of mosquitoes. However, they have recently been found to pose possible harm to humans.

The New York Times published an article regarding the harmful effects of mosquito spraying workers of these trucks had experienced, in spite of being told the insecticides used were completely safe to humans.

“​​Since the spraying began last year, the State Department of Health has received 14 reports from doctors who believe their patients may have suffered sickness as a result of pesticides,” according to The New York Times. “The men’s symptoms included dizziness, difficulty in breathing, headaches, diarrhea, joint pain and shakiness.”

The affected patients were all exposed to the organophosphates in the insecticides used.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, “these chemicals stop a key enzyme in the nervous system … from working, and this can make people ill.”

The organization, Beyond Pesticides, said on their website that “Organophosphates are a class of insecticides known to have adverse effects on the nervous system, having the same mode of action as nerve agents for chemical warfare.”

Furthermore, organophosphates are potential contributors to both adolescent and adulthood cancer.

According to the CDC, “some studies in adults and children have linked organophosphate exposure to lymphoma and leukemia.”

Despite the growing research on their harmful effects, organophosphate insecticides are used routinely in New Orleans, according to the Louisiana Mosquito Control Handbook.

There are numerous methods that people can use to prevent mosquitoes from multiplying without using harmful insecticides, such as preventing areas of standing water that could be found in dirty bird baths, buckets, or recycling bins.

To protect yourself from bites, it is helpful to use mosquito repellent and ensure your house has tight fitting windows and secure screens. When it comes to lowering the amount of mosquitoes and bites, it is possible without organophosphate insecticide fogger trucks.

The Louisiana Department of Health writes that “protecting yourself is very simple, and it could spare you from getting [sick].”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Eloise Pickering
Eloise Pickering, Worldview Editor
Eloise Pickering is a current freshman and the Worldview editor. She is a mass communication major, and her favorite movie is Spotlight. When not doing homework or working at the Maroon, Eloise can often be found pondering philosophically in Audubon Park. She has often been dubbed “The Thinker.” Eloise can be reached at [email protected].
Taylor Falgout
Taylor Falgout, Creative Director of The Wolf and Chief Visual Artist
Taylor Falgout is The Maroon’s Chief Visual Artist and The Wolf’s Creative Director. She is a Sophomore majoring in graphic design. In her free time, she enjoys going to the park, listening to music, and supporting local artists. Taylor can be reached at [email protected].

Comments (0)

All The Maroon Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *