Residents of the Hope Ranch area say that several people are sick from a pesticide that was sprayed in their neighborhood to eradicate Oriental fruit flies. Two weeks ago, biologists found three Oriental fruit flies – which threaten crops – in Hope Ranch traps. In response, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) launched an eradication program that uses a mix of the chemical dibrom and an attractant to lure and kill male fruit flies. According to CDFA spokesperson Steve Lyle, dibrom yields the best results with the least amount of pesticide. But Estelle Foster of the Pesticide Awareness and Alternatives Coalition said that the chemical is too hazardous for use in residential areas and less drastic measures should have been taken. “It just went from finding the flies to nuking the area,” said Foster, who has spoken to a number of people who suddenly fell ill soon after the dibrom (also known as Naled) was applied to trees and telephone poles in the area, unbeknownst to some residents. In light of these concerns, the Santa Barbara City Council plans to formulate a notification system to alert residents of affected areas to future spraying.
Originally published 12:00 p.m., August 17, 2006
Updated 4:57 p.m., September 18, 2006
Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.