The Michigan Department of Public Health has denied having any information about the effectiveness of aerial pesticide spraying that was done in Lapeer and other counties last fall for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). According to the Michigan Department of Public Health’s denial of a Freedom of Information Act request made by the Nepessing Group of the Sierra Club, the Department has no information about how they measured the effectiveness of the spraying.

The Sierra Club believes people in Lapeer County did opt out of the spraying program, but the Michigan Department of Public Health’s FOIA denial stated there are no records or maps about who opted out of the spraying program.

If we want to protect ourselves and our prized livestock from EEE, then it’s important to vaccinate the animals who carry the disease. Mosquitoes spread the disease from infected animals. Spraying the countryside with a pesticide that kills species that eat mosquitoes– bats, dragonflies, frogs, fish, salamanders– does more harm than good, because it kills the predators of mosquitoes. It is the predators that control the number of mosquitoes in the environment, along with other factors, such as overturning containers holding standing water where they breed. After spraying, mosquitoes rebound more quickly than their predators, and may become immune to the spray, possibly causing a worse problem in the coming season.

The Department of Public Health owes the public thoughtful study and action this coming mosquito season.

—Miriam Marcus, Linda Berker and Mike Buza for the Nepessing Group Sierra Club