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GOHSEP provides aerial mosquito spraying mission schedule

Posted at 10:12 AM, Oct 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-27 21:01:50-04

LAFAYETTE, La. — The Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (GOHSEP) has provided a schedule of their aerial spraying missions for the remainder of the week.

The spraying schedule from GOHSEP includes flights on Thursday, Oct. 29, to finish applications in Lafayette Parish. Sprayings will also start or continue in Jeff Davis and Acadia Parishes.

GOHSEP says that on Monday night, approximately 105,000 acres were sprayed in Lafayette Parish. Flights on Thursday are expected to cover the remaining 31,000 acres.

No flights are currently scheduled for Wednesday night, October 28, due to Hurricane Zeta's arrival in Southeast Louisiana.

GOHSEP anticipates flights will resume on Thursday, Oct. 29, to complete Acadia and Jefferson Davis Parishes.

GOHSEP says that the schedule is subject to change due to weather restrictions.

On Monday night Lafayette Parish residents were questioning why a low-flying military plane was seen spraying in the parish when no scheduled mosquito sprayings were to take place. GOHSEP answered that question on Tuesday morning.

The Air Force had to make some adjustments to their mission schedules due to weather and cloud ceiling issues, according to Mike Steele, spokesperson for GOHSEP.

Spraying was scheduled to happen on Sunday, but no indication was given that the operation was continuing Monday.

On Sunday the operation took place starting around sunset and continued for up to five hours. During that time, an Air Force C-130H, modified with the Modular Aerial Spray System (MASS), dispersed the pesticide "naled".

It's all part of the operation announced earlier this month.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) website, “naled is most commonly applied aerially as an ultra-low volume (ULV) spray. ULV sprayers mounted on planes or helicopters dispense very fine aerosol droplets containing small quantities of insecticide that drift through the air and kill mosquitoes on contact. The spray is dilute (only 1-2 tablespoons of naled is applied per acre sprayed) and the amount that ultimately floats to the ground is small and dissipates quickly.”

Some people like Cheryl Trumps were caught off guard by the spraying Monday night. As a lymphoma survivor, Trumps took precautions Sunday night.

"We were preparing for planes and we really didn't hear much," Trumps said.

However a plane flew in her neighborhood the next day. She was disappointed and concerned about the change.

"We had grandchildren at soccer practice," said Trumps. "People who were walking pets. I don't think the residents were properly informed."

She added, "There's a lot of things that could've happened last night within the 5 hour period that people could've been expose to. I had a person tell me their eyes were burning after they had to flush their eyes. Another person just pulled up to her residence where she lived. She said she ducked, but didn't know what they were doing. Later her skin burned, but she washed off."

Environmentalist Wilma Subra explained more about the chemical and what happens when a person makes direct contact with it.

"It is a nerve impacting chemical so anytime it comes in contact with the body it may have an impact on the nerves," Subra said. "It may may give headache, burning eyes, irritation to the skin."

The chemical in the spray could be harmful to those who have health issues.

"Tests they've performed on it shows it's not a cancer causing agent, but if you have cancer or if you're on chemo then you're one of the vulnerable population and you're the ones who can have harm and it may not cause cancer but it can cause negative impacts if you have cancer or any other medical condition."

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