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Not everyone happy about Air Force mosquito spraying in Utah

Posted at 5:42 PM, Mar 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-08 19:42:40-05

SALT LAKE CITY — The U.S. Air Force is planning to team up with the Salt Lake Mosquito Abatement District for a project that could help their team train, while also helping the abatement district get rid of mosquitoes.

Yet, some local doctors claim this could have negative impacts on the health of those who live in the area.

Every year, Greg White, the assistant director at the Salt Lake Abatement District, said they set out traps for adult mosquitoes before creating treatment plans.

In rural areas, White said they set out 30 traps about twice a week. Sometimes those traps capture as many as 20,000 mosquitoes in one night, for one trap.

“The summertime is always busy for us,” said White.

This summer, White said the U.S. Air Force reached out to their abatement district wanting to collaborate for training.

The Air Force team is based out of Ohio and White said they want to train flying low in their plane while spraying pesticides.

White and his team typically have a contractor fly a small plane to spray pesticides, if they partnered with the Air Force, this would be in place of one of those exercises.

“We hope to save about 20 to 30 thousand dollars,” said White.

Dr. Brian Moench, President of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment believes spraying mosquitoes is an outdated practice that has been going on far too long, with extreme health impacts.

“These are biologic poisons,” said Dr. Moench. “The last thing we need is 43,000 acres sprayed with toxic agents.”

Dr. Moench said research shows toxins can greatly influence the brain development of children and babies.

“It’s a classic example of a cure being worse than the disease,” said Dr. Moench.

A group of physicians, biologists and others concerned about the impact on the water and fowl within the area, are compiling research with Dr. Moench to present to the abatement district.

“They’re attacking a large population of mosquitoes that’s likely not going to get out into the population,” said Dr. Moench.

For White, he sees this as an opportunity to save taxpayer dollars while collaborating on an exercise their abatement does multiple times in the year.

“It’s a chance for the Air Force to use their aircraft and their training,” said White.