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Pesticide Spraying Negotiations in New York City


Mitchel Cohen <[log in to unmask]>


Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>


Mon, 21 Nov 2005 16:57:40 -0500





text/plain (516 lines)

The No Spray Coalition
fighting against the indiscriminate spraying of toxic pesticides since 1999

No Spray Coalition, Inc.
PO Box 334, Peck Slip Station
NYC 10272

Hotline: (718) 670-7110
Listserve: [log in to unmask]
Email: [log in to unmask] or [log in to unmask]


The No Spray Coalition is an all-volunteer not-for-profit organization that 
formed six years ago to oppose New York City’s mass-spraying of Malathion 
and Pyrethroids by helicopter and truck. Since that time, the Coalition has 
grown substantially by working alongside other environmental justice 
organizations and individuals and supporting each others' work. As a 
result, the No Spray Coalition has become expert in the dangers of 
pesticides and in presenting alternative and non-toxic means for dealing 
with mosquitoes and other critters considered to be “pests”.

We need your financial help!

This week, officials from the New York City government will be meeting with 
the No Spray Coalition and other plaintiffs before a federal Magistrate 
Judge to attempt to carve out a settlement in the Coalition’s 5-year-old 
lawsuit against the City for its indiscriminate spraying of toxic 
pesticides to kill mosquitoes said to be the cause of West Nile encephalitis.

We also return to federal court before Judge Daniels to either approve of 
the negotiated settlement or to set the date for trial. (The Coalition’s 
proposal is posted below.)

We need your financial help, and need it fast!

The Plaintiffs in the lawsuit are the No Spray Coalition, National 
Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides, Disabled In Action, Save 
Organic Standards - New York, Valerie Sheppard (in Memoriam), Mitchel 
Cohen, Robert Lederman, and Eva Yaa Asantewaa.

Our legal team is headed by Joel Kupferman (of the New York Environmental 
Law and Justice Project) and Karl S. Coplan (of the Pace Environmental 
Litigation Clinic, Inc.)

Over the next few weeks, we need to raise tens of thousands of dollars to 
pursue the lawsuit and intensify our work. As an all-volunteer group ­ none 
of us gets paid -- the NoSpray Coalition depends on the consciousness and 
generosity of our supporters.

Please make out a check today and mail it, along with your name, address 
and email, to:

No Spray Coalition
PO Box 334, Peck Slip Station
NYC 10272

or, to contribute by credit card or PayPal, please go to and fill out the form there.

What began six years ago as a tiny, isolated grassroots struggle in New 
York City against the spraying of Malathion has become a major effort with 
nation-wide consequences. Today, we align ourselves with many similar 
grassroots groups across the country; share information, send our members 
to participate in anti-pesticide struggles elsewhere, and post their work 
to the NoSpray Coalition website..

Along the way, we have achieved numerous victories such as blocking 
multi-million dollar contracts to pesticide spraying corporations; winning 
state-imposed fines against a major contractor for poisoning its workers 
(thanks to the great work of the New York Environmental Law and Justice 
Project); and basically making the dangers of pesticides known to the vast 
number of people living in the New York metropolitan area. And much, much 

Please go to our website at or our listserve at 
[log in to unmask] There, you can download flyers on the dangers of 
pesticide spraying and the application of DEET on children; find 
informative scientific articles linking pyrethroids with breast cancer and 
dramatically lowered sperm counts; view the five years of legal papers (a 
number of other lawsuits across the country have found them to be very 
helpful) and alternative and non-toxic ways to address these issues; and 
read our critique of the hysteria being orchestrated, first around West 
Nile, then Anthrax, SARS, Smallpox, and now Avian Flu ­ all "addressed" by 
officials who call for in some cases "quarantine camps," more spraying, and 
mass inoculations as their answer, while ignoring the huge dangers of 
pesticides to people, animals, and the natural environment.

We can’t stress enough how important even a small contribution would be at 
this time. Thank you so much.

Mitchel Cohen, for the
No Spray Coaliition*

*The No Spray Coalition is a not-for-profit organization, but it is not a 
501-c-3; your contributions are NOT tax-deductible. However, if you wish to 
make a large contribution and deduct it from your taxes, please contact us.

 From June 2005:

U.S. District Court Judge George Daniels issued his long-awaited ruling in 
early June on a case brought five years ago by the NoSpray Coalition, along 
with a number of other organizations and individuals, against NYC 
governments indiscriminate spraying of toxic pesticides to kill mosquitoes 
said to be transmitting West Nile Virus.

Over the years a number of courts had eliminated the large body of evidence 
we presented about people who were seriously sickened by the spraying of 
poisons such as Malathion and pyrethroids over New Yorks streets and urban 
environment, whittling down the case to the sole question of whether or not 
the City sprayed pesticides over water.

In this latest ruling, Judge Daniels agreed with most of our lawyers claims 
that spraying toxic pesticides over NYC waterways without a permit - even 
if unintended (and it was VERY intentional) or for a short time - 
constitutes a violation of the Clean Water Act, and rejected the NY City 
governments claims to the contrary.

This is a very good result. Early findings on the law issues will stand as 
“the law of the case” for later arguments when applying the law to the facts.

This was a long-awaited and very important decision, as it carefully 
reviews prior case law and defines what constitutes a pollutant and rules 
that helicopters and spraytrucks can be considered point sources under the 
Clean Water Act, as well as under what circumstances pesticide-spraying 
might indeed be opposed legally. We expect that it will have very positive 
implications for environmental and social justice activists who are 
fighting against the misuse of pesticides across the country.

With all the legalistic interpretations now out of the way and resolved in 
our favor, the case will be fast-tracked and go to trial before a jury with 
Judge Daniels presiding to determine whether the City actually sprayed 
pesticides over New Yorks waterways.

The full text of Judge Daniels ruling is posted to the website at'%20Decision.pdf

*** We’re now going to have to go into major fundraising mode to pay for 
the actual court case on the Facts, organizing and office expenses, 
literature, and so forth. *** We desperately need your help. *** Please 
contribute whatever funds you can spare to enable us to pursue the lawsuit 
and continue this very important work.

You can either make out a check to No Spray Coalition and mail it to No 
Spray Coalition, PO Box 334, Peck Slip Station, NYC 10272  or you can pay 
by credit card via the website: We need to raise tens of 
thousands of dollars literally! in the next few weeks.


No Spray Coalition, et. al v. City of New York, et. al.

[NOTE: This is what the Coalition has proposed and sent to New York City's 
government. City officials are responding to it this week. This is not an 
agreed-upon settlement.]

The City of New York is becoming increasingly aware of the cumulative 
dangers of pesticides and herbicides to the waterways and the natural 
environment of New York, as well as to the health and well-being of the 
people living or visiting here.

The City of New York is aware of extensive research by the Centers for 
Disease Control in which the agency has projected that every person living 
in the United States carries in their bodies dangerous levels of toxic 
pesticide residues.

The City is aware that many dangerous chemical components of these 
pesticides linger in the environment;

Further, the City takes note of the recent “Pesticide Notification” and 
other legislation passed by the NY City Council that provides new legal 
requirements and remedies for the misuse of pesticides; and,

Finally, the City is aware that the pesticides that City agencies have 
utilized to kill mosquitoes endanger the lives of fish and other aquatic 
life when applied over or near waterways, and kill off the natural 
predators of mosquitoes. These predators, in general, have longer 
reproductive cycles than the mosquitoes themselves. Thus, the widescale use 
of pesticides has, over time, the unintended consequence of actually 
increasing the mosquito population as well as mosquitoes’ natural 
resistance to the pesticides used.

Therefore, the City of New York appreciates the tireless work and 
information provided by the Plaintiffs on these issues and agrees to settle 
the Lawsuit brought by The No Spray Coalition, The National Coalition 
Against the Misuse of Pesticides, Disabled in Action, Save Organic 
Standards­NY, Mitchel Cohen, Valerie Sheppard, Robert Lederman and Eva Yaa 
Asantewaa, by stipulating to the following:


The City of New York agrees as policy that

a. It will not spray pesticides on, over, or within 1,000 feet of 
waterbodies or wetlands surrounding or within NYC, or within 1,000 feet of 
residential homes near wetlands.

b. When any pesticide or herbicide spraying is about to occur, security 
personnel (police, etc.) must notify people in the area and give them 
sufficient time (72 hours or more) to leave the area.

c. Neighborhoods will be made aware of days and times of scheduled 
sprayings 72 hours in advance. “Persons at risk” (including the elderly, 
ill, children, disabled, immune compromised, MCS (multiple chemical 
sensitivities) or cancer survivors, and pregnant women) must be notified 5 
days prior to applications so that they have time to prepare an exit from 
the area. Free transportation out of the area will be provided for those 
affected people.

d. No aerial or indiscriminate truck spraying of Malathion, pyrethroids, or 
other adulticides will be permitted.

e. No combination spraying (e.g. malathion + pyrethroid) will be permitted; 
there is no human impact test data currently available on their synergistic 

f. It will stop its widespread use of Monsanto’s Roundup and other 
organophosphate herbicides that are used mostly for cosmetic purposes.

g. New Yorkers will be invited to add their names to a “Do-Not-Spray” list, 
for those who do not want their homes/yards/families subjected to 
aerially-applied pesticides (including airborne applications by 
spraytrucks). Once on these lists, residents should not have to renew them 
each year. They should remain on the list until they take themselves off it.

h. It will add a visible tracer to aerially-applied/misted pesticides so 
everyone, including the pilot/applicator, can see where the pesticides are 
going. The visible tracer’s MSDS is to be reveiwed prior to application and 
all contents tested by EPA with data reviewed before any application 
commences. This includes testing the contents (and tracer) for MOLD 


The City of New York agrees as policy that

a. Wetland areas and waterways must not be sprayed with adulticides.

b. In areas where wetland areas contact streets, the City agrees to 
establish planted vegetative buffer areas with berms (perhaps funded by the 
state under the stormwater-runoff program) which will keep rainwater from 
running off streets and then pooling in adjacent wetland areas. This will 
minimize mosquito growth. The City agrees that wetlands should be “fed” by 
natural water sources only. NYC should intensify efforts to keep street 
drains clear and functional.

c. The City agrees to develop a comprehensive Integrated Pest Management 
(IPM) program that does not take a “spray first and ask questions later” 
approach, and will provide funding for the hiring of experts in non-toxic 
mosquito control who will draft and develop IPM programs. These programs 
shall be integrated into the City Council’s recently passed IPM legislation.

d. It will make publicly accessible links to information concerning health 
risks from pesticide exposure on the NYC website, and advisories concerning 
the health dangers of pesticides sent to health care professionals. This 
information shall be sent to media as well.

e. It will publicly disclose and publicize fines issued against pesticide 

f. It will prominently link on its website to the CDC study that found 
dangerous pesticide levels in 100 percent of the thousands tested. The CDC 
projected that all people living in the U.S. carry dangerous levels of 
toxic pesticides in our bodies.

g. It will continue doing GIS mapping of avian deaths for DOHMH. This will 
be reviewed against and correlated with the statistics from EPA’s city-wide 
air pollution meters and the information will be made publicly available.


The City of New York agrees as policy to

a. Draft and distribute “pesticide exposure” guidelines to all medical 
personnel throughout the metropolitan area.

b. Establish protocols for proper treatment in conjunction with the 
Community Environment and Health Council (see below). Include all potential 
health effects, and a full toxicology program to be provided to all medical 
personnel in NYC, hospitals, doctors’ offices, school nurses, clinics, 
etc.(e.g., publication of cholinesterase panel (RBC + plasma) testing for 
OP exposure should include how/when to collect blood specimens, what NYC 
labs would do the test, how to interpret the results (do NOT compare to 
normal range, but to the individuals’ levels which means taking a second 
cholinesterase panel within 2 weeks of the first test which must be done 
immediately after exposure).

c. Distribute notices to all school nurses advising them what symptoms to 
look for in children and adults who may have been exposed to pesticides, 
and the protocol for responding to them.

d. Provide a list of specific lab tests for analysis of pesticide 
metabolite levels, as well as shipping instructions with phone contacts, to 
all medical personnel as well as the public, for pesticides being 
applied.(funny how CDC can test for PYRETHROIDS, BUT no one can else can 
get tested for them especially in NY).

e. Inform medical teams in spray area to do actual blood sampling over 
time, as pesticide poisonings can develop progressively (chronic) even 
after the victim/patient had already been seen once.

f. Create emergency medical monitoring team “reference sheets” for MD’s and 
ER’s, and include emergency medical intervention procedures for 
pesticide-poisoning, instructions for testing the blood of ALL those with 
poisoning symptomology and retesting in 4 weeks.

g. Fully record and maintain accurate central log of all pesticide-related 
complaints to all venues.

h. Collect and review all toxicology (including oil refinery emissions 
and/or pesticide exposure) on all avian deaths (as well as people deaths) 
said to have been caused by the West Nile Virus.


The City of New York agrees as policy to

a. Create and allocate sufficient funds for a new “Pesticide Exposure 
Call-In Hotline” and website (part of DOHMH website) supported and staffed 
by trained pesticide knowledgeable doctors, nurses and hospital locations 
(in all boroughs of NYC) to respond to medical complaints. The hotline will 
become part of the NYC Emergency Management Handbook and program.

b. The hotline number will be published to all police, fire, rescue, 
ambulance, hospitals, doctors (private and public) and other medical 
facilities in NYC, and to the website. The hotline and informational web 
pages will be included in media releases and prominently displayed in Times 
Square, supermarkets and other public locations so that their presence is 
known to the general public.

c. All pesticide-related complaints to the Hotline, 3-11, ER rooms or 
doctors (private or public), schools, and everywhere else should be entered 
into a PIMS (Pesticide Incident Management System) database.

d. The Pesticide Exposure Hotline, Poison Control, 3-11 and other City 
agencies should refer callers concerned about exposure and possible illness 
due to the pesticide applications to Mt. Sinai Occupational Safety and 
Health Clinic or Bellevue Hospital, which are already set-up to handle such 

e. Remove all statements from DOHMH and other city websites and literature 
advocating or promoting the use of DEET, and outline the reasons why DEET 
is not recommended and is indeed dangerous for children especially;

f. Provide non-toxic alternatives for personal use of mosquito repellant 
applications. The DOH’s website will link to the NoSpray Coalition’s 
“alternatives” web page <>, as well as to those of other 
groups such as, advising people to go to those 
websites for more information.

g. Recall the DOH’s 2004 comprehensive mosquito surveillance and control 
plan, because of misstatements, advocacy of DEET, and for statements 
telling people not to wash off children’s playground toys and sandboxes 
after spraying, among others.


The City of New York agrees as policy to

a. Provide free medical coverage for all workers and individuals adversely 
affected by exposure to adulticides.

b. Supervise all spray workers and insure that they be given and wear full 
protective gear.

c. Require all NYC applicators to possess a license as a “Certified 
Pesticide Applicator” ­ no use of students or part time workers or janitors 
or maintenance persons to apply pesticides.

d. Additional measures to be developed in conjunction with the No Spray 
Coalition et al. and the workers’ Unions.


a. The City of New York agrees as policy to officially recognize the 
“Community Environment And Health Council” established by the Plaintiffs.

b. The Council would consist of members from the No-Spray Coalition, 
National Coalition for the Misuse of Pesticides, Disabled in Action, Save 
Organic Standards-NY, health care professionals, environmental 
organizations, advocacy groups, non-toxic pesticide applicators and other 
pesticide-conscious parties. Furthermore, the Council would:

c. Consider and make recommendations on environmental health impacts of 
pesticide use and alternatives.

d. Be mandated to hear from (and possibly include) neurotoxicologists, 
neuropsychologists, non-toxic pest control experts, wildlife rehabilitators.

e. Analyze toxicological samplings, and submit findings to review by 
occupational and environmental health case providers and advocates.

f. Be authorized to sponsor public meetings before pesticides are used, at 
which the DOH and other public officials must attend and be available to 
answer questions

g. Review and propose alternative, nontoxic control of mosquitoes

h. Critique the city’s official mosquito control plan and offer new plans 
to reduce adulticides with less toxic materials

i. Assess agents chosen with regard to interaction with all toxics in our 
living environment, and then test agents in combination with them for 
synergistic or cumulative impact on health and environment

j. Review transportation, storage, and financial ramifications of pesticides

k. Develop and publicize substantive and “least harmful” application 
guidelines for all chemicals applied to the environment

l. Be provided with access to all NYC information on health concerns for 
pesticides and other chemicals.

m. Establish a liaison to the NY City Council Committee of Health and 
Environment and be added as non-voting, adjunct members to that City 
Council committee.


a. The City of New York agrees as policy to make immediately availability 
all information on instances of spraying and geographic location, and

b. Use and make available all GIS maps showing all surface bodies of water 
within and surrounding NYC.

c. The City of New York agrees as policy to access to computer/GPS spray 
maps indicating the actual locations of planned truck and aerial 
application. These must be posted to the NYC DOHMH website at least 24 
hours prior to application, and again with any changes indicated on the map 
following any spraying.

d. The City of New York agrees as policy to post on the DOH website the 
results of studies that confirm the significant harm that pesticide toxins 
do to marine life.

e. Just prior to any applications, NYC shall establish “Pre-Application 
Checklist” procedures whereby the pesticides are checked by professionals 
to ensure that they were properly stored, have not expired, etc. and such 
information is logged and available to the public prior to any application. 
All pesticide formulations designated for use in the surrounding areas are 
to be tested prior to use by an independent agency for correspondence to 
label quantities to ensure product has not degraded.

f. NYC shall set up a “call center” that is in direct contact with the No 
Spray Coalition on all intended sprayings. NYC must provide funding to 
employ a knowledgeable advocate agreed to by the No Spray Coalition to 
monitor the intended sprayings of NYC. Notice of sprayings after the fact 
and after damage has been done is completely unacceptable.

g. New York City must not fund or work with organizations that have 
“serious and obvious conflicts of interests”, i.e., groups funded by or 
otherwise obligated to major polluting industries. The City authorizes the 
Plaintiffs to monitor the potential conflicts of interest, and to provide 
the City with a list of such organizations and corporations.


a. The City agrees to pay $100,000 for ongoing testing and elimination of 
pesticides from the City’s waterways, to a fund administered by the 
Plaintiffs and set up for that purpose, with the approval of Judge Daniels.

b. The City agrees to pay $25,000 to each of 7 non profit environmental and 
health organizations (to be chosen by Plaintiffs) with the approval of 
Judge Daniels

c. NYC agrees to set up an ongoing fund from which grants will be issued to 
grassroots groups working on alternatives to pesticides, and corollary 
issues. The Defendants agree that representatives from the No Spray 
Coalition will head the Fund and that each of the Plaintiff organizations 
will be permanent members of the grant-allocation committee.

d. Municipal tax credits will be made available to people who use 
“accepted/proven” alternative devices/substances/methods. For example; 
mosquito magnets are completely non-toxic and they work, but they are 
expensive. A tax credit would encourage people to buy them and use them, 
resulting in less reliance on pesticides and spraying.

e. Defendants agree to pay Plaintiff’s legal fees in full, as part of this 


Please help us intensify our efforts, and raise the tens of thousands of 
dollars necessary to go to trial. Send donations to:
No Spray Coalition
PO Box 334, Peck Slip Station
NYC 10272

or, to contribute by credit card or PayPal, please go to and fill out the form there.

Thank you!!!


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