No Spray Settlement of Lawsuit against Giuliani, et. al.
Feds Approve, and Judge Daniels Signs Agreement on April 12, 2007
New York City admits that pesticides remain in the environment beyond 
their intended purpose and may cause adverse health effects

For seven years, the No Spray Coalition has battled the City of New 
York in Federal Court in opposition to the Giuliani administration's 
massive and indiscriminate spraying of toxic pesticides, including Malathion.

On April 12, a federal judge signed a settlement agreement in which 
New York City admits that the pesticides sprayed may indeed be 
dangerous to human health as well as to the natural environment.

The settlement agreement states that, contrary to the City's prior 
statements, pesticides may remain in the environment beyond their 
intended purpose, cause adverse health effects, kill mosquitoes' 
natural predators, increase mosquito resistance to the sprays, and 
are not presently approved for direct application to waterways.

Mitchel Cohen, the coordinator of the No Spray Coalition and an 
individual plaintiff in the lawsuit, sees the settlement agreement as 
a "tremendous victory" for health and environmental advocates.

"Thousands of New Yorkers were made seriously sick by the spraying," 
Cohen said. "A number of members of our coalition, including several 
of the plaintiffs, died from pesticide-related illnesses. Many suffer 
from Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS) or Asthma caused or 
exacerbated by the spraying. We are very glad that the new City 
administration has to some degree acknowledged that pesticides are 
extremely dangerous to human health. They need to be rejected as a 
way of killing mosquitoes."

"In particular," Cohen continued, "the use of insect repellents 
containing DEET should never be used, especially on children."

Another plaintiff in the lawsuit, artist Robert Lederman, noted that 
in 1999 and 2000, then-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and other City 
officials claimed that the spraying was "safe" and was used as "a 
last resort" in its effort to kill mosquitoes said to be vectors for 
West Nile encephalitis.

"This agreement represents the latest rebuff to the notion that 
Giuliani was a good Mayor," Lederman said. "In 1999 and 2000, while 
repeatedly spraying the population of NY with pesticides derived from 
Nazi-era nerve gasses, Giuliani appeared in daily press conferences 
claiming that the chemicals were completely harmless. The City of NY 
has now admitted that these chemicals are harmful, that they persist 
in the environment and that much more caution will have to be used if 
they decide to ever spray them again."

Attorneys for the No Spray Coalition -- Joel Kupferman, of the NY 
Environmental Law and Justice Project, and Karl Coplan and Daniel 
Estrin, of PACE Environmental Litigation Clinic, announced that as 
part of the settlement the City agreed to pay $80,000 to five 
grassroots environmental and wildlife rehabilitation groups and meet 
with the plaintiffs in several sessions to review an extensive list 
of concerns that the Coalition provided. The Plaintiffs are not 
permitted, under the terms of the Clean Water Act, to receive a 
monetary settlement themselves.

Members of the Coalition say that the resolution of the lawsuit 
begins a new phase in its activities. In its letter of concerns to 
the City, which is an attachment to the lawsuit settlement, the No 
Spray Coalition seeks to win official approval for its proposed 
"Community Environment and Health Council," with members drawn from 
the plaintiffs, the City, and health care professionals, 
environmental organizations, advocacy groups, non-toxic pesticide 
applicators and other pesticide-conscious parties.

Cohen said that if the City approves the proposed Environment and 
Health Council in further negotiations with the No Spray Coalition, 
the new Council would "make recommendations on environmental health 
impacts of pesticide use and alternatives, hear from (and possibly 
include) neurotoxicologists, neuropsychologists, non-toxic pest 
control experts, wildlife rehabilitators; analyze toxicological 
samplings, and submit findings to review by occupational and 
environmental health case providers and advocates."

The Council would also sponsor public meetings before pesticides are 
used, at which the DOH and other public officials must attend and be 
available to answer questions, Cohen said. It would "review and 
propose alternative, nontoxic control of mosquitoes; critique the 
city's official mosquito control plan and offer new plans to replace 
adulticides with safe materials; assess agents chosen with regard to 
interaction with all toxins in our living environment, and then test 
agents in combination with them for synergistic or cumulative impact 
on health and environment.

"Additionaly, it would review transportation, storage, and financial 
ramifications of pesticides; develop and publicize substantive and 
"least harmful" application guidelines for any chemicals the City 
seeks to apply to the environment; access all NYC information on 
health concerns for pesticides and other chemicals; 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."

Cohen said that while he hopes that the City would approve the 
proposal to establish the Health and Environmental Council, he 
recognizes that "it will probably take another prolonged struggle to 
achieve that, the next step in our fight to make the City accountable 
environmentally and health-wise to the people subjected to these toxins."

Cohen added that he sees the terms of the Settlement Agreement as 
helpful to those fighting against pesticide spraying elsewhere. 
"Indeed, we consulted with many organizations not only in the U.S. 
but in Canada and Mexico as well," Cohen said, "and we negotiated 
clauses in the Agreement with the needs of other locales in mind."

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit were: the No Spray Coalition, National 
Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides, Disabled in Action, Save 
Organic Standards - New York (by its president, Howard Brandstein), 
and individual plaintiffs Valerie Sheppard (deceased), Mitchel Cohen, 
Robert Lederman, and Eva Yaa Asantewaa.

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