The City of Tallassee will continue spraying for mosquitoes despite questions raised by one councilmember about its safety, the city council decided at its June 25 meeting.
Councilmember David Stough said some locations in the city are not sprayed but Mayor Johnny Hammock said all areas would be serviced.
“If we decided to continue to spray, we are going to spray everywhere,” Hammock said. “It’s not fair.”
Stough said Mosquito Master 412, the pesticide the city uses, is harmful to humans and animals if swallowed or absorbed through the skin, according to its label. It is toxic to aquatic organisms, including fish and aquatic invertebrates, and to bees exposed to direct treatment on blooming crops or weeds.
“I am not a scientist or a doctor but it does look like as though this could pose a potential hazard to the citizens,” Stough said. “We are not supposed to spray it around bees or around water.”
Mosquito Master 412 includes an active ingredient called chlorpyrifos, which acts on the nervous system of insects. Last August, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the EPA to ban the sale of chlorpyrifos in the United States within 60 days.
“I understand that we are spraying some roads and not spraying other roads,” Stough said. “We’re spraying by the swimming pool and we are not spraying on Lily Street, around the bees. I know that probably 50% of the people want it and there are 50% of the people who do not want it. The thing I am concerned with is the health and well being of the citizens. Some of the material that I have read and researched says we need to be spraying between 9 in the evening until 1 in the morning.”
Late last summer, the council decided to halt mosquito control until this season because of citizen concerns. However, spraying resumed this season and councilmember Darryl Wilson said neighboring cities utilize the same pesticide.
Hammock said he would take criticism regardless of the council’s decision.
“There’s always going to be people who complain on social media, send us an email, and call,” he said. “This is my third summer as mayor and it doesn’t matter what you all decide, I am going to take a beating for it.”
After a discussion the council decided to continue spraying.
Stough suggested changing to a different chemical.
“I can’t support spraying that chemical,” he said.
To clear up any confusion, Hammock said the city will post a schedule to its website to let residents know when their street will be sprayed.